Checkers Hold on to Defeat Providence
The Checkers carried their strong play back to Bojangles’ Coliseum Friday with a 4-3 win over the Providence Bruins.

The Bruins broke the ice early but the Checkers bounced back with a Patrick Brown goal from center ice that tilted things back in their favor. Charlotte’s special teams took over from that point, notching a pair of power-play tallies to go along with a shorthanded snipe by Saku Maenalanen to build a substantial 4-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.

Providence wouldn’t roll over, however, striking twice in the final seven minutes of play to pull within one late, but the Checkers would put the rally attempt to rest and ride out with a 4-3 victory behind 21 saves from Alex Nedeljkovic.


Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
We had a pretty good start. I know they scored the first goal and we got a lucky bounce to get the second one, but after that we had a great power-play goal and we built the lead that way. In the third period for 10 minutes we played really well and then we started making stupid mistakes and turning the puck over and they capitalized too. We made it too hard for ourselves in the third.

Vellucci on Saku Maenalanen’s play since sitting out as a healthy extra
I think he’s been great. He’s probably one of our hardest workers now. He knows that it’s a tough league to play in and you have to work extremely hard and he’s played really well.

Vellucci on improving to 9-1-0
I don’t look at records, but that’s pretty cool. I just wanted to get through this game because I know that Providence is a really good team. What can we improve? We’ve got to be smarter when we have leads. There’s no way we should give up two late goals like that. If you play smart on the defensive side you can shut the game right down and get throughe it easier than we did.

Morgan Geekie on playing in front of the net on the power play
It’s definitely something new but it’s definitely something that’s important to have. Mike and the guys have been really good about getting me accustomed to everything. There’s good players on the ice with me and I’ll let them do most of the work and then just do what I can.

Geekie on Brown’s goal from center ice coming so soon after Providence’s opener
It levels things out a bit. We were a bit down when things first started but that goal by Brownie brought the morale up a bit and got us back to having fun out there.

Roland McKeown on the team’s offensive success
I think it’s a little of a carryover from last year when we were the highest scoring team in the league. We’re opportunistic, we capitalize and our power play has been really great. That combined with the offensive skill set of our team can help out in a lot of other areas of our game.

McKeown on the third period
We played with the lead a lot this year and I think we’ve actually played pretty good with it. We’re not a team that looks like it doesn’t know what’s going on and we’re scared to lose or anything. Tonight in the third I thought we did a little bit of that, and that’s how the game goes naturally with them making a push.


The Checkers improved to 9-1-0, continuing the best start in team history and improving their AHL-best points percentage to .889 … This was the team’s fourth consecutive victory … Morgan Geekie moved into a tie for second among AHL rookies with his fifth goal … Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic picked up his league-leading seventh win … Maenalanen scored the Checkers’ league leading fourth shorthanded goal of the season … Charlotte went 2-for-4 on the power play against a Providence team that had allowed just two total power-play goals all season coming in … This was the Checkers’ third consecutive game with multiple power-play goals. They are 7-for-14 (50 percent) during that time … Forwards Cliff Pu, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.


Charlotte’s second home stand of the season continues tomorrow with a 6 p.m. rematch against the Bruins.
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.