A pair of costly mistakes was the difference as the Checkers started their three-games-in-three-nights weekend with a 5-3 loss in Lehigh Valley on Friday.

Jake Bean, Mark Cooper and Max McCormick scored for the Checkers, who came up empty despite taking the lead just 3:32 into the contest and out-shooting the Phantoms 32-20 for the evening.

After Bean put the Checkers ahead early, the Phantoms rallied back with three consecutive goals, the third of which was a complete accident. With the Checkers in possession of the puck on a delayed penalty, they sent a pass from the neutral zone back into their own end that eluded all remaining Checkers skaters and went straight into the net recently vacated by Checkers debutante Mike Condon.

Maksim Sushko, the last Phantom to touch the puck prior to that sequence, received credit for the own goal.

Despite the bizarre setback, Charlotte got back into the game through recent tryout signing Cooper, who made it 3-2 on a deflection just 1:48 into the third period. However, after the Checkers’ potent power play received a golden opportunity to tie the game with five minutes remaining in regulation, the Phantoms instead scored on a shorthanded two-on-one break.

That goal would prove to be the winner after McCormick got one back on a deflection on the same power play. The Phantoms added an empty-net goal to seal the victory.

NOTES

With a goal and an assist tonight, Bean has nine points (2g, 7a) in his last eight games … Cooper scored his third career AHL goal and first since a tally for San Antonio on Feb. 17 of last season. He took a game-high eight shots on goal tonight and has 13 in his firs two games as a Checker … Charlotte fell to 1-3-0 to start its six-game road trip … Defenseman Joey Keane had two assists, giving him four points (1g, 3a) in his first four games with the team … The Checkers’ 15 shorthanded goals allowed are the most in the AHL … Forwards Brian Gibbons and Colin Markison and defenseman Gustav Forsling were healthy extras.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.