Checkers Lose Late Lead Against Lehigh Valley
Charlotte couldn’t replicate their success against the Phantoms Saturday night, falling by a 3-2 score.

Janne Kuokkanen opened the scoring by popping in a rebound from out front for the first period’s only tally, then the Phantoms pushed back hard in the middle frame. But despite ceding a franchise-record 24 shots from the visitors, the Checkers made it to the second intermission with a lead thanks to a last-minute wrister from Jake Bean that found its way into the back of the net.

The volume of Lehigh Valley’s attack slowed in the third but the Phantoms found a way to convert early on. A quick strike evened the score just over five minutes in, then a too-many-men penalty on the Checkers led to Greg Carey’s go-ahead tally just two minutes later.

The Phantoms would lock down that lead, despite a significant push from the Checkers down the stretch. J-F Berube’s 29 saves ended up being enough to clinch two points for the visitors, even against a strong 39-save performance from his counterpart in Alex Nedeljkovic.

QUOTES

Coach Ryan Warsofsky on the difference between this game and last night’s win
Urgency, determination, speed and losing 50/50 (battles). A little bit of everything really. Just our focus. We didn’t have our jump.

Warsofsky on killing eight penalties
It’s tough to get into a rhythm. On the PK, it gets to the point where if you’re killing seven or eight, you’re asking for one. Not good on our part with taking too many penalties. We just didn’t have it tonight.

Warsofsky on the qualify of his team’s scoring chances
Average. I didn’t think we had enough jump in our game. If we’re going to be a successful team, there’s no nights off and there’s no shifts off. That’s how we have to play. We just got taught a lesson that if you show up and go 75 percent, you know what’s going to happen. We’ve got to learn from it, turn the page and get back on Monday.

Defenseman Roland McKeown on the difference between this game and last night’s win
Just energy level. I thought tonight after the first we just kind of sat back and let the game come to us. We just looked slow, and you take penalties when you’re slow and that just kind of wears you out in your own end. We were playing uphill from there.

McKeown on killing penalties in the third period
When you’re killing that many minutes it’s taxing and the majority of your shifts are in the d-zone. I thought that hurt our momentum tonight.

McKeown on what do work on moving forward
We’ve got to find it within ourselves to play our game, which is a fast game and it’s demanding. When one of us is off or we’re lacking speed, it really shows up.

NOTES

Charlotte fell to 4-4-0 on the season … Kuokkanen’s goal was his first since 1:18 of the season’s first game on Oct. 5 … Luostarinen extended his point streak to six games (4g, 2a), which is the longest by a Checker this season. He is tied for fourth among league rookies in scoring … Alex Nedeljkovic fell to 0-4-0 on the season … The Checkers lost when leading after two periods. They were 49-0-0 in that situation last season … The Checkers killed 11 consecutive penalties against the Phantoms before allowing the winning goal on the power play … Lehigh Valley’s 24 shots on goal in the second period was the most allowed by the Checkers in a single period in franchise history … Forwards Stelio Mattheos and Spencer Smallman and defenseman Fredrik Claesson missed the game due to injury … Forward Anthony Louis and defensemen Alex Lintuniemi and Derek Sheppard were healthy extras.
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.