Checkers' Point Streak Ends Against Lehigh Valley
After a burst of scoring from both sides to start the game, the Checkers weren’t able to keep pace with the high-flying Phantoms, falling to Lehigh Valley by a 6-3 score.

The Phantoms wasted no time getting the offense rolling, lighting the lamp 21 seconds into regulation and then again at the three-minute mark to put the Checkers in a hole early. Charlotte’s equally powerful offense snapped back, however, finding the back of the net three times in a span of under four minutes – two of which came on the man-advantage via point blasts from Trevor Carrick – to snatch back the lead.

That would spell the end of both Lehigh Valley starter Dustin Tokarski’s night and the Checkers’ scoring. With longtime Checker John Muse between the Phantoms’ pipes, Charlotte struggled to put together chances while the Phantoms kept the ball rolling. Two quick strikes halfway through the second pulled the visitors back ahead through 40 minutes, then a power-play goal early on in the third gave them a 5-3 cushion. The Checkers rally attempt fell short against Muse, as the franchise’s all-time wins leader stopped all 25 shots he faced and an empty netter late sealed the deal, snapping Charlotte’s point streak at six games.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
I thought we came out a little slow, we battled back and were in control of the game, but then we took a risky three-on-one shorthanded when we should have stayed back. That changed the momentum of the game right there, and then we just didn’t have enough pushback.

Vellucci on Lehigh Valley
They’ve got an experienced team and they controlled the natural zone better than we did and made it easier on themselves by managing the puck better than we did.

Trevor Carrick on the game
I thought we had a tough start. It’s no good when they score on the first shift of the game. You’ve got to try to bounce back, and I thought we did that on the power play with a couple of goals there. We kind of lost it in the second period with turnovers and turnovers, kind of fell away from our game and couldn’t get it back.

Carrick on being successful against Lehigh Valley
We have a pretty solid d-corps on our team and we need to shut them down and get the puck into our forwards’ hands. When we do that, they’re getting the puck in and not turning it over and are pretty lethal in the offensive zone. I think we’ve got to be a little more solid in our own end, start there and take it forward.

NOTES

The Checkers’ season-long point streak ended at six games. Their four-game win streak was tied for their longest of the season … Alex Nedeljkovic saw his personal five-game win streak come to an end with his first loss since Nov. 18. His five goals allowed and 32 saves made were both season highs … After scoring one goal in his first 13 professional games, Gauthier has five in his last seven … The Checkers’ six goal allowed tied a season high … Andrew Miller had an assist to extend his point streak to six games (2g, 6a) … With a goal and an assist, Andrew Poturalski extended his point streak to four games (3g, 2a) … The teams combined for four power-play goals on just eight opportunities (each 2-for-4) … Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel and Greg Carey finished game as the AHL’s top two goal scorers with 15 and 14, respectively … Forward Lucas Wallmark missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Nick Schilkey and defenseman Dennis Robertson 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.