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.
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.