The Checkers took care of business Wednesday night, walloping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 6-3 to run their winning streak to six games.
The two sides were exchanging blows to start the contest, trading goals back and forth until Adam Johnson gave the home side a 3-2 lead midway through regulation. Steven Lorentz would draw things even again minutes later with a highlight-reel goal, firing an off-balance, no-look backhander past Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith, and the reinvigorated Checkers would take off from there.
Morgan Geekie picked up a rebound goal on the power-play to give Charlotte a lead heading into the final frame, then the unstoppable Julien Gauthier continued his reign of goals with a tally in the third to give the visitors some breathing room.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gambled by delpoying an extra attacker early and Steven Lorentz would make them pay, capping his three-point with an empty-net goal to send the fans to the exits and clinch Charlotte a convincing 6-3 win.
Facing his former coach, Alex Nedeljkovic was strong between the pipes. The netminder made 27 saves on the night, including shutting down a late push from the Penguins – who fired 12 shots in the third period alone – and came away with his second win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
The Checkers have won six games in a row, the longest active streak in the AHL and one shy of tying the franchise record … The win moved the Checkers into sole possession of fifth place in the Atlantic, one point behind Springfield for the final playoff spot … Steven Lorentz scored three points for the second time in his last three games and has multi-point outings in four of his last six … Julien Gauthier extended his point streak to eight games, the longest such streak by a Checker this season … Gauthier now ranks sixth in the AHL in goals … Tonight was Janne Kuokkanen’s sixth multi-point game of the season … Tonight was Dave Gust’s second multi-point game of the season, giving him 11 points in his last 11 games … Alex Nedeljkovic extended his win streak to three games and has victories in five of his last six appearances … Morgan Geekie’s goal was his first since Dec. 13 … Clark Bishop’s shorthanded goal was the third of his career, moving him into a tie for fifth on the franchise’s all-time list, and his eighth shorthanded point, moving him into fourth all time … Dave Gust’s goal 40 seconds in was the fastest goal by a Checker to start a game this season … Tonight was the second time this season the Checkers have given up multiple power-play goals and the first since Nov. 27 … The Checkers’ power-play goal snapped a three-game drought, their longest of the season … Terry Broadhurst played in his first game since Dec. 14 … Eetu Luostarinen missed the game due to injury … Stelio Mattheos and Kerby Rychel missed the game due to injury … Derek Sheppard and Cavan Fitzgerald were healthy extras
The road trip rolls on for the Checkers, who will visit the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop.
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.