In a tightly contested road battle with Hartford, the Checkers fought back but couldn’t seal the deal, falling 3-2 in a shootout.
Neither side would yield through nearly the first half of regulation, until Boo Nieves capitalized on a two-man advantage to push the home squad ahead. The Checkers would finally break through with five minutes to go in that middle frame when Josiah Didier launched a rocket one-timer off a drop pass from Andrew Poturalski for his first in a Charlotte sweater, but that tie was short-lived. One minute later Adam Tambellini finished off a slick passing play send the Wolf Pack into the second intermission holding a one-goal lead.
The Checkers saw their opportunity on an early power play in the third and took advantage, with Valentin Zykov ripping a cross-ice pass from Andrew Miller into the back of the net for his 22nd goal of the year. The visitors would double up Hartford in shots during the final frame but couldn’t muster any other tallies, sending the contest to overtime.
The extra frame was nearly uninterrupted by stoppages, and the Checkers dominated the possession for most of the five minutes. But despite several key chances, Charlotte couldn’t quite end things so it was on to a shootout. After two of Hartford’s three attempts turned out successful, Nicolas Roy was called upon to extend the shootout but had the puck poked away at the last second, leaving the Checkers with one point in the standings and sending Hartford home with the win.
The Checkers are now 0-2 in shootouts this season … The last time the Checkers lost in a shootout on the road was April 12 of last season in Grand Rapids … Valentin Zykov’s goal ties him for the league lead … Andrew Poturalski extended his point streak to seven games – one shy of the longest by a Checker this season – and his assist streak to five games … Zykov extended his point streak to three games and scored for the second straight game … Andrew Miller’s assist on the second goal was his 150th as a pro … Poturalski’s assist on the first goal was his 50th as a pro … Tonight was Zykov’s 150th AHL game … The Checkers have earned at least one point in the standings in nine of their 10 games this season that have been decided by one goal … Sergey Tolchinsky missed the game due to injury … Mike Ferrantino, Zack Stortini, Haydn Fleury and Dennis Robertson all served as healthy extras
The Checkers will get a rematch tomorrow in Hartford at 7:30, their final game before the AHL All-Star break.
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.