Unlike their last meeting, it was the Checkers who opened up the scoring, with Sergey Tolchinsky carrying the puck out from behind the net before spinning and firing one in early on in the first.
That would be the beginning and end of the Checkers’ offense for the night, however. The Heat erased that advantage one minute later before pumping in a power-play tally late in the frame to take a hold of the lead, then tacked on another at the tail end of the second period.
With those three unanswered goals and the Checkers unable to respond, the Heat would skate away with the 3-1 victory. The loss extends Charlotte’s road winless streak to eight games and their road losing streak to five, both of which match franchise records.
Much of the game early on was mucked up by penalties, including eight minors in the middle frame alone – four to each side – but the Checkers couldn’t capitalize. Their struggling power play, which entered the game ranked last in the league, went scoreless on seven chances throughout the night, including a huge four-minute power play in the final three minutes of regulation as they searched for the comeback.
Rookie David Rittich continued his hot streak for Stockton, shaking off the early blemish and frustrating the Checkers the rest of the night by turning aside 27 of the 28 shots he was faced with. On the other side manning the crease for Charlotte was Alex Nedeljkovic. He didn’t face a ton of action, with the defense holding Stockton to 15 shots on the night, including just seven over the final two frames.
The Checkers now move on to Bakersfield Friday looking to stop their slide down the standings. Aside from their record-tying road skids, Charlotte has lost five straight overall and is 2-9-1 over the last 12 games.