In the middle leg of a tough three-in-three stretch, the Checkers battled through a wild contest against Hershey to secure one point in the standings, but couldn’t finish things off in the shootout.
The Checkers found themselves in a tough hole as Hershey went ahead 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period. The visitors didn’t roll over, however, as Roland McKeown put Charlotte on the board shortly after with a backdoor tap-in of a Lucas Wallmark dish. That would inject some life into the Checkers, who used a Trevor Carrick power-play bomb and a Lucas Wallmark snipe from the slot to draw even with three tallies over a seven-minute span.
That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring in the second, though. Hershey cashed in on another power play to go back on top in the waning minutes of the middle frame, but Julien Gauthier answered seconds later by pounding home a loose puck out front.
With Alex Nedeljkovic replacing starter Jeremy Smith at the beginning of the frame, things settled down in the third. Aleksi Saarela broke the deadlock midway through, but the Bears notched their third power-play tally of the game late in regulation to force overtime.
The Checkers would survive a penalty kill in the extra frame but couldn’t put an end to the contest, even with a man advantage of their own, and the game proceeded to a shootout. Valentin Zykov found the back of the net in Charlotte’s first attempt, but he would be the sole Checker to convert. After Travis Boyd scored in the top of the fifth round, Bears netminder Vitek Vanecek turned aside Janne Kuokkanen’s attempt to seal the victory for Hershey.
The Checkers are now 0-3 in shootouts this season … Three of the team’s last five games have gone to overtime … The three power-play goals allowed by Charlotte are tied for the most this season … The Checkers have recorded 30 or more shots in each of their last three games … Jeremy Smith was pulled for his second consecutive start … Brenden Kichton was the first of his five-year pro career … Tonight saw the most penalty minutes for Charlotte this season, as well as the most by an opponent and the most combined … Trevor Carrick and Mason Mitchell both received game misconducts for being involved in a secondary altercation in the second period … Sergey Tolchinsky missed the game due to injury … Mike Ferrantino, Zack Stortini and Dennis Robertson served as healthy extras
The Checkers’ three-in-three concludes tomorrow afternoon with a 2 p.m. rematch against the Hershey Bears.
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.