Checkers season ends in game 5 loss to phantoms
The Checkers’ season came to a tough end Saturday night with a 5-1 defeat by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Game 5 of the Atlantic Division Finals.

Charlotte outshot their opponent for the third consecutive game but again ran into the red-hot play of Phantoms netminder Alex Lyon, who turned aside 27 of the 28 pucks he was faced with.

The visitors were able to put some run support behind their goalie, notching four unanswered tallies before Roland McKeown put the Checkers on the board early in the third. A rally wouldn’t be in the cards for the home side, however, as the Phantoms responded shortly after with another strike of their own to stake a 5-1 advantage that would last until the final whistle.

The win gave the Phantoms a 4-1 victory in the Atlantic Division Finals and pushed them to a date with the Toronto Marlies in the Eastern Conference Finals.


Vellucci on Alex Lyon
He was definitely in the zone, I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. I wish I could say that we weren’t doing the right things, but you saw tonight that we had a lot of chances. We had 45 chances over eight periods, so obviously he was doing something right and we were doing something right. I’m proud of the guys for the way we finished. Obviously you want to win tonight, but they played very hard and never gave up right until the end.

Vellucci on the series
In Game 1 we lost 2-1 in the last minute on a power play, then we win big, then they win big, and then we lose in eight periods. It was a drain on the psyche a little bit, but I tried to do as best we could to get them boosted up and positive. We came up with some different things, but in the end he still was in the zone.

Vellucci on the effort
The effort has been there all year. These guys have played really well. If you look at the series, we had one power play tonight. We had 70 power-play goals over the year, most in the league. We won a lot of games on our power play. In the playoffs we weren’t getting any chances and the refs put their whistles away. One chance tonight and only three in eight periods. When you’re not getting the chances, it’s going to be tough or us.

Vellucci on fatigue from Wednesday’s five overtime game
I didn’t see any physical tiredness at all. The guys were engaged, they were ready to go this morning and in the game. We had a lot of energy and we just couldn’t get one by him.

Patrick Brown the end of the season
We had an awesome group of guys and so much character in that locker room and so much skill. It’s a sour way to end it, but we worked so hard all year and I’m proud of all those guys in that room right now.

Brown on the series
I think we stuck with it the whole way. We ran into a hot goalie. Credit to that team because they played well, but man that goalie played awesome. Ours played awesome too but we couldn’t crack him. I’m proud of the way our guys played, but it’s always tough ending the year on a loss.

Warren Foegele on the effects of Wednesday’s five-overtime loss
I think those two days helped us a lot. I thought we battled hard and this was a pretty proud season for all of us and our team. We’ve just got ot try to keep our heads up. This was a great year and we’ve just got to elarn from this moving forward.

Foegele on young players like himself stepping forward
For all of us first-year players and this team, we can be proud of each other and the way we competed. For us it’s to learn the pro grind, which I definitely learned the second half of the year that it’s a full 76 games. Just doing the right thing, taking care of your body and following our leaders. I thought our leaders did a great job for us coming into the league this year.


The Checkers lost three consecutive games on home ice for the first time since April 6-10, 2016. Over the last two seasons, they were 54-22-2 at Bojangles’ Coliseum heading into this series … The AHL’s top-scoring team in the regular season, the Checkers scored just four goals in four games against Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon in this series. In seven games against the Checkers this season (regular season and playoffs), Lyon went 5-1-0 with a 1.48 goals-against average and .965 save percentage … Defensemen Jake Chelios and Josiah Didier missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Morgan Geekie, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini, defensemen Jake Bean and Matt Finn and goaltender Jeremy Helvig were healthy extras.