Checkers Shut Out in Springfield
Charlotte’s three-in-three road trip got off to a tough start as the team dropped a 4-0 decision to the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday.

Springfield, which allowed 12 goals in two games against the Checkers just two weeks ago, earned a measure of revenge as goaltender Harri Sateri made 33 saves to earn the shutout. Charlotte now leads the season series 4-3-0, with the home team winning every game thus far.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 17 saves but saw his personal five-game win streak come to an end. As a team, the Checkers have now dropped two straight since putting together a season-long, five-game win streak.

After allowing Anthony Greco to score on a 2-on-0 rush just six minutes into the game, the Checkers trailed 1-0 for the majority of the game until allowing the Thunderbirds to score three times in the final nine minutes, one of which was into the empty net.

The Checkers’ best opportunity to score came early the second period when Springfield’s Ryan Horvat earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing an interference call against teammate Ludwig Bystrom, giving the Checkers a two-man advantage for a full two minutes. The Checkers failed to take advantage of that opportunity, however, with Nicolas Roy taking a high sticking penalty to negate the final 22 seconds.

In a game much tighter than the final score suggests, Charlotte looked like the team most likely to score and thus tie the game in the first half of the third period as they out-shot the Thunderbirds 7-0. Springfield would go against the run of play to score on their first opportunity, getting an odd-man rush as the result of Checkers’ defenseman Jake Chelios going down with an injury in the offensive zone.

Chelios would leave the game immediately following that play and did not return.

NOTES

The Checkers played without Andrew Miller (injury) and Lucas Wallmark (NHL recall) for the second consecutive game. They scored just one total goal in those games, both losses … The Checkers fell to 12-13-2 on the road this season, including a 1-6-2 record since Jan. 1 … Each team went 0-for-4 on the power play … Though last in the Atlantic Division, Springfield is 2-0-1 in its last three games, all of which were against divisional opponents in playoff position … Alex Nedeljkovic has played in 13 of the last 14 games and in 23 of the last 27 … Bridgeport and Hartford, the two teams most closely trailing Charlotte in the playoff race, also lost in regulation tonight … Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Zack Stortini and defenseman Dennis Robertson sat as extras.

UP NEXT

The Checkers continue a three-in-three weekend with important divisional games in Bridgeport tomorrow and Sunday.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.

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