Between a heavy second-period offensive push and another Alex Nedeljkovic shutout performance, the Checkers took the series lead against Bridgeport by sinking the Sound Tigers 4-0.
Nedeljkovic picked up his fourth shutout of the season, stopping all 23 shots that came his way from a formidable Bridgeport attack, including several highlight-reel saves to keep his clean sheet.
Charlotte’s offense worked hard on their end as well with three goals in the second period, the last of which caused Bridgeport to switch goalies halfway through the frame.
The Checkers go on the road for a three-game series that includes two games against the second-place Bridgeport Sound Tigers before returning to Charlotte for the last stretch of home games of the regular season.
Patrick Brown found the back of the net early in the first with a power-play strike sent his way from Zach Nastasiuk, marking the captain’s 17th goal of the season. Andrew Poturalski continued his hot streak by tallying two goals, both of which were quick shots fired from the circles in the second frame â€“ one in the slot off a feed from Aleksi Saarela, and one from the top of the circle as the result of a strong individual effort.
Poturalski picked up an assist just 40 seconds after his first tally as he passed the puck to Nastasiuk for a breakaway, who tapped in a slick backhanded goal past Bridgeport netminder Christopher Gibson.
The Checkers collected their 98th point in the standings tonight, setting a new franchise record originally set in the inaugural 2010-11 campaign … Alex Nedeljkovic broke his own franchise record by winning his 32nd game of the season tonight. Since 2005-06, he is the only AHL goalie to record back-to-back 30-win seasons … Tonight was Nedeljkovic’s fourth shutout of the season, tying him for fourth in the AHL, and the 10th of his AHL career … Nedeljkovic currently leads all qualified AHL goalies in goals-against average … Tonight was Andrew Poturalski’s second multi-goal game of the season and his fourth game with at least three points … Poturalski is now tied with Chris Terry’s 2010-11 campaign for the fourth-most single-season points in franchise history. He is five shy of Terry’s second-place mark of 69 and 10 shy of Zach Boychuk’s 2013-14 record of 74 … Zach Nastasiuk picked up his first multi-point game of the season … Aleksi Saarela record his second straight multi-point game … Poturalski and Patrick Brown both extended their point streaks to three games … The Checkers have now won four straight and have earned a point in eight straight, the latter of which is the longest such streak by the team this season … The Checkers magic number to clinch the Atlantic Division title is four … Clark Bishop, Janne Kuokkanen and Spencer Smallman missed the game due to injury … Zack Stortini, Steven Lorentz and Bobby Sanguinetti were healthy extras
The Checkers will face the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday before returning to Bridgeport for a rematch on Saturday.