The Checkers stumbled early on in their return from the holiday break, ultimately falling to the Laval Rocket 4-2.
The home side came out firing in Charlotte’s first visit to Quebec this season, launching 10 shots on goal and building a substantial 3-0 advantage through one period of play. The Checkers looked to replicate the come-from-behind magic they’ve pulled off at times this season, with glove-side snipes from Greg McKegg and Dennis Robertson in the middle frame narrowing the lead to just one heading into the third.
But despite a strong push down the stretch the Checkers couldn’t solve rookie netminder Connor LaCouvee, and a well-timed stretch pass by the Rocket led to a breakaway tally for Hunter Shinkaruk to put the final nail in the coffin.
The physical contest saw three fights in the first 23 minutes of play, with Zack Stortini, Patrick Brown and Steven Lorentz all dropping the gloves – the latter of whom was also assessed a 10-minute misconduct for instigating.
The Checkers defeated Bridgeport for the first time in three tries this season, extending their Atlantic Division lead to seven points in the process … The Checkers avoided going winless in three straight for the first time this season … Geekie’s goal was his third in four games … Aleksi Saarela picked up two assists, extending his career-long point streak to eight games (2g, 7a). It is the longest streak by a Checker since Greg McKegg scored in 12 straight in March-April of last season … Andrew Poturalski extended his point streak to three games (2g, 2a) … Nedelkjovic maintained his AHL wins lead with his 15th of the campaign … Defenseman Josiah Didier missed the game due to injury … Forwards Steven Lorentz and Cliff Pu and defenseman Josh Wesley were healthy extras.
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.