Checkers Suffer First Loss of Season
The Checkers’ perfect start came to a tough end Saturday as they dropped a penalty-filled rematch to the Hershey Bears 2-0.

Special teams was at the forefront once again, with each side taking eight attempts at the man advantage, but only Hershey’s initial power-play attempt was successful. The Bears would strike once more at five-aside and that would be all they needed. br />
Charlotte peppered Vitek Vanecek with 25 shots on the night but the Bears netminder turned them all aside, handing the Checkers their first shutout of the season. Alex Nedeljkovic, making his sixth consecutive start in net, stopped 22 of the 25 shots he saw.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
There was no offense. We killed seven (penalties) after two periods and then we got a bunch of power plays at the end and we didn’t capitalize. That’s the key. When we get our power plays we’ve got to score.

Vellucci on the outcome
I think we got what we deserved to be honest. We were feeling way too good about ourselves after winning five in a row and think it’s going to be an easy game today. I just think that we got what we deserved. If you don’t put in the full effort you’re going to lose a lot of hockey games, and hopefully we learned that.

Vellucci on heading back on the road for three games next week
You’ve got to capitalize at home and make sure you take care of business. We didn’t take care of business, and hopefully it doesn’t come back to haunt us.

Vellucci on forward Saku Maenalanen sitting out as a healthy extra
Saku hasn’t played well. He’s had way too many turnovers and his effort hasn’t been there. If you’re not going to backcheck and play hard and do the things we ask you to do every night, then you’re not going to be in the lineup. Hopefully he learns from it and understands that over here you’ve got to compete on every single shift and hustle. You will make mistakes – I can live with mistakes – but I can’t live with not working hard.

Patrick Brown on the high amount of penalties
It was tough to get in the flow of things but both teams had to deal with that. No excuses there. We lost the special teams battle and didn’t really establish enough zone time to get our offense going.

Brown on keeping a young team focused
I don’t think we’ve played an easy game yet this year. It’s a hard league and sometimes it takes guys a little longer to figure that out. We’re in a good division and we’re expecting to work for it and earn everything that we get.

NOTES

Prior to tonight’s shutout, the Checkers had scored at least three goals in every game and were the league’s No. 4 ranked offense with an average of 4.40 per contest … The Checkers’ last time shut out was on Feb. 25 of last season … Andrew Poturalski (points) and Alex Nedeljkovic (wins) both saw five-game streaks come to an end … Each team received eight power-play opportunities, with Hershey getting the lone goal … Defenseman Dan Renouf missed the game due to injury … Forwards Saku Maenalanen and Nick Schilkey and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.

UP NEXT

The Checkers hit the road for a three-game road trip starting Wednesday in Utica.
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.