The Checkers rode the ups and downs in a wild rematch with Lehigh Valley, but could only come away with one point in the standings, falling 5-4 in overtime.
The two sides punched back and forth through the first 40 minutes, with Julien Gauthier opening the scoring on the man advantage and Jake Bean threading a wrister home from the point only to see Lehigh Valley’s David Kase respond after both tallies. Charlotte’s power play had another in them, however, with Bean notching his second of the night to push the visitors back ahead after 40.
Max McCormick extended the Checkers’ lead with a quick snipe off an offensive zone draw less than a minute into the third, but the tide would turn from there. Greg Carey cut back into the advantage a few minutes later, then Cal O’Reilly blasted one in while the Checkers – already on the power play – were facing a delayed penalty.
Things got hectic down the stretch – the team’s combined for 23 shots in the period alone, each side was called for three penalties over a seven-minute span and several key chances were created – but neither side could find the back of the net before the end of regulation.
The Checkers had the first Grade-A chance of the extra frame, with Brian Gibbons swooping in and delivering a pass across the goal mouth to Bean, but Alex Lyon came away with a spectacular save – one of 32 on the night. The Phantoms regrouped to push the offense the other way, and it was defenseman Mark Friedman who sunk in from the point and crushed a slap shot past Anton Forsberg, securing a win for the home team.
Tonight snapped a two-game losing streak for Charlotte, but the Checkers are now winless in their last three games … Each of the four games this season between the Checkers and Phantoms have been decided by one goal … The Checkers shut down the Phantoms’ four power plays and have now killed off 35 of their last 36 times shorthanded … Tonight was the third time the Checkers have scored two power-play goals in a game this season and the first since Oct. 19 … The Checkers have had three games this season end in overtime and are 0-3 … Tonight was Jake Bean’s first multi-goal game of the season … With two assists, tonight was Janne Kuokkanen’s first multi-point game of the season. He now has three assists in his last two games … Steven Lorentz has assists in each of his last two games … Stelio Mattheos missed the game due to injury … Hunter Shinkaruk, Kyle Wood and Derek Sheppard were all healthy extras
The Checkers’ road trip wraps up tomorrow night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, with puck dropping at 7:05.
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.