After the visitors opened the scoring midway through the first, the Checkers answered back with three power-play goals over the span of the final five minutes. Two of those came off the stick of Valentin Zykov, who extended his goal streak to five games and now leads the league in both goals and power-play goals.
Laval got in on the man-advantage action in the middle frame to cut into the Charlotte lead, then cashed in on a pair of extremely fortunate bounces for two goals in the first 90 seconds of the third to claim another lead. Both sides marked another power-play tally shortly after to set up a 5-4 deficit for Charlotte.
The Checkers took over from that point down the stretch, starting with Warren Foegele flinging a backhander that fooled Laval goalie Charlie Lindgren and evened the score. Foegele followed that up later in the frame by feeding Clark Bishop for a shorthanded breakaway that the latter finished with a stellar deke. With their first lead since the first period, the Checkers locked things down in the waning minutes, with Foegele notching an empty netter – his third point of the period – to nail down Charlotte’s rollercoaster victory.
Alex Nedeljkovic started the game for Charlotte, but had to exit after taking a high stick to the face and receiving stitches. In his place came Jeremy Smith, who made 18 stops to pick up his fourth consecutive victory.
Obviously since we won we handled it pretty good, but it was a wild game right from the get go. In the third period they got the weird bounce right off the glass and in which was just a freaky thing, but we hung with it. We’re a resilient team and we’ve got a lot of confidence, and obviously special teams won us the game tonight with four power-play goals and one shorthanded.
Vellucci on coming back after Laval took the lead in the third period
Overall we just hung with it, and that’s the key. We got down 1-0 and Ned gets high sticked in the eye, gets stitches and he’s out. Then we scored three straight power-play goals in a two-minute span. Just a weird game.
Vellucci on the team’s mood after winning seven of eight
We feel good about ourselves and that we can come back no matter how much we get down. My point to them is that if we can stay consistent and compete all the time we won’t have to fight to come back all the time. But obviously they feel good about themselves.
Warren Foegele on coming back in the third period
I think we’re just a resilient group. Many times in the year we’ve been down a couple and were able to get right back into it. Today was kind of ugly, but we’re all happy we managed to get the win.
Foegele on Laval’s third-period goals
Those are some unlucky bounces, but we believe in our goalies and we believe in each other.
Foegele on his chemistry with Clark Bishop
We seem to be having a good relationship on the ice and off course off the ice. He’s easy to play with because he works hard and we communicate pretty well. That was a really nice goal by him there.