Charlotte Checkers defeat Utica Comets 5-1
After a stagnant start, the Checkers high-flying offense burst to life as Charlotte buried the Utica Comets 5-1 in the clubs’ first meeting ever.

Andrew Miller kicked off the scoring less than a minute into what would be a lopsided second frame, collecting a slick no-look feed from Phil Di Giuseppe for a simple tap-in tally out front. That same line replicated that success minutes later with a near-identical strike from the same duo, and the Checkers were off to the races. Two more goals over a three-minute span followed shortly after and the home squad found themselves on top 4-0 through 40 minutes of play.

The captain Patrick Brown would then bang home a rebound on one of the Checkers’ two man advantages on the night early in the third to seal things up. Recently assigned Brendan Gaunce broke up Alex Nedeljkovic’s shutout bid midway through the final frame, but that would be all the young netminder would surrender, turning aside 25 shots and improving to a perfect 5-0-0 on the season as the Checkers sailed to a 5-1 victory.


Coach Mike Vellucci on the team’s play
We won 5-1 and I really wasn’t that happy. I thought the first period we were very sloppy and made a lot of mistakes turning it over. Thanks goodness for Ned holding us in it with some early saves, because I think we gave up five or six breakaways which is inexcusable. Offensively we got it going and that saved our butt.

Vellucci on getting going offensively:
We scored two goals identical – Phil made two great plays. There is a high skill level so we can make plays. If we can tighten up the rest of it that’ll be good. They got on their heels once we got a couple of goals and got on a roll.

Alex Nedeljkovic on his game
I felt like it was a good game. I felt confident, I felt big and I felt comfortable. You want to make saves for the guys if they mess up, and I think that’s what any goalie wants to do. You want to be able to bail them out – that’s our job, and it just kind of went my way tonight.

Nedeljkovic on this team’s ability to score goals
It’s a great feeling. Early on in the year we were coming back from behind, but there was no worries. We knew we were going to be able to put the puck in the net.

Di Giuseppe on his line with Miller and Lucas Wallmark
We just got put on a line last week and I think it takes a little bit of adjustment. They’re both easy to play with and they know how to get to open spots. Millsy on both plays, he was talking and in the right spot so it’s easy to get him the puck. Good for him for bearing down.

Di Giuseppe on the team’s offensive confidence
I think so. We only had about 20 shots, if that, so we bear down on our chances. I thought our power play could have been better tonight, and once that gets clicking we’re going to be a dangerous team.

Di Giuseppe on the next day’s rematch
I think it’s going to be a harder game just based on them losing and wanting to salvage their road trip. We’re going to have to match their intensity early on and capitalize on our chances.


This was the first-ever meeting between Charlotte and Utica … This marked the fifth time in this season’s eight games that the Checkers scored at least five goals … This was their second game with a four-goal period … After being held off the score sheet for the previous four games, Di Giuseppe recorded his first three-point outing of the season … After missing the season’s first six games due to injury, Brendan Kichton recorded two assists in his Checkers debut … Lucas Wallmark (12 points), Valentin Zykov (nine) and Miller (nine) are all averaging over a point per game this season … Forward Warren Foegele missed the game with an illness and defenseman Trevor Carrick missed the game due to injury … Former Checker Brendan Woods suited up for Utica and fought with Patrick Brown in the second period … Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Zack Stortini and defenseman Tyler Ganly were healthy extras.
Nicholas Niedzielski
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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.