The Checkers faced off against the Wolf Pack for the final time tonight, traveling to Hartford and handing the home team a 4-1 defeat behind a decisive third period.
Just days after the Checkers dispatched them in consecutive lopsided contests in Charlotte, it looked like the Wolf Pack had an answer for the visitors. 19-year-old Stelio Mattheos opened the scoring just three minutes in with a quick release out front off a strong play from Steven Lorentz, but the Wolf Pack pushed back hard in the middle frame and finally got it to pay off. With under 30 seconds to go in the second, Sean Day threaded a shot through traffic that Dustin Tokarski never saw that evened the score heading into the final frame.
The Checkers came out firing in the third, doubling the Wolf Pack up on shots, but it was until the midway point of the period that they were able to regain their lead as Aleksi Saarela unleashed a monster one-timer from the right circle for his 25th goal of the year. Hartford continued to search for another spark down the stretch but the Checkers were able to shut it down, with Morgan Geekie teaming up with Andrew Poturalski for a tally in the final five minutes and Julien Gauthier hitting an empty-net dagger just seconds later to seal the deal.
The Checkers have now won five in a row and earned a point in nine straight, the latter of which is there longest such streak of the season … The Checkers have reached the 100-point mark in the standings for the first time in franchise history … The Checkers haven’t allowed a power-play goal in seven straight games … Dustin Tokarski is now 4-0-0 with the Checkers and hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a single outing … The Checkers finished their season series with Hartford with a 7-1-0 mark and outscored the Wolf Pack 32-17 … Andrew Poturalski extended his assist streak to four games … Haydn Fleury extended his assist streak to three games … Aleksi Saarela extended his point streak to three games … Saarela matched his career high from a year ago with his 25th goal tonight … Stelio Mattheos scored his first pro goal tonight … Mattheos also took a penalty shot in the third period but was unsuccessful … Josiah Didier missed the game as he took a maintenance day … Clark Bishop, Janne Kuokkanen and Spencer Smallman missed the game due to injury … Zack Stortini and Dennis Robertson were healthy extras
The Checkers will wrap up their road trip tomorrow as they return to Bridgeport with the Atlantic Division title on the line.
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.