Things started out strong for the visitors, as Morgan Geekie lit the lamp twice in the first four minutes of play. The Bruins wouldn’t roll over, however, punching back with three straight tallies to grab themselves the lead before the first buzzer.
The Checkers took back the momentum in the middle frame, with Tomas Jurco chipping in a power-play strike to even the score early and then Julien Gauthier storming the crease to push the back-and-forth contest back in Charlotte’s favor.
The game’s rollercoaster trend continued even into the third, as the Bruins once again drew the score even following a disallowed goal by Charlotte. The Checkers would again bounce back just seconds later, however, with Bobby Sanguinetti launching a puck from the right boards that found its way into the back of the net and put the visitors back on top heading into the home stretch.
The Bruins would push back, outshooting Charlotte 10-6 during the final frame, but couldn’t solve Alex Nedeljkovic, who finished the night with 23 saves and picked up the win to give the Checkers a 1-0 lead in the first-round series.
The Checkers have an all-time record of 5-0 in playoff openers … This was Geekie’s first multi-goal game as a professional. He was one of four Checkers players playing his first professional playoff game … Jurco has goals in three straight games … Gauthier has goals in five straight games and in eight of his last nine … Martin Necas had an assist to extend his point streak to six games (2g, 9a) … After missing four games due to injury, Andrew Poturalski had two assists … The Checkers improved to 39-0-0 when leading after two periods this season … Forward Jacob Pritchard made his professional debut after signing an amateur tryout with the Checkers earlier in the week .. .Defenseman Roland McKeown missed the game due to injury … Forwards Scott Davidson and Zack Stortini and defensemen Derek Sheppard and Eric Williams were healthy extras.
The Checkers play Game 2 tomorrow at 5 p.m. before the series shifts back to Charlotte for Game 3 on Wednesday.
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.