The Checkers’ attempt to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win their fifth straight game fell just short as the Syracuse Crunch skated away with a 5-3 victory on Saturday.
Nicolas Roy and Andrew Poturalski each scored for the second consecutive game and Aleksi Saarela added another as Charlotte twice fought back to within one goal after allowing three in the game’s first 14:25. Jeremy Smith took the loss against former Checkers netminder Michael Leighton as the Checkers were out-shot 35-24 for the evening.
Playing for the second consecutive night with travel involved while Syracuse enjoyed a week off, Charlotte fell victim to the Crunch’s early onslaught that included a pair of power-play goals in the first period.
Roy gave his team some hope via a man-advantage tally of his own scored with just 13 seconds left in that otherwise troublesome first frame. Poturalski would keep that momentum going in the second, but the eventual game-winner came off the stick of Michael Bournival despite Saarela’s strike that got the Checkers to within one for the majority of the third period.
Amid a relatively calm third, Charlotte had its best opportunity to tie the game via a power play with five minutes remaining but could not generate sustained pressure. Minutes later, Syracuse forward Erik Condra, who was just named team captain earlier in the day, deposited his second of a game on an odd-man rush before Smith could vacate his net for the extra attacker.
Charlotte fell to 10-4-0 on the season … The first period marked the third time that the Checkers have given up three goals in a period this season … Roy’s three goals this season all came in different situations (even strength, shorthanded, power play) … Former Carolina Hurricane Jamie McBain had four points (1g, 3a) … This was the first loss on the Checkers’ season-long, eight-game road trip (4-1-0). The team fell to 8-2-0 on the road this season … This was the Checkers’ first game against Syracuse since March 19, 2011 … Both teams scored two power-play goals. Charlotte had five chances and Syracuse had seven … Forwards Lee Stempniak and Lucas Wallmark and defensemen Jake Chelios and Brenden Kichton missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Zack Stortini were healthy extras.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.