It came down to the wire but the Checkers kept their winning ways going against Utica, beating the Comets 4-3 to improve to a perfect 3-0-0 on the season.
Knotted at three for the majority of the third period, the contest seemed destined for overtime until Dennis Robertson threaded a shot through traffic and in with less than two minutes left in regulation to put the visitors on top. Utica’s final push was to no avail, as the Checkers held on to escape with the victory.
The Checkers found themselves in a hole early, surrendering a pair of tallies in the opening frame, but a shorthanded tally from Saku Maenalanen, his first in North America, and a converted breakaway from Robertson helped the visitors even the score by the first intermission.
A tightly contested middle frame saw only one side break through, with rookie Morgan Geekie lighting the lamp for the second straight game to give Charlotte its first lead of the night, but the Comets would respond early in the third, setting the stage for Robertson’s late heroics.
Alex Nedeljkovic earned his third win of the season by stopping 22 of the 25 shots he was faced with, while veteran Richard Bachman was saddled with the loss.
At 3-0-0, the Checkers have tied the best start in their nine AHL seasons that was set in 2015-16. They will have a chance to go 4-0-0 for the first time on Saturday night in Syracuse … With two in three games, Robertson has already surpassed the one goal he scored in 46 contests last season. This was the second multi-goal game of his career and first since April 8, 2017 … Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic became the first AHL goaltender to record three victories … Geekie scored for the second consecutive game and now has two in his first three professional contests … Geekie (2g, 1a) and Andrew Poturalski (2g, 4a) are the only Checkers with at least one point in all three games … Maenalanen (1g, 1a) recorded his first two AHL points and Cliff Pu earned his first professional point/assist … The Checkers are one of three teams with a league-leading two shorthanded goals … Defenseman Michael Fora made his Checkers debut … Defenseman Josiah Didier missed the game due to injury … Forward Zack Stortini and defenseman Michal Cajkovsky were healthy extras.
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.