The Checkers wrapped up their busy weekend with a decisive win over the Atlantic’s top team, beating down the Bears 6-3.
The Charlotte bench has an array of new faces on it, but it was the familiar ones that carried things in Sunday’s matchup. Morgan Geekie’s relentless play in front of the net propelled him to his first career hat trick, picking up an assist along the way to emerge with a mammoth four-point game, while Stelio Mattheos accounted for a pair of strikes himself to nab his first career multi-goal game.
Then there was Steven Lorentz, who pulled off a highlight-reel goal that stood as the game-winner, and Jake Bean, who picked up three helpers and a franchise record-tying plus-five rating on the blue line.
In his first start with his new club, Keith Kinkaid stood tall between the pipes. The veteran netminder kept the high-powered Bears at bay with 28 saves on the night, including helping shut down all three power plays Hershey was awarded.
Things started with a bang as the two sides combined for three goals in the first 3:27 of play, with the Checkers emerging with a lead. The visitors tacked on two more in the middle frame to widen the gap, but the first-place Bears came back to life with consecutive tallies that narrowed Charlotte’s lead to one early in the third period.
But back-to-back goals less than a minute apart by the Checkers proved to be Hershey’s back breaker, and the visitors departed with both points in the standings.
Morgan Geekie notched his first career hat trick and the second by a Checker this season … Geekie set a new career high with his 20th, 21st and 22nd goals … Keith Kinkaid made his Checkers debut and earned his first win at any level since Jan. 4 … Stelio Mattheos scored his first goal of the season and recorded his first career multi-goal game … Jake Bean matched his career high with three assists, also matching the most by a Checker in one game this season … Bean’s +5 rating ties the franchise single-game record set in 2011-12 … Alexis D’Aoust recorded an assist in his Checkers debut … Mark Cooper notched two assists for his second career multi-point game and first of the season … Cavan Fitzgerald matched his career high with two assists … The Checkers were not awarded a power play for the second time this season … The Checkers have not allowed a power-play goal in four straight games … The Checkers notched two wins during their three-in-three road trip .. Fitzgerald and Terry Broadhurst both picked up assists in the second straight game … Brian Gibbons, Colin Markison and Joey Keane missed the game due to injury … Boston Leier was a healthy extra
The Checkers now return to Charlotte for a six-game home stand that kicks off Friday against Utica.
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.