The Heat came out firing, doubling up the Checkers in shots in the first period and building a two-goal lead. The visitors pushed back in the middle frame but couldn’t find any sustained pressure, and the Heat tacked on another to hold a substantial three-goal advantage after 40 minutes.
The Checkers finally broke through on the scoreboard early on in the third period, with Patrick Brown losing a defender behind the Stockton net and feeding Lucas Wallmark in front for the quick one-timer. The Heat didn’t waste any time responding, however, and regained their three-goal lead shortly after.
Charlotte put up a bit of a comeback effort, including an apparent Andrew Miller goal nullified by a high stick with five minutes to go and Josh Wesley’s first AHL tally in the waning moments of regulation, but it wasn’t enough to salvage any points, as the Checkers took their fifth straight road loss.
As has been the case recently, the Checkers’ offense was unable to produce much of anything throughout the night, with Heat netminder Jon Gillies going relatively untested for long stretches of play. Wallmark continued to have the hot hand for Charlotte, notching his fourth point in five games, but the majority of the Checkers’ pressure on the night seemed to come from their third and fourth lines.
While the Checkers’ penalty kill snapped their ugly skid by killing off the lone man advantage they saw, the power play struggled once again. The visitors couldn’t break through on any of the five power plays that they saw, including a 5-on-3 advantage of over a minute in the third period.
Between the pipes for Charlotte was Alex Nedeljkovic, who was peppered with 30 shots for just the second time this season.
The Checkers will take the ice tomorrow for a quick tune up before the road trip rolls on to Bakersfield on Friday.