Charlotte Checkers defeat Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-2 in Shootout
It took a little longer than normal, but the Checkers strung together their first consecutive wins of the season by topping the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a shootout.

The goalies took center stage in the shootout, with both Anton Forsberg and Alex Lyon denying each of the first six shooters. After Forsberg stoned T.J. Brennan in the top half of the seventh round, Kyle Wood swooped into the zone, slowed his speed and launched a low shot into the back of the net to clinch the two points for Charlotte.

The back-and-forth contest started with a shorthanded strike from the red-hot Chase Priskie, but the Phantoms evened the score before the first intermission. Wood, who fired a game-high five shots on net throughout the night, wired one from the point late in the second to push the Checkers back ahead, but Lehigh Valley would once again respond and send things to overtime.

The extra frame featured plenty of action for both sides but no winner, so it moved on to Charlotte’s first shootout of the season.

Forsberg didn’t see a ton of action between the pipes but stood tall when called upon, stopping 24 shots and going flawless in the shootout to remain perfect in a Checkers sweater.

QUOTES

Coach Ryan Warsofsky on the game
We did a good job of bringing that urgency and the focus level was there for most of the 60 minutes. There were some lapses in our game, but for the most part I liked our effort. We’ve got to execute a little better around their net and come at it again tomorrow.

Warsofsky on Kyle Wood
He was getting his shot through. That’s important for him because he’s got a big, heavy shot. The most important thing for him is that he’s moving his feet and he’s engaged in the hockey game, because then he’s a difference maker. He’s done a good job of that the last two games and we’ll continue to build on it.

Warsofsky on the team continuing to push despite giving up a late lead
It’s important that our leadership speaks up. You have Jamie McGinn and Roland McKeown and Clark Bishop speak up and say, ‘It’s alright, we’re going to be fine.’ You’ve just got to put your head down and work. You have to know when you jump on the ice what your job is. What you’re going to do when you get the puck and what you’re going to do when you don’t have the puck. It’s up to us coaches to make sure that us coaches are prepared for those structured moments.

Warsofksy on Forsberg
He’s been really good in every game he’s played and made some big saves in the second period when we were struggling. He did really good to get us deep into that shootout and give us a chance. He was really locked in.

Kyle Wood on his power-play goal
Being on that power play, I was just told to put pucks on net and use my shot a lot. Beaner (Jake Bean) kept feeding me and I was just trying to put it on net and make something happen.

Wood on giving up the late goal
It was definitely a shock when they scored there, but we have faith in our group and I don’t think that anybody thought we were losing that game. We just stuck together and pulled out a nice one tonight.

Wood on Warsofsky choosing him in the shootout
I’ve been in that situation a couple of times but I wasn’t really expecting it tonight. Props to him for putting me in. I just tried to put it where I wanted it and hoped it went in.

NOTES

The Checkers improved to 4-3-0, having won consecutive games for the first time this season … Wood’s goal was his first as a Checker and his shootout goal was the second of his career … Anton Forsberg improved to 4-0-0 as a Checker, having recorded all of the team’s wins to this point … The Checkers’ are tied for the league lead with three shorthanded goals, all of which were scored in the last two games. They had six all of last season … Colin Markison is one of five AHL players with multiple shorthanded points (2) and the only player with multiple assists … Priskie has eight points (2g, 6a) in his first seven professional games. He ranks second among AHL rookies in scoring, is first among rookie defensemen and is second among all league defensemen … The Checkers have an all-time record of four goals on 20 penalty shot opportunities. Kuokkanen is 0-for-2 for his career … Eetu Luostarinen had an assist to extend his point streak to five games (4g, 1a), which is the longest by a Checker this season … The Checkers are 7-1-1 against Lehigh Valley since the Phantoms knocked them out of the playoffs in 2018 … Forwards Stelio Mattheos and Spencer Smallman and defenseman Fredrik Claesson missed the game due to injury … Forward Anthony Louis and defensemen Alex Lintuniemi and Derek Sheppard were healthy extras.
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.