Charlotte Checkers at Manitoba Moose
The Checkers ended their road struggles in dramatic fashion thanks to Lucas Wallmark’s overtime goal that sealed a 3-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose on Friday.

Wallmark’s forehand-to-backhand move just 1:58 into the extra session completed the Checkers’ comeback from a 2-0 deficit and marked the team’s first road victory since Nov. 12, ending a franchise-record, 12-game winless streak (0-10-2) away from home. Earlier in the game, Jake Chelios and Levko Koper had scored nine seconds apart to erase a 2-0 deficit in the second period.

Michael Leighton made 37 saves for the Checkers, who also ended an overall losing streak of four games. Charlotte now has three wins in its last 14 contests, all of which have come against the Moose.

The Checkers, who improved to 5-1-1 in their first game following a prolonged holiday break that they have enjoyed in all seven of their AHL seasons, fell behind 2-0 in this contest following consecutive penalties by Valentin Zykov and Chelios near the end of the second period. Those infractions gave the home team 1:33 of a two-man advantage on fresh ice to start the second period, with the Moose capitalizing via Kyle Connor’s early goal and another by Kevin Czuczman just as the second penalty expired.

Charlotte would come roaring back seven minutes later, however, with Chelios getting the third whack at a flurry of chances created when Clark Bishop intercepted a pass in the Manitoba zone and when Koper scored an unlikely goal from behind the goal line to Manitoba netminder Eric Comrie’s right side on the very next play.

Both teams had chances to end the game in regulation, with Charlotte’s best opportunity coming on a four-minute power play drawn by a high stick against Zykov with 11 minutes remaining that would cause the Russian forward to leave the game, and Manitoba’s best coming on a flurry of chances that Leighton thwarted, one of which was on a breakaway down the stretch.

Wallmark, who now has goals in a career-best three consecutive games, ended it in overtime to give the Checkers their third overtime victory of the season.

The Checkers will now prepare for a New Year’s Day rematch against the Moose before departing Winnipeg for the final four games of their six-game road trip in Chicago, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.

NOTES

Leighton has eight of the Checkers’ 12 victories on the season … All 12 of those victories have come against Central Division opponents … Charlotte improved to 11-0-0 when scoring three or more goals … Bishop, Kyle Hagel and Dennis Robertson all posted a game-best, plus-2 rating … Forwards Andrew Miller, Kris Newbury and Brendan Woods and defenseman Trevor Carrick all missed the game due to injury … Forward Mitchell Heard and defenseman Kevin Raine were healthy extras.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.

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