Wednesday opening stanza didn’t much resemble the fireworks from last night, as a power-play tally from Patrick Brown stood as the only mark in the period. The Checkers wasted no time adding to that advantage in the middle frame, with Valentin Zykov lifting a loose puck out in front for another man-advantage strike early on, followed quickly by a bar-down snipe from Andrew Poturalski. Brown closed out the period with his second of the night, scooping home a cross-ice feed from Aleksi Saarela to give Charlotte a 4-0 lead.
The Phantoms’ high-flying attack wouldn’t roll over, however, as a late power-play goal in the second and an early mark in the third suddenly cut the Charlotte lead in half. The Phantoms, who fired 28 of their 37 shots in the second two frames, pushed hard down the stretch, but the Checkers stood strong. Jeremy Smith shook off those two blemishes to finish the night with 35 saves, and an empty netter from Andrew Miller sealed the netminder’s fifth win of the season and sent the Phantoms packing.
Last night wasn’t that bad of a game – we just gave up the power-play goal when we were going for a shorthanded goal and it put us on our heels. This time we played smarter with the puck and kept it deep. They’re a real good team with a lot of older guys – they have two lines that are just dynamite – and Smitty played really well tonight.
Vellucci on getting two power-play goals for the second consecutive game
Both of them tonight were net-front plays. You have to have net front, because if you don’t have that you’re not going to score many goals. We talked about getting back to basics, because on the road trip we only had one power-play goal. We wanted more shots and more traffic to get some of those ugly ones, and I think we got four in the last two games.
Vellucci on goaltender Jeremy Smith
I thought he was awesome and that he made some big saves at quality times. They’re a great offensive team and he made some big saves late and early.
Patrick Brown on the game
I thought we had a great team effort and started the game on time. Last night we gave up a couple early, bounced back but then couldn’t finish. Tonight we played three full periods of solid hockey with four lines.
Brown on the power play
The power play has been huge for us and we’re just trying to get more pucks to the net. We have really skilled players but sometimes we’re tying to make too many skill plays. A lot of our power-play goals have just been greasy shots and rebounds, and we’re going to try to keep doing that.