Phantoms Win Game 3 in Charlotte to Reclaim Series Lead
The Atlantic Division Finals shifted back to Charlotte for Game 3, but it was the Phantoms who wound up on top, beating the Checkers 4-1.

The visitors roared out to a quick two-goal lead less than five minutes into regulation and held onto that until Valentin Zykov broke the ice for the home side with an early power-play strike in the second. That middle frame would tilt in the Phantoms’ favor from there, however, as the visitors responded shortly after and then extended their lead to 4-1 and chase starter Alex Nedeljkovic from the game before the second buzzer.

The Checkers would have a strong push-back in the third, dominating the shot count 19-2 during the period, but Lehigh Valley goalie Alex Lyon would steal the show. The netminder turned aside everything he saw down the stretch to finish the night with 34 saves and his second victory of the series.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on falling behind early
We’ve been giving up two goals early here for quite a bit and have been fortunate enough to come back, but I’ve always said it’s going to come back to bite you and it bit us tonight.

Vellucci on what happened after Valentin Zykov scored in the second period
We scored to get it 2-1 and we give up a bad pinch and a bad shot that made it 3-1. That’s really what changed the game there.

Vellucci on pulling Alex Nedeljkovic in the second period
The third one was the only one I blamed him on. I changed him for momentum more than anything because we weren’t’ giving him any help. He’s been great all year and I’m not worried about him.

Vellucci on Lehigh goaltender Alex Lyon
He made good saves. You’ve got to give him credit because he played really well. We had a lot of point shots and a lot of traffic, some good deflectiosn and some rebounds. He made the saves.

Vellucci on moving past this game
You’ve got to win four games. Not two, not three. You’ve got to win four, so we’ll get back at it tomorrow and put this one behind us. I was saying when we won 6-0 that it doesn’t matter what the score was. We won. This one doesn’t matter what the score is because we lost. We’ve got to find a way to win tomorrow.

Patrick Brown on the game
They were able to bury their chances tonight. We’ve got to be better in our own end and we’ve got to get more traffic in front of their goalie. We had a lot of chances and a lot of shots, but the goalie was able to see most of them. We had a lot of opportunities but not enough high-quality opportunities.

Brown on moving on to the next game
With the playoffs it’s never too high and it’s never too low. It’s a long grind and no one wants it to be easy. It’s going to be hard, and we’re ready to make a push.

Trevor Carrick on the game
They came out hard ready to play and I think it took us a while to get our feet underneath us. We had some good chances and their goalie played pretty solid so we’ve got to give props to him, but we didn’t bear down on those chances and we came up short.

Carrick on moving on to tomorrow’s game
We’re just going to forget about that one altogether and move on. We had a pretty good game against them in the second game and they didn’t like that so they responded pretty well. It’s our turn to respond tomorrow.

NOTES

This was the Checkers’ first home loss since March 18, ending a six-game win streak … The Checkers have allowed a goal in the first five minutes in three of their six playoff games … Charlotte has five power-play goals in its last two games … After being out-shot 10-3 in the second period, the Checkers out-shot the Phantoms 19-2 in the third … Zykov scored for the third straight game and is now tied for third in the AHL with four goals. He and Lucas Wallmark each have four-game point streaks and have been held off the score sheet just once in six playoff games … Defenseman Jake Bean made his professional debut … Defensemen Jake Chelios and Josiah Didier missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Morgan Geekie, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini, defensemen Matt Finn and Dennis Robertson and goaltender Jeremy Helvig were healthy extras.

UP NEXT

The two teams will return to the Bojangles’ Coliseum ice tomorrow for Game 4, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m.
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.

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