For the second night in a row the Checkers’ offense came to play, and for the second night in a row it was rookie Warren Foegele leading the charge.
After potting a pair of goals in his pro debut Friday, Foegele lit the lamp two more times on Saturday to help lift the Checkers to a 5-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Special teams played a critical role in both team’s production throughout the game. The Checkers fell behind 2-1 in the latter moments of the second frame after a power-play and shorthanded tally by the home squad, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. With under two to play in the second Phil Di Giuseppe collected his own rebound out front and threaded a backhander in for a power-play goal of his own, then Foegele followed less than a minute later with a shorthanded snipe on an odd-man rush to push the Checkers ahead by a goal after two frames.
That wasn’t the end of Foegele’s contributions, however, as the rookie pulled a smooth move on a breakaway for his second shorthanded goal of the night a period later. The Penguins continued to try to push their way back into the contest, but Di Giuseppe ended their dreams of a rally with a full-ice empty netter that sealed Charlotte’s 5-2 victory.
Between the pipes for the Checkers was Jeremy Smith, making his first start with his new team after a quick cameo Friday night. The veteran netminder stood tall, turning aside 28 of the 30 shots he was faced with and helping the Checkers kill five of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s six power plays on the night, including three in the third period alone.
The Checkers started a season 2-0-0 for the third time in team history and first since 2015-16, when they got off to a franchise-best, three-game win streak out of the gates … Foegele, who led the AHL in goal scoring upon the conclusion of this game, also had two goals in the Checkers’ last preseason outing on Sept. 30 … Foegele’s two shorthanded goals equal the highest amount scored by any Checker through all of last season … With 10 goals in two games, this marks the best offensive start to a season in team history. The 2015-16 team scored eight … This was Di Giuseppe’s third career multi-goal game and first since Dec. 14 of last season … Zykov (2) joins Foegele and Di Giuseppe as Checkers averaging a goal a game or better … Charlotte allowed the first goal in both of their wins this season … The Checkers out-shot the Penguins 22-9 in the second period … Jeremy Smith has now recorded a win for six different AHL teams … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini and defenseman Tyler Ganly were healthy extras.