CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte Checkers fell behind by one and battled back with three straight goals for a 3-1 victory over the league-leading South Carolina Stingrays on Wednesday evening at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The game was the last ever regular season meeting between the two division rivals as it was announced earlier in the day that the Checkers will begin play in the American Hockey League in 2010-11. Charlotte will finish with a 6-3-2 record over 11 games versus the Stingrays this season.
Matt Stefanishion, who was acquired in a trade with Alaska last week, netted the game-winning goal in his first game as a Checker while Michel Leveille added two assists. Tyler Doig and Jean-Philipp Chabot rounded out the scoring for Charlotte while Ryan Munce stopped 33 of 34 shots for his 12th win of the season.
Leveille had the game’s first real scoring chance when he broke in alone on Stingrays goaltender Shane Connelly. Leveille faked to the backhand and let a shot go that was stopped by the blocker of Connelly to keep the score knotted at 0-0.
With only 15 seconds to play in the first period, South Carolina would open the scoring while shorthanded when Trent Campbell poked the puck past a Charlotte defender and broke in alone on Munce. Campbell made no mistake and beat Munce low on the glove side for his 13th of the season.
The Checkers were assessed two penalties early in the second period and the Stingrays went to work on a 5-on-3 power play. Munce made several key saves to keep it a one-goal game and momentum shifted Charlotte’s way.
Shortly after the penalty kill, Tyler Doig laid a big hit on Stingrays defenseman Nick Klaren to which Dylan Yeo took exception. Yeo attempted to engage Doig, who realized his services would be best used on the ice in a one-goal game.
The decision paid off for the Checkers’ leading scorer as he would tie the game on the next shift. Leveille entered the zone and dropped a pass to Doig who then dragged the puck around a Stingrays defender and through the legs of Connelly.
Midway through the third period, the Stingrays were assessed a hooking penalty setting up a Charlotte power play. On the ensuing faceoff, South Carolina defenseman Zach Tarkir slashed Stefanishion on the foot and was handed a costly penalty, giving the Checkers a 5-on-3 man advantage. Less than a minute later, Stefanishion delivered some payback as he one-timed a pass in the slot from Leveille past Connelly for his first as a Checker.
Charlotte would add some insurance just under two minutes later when Mike Taylor took the puck behind the Stingrays’ net and slid a pass between the defenders and goaltender onto the stick of Chabot in the slot. Chabot made no mistake and tapped it in for his eighth of the season, lifting the Checkers to a 3-1 victory and keeping a two-point lead over third-place Florida in the South Division.
Charlotte (27-15-6) will travel to Gwinnett this weekend for two important games before returning home to host the Toledo Walleye on Thursday for the ‘Midnight Game’. Puck drops at 11:59 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com.
Notes: Charlotte is 8-0-1 in its last nine home games… Mike Taylor is currently riding a four-game point streak (1g, 4a)…Aaron Slattengren has eight goals in his last nine home games…goaltender Ryan Munce has earned points in five straight games (4-0-1)…Julien Brouillette ranks fourth among all ECHL defensemen with 29 points (12g, 17a)…Tyler Doig (14g, 41a) and Michel Leveille (14g, 34a) rank fourth and 10th, respectively, among all ECHL players…T.J. Reynolds leads the ECHL with 197 penalty minutes and is second in overall plus-minus with a +20 rating… Derek Couture, Kenny Roche and Kevin Schaeffer remain with Hartford (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)…Trevor Glass, Chris Snavely and Chris Chappell are on the 21-day injured reserve.
South Carolina Stingrays 1 At Charlotte Checkers 3 - Status: Final
Feb 10, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
South Carolina 1 0 0 - 1
Charlotte 0 1 2 - 3
1st Period-1, South Carolina, Campbell 13 19:45 (sh). Penalties-Cascalenda Sc (interference), 15:01; Bruess Sc (hooking), 18:22.
2nd Period-2, Charlotte, Doig 14 (Leveille), 18:12. Penalties-Reynolds Chr (cross-checking), 1:20; Graham Chr (delay of game), 2:29; Yeo Sc (tripping), 7:39; Chabot Chr (boarding), 10:57.
3rd Period-3, Charlotte, Stefanishion 15 (Graham, Leveille), 9:17 (pp). 4, Charlotte, Chabot 8 (Taylor, Carroll), 10:53. Penalties-Johnson Sc (hooking), 8:24; Tarkir Sc (slashing ), 8:24; Reynolds Chr (slashing ), 14:51; Yeo Sc (roughing, misconduct, game misconduct - abuse of officials), 16:29; Chabot Chr (tripping), 19:59.
Shots on Goal-South Carolina 9-14-11-34. Charlotte 12-12-14-38.
Power Play Opportunities-South Carolina 0 of 5; Charlotte 1 of 6.
Goalies-South Carolina, Connelly 10-10-4-2 (38 shots-35 saves). Charlotte, Munce 12-9-1-1 (34 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (28).
Linesmen-Mathieu Chenier (71), Paul Reid (97).