CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte Checkers scored a late power-play goal and held on for the win as they downed the Trenton Devils, 4-3, on Friday evening.
With the win, their seventh in a row, the Checkers clinch a playoff berth with seven games to play in the regular season.
Matt Stefanishion scored twice, including the game-winning goal, while Ryan Munce stopped 33 of 36 shots for his sixth straight victory. Andrew Carroll notched a goal and an assist while Michel Leveille chipped in with two assists.
The Checkers opened the scoring six minutes into the game on a power-play goal by Aaron Slattengren. Carroll dumped the puck into the Trenton end and it bounced off the boards and onto the stick of Slattengren. Slattengren then beat Devils goaltender Dave Caruso low blocker side for his 15th of the season.
Trenton would even the score just 36 seconds later when Jack Combs took the puck at the side of the crease, skated around the net and stuffed it home.
With less than four minutes to play in the period, Charlotte took their second lead of the game when Carroll buried the rebound off of a Trevor Hendrikx point shot for his team-leading 25th of the season.
The Checkers then took a two-goal lead midway through the second period on a great individual effort by Stefanishion. Trenton attempted to clear the zone however Stefanishion stripped the lone defender of the puck and skated in alone on Caruso. The Checkers forward then deked and flipped the puck into the top corner for his first of two on the night.
The Devils cut Charlotte’s lead in half with six minutes to play in the period as they skated in on a 3-on-1. Slavomir Tomko took a drop pass in the slot and fed Chris Poli who fired it home from the side of the net past a sprawling Munce.
Midway through the third, Trenton would tie the game when Dan Eves beat Munce through traffic with a wrist shot from the high slot.
Just two minutes later, the Devils were assessed back-to-back penalties and the Checkers went to work on a 5-on-3 power play. Michel Leveille and Stefanishion played keep-away at the blue line before Stefanishion one-timed a heavy slap shot into the top corner for the go-ahead goal.
Trenton would pull its goaltender for the extra attacker with time winding down, but Munce was there to shut the door and pick up his sixth win in a row, clinching a playoff berth for Charlotte.
The Checkers (38-20-7) will host Florida on Tuesday and Thursday. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.
Notes: The Checkers have won seven in a row, are 8-0-1 in their last nine games and 12-2-1 in their last 15 at home…Ryan Munce has won six straight games, is 7-0-1 in his last eight starts and ranks third in the ECHL with 22 wins…Matt Schepke leads the team with a +19 rating…Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with five shootout-winning goals and leads the Checkers with 25 goals…Julien Brouillette and Derek Couture are up with Hartford (AHL), Kenny Roche is with Providence (AHL), Ethan Graham is with Texas (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)…Codey Burki, Chris Chappell, Trevor Glass and Chris Snavely are on the 21-day injured reserve.
Trenton Devils 3 At Charlotte Checkers 4 - Status: Final
Mar 19, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Trenton 1 1 1 - 3
Charlotte 2 1 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Slattengren 15 (Carroll), 6:02 (pp). 2, Trenton, Combs 22 (Vokes), 6:38. 3, Charlotte, Carroll 25 (Hendrikx, Leveille), 16:39. Penalties-Kell Tre (roughing), 4:59; Zancanaro Tre (hooking), 7:15; Eves Tre (tripping), 10:51; Coutu Tre (boarding), 14:37; Berube Chr (holding), 17:16.
2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Stefanishion 18 7:17. 5, Trenton, Poli 11 (Tomko, Charleston), 14:10. Penalties-Thomas Tre (roughing), 11:46; Murray Tre (roughing, fighting - major), 12:18; Hendrikx Chr (instigating, fighting - major), 12:18; Coutu Tre (double - roughing), 20:00; Berube Chr (roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-6, Trenton, Eves 17 (Charleston, Poli), 11:02. 7, Charlotte, Stefanishion 19 (Leveille, Tkaczuk), 13:07 (pp). Penalties-Schepke Chr (interference on the goalkeeper), 5:05; Urquhart Chr (elbowing), 6:19; Charleston Tre (tripping), 11:30; Vokes Tre (high-sticking - double), 12:32; Kunes Tre (elbowing), 18:55.
Shots on Goal-Trenton 9-12-15-36. Charlotte 15-7-10-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Trenton 0 of 3; Charlotte 2 of 10.
Goalies-Trenton, Caruso 17-18-1-1 (32 shots-28 saves). Charlotte, Munce 22-13-2-1 (36 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Jason Rollins (13).
Linesmen-Mark Hamlett (81), Terry Wicklum (98).