CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte Checkers battled back in the third period from a two-goal deficit but were unable to complete the comeback as they were edged, 4-3, by the Florida Everblades on Thursday evening.
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Checkers, their longest since a 10-game feat during the 2000-01 season. The game was the last ever regular season meeting between the two division rivals at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Ryan Munce stopped 49 shots in a losing effort while David Marshall extended his point streak to six games with an assist. Michel Leveille, Matt Schepke and Mike Taylor scored for the Checkers while David Urquhart chipped in with two assists.
Florida opened the scoring with less than five minutes to play in the first period. Everblades forward Colin Nicholson grabbed the puck from a scrum in front, circled around and let a shot go that deflected off former Checker Ryan Lang and in past Munce.
Just over a minute later, the Checkers would even the score when Urquhart hit Schepke with a breakaway pass behind the Florida defenders. Schepke broke in alone and was stopped by Everblades goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu but picked up his own rebound and tucked it home for his 26th of the season.
Charlotte then took its first lead of the game with less than 30 seconds to play in the period on a goal by Taylor. Marshall entered the Florida zone and dumped the puck toward Beckford-Tseu who couldn’t handle the rebound. Mike Berube picked it up at the far wall and threw it on net and Taylor was there to deflect it home.
Early in the second period, the Everblades tied it up on a shorthanded 2-on-1. Ross Carlson carried the puck in and elected to shoot as he fired a shot high over the shoulder of Munce.
Florida would then take its first lead of the game, 10 minutes later, when Brady Calla and Matthew Pistilli broke in on a 2-on-1. Pistilli took a shot and Calla banged home the rebound past Munce who was interfered with on the play.
Florida held a 38-24 shot advantage through two periods of play and took a two-goal lead early in the third on a goal by Ernie Hartlieb.
Just two minutes later, Matt Stefanishion swung the momentum Charlotte’s way when he laid a big hit on Florida defenseman Phil Paquet at center ice. Stefanishion then carried the puck into the Everblades’ zone and dropped it to Daniel Tkaczuk. Tkaczuk circled and fed Urquhart at the point who wristed a shot toward the net which was tipped home by Leveille.
With time winding down in the game, the Checkers pulled Munce for the extra attacker but Beckford-Tseu turned aside everything that came his way and earned the win for Florida.
The Checkers (39-21-7) will host Reading Saturday 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 are 13-3-1 in their last 17 home games…Ryan Munce is 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts…David Marshall is currently on a six-game point streak (5g, 5a)…Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with five shootout-winning goals and leads the Checkers with 28 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, T.J. Reynolds and Chris Snavely are on the 21-day injured reserve.
Florida Everblades 4 At Charlotte Checkers 3 - Status: Unofficial Final
Mar 25, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Florida 1 2 1 - 4
Charlotte 2 0 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Florida, Lang 16 (Nicholson, Calla), 15:51. 2, Charlotte, Schepke 26 (Urquhart), 17:10. 3, Charlotte, Taylor 4 (Berube, Marshall), 19:37. Penalties-Bayrack Fla (high-sticking), 2:33; Calla Fla (fighting - major), 5:09; Hendrikx Chr (fighting - major), 5:09; McColm Fla (fighting - major), 8:36; Dowzak Chr (fighting - major), 8:36; Marshall Chr (delay of game), 13:27.
2nd Period-4, Florida, Carlson 25 (Zanon, Calla), 3:55 (sh). 5, Florida, Calla 2 (Pistilli, Nicholson), 14:35. Penalties-Hendrikx Chr (tripping), 1:15; Hartlieb Fla (hooking), 3:00; Calla Fla (fighting - major), 14:54; Berube Chr (fighting - major), 14:54.
3rd Period-6, Florida, Hartlieb 12 2:20. 7, Charlotte, Leveille 17 (Urquhart, Tkaczuk), 4:37 (pp). Penalties-Leveille Chr (high-sticking), 2:17; Pistilli Fla (slashing ), 4:04; Paquet Fla (roughing), 5:15; Chabot Chr (roughing), 5:15; Urquhart Chr (throwing the stick), 5:51; Guthrie Fla (fighting - major), 7:18; Ward Chr (fighting - major), 7:18.
Shots on Goal-Florida 21-17-15-53. Charlotte 16-8-15-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Florida 0 of 4; Charlotte 1 of 3.
Goalies-Florida, Beckford-Tseu 17-10-2-2 (39 shots-36 saves). Charlotte, Munce 23-13-2-1 (53 shots-49 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (28).
Linesmen-Mathieu Chenier (71), Paul Reid (97).