CHARLOTTE, NC—Rookie netminder Garrett Zemlak earned his second career win and Andrew Carroll scored his league-leading sixth shootout-winning goal as the Charlotte Checkers edged the Reading Royals, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Checkers jump South Carolina for first place in the South Division. Charlotte holds first place in the American Conference for the time being while second-place Kalamazoo has yet to finish today’s game.
Zemlak now has two victories in two games against Reading and earned the game’s first star with 24 saves and several key stops in the shootout.
After a relatively uneventful first period, Reading came out in the second frame with a few good chances early. Forward Ryan Cruthers took a pass at the left side of the crease and missed a wide open net before Zemlak sprung side to side to stop a one-timer just seconds later.
With a minute to play in the second, Royals forward Daniel Steiner was handed a high-sticking penalty and the Checkers went to work on the power play. Reading’s defenders did a good job of blocking shots from the outside and Dalton turned aside two quick shots from Tyler Doig. With time winding down in the period, Rob LaLonde was sent to the box for roughing, setting the stage for a 5-on-3 power play to begin the third.
The power-play unit of Leveille, Slattengren and Doig worked the puck down low and fired several shots at Dalton before finally getting on the board at the 2:00 mark. Brock Bradford skated from the point around the net and fed a pass to Leveille on the left side wall. Leveille then let a shot go and Slattengren was there to pot the rebound for his 16th of the season.
Just 52 seconds later, however, Reading tied the game on a goal by winger Bryan Ewing. Forward Ben Gordon grabbed the puck in the corner and let go a blind spin-around backhand pass that made its way to front of the net and onto the tape of Ewing. Ewing made no mistake and deked Zemlak before backhanding the puck into the top corner.
With time winding down in the period, Zemlak showed impressive poise and positioning when he stopped a barrage of Reading shots while on the penalty kill. Royals defenseman Rob LaLonde then took a penalty with 38 seconds to play and the Checkers, after failing to capitalize in regulation, started overtime with the man advantage.
After a power play that failed to score, the Checkers went on the attack and fired shot after shot at Dalton. The rookie goalkeeper stopped everything that came his way and the game headed to a shootout.
In the shootout, Reading took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Stefano Giliati before Leveille slipped the puck between the legs of Dalton to even the score. David Marshall put the Checkers ahead by one before Ben Gordon tied it, setting the stage for a dramatic finish with only Carroll left to shoot. The rookie winger skated in and faked a shot before backhanding the game winner past Dalton.
The Checkers (41-21-7) will host Gwinnett Tuesday at 7 p.m. for their last ever regulation game in the ECHL at Time Warner Cable Arena. 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: Saturday’s crowd of 12,044 was the largest in the entire ECHL this season…The Checkers are 15-3-1 in their last 19 home games and are 10-1-0 in their last 11 overall…Ryan Munce is 9-1-0 in his last 10 starts and leads the ECHL with a .911 save percentage…David Marshall has 11 points (6g, 5a) in the last eight games…Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with six 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.
Reading Royals 1 At Charlotte Checkers 2 (SO) - Status: Final SO
Mar 28, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Reading 0 0 1 0 - 1
Charlotte 0 0 1 0 - 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Watson Rea (hooking), 4:38; Bradford Chr (boarding), 8:19; Watson Rea (interference on the goalkeeper), 14:02; Leveille Chr (tripping), 14:39; Brocklehurst Rea (cross-checking), 16:08.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Urquhart Chr (hooking), 1:10; LaLonde Rea (high-sticking), 6:41; DiDiomete Chr (roughing), 14:51; Steiner Rea (high-sticking), 18:51; LaLonde Rea (roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-1, Charlotte, Slattengren 16 (Leveille, Bradford), 2:00. 2, Reading, Ewing 16 (Gordon, Langdon), 2:52. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (holding), 3:32; Tkaczuk Chr (interference), 6:42; Ewing Rea (slashing ), 14:12; Urquhart Chr (slashing ), 17:27; LaLonde Rea (cross-checking), 19:22.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout - Reading 2 (Sarauer NG, Giliati G, Steiner NG, Cruthers NG, Gordon G), Charlotte 3 (Slattengren NG, Bradford NG, Leveille G, Marshall G, Carroll G).
Shots on Goal-Reading 11-4-9-1-0-25. Charlotte 9-11-8-5-1-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Reading 0 of 7; Charlotte 0 of 8.
Goalies-Reading, Dalton 21-19-0-4 (33 shots-32 saves). Charlotte, Zemlak 2-0-0-0 (25 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Jason Rollins (13).
Linesmen-Paul Reid (97), Ben Shiley (92).