CHARLOTTE, NC—Kenny Roche scored two minutes into the game and Ryan Munce earned the shutout as the Charlotte Checkers blanked Cincinnati, 3-0, to even the conference semifinal series at 3-3 and force Game 7 tomorrow.
Munce stopped 25 of 25 shots for his second shutout of the series while Roche notched the game-winning goal and added an assist. Randy Rowe and Andrew Carroll rounded out the scoring for the Checkers and Julien Brouillette chipped in with two assists. With the win the Checkers improve to 4-1 at home in the playoffs.
The Checkers opened the scoring on their first shot of the game just 2:24 in. Matt Stefanishion laid a big hit along the boards freeing the puck up for Trevor Hendrikx. Hendrikx then took it to the net and fed Roche who tapped it in from the top of the crease for his third goal of the playoffs.
Early in the second, Charlotte was handed a 5-on-3 man advantage when Cincinnati was assessed a tripping penalty and delay of game infraction. The Checkers worked the puck down low and back to the point, however the Cyclones blocked several shot attempts and kept Charlotte to the outside, keeping it a 1-0 game.
Cincinnati forward Barret Ehgoetz was called for a goaltender interference penalty late in the period and the Checkers went to work on another power play. Aaron Slattengren grabbed the puck down low and fed Brouillette who fired a one-timer from the point. Rowe was in the slot and tipped the puck down and past Cyclones goaltender Jeremy Smith. The power-play goal came at 18:50 of the second period and put the Checkers up 2-0.
Early in the third, the puck took a strange bounce and landed on the stick of Michel Leveille who fired a shot at Smith from the slot but the rookie netminder scrambled to make an impressive pad save.
Munce then responded to his Cincinnati counterpart when he did the splits and gloved a Jimmy Kilpatrick slap shot from the high slot.
With less than seven minutes to play in the third period, Carroll broke in alone on Smith, faked the shot and went to the backhand but Smith denied him with the left arm.
Charlotte then took a 3-0 lead with 6:14 to play when Brouillette entered the zone on a 3-on-2 and launched a pass cross-ice to Carroll. The rookie took the pass on the right-wing side and fired a wrist shot which deflected off Smith’s shoulder and into the top corner for his fourth of the postseason.
Munce then shut the door for the remaining six minutes and the Checkers walked away with a 3-0 victory, setting the stage for Game 7 tomorrow in Charlotte.
Charlotte (6-4) will host Cincinnati for Game 7 tomorrow in Charlotte (7 p.m.). Tickets are now on sale and information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.
Notes: Ryan Munce leads the ECHL with two postseason shutouts…Aaron Slattengren leads the Checkers with 10 points (2g, 8a) in the playoffs while Mike Taylor leads the team with five goals…Matt Schepke is on a four-game point streak (4g, 2a)…Charlotte is 12-2 in its last 14 home games…Charlotte clinched its first division title and #1 conference seed in franchise history heading into the playoffs...Ryan Munce led the ECHL in save percentage (.913), was third in wins (26) and was named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for March…Andrew Carroll led the Checkers this season with 30 goals, including six game winners.
Cincinnati Cyclones 0 At Charlotte Checkers 3 - Status: Unofficial Final
Apr 27, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Cincinnati 0 0 0 - 0
Charlotte 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Roche 3 (Hendrikx), 2:24. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (hooking), 9:35; Del Monte Cin (slashing ), 15:19; Doig Chr (slashing ), 17:37.
2nd Period-2, Charlotte, Rowe 1 (Slattengren, Brouillette), 18:50 (pp). Penalties-Sproat Cin (tripping), 0:11; Van Guilder Cin (delay of game), 2:04; Slattengren Chr (slashing ), 4:58; Ehgoetz Cin (interference on the goalkeeper), 17:24.
3rd Period-3, Charlotte, Carroll 4 (Brouillette, Roche), 13:46. Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 4:54; Sheahan Cin (holding), 10:17; Benson Cin (unsportsmanlike conduct, unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:36; Stefanishion Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:36; Ehgoetz Cin (roughing), 18:47.
Shots on Goal-Cincinnati 12-7-6-25. Charlotte 5-13-10-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Cincinnati 0 of 4; Charlotte 1 of 7.
Goalies-Cincinnati, Smith 6-3-1-0 (28 shots-25 saves). Charlotte, Munce 5-4-0-0 (25 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Keith Kaval (20).
Linesmen-Mathieu Chenier (71), Mike Hamilton (80).