MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Charlotte Checkers outshot the Manchester Monarchs by a wide margin but were edged 2-1, Sunday as they made their first ever trip to New Hampshire.
Manchester forward Corey Elkins scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period and rookie goaltender Martin Jones stopped 36 of 37 shots in his AHL debut. The Checkers’ lone goal was scored by Zach Boychuk and Charlotte netminder Mike Murphy matched Jones’ intensity allowing only two goals on 24 shots.
The Checkers came out strong, dominating the pace of play early in the first period. Boychuk had a great scoring chance all alone in front of the net, but Jones was there to shut the door.
Manchester then opened the scoring, midway through the first period, when Murphy redirected a John Zeiler shot right onto the stick of a driving David Meckler. Meckler buried the rebound for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
The Checkers thought they had evened the score, minutes later, on a redirection by Jerome Samson, however, after reviewing the play, the officials ruled that the puck was kicked in.
Charlotte then had another opportunity to draw even after being awarded a 5-on-3 following a mid-ice scuffle. The Checkers had plenty of scoring chances, but Jones stood tall, turning away a flurry of shots.
The second period was highlighted by great goaltending on both sides of the ice. Jones had an outstanding second period, turning away 16 shots and shutting down the Checkers’ power play, while Murphy fended off nine shots, including a spectacular glove save on a blast from the right-wing circle.
The Checkers had all of the momentum in the second period, but couldn’t find a way to beat Jones. Charlotte’s best scoring chances came when Brett Bellemore and Riley Nash rang a pair of shots off the post. Manchester preserved their first period lead and went into the third period with a 1-0 advantage.
The Monarchs would add to their lead, while on the power play, when Elkins drove through the Checkers’ zone and beat Murphy on a backhand shot.
Charlotte got on the board 1:38 later on a power-play goal by Boychuk. Boychuk drove to the net and stuffed home a big rebound off of a Jacob Micflikier shot to cut the Manchester lead to 2-1.
The Checkers battled throughout the remainder of third period, outshooting the Monarchs 11-6, but Jones stood tall and kept his team ahead. They then pulled Murphy for an extra-attacker in the final minute, but could not capitalize as they were downed, 2-1.
The Checkers (2-6-0) will continue their road trip when they travel Binghamton on Friday for a pair of games against the Senators. Fans can watch or listen to the game by heading to www.ahllive.com beginning at 7:05 p.m. The next home game is Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. when the Checkers host the Portland Pirates. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4423 or visiting www.gocheckers.com.
Notes: The Checkers’ home opener was the largest crowd in Charlotte hockey history and is the second largest crowd in the AHL this season (12,512)…Jerome Samson leads the AHL with 47 shots on goal…Jon Matsumoto leads the Checkers with nine points (3g, 6a)…Zack FitzGerald was handed his 1,000th career penalty minute on Friday.
Charlotte Checkers 1 at Manchester Monarchs 2 - Status: Final
Sunday, October 24, 2010 - Verizon Wireless Arena
Charlotte 0 0 1 - 1
Manchester 1 0 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Manchester, Meckler 5 (Zeiler), 10:31. Penalties-Blanchard Cha (roughing, roughing), 2:58; Johnson Mch (roughing), 2:58; FitzGerald Cha (delay of game), 8:29; Chaput Cha (roughing), 14:04; FitzGerald Cha (roughing), 14:04; served by Meckler Mch (bench minor - too many men), 14:04; Clune Mch (roughing, roughing), 14:04; Johnson Mch (roughing), 14:04; Terry Cha (holding), 18:30.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Kozun Mch (hooking), 7:47.
3rd Period-2, Manchester, Elkins 3 (Kozun, Voynov), 6:03 (PP). 3, Charlotte, Boychuk 4 (Micflikier, Rodney), 7:41 (PP). Penalties-FitzGerald Cha (slashing), 4:34; Kaunisto Mch (elbowing), 7:13.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 10-16-11-37. Manchester 9-9-6-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 / 4; Manchester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Charlotte, Murphy 2-2-0 (24 shots-22 saves). Manchester, Jones 0-0-0 (37 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Landon Bathe (80), Jeremy Lovett (78).