CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Checkers scored three first-period goals and held on to beat the Hershey Bears, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Checkers jump Hershey and grab sole possession of third place in the East Division.
Charlotte’s top line of Zach Boychuk, Zac Dalpe, and Jacob Micflikier led the way offensively, combining for 10 points (3g, 7a). Micflikier netted a pair of goals and added an assist, while Boychuk had a career high four assists. The Checkers also had goals from Dalpe, Matthew Pistilli, and Bryan Rodney. Mike Murphy turned away 28 of 31 shots and made many impressive saves to keep his team ahead.
Jay Beagle, Sheldon Souray and Lawrence Nycholat scored for Hershey and goaltender Braden Holtby was solid after giving up the three early goals, stopping 21 of the next 22 shots.
Dalpe gave Charlotte an early lead 3:31 in. Boychuk entered the zone with Dalpe on a 2-on-1 and saucered a pass to the driving center, who redirected it past Holtby.
Micflikier gave the Checkers a 2-0 lead, five minutes later. A hard forecheck by Dalpe forced a Hershey turnover. Boychuk grabbed the puck and flipped it over a sprawling Holtby to Micflikier, who buried it from the outside of the crease.
Just 13 seconds later, off the ensuing faceoff, the Checkers increased their lead to three goals. Jon Matsumoto quickly drove the offensive zone and left the puck in the slot for Pistilli to snap past Holtby.
Hershey made it a 3-1 game, late in the first period, with a shorthanded goal from Beagle. Charlotte turned the puck over in the defensive zone where Boyd Kane fed an undefended Beagle in front of the Checkers net. Murphy made the initial stop, but Beagle collected the rebound and lifted it over the Charlotte netminder.
Late in the second, the Bears made it a 3-2 game when Souray scored a powerplay goal from the right-wing point. The former NHL All-Star, whose shot has been recorded at over 106 MPH, blasted a laser of a one-timer over the glove of Murphy.
Rodney gave the Checkers some breathing room, midway through the third period, on a 5-on-3 power play. The Charlotte captain drove to the net, took a pass from Boychuk at the side of the net and made no mistake.
In typical Checkers fashion, Micflikier scored again, just 20 seconds later, on the second half of the power play. Holtby was caught out of his net and Micflikier threw the puck into the empty net from the right-wing corner for his 13th of the season.
Nycholat tacked on a goal for Hershey late in the third period, but the Checkers held on for the victory. Charlotte is now 3-1-0-1 against the defending Calder Cup champions.
The Checkers (15-9-4) head to Providence on Friday to begin a five-game road trip before returning home on Jan. 1 to face the Binghamton Senators at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Holiday packs are now on sale and include four games and a puck for as low as $35. Call 704-342-4423 or head to www.gocheckers.com for more information.
NOTES: The Checkers are 7-2-1 in their last ten games... Zach Boychuk is tied for second in AHL scoring with 32 points (10g, 22a)… Jerome Samson has 12 points (4g, 8a) in his last nine games. He is also tied for third in league in goals (15) and is tied for eighth in points with 29 (15g, 14a).
Hershey Bears 3 at Charlotte Checkers 5 - Status: Final
Sunday, December 12, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Hershey 1 1 1 - 3
Charlotte 3 0 2 - 5
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Dalpe 11 (Boychuk, Micflikier), 3:31. 2, Charlotte, Micflikier 12 (Boychuk, Dalpe), 8:34. 3, Charlotte, Pistilli 1 (Matsumoto, Osala), 8:47. 4, Hershey, Beagle 7 (Kane), 13:49 (SH). Penalties-Kane Her (interference), 5:05; McNeill Her (fighting), 10:11; FitzGerald Cha (fighting), 10:11; Collins Her (hooking), 12:47; Bruess Her (hooking), 16:49; Sutter Cha (slashing), 19:17.
2nd Period-5, Hershey, Souray 1 (Nycholat), 17:19 (PP). Penalties-Bruess Her (tripping), 2:36; Pinizzotto Her (roughing), 16:16; FitzGerald Cha (roughing, roughing), 16:16; Borer Cha (slashing), 16:47.
3rd Period-6, Charlotte, Rodney 5 (Matsumoto, Boychuk), 10:26 (PP). 7, Charlotte, Micflikier 13 (Dalpe, Boychuk), 10:46 (PP). 8, Hershey, Nycholat 4 18:28. Penalties-Willsie Her (interference), 8:52; McNeill Her (bench minor - too many men), 10:09; Miskovic Her (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:11; Souray Her (hooking), 18:11; Herauf Cha (roughing, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:11; Jordan Cha (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:11; Carson Cha (slashing), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Hershey 9-14-8-31. Charlotte 12-9-9-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 1 / 3; Charlotte 2 / 6.
Goalies-Hershey, Holtby 7-2-1 (30 shots-25 saves). Charlotte, Murphy 8-4-2 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Ghislain Hebert (49), Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Paul Carnathan (93), Terry Wicklum (58).