HERSHEY, Pa. — The Charlotte Checkers gave up a pair of late first period goals and could not recover as they were doubled up, 6-3, by the Hershey Bears on Sunday afternoon.
It was the first regulation loss on the road for the Checkers since Oct. 24, snapping a 7-0-1 streak away from Charlotte.
Keith Aucoin scored twice for Hershey, including the game winner, while goaltender Dany Sabourin turned away 36 of 39 shots and effectively stopped a late Charlotte surge.
The Checkers got goals from their top three goal scorers, Jerome Samson, Jacob Micflikier and Chris Terry. Samson now shares the lead among all AHL players with 17 goals. Justin Pogge stopped 13 of 16 shots before being assessed a game misconduct in the second period and Mike Murphy was handed his first loss in seven starts.
Charlotte had a pair of early opportunities to get an early lead but rang both off of the post. Matsumoto chipped a shot off the left bar on a 2-on-1 before Brett Sutter ripped a shot from the high slot that beat Sabourin but rang off the iron.
Hershey broke the scoreless tie, late in the first period, on a power-play goal by Willsie, who snapped a shot from the slot through traffic that beat Pogge blocker side.
Greentree gave Hershey a 2-0 lead when he sliced into the Checkers zone during a 4-on-4 and went forehand-to-backhand before slipping the puck under a sprawling Pogge.
Terry cut the Hershey lead in half, 1:35 into the second period, with his 13th goal of the season. He drove down the left wing, took a pass from centerman Nick Dodge and wristed a low shot from the faceoff dot past the glove of Sabourin.
Hershey extended their lead to 3-1 at 8:39 of the second period on a goal from Brian Fahey. Pogge was assessed a game misconduct following the goal, arguing that a high stick redirected the shot from the point.
Aucoin put the Bears up 4-1 late in the second period. The veteran center forced a turnover in the Checkers zone and completed a give-and-go with Steve Pinizzotto.
Five minutes into the third, Samson cut the Hershey lead to 4-2 when he took a pass in front from Oskar Osala and beat Sabourin.
Aucoin added his second of the game at 9:50 of the third period to regain the three-goal lead for Hershey before Micflikier answered back 31 seconds later to bring Charlotte within two.
The Checkers mounted a late flurry, bombarding Sabourin with shots, but the Hershey netminder stood his ground and Kane scored a late goal to seal the victory for the Bears.
The Checkers (17-10-4) will continue their road trip following the holiday break when they head to Norfolk to take on the Admirals on Dec. 28 at 7:15 p.m. The team will return home on Jan. 1 to host the Binghamton Senators at 7 p.m. Holiday packs are on sale until Monday 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 10 games… Charlotte has the third-ranked penalty kill in the AHL (87.2%) and the third-ranked power play… Jerome Samson has 15 points (5g, 10a) in his last ten games and is tied for first in the league in goals (17)…Jacob Micflikier has ten points (5g, 5a) in his last eight games.
Charlotte Checkers 3 at Hershey Bears 6 - Status: Final
Sunday, December 19, 2010 - Giant Center
Charlotte 0 1 2 - 3
Hershey 2 2 2 - 6
1st Period-1, Hershey, Willsie 12 (Greentree, Fahey), 16:19 (PP).2, Hershey, Greentree 11 (Willsie, Fahey), 17:34. Penalties-Samson Cha (tripping), 2:12; Greentree Her (hooking), 11:55; Rodney Cha (hooking), 15:29; Borer Cha (boarding), 16:19; Bouchard Her (hooking), 16:39.
2nd Period-3, Charlotte, Terry 13 (Dodge, Samson), 1:35.4, Hershey, Fahey 3 (McNeill, Bruess), 8:39.5, Hershey, Aucoin 6 (Pinizzotto), 19:38.Penalties-McNeill Her (tripping), 1:59; Pogge Cha (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct - abuse of officials, game misconduct - abuse of officials), 8:39; Kane Her (tripping), 14:31.
3rd Period-6, Charlotte, Samson 17 (Osala, Nash), 5:09.7, Hershey, Aucoin 7 (Pinizzotto, McNeill), 9:50.8, Charlotte, Micflikier 14 (Dodge), 10:21.9, Hershey, Kane 10 (Aucoin, Nycholat), 19:09 (PP). Penalties-Greentree Her (high-sticking), 0:38; Fahey Her (high-sticking), 11:29; Terry Cha (hooking), 17:24.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 9-12-18-39. Hershey 11-10-7-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 6; Hershey 2 / 5.
Goalies-Charlotte, Pogge 8-6-1 (16 shots-13 saves); Murphy 9-4-2 (12 shots-9 saves). Hershey, Sabourin 6-8-0 (39 shots-36 saves).