ESTERO, FL –Michel Leveille recorded his second consecutive two-goal game and rookie defenseman Mike Berube collected his first pro goal as the Charlotte Checkers defeated the Florida Everblades, 4-2, for their second win of the early season.
Leveille’s two-goal performance was his third consecutive multi-point game and Ethan Graham chipped in with three assists for the victorious Checkers (2-1-0).
Charlotte opened the scoring with just under four minutes to play in the first period. Michel Leveille took a pass from Derek Couture at the blueline and let a shot go that squeaked through Florida goaltender Mike Morrison.
Early in the second period, Florida got into penalty trouble that provided a window of opportunity for the Checkers in the form of a 5-on-3 power play. Rookie David Marshall took a pass on the end boards from Ethan Graham and drove to the net. He then beat Morrison with a back hand shot for his first goal of the season. The power-play goal came at 1:29 of the second period.
The Checkers would go ahead 3-0 on another goal by Leveille, his fourth in two nights. Jared Nightingale got the puck down low and fed a cross-crease pass to Leveille who buried it into the open net.
With just under nine minutes to play in the second, Florida got on the board on a goal by Ernie Hartlieb, cutting the Checkers’ lead to two goals. Hartlieb capitalized on a Checkers’ miscue in front of the net and tucked the puck past Matt Zaba for his first of the season.
Charlotte, however, would add some insurance late in the period. Ethan Graham fired a shot from the point that rebounded onto the stick of Mike Berube who made no mistake and converted for his first as a pro. The goal came at the 18:32 mark of the second period and Derek Couture picked up the additional assist.
Florida answered back again in the third on a goal by former Checker Ryan Lang but it wasn’t enough as Charlotte would hang on for the 4-2 victory.
Zaba stopped 33 of 35 shots to earn the win and Mike Morrison made 28 saves in a losing cause for Florida. Michel Leveille earned first-star honors with his two-goal, plus-3 performance.
The Checkers will now return home for a few days before heading to Gwinnett to face the Gladiators on Friday. The home opener is only seven days away - Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. For ticket information please call 704-342-4423 or visit www.gocheckers.com.