In 60 minutes of Friday’s game, the Checkers were unable to solve Yann Danis. One night later, it took just four.
Charlotte made up for a night of frustration against the veteran Oklahoma City goaltender in Saturday’s rematch, beating him twice in the game’s first 7:13 en route to an eventual 3-2 win over the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed. Jon Matsumoto and Brett Sutter netted the early goals, with Justin Soryal scoring the winner in the second period as the Checkers halted the Barons’ winning streak at six games.
Goaltender Justin Peters, making consecutive starts for the first time all season, stopped 29 of 31 shots and was instrumental in helping the Checkers hold on in the third period after the Barons nearly erased the Checkers’ three-goal lead with one goal apiece in the second and third periods.
The win marked the Checkers’ second in three visits to Oklahoma City during their season-long, nine game road swing that will conclude Sunday in Houston.
The Checkers, who were thwarted on all 30 shots they threw at Danis on Friday, broke through when Matsumoto beat him between the legs just 4:16 into Saturday’s contest, tying him for the team’s scoring lead with his 14th point. Sutter would add a second just 2:57 later when his redirection of a Justin Krueger point shot hit the post, only to see him deposit the rebound for his second goal of the season.
Charlotte looked to be rolling when Justin Soryal tipped in a point shot by Bobby Sanguinetti for his second goal of the season to make it 3-0 with 6:33 gone in the second period, but the Barons steadily applied pressure to make things interesting.
Linus Omark, who started the season with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, got things going with a rebound goal with just 32 seconds remaining in the middle frame before Tyler Pitlick scored on a great individual effort near the start of the third, rounding a sprawled Checkers defender before beating Peters on his own rebound.
That set the stage for some nervous moments late, most notably when Matt Pistilli was called for delay of game with 6:07 left in the third period and a diving Bobby Sanguinetti poke check was needed to deny the Barons’ Teemu Hartikainen on what would have been a clean breakaway.
However, Peters preserved the Checkers lead as his team was out-shot 12-6 in the final frame. In three games since returning from injury last week, the veteran netminder has stopped 84 of 88 shots for a .954 save percentage and 1.34 goals-against average.
The Checkers now head to Houston looking to ensure a winning record on their fourth consecutive weekend of playing three games in three nights. The game will conclude the season series between the two teams, with Houston earning points in the previous three match-ups (2-0-1).
Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen was scratched for Charlotte for the third consecutive game … The Checkers’ fourth line of Soryal, Sutter and Jared Staal scored two of the Checkers’ three goals … Staal was a game high +2 on the night, while Sutter finished with a game-high 2 points … Soryal, who has never scored more than 5 goals in a season, already has 2 with the Checkers. He finished Saturday’s game with six shots ... The Checkers improved to 4-0-0 in the second game of three-in-three sets this season ... Chris Terry was serving the final game of a two-game suspension.