ESTERO, FL— With the help of several key saves by goaltender Ryan Munce, the Charlotte Checkers scored the game’s first two goals and hung on to win 4-1 over the Florida Everblades on Friday. The team has now picked up three of a possible four points thus far in the three-game series.
The scoring was well balanced with 10 different Checkers recording a point and Munce (4-2-0) stopped 32 of 33 shots for his fourth win in six tries. Leading scorer Michel Leveille, who was injured in Wednesday’s game against Florida, did not dress.
The two teams traded scoring chances throughout the first period. Late in the period, Checkers forward Mike Taylor let a shot go that beat Everblades netminder Mike Morrison, hit the post and went wide, keeping it a scoreless game.
Charlotte would get on the board first early in the second and have just one regulation loss in 12 tries when doing so. Rookie Chris Chappell let a shot go from just inside the top of the left circle which was deflected by Jean-Philipp Chabot past Morrison. The goal was the third of the season for Chabot.
Later in the period, the Everblades entered the Checkers’ zone on a two-on-one and a shot was fired wide of Munce. Mike Taylor picked the puck up at the hash marks and hit Kenny Roche with a beautiful breakaway pass. Roche made no mistake and beat the Florida netminder for his 10th of the season, tying him with Leveille and Matt Schepke for the team lead.
With less than five minutes to play in the period, Florida would make it a 2-1 game on the power play. Everblades defenseman A.J. Thelen took a pass from Jordan Morrison and fired a cannon of a shot over the glove of Munce.
Florida pressed throughout the third and with eight minutes to play, Munce made what can only be described as a game-saving play. The Charlotte netminder slid across the crease and gloved a shot by Ross Carlson, robbing the winger of the game-tying goal.
From there, the Checkers went on the power play and increased their lead to 3-1 on a goal by rookie David Marshall. Marshall took a Chris Snavely rebound and tapped it home through the legs of Morrison. The goal came at the 14:58 mark of the third period.
With less than 90 seconds to play, Charlotte would ice the game on a shorthanded, empty-net goal by Randy Rowe, his sixth goal in eight games since joining the team off injured reserve.
The Checkers are now 3-2-1 against Florida this season and, with the win, improve to 5-3-2 on the road. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at Germain Arena in Southwest Florida.
The Checkers (13-6-3-0) will continue their five-game road trip on Saturday in Florida and will return to Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 16 to host South Carolina. Game time is 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com
Notes: Randy Rowe has 11 points (6g, 5a) in eight games since being activated off injured reserve…Matt Schepke, Kenny Roche and Michel Leveille share the team lead with 10 goals…Roche has 8 goals in his last 12 games…T.J. Reynolds leads all ECHL defensemen with 97 penalty minutes and 11 fighting majors…Schepke and Reynolds lead the team with +12 ratings…Andrew Carroll and Derek Couture remain on loan to Hartford, Daniel Tkaczuk is with Syracuse, Matt Ford remains with Lake Erie (AHL) and defenseman Ethan Graham is with Norfolk (AHL)…Trevor Glass and Aaron Slattengren are on the 21-day injured reserve.
Charlotte Checkers 4 At Florida Everblades 1 - Status: Unofficial Final
Dec 11, 2009 - Germain Arena
Charlotte 0 2 2 - 4
Florida 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Healey Fla (high-sticking - double), 4:57; Carlson Fla (interference), 13:59; Carlson Fla (tripping), 17:17.
2nd Period-1, Charlotte, Chabot 3 (Chappell, Schaeffer), 2:01. 2, Charlotte, Roche 10 (Taylor), 13:13. 3, Florida, Thelen 6 (Morrison, Buck), 15:31 (pp). Penalties-Taylor Chr (hooking), 13:19; Ward Chr (holding the stick), 14:57; Duffy Fla (hooking), 19:16.
3rd Period-4, Charlotte, Marshall 4 (Snavely), 14:58 (pp). 5, Charlotte, Rowe 6 (Doig, Ward), 18:36 (sh en). Penalties-Ward Chr (tripping), 4:08; Healey Fla (slashing ), 13:24; Harder Chr (hooking), 17:05.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 7-8-7-22. Florida 9-10-14-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 6; Florida 1 of 4.
Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 3-2-0-0 (33 shots-32 saves). Florida, Morrison 6-6-1-0 (21 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Joe Sullivan (4).
Linesmen-Craig Alles (38), James Johnstone (61).