CHARLOTTE, NC—For the fifth game in a row the ECHL’s two Carolina rivals met and the Charlotte Checkers downed the South Carolina Stingrays, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon in Uptown Charlotte.
With the win, the Checkers snapped South Carolina’s franchise record 13-game win streak.
Randy Rowe potted two goals and leading scorer and Tyler Doig added a goal and two assists, giving him 33 points and the fourth spot in overall ECHL scoring. Miika Wiikman stopped 27 of 29 and Andrew Carroll scored his second career game-winning goal.
Charlotte opened the scoring just under 10 minutes into the game on the power play. In the Stingrays’ zone, Steve Ward sent a cross-ice pass to Doig, who then fired it in front off the skate of Rowe and in. Rowe was credited with the goal, his seventh, and the Checkers took the early 1-0 lead.
South Carolina would tie the game with less than a minute to play in the period on a power play of its own. Nikita Kashirsky gained the zone, fed a pass to Trent Campbell who then set up Matt Fornataro for the one-timer. Fornataro made no mistake and beat Checkers goaltender Miika Wiikman between the legs.
Another Charlotte penalty, five minutes into the second period, proved costly as the Stingrays took the lead on a goal by Rob Ricci. Ricci took a pass down low and beat Wiikman over the glove for his 12th of the season. The goal came at 5:14 of the second and was assisted by Gregg Johnson and Josh Godfrey.
In the dying seconds of the second period the Checkers would tie the game on a great play by Doig and Rowe. Doig took the puck in the slot, made a nifty fake to fool a Stingrays defender and dished to Rowe who tapped it home past a sprawling Todd Ford and into the empty cage. With the assist, Doig now shares the ECHL lead with 25 helpers on the season.
As Checkers fans have seen so many times this season, Andrew Carroll’s relentless effort down low resulted in a goal for the home team. Carroll cycled the puck down low with Mike Taylor, outworking several Stingrays defenders then maneuvered his way out front and beat Ford between the legs. The goal came at 2:53 of the third period and was his 10th of the season, tying him with Matt Schepke for the team lead among rookies.
With just less than four minutes to play, Michel Leveille crossed the Stingrays blueline and paused just long enough to open the passing lane then fed a pass to Doig on the left wing side. Doig made no mistake, firing it high over the shoulder of Ford to ice the game.
Wiikman would turn aside the remaining shots that South Carolina sent his way and the Checkers snapped their four-game winless streak.
The Checkers (15-9-4-0) will host the Florida Everblades on Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals wrapped in clear plastic to throw on to the ice when the Checkers score their first goal. Game time is 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com
Notes: Tyler Doig has 11 points in his last nine games and shares the ECHL lead with 25 assists (fourth in overall scoring – 33 points)…Kenny Roche has six goals in his last eight games, including two game-winners…the Checkers are 8-2-1 in their last 11 home games…T.J. Reynolds leads all ECHL defensemen with 116 penalty minutes and 12 fighting majors and leads the Checkers with a +14 rating…Derek Couture remains 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, Codey Burki and Aaron Slattengren are on the 21-day injured reserve.
South Carolina Stingrays 2 At Charlotte Checkers 4 - Status: Unofficial Final
Dec 20, 2009 - Time Warner Cable Arena
South Carolina 1 1 0 - 2
Charlotte 1 1 2 - 4
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Rowe 7 (Doig, Ward), 9:37 (pp). 2, South Carolina, Fornataro 15 (Campbell, Kashirsky), 19:11 (pp). Penalties-served by Prewitt Sc (bench - too many men), 8:10; Roche Chr (interference), 18:00.
2nd Period-3, South Carolina, Ricci 12 (Johnson, Godfrey), 5:14 (pp). 4, Charlotte, Rowe 8 (Doig), 19:42. Penalties-Roche Chr (hooking), 0:58; Leveille Chr (interference), 4:45; Bruess Sc (hooking), 6:11; Cascalenda Sc (fighting - major), 12:18; Taylor Chr (fighting - major), 12:18.
3rd Period-5, Charlotte, Carroll 10 (Reynolds, Taylor), 2:53. 6, Charlotte, Doig 8 (Leveille, Wiikman), 15:57. Penalties-Farrell Sc (tripping), 11:59; Reynolds Chr (cross-checking), 19:30.
Shots on Goal-South Carolina 8-12-0-20. Charlotte 15-11-2-28.
Power Play Opportunities-South Carolina 2 of 4; Charlotte 1 of 3.
Goalies-South Carolina, Ford 15-4-0-1 (28 shots-24 saves). Charlotte, Wiikman 3-1-1-1 (20 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Steve Patafie (29).
Linesmen-Mathieu Chenier (71), Paul Reid (97).