The Checkers bounced back in a big way Wednesday night, going into Syracuse and blowing out the Crunch by a 5-1 final.
Julien Gauthier set the tone early when he popped in a rebound on the power play to open the scoring. He then struck again just 83 seconds later on a delayed call, swooping in and launching a puck that found its way up and over the Syracuse netminder to double that advantage.
The Crunch would cut into that lead prior to the first buzzer, but it would take the Checkers long to reassert their dominance. Outshooting the home side 25-10 over the final 40 minutes, the Checkers tilted the ice in their favor for the remainder of regulation. Hunter Shinkaruk deposited a fortunate bounce out front to reestablish the two-goal lead midway through the second, then Kyle Wood finished off a slick passing play from Eetu Luostarinen and Max McCormick with a missile from the slot that extended the lead even further just before the end of the second.
The power play would deliver once more in the third, this time via a quick redirect by Janne Kuokkanen, and that would be the final blow for the Checkers, who depart from Syracuse with a crucial two points.
Anton Forsberg didn’t have to face much action, as the squad in front of him suppressed the Crunch’s attack and held the home team to just 18 shots on goal, but he was up to the task when called upon and came away from the contest with a skid-snapping win.
The Checkers improved to 2-0-0 in Syracuse this season, outscoring the Crunch 12-4 in those games … Julien Gauthier recorded his second two-goal game of the season … Jake Bean set a career high with three assists on the night, tied for the most in a single game by a Checker this season … Tonight was Janne Kuokkanen’s second multi-point game of the season … With two assists, tonight was Eetu Luostarinen’s first multi-point game as a pro in North America … Hunter Shinkaruk now has five points in his last five games … Tonight was the fourth time this season that the Checkers have recorded multiple power-play goals and the first since Nov. 22 … The Checkers went perfect on the penalty kill for the 16th time this season and have now killed off 10 consecutive man advantages … Syracuse’s 18 shots were the fewest allowed by the Checkers this season … Tonight was the second time this season that Anton Forsberg allowed one or fewer goals in a game … Tonight snapped a six-game winless streak for Forsberg, who started the season 4-0-0 and whose last win came on Oct. 25 … The Checkers are now 9-3-1 when scoring the first goal … Stelio Mattheos and Kerby Rychel missed the game due to injury … Morgan Geekie left after his first shift with an injury and did not return to the game … Cavan Fitzgerald and Derek Sheppard were healthy scratches
This road swing continues for Charlotte this weekend starting with a matchup in Rochester on Friday.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.