After roaring back from a two-goal deficit, the Checkers came away empty-handed as a late Phantoms goal sealed a 3-2 defeat in Lehigh Valley on Wednesday.

Casey Bailey and Hunter Shinkaruk each had a goal and an assist for the Checkers, who lost their second straight game after opening their five-game road trip with a win last week. They now remain in Lehigh Valley for a rematch with the Phantoms on Friday.

The Checkers, who have now gone scoreless in six consecutive first periods, continued to be frustrated in the goal-scoring department as they fell behind 2-0 to the Phantoms in the second period of this contest.

However, Bailey, who now has three points in three games since signing a professional tryout contract with the Checkers, changed the momentum of the game with 45 seconds left in the middle frame when he was able to capitalize on a play that saw Steven Lorentz intercept Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon’s attempt to the play the puck to a defender behind his net.

Shinkaruk kept that momentum going in the third, cutting to the net to score a highlight-reel goal at the 4:09 mark. Charlotte, which out-shot the Phantoms 33-22 for the game, continued to apply pressure after that but ultimately fell behind for good when Lehigh’s Gerry Fitzgerald scored his first of the season on a rebound attempt with just 2:40 to play.

The result ended the Phantoms’ four-game winless streak (0-3-1) while simultaneously extending their home point streak to eight games (5-0-3).


Shinkaruk and Bailey each enjoyed their first multi-point games of the AHL season … Chase Priskie ended a seven-game point drought with an assist on Shinkaruk’s goal … Prior to going scoreless in their last six first periods, the Checkers had started the season with first-period goals in eight of their first nine games … The Checkers’ AHL-best penalty killing unit nullified all three Lehigh power plays … Forward Janne Kuokkanen missed the game due to illness … Forward Stelio Mattheos missed the game due to injury … Forward Cedric Lacroix and defensemen Cavan Fitzgerald and Derek Sheppard were healthy extras.


The Checkers wrap up their five-game trip with Friday's rematch with the Phantoms and their first game against former coach Mike Vellucci in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.