After being shut out the night before, the Checkers fell behind by two goals in the opening frame, but the offense came to life before the first buzzer as Cole Schwindt capitalized on a long stretch pass to put Charlotte on the board.
The home side would keep that momentum with an early tying goal in the middle frame courtesy of Alex True cleaning up a loose puck out front, but things would swing in Utica’s favor from there.
The Comets evened things up quickly and opened the third period with a pair of quick strikes to propel themselves ahead, and the Checkers couldn’t catch up before time wound down on the 5-2 defeat.
“I thought we had spurts. We had the power-play goal and then another power play right after and we started clicking a little bit, then they come right down and get a couple goals. Our group can learn a lot from this. You have to play 60 minutes against a good team and we definitely didn’t have a 60-minute effort tonight.”
On his team
“We have a good group here, I’ve been proud of the effort. Today was not our best.”
On trying to rally in the third period
“You look at our third periods over the last little while and we’ve had some Grade-A chances, but for some reason we haven’t scored them or the goalie’s come up with a big save.”
On the physical nature of tonight’s game
“I like the physicality, we need a little more of that at times. It’s the way the game should be played. It’s something we can do more of going forward.”
On this stretch of the schedule
We need to reset, I think it caught up to us a little bit here, it’s been a really tough schedule, to be honest. It’s the American Hockey League, you have to be ready and be able to dig in and play with grit and find ways to win hockey games.