After a couple tough contests over the weekend, the Checkers got back on track with a convincing 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Monsters.

The home side wasted no time getting their offense clicking as Aleksi Saarela one-timed a quick feed from Jake Bean less than six minutes in to put Charlotte on top. Things continued to tilt the Checkers’ way in the middle frame, with Josiah Didier chipping in a rebound for his first tally of the season and Morgan Geekie unleashing a rocket slap shot to run the lead to 3-0 through 40 minutes of play.

The Monsters finally broke through early in the third, taking advantage of a five-on-three power play, but that would be the only blemish on Alex Nedeljkovic’s night as he finished with 32 saves to claim his league-leading 22nd win.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
We had a good start and then we didn’t play particularly well down the stretch. We had a lot of quality chances early on and didn’t give them much.

Vellucci on breaking through offensively after scoring just one goal in the previous two games
We stayed with it and we pressured. Geekie’s had a lot of chances the last three or four games and didn’t score, and he had another great one early on and the goalie made a nice save, then he finally was rewarded with one.

Vellucci on Josiah Didier’s goal
He had a lot of great chances and then he buried his rebound. I’m really happy for him because he was really excited and the guys on the bench were exited for him. Anytime our D can join the rush and get in the play, we want them to do that.

Josiah Didier on getting a win on the heels of two straight overtime losses
Those were two hard-fought playoff-type games against Providence and unfortunately we lost both in overtime but I thought we played really well. To be able to bounce back tonight, come out with a great start and come out with the win was huge.

Didier on his first goal of the season
It feels great to be able to put that first one in. It was a great win on the faceoff and I just tried to bury it and then got the rebound

Didier on defensemen joining the rush
It’s the way we want to play. We want to play with four or five guys on the rush, and we’ve got guys on the back end that are great playmakers and puckhandlers, guys that can score and play defense as well. It doesn’t matter who’s out on the ice because we’ve got the group of guys that can put the puck in the net.

NOTES

The Checkers have points in each of their last four games (2-0-2) … Of the Checkers’ last six goals, Aleksi Saarela scored three and assisted on another … Alex Nedeljkovic pushed his league-leading wins total to 22. He has a 7-0-1 record in 2019 … Roland McKeown’s fighting major was the second of his AHL career … This was the first meeting between Cleveland and Charlotte since March 30, 2017 … Janne Kuokkanen returned to the lineup after missing the last four games due to injury … Forward Zack Stortini and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.

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The Checkers wrap up their home stand with a rematch on Winning Wednesday $1 beer night at the coliseum
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.