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Charlotte vs Providence Recap: Special Teams Lead The Way For Checkers

Charlotte wins, thanks in part to well rounded offense.

Jamie Kellner

The Charlotte Checkers returned home for the first time in three games and made quick work of the Providence Bruins, beating them 4-3. Alex Nedeljkovic made 20 saves in the route to the win.

In the first period, Andrew Poturalski danced into the middle of the offensive zone and feed Morgan Geekie on the wing but he was denied by Providence goalie Dan Vladar. Just minutes later, Julien Gauthier forced a Providence turnover and was able to pull Vladar away from the net but fed the puck through the crease rather than get a shot on net. Less than five minutes into the game, Roland McKeown held off a Bruins forward but the puck became loose and right onto the stick of Jan Kovar who released a slap shot from between the circles to give Providence the lead. Less than a minute later, Patrick Brown tied the game for the Checkers after a quick zone entry and McKeown earned an assist on the play.

Later in the period, after a holding call against the Bruins, Morgan Geekie finished off a beautiful passing play on the power play. The Bruins lead the league in penalty kill percentage heading into Friday’s match-up. The Checkers were gifted another power play late in the first and had a miscommunication which led to a shorthanded breakaway for Providence. Nedeljkovic stayed sharp and made the save to preserve the one goal lead.

The second period remained quiet through the first half with both teams trading chances. Providence failed to get any sustained offensive zone pressure through the first half of the period. After Janne Kuokkanen was sent to the box around the 11 minute mark, Charlotte was able to capitalize, even with the man down. Saku Maenalanen released a quick shot past Vladar after a controlled zone entry to give Charlotte a 3-1 power play. [Side note: short handed goals earn fans a free burger from the American Burger Company. The more you know.]

Charlotte wasn’t done there. Trevor Carrick directed a puck in pas Vladar after entering the zone, passing the puck and cutting to the front of the net to make it 4-1 Charlotte. Charlotte held the lead heading into second intermission and Providence managed very little offensive zone time in the second period.

Both teams looked groggy to start the third period with neither generating much offense through the first half of the period. Julien Gauthier danced his way into the offensive zone with a fancy inside-out deke but was brought down by a Bruins defender on a blatant no-call.

Trent Frederic scored for Providence to cut Charlotte’s lead to two with less than ten minutes remaining. Providence yanked Vladar with over two minutes remaining and it paid off. The Bruins’ Jordan Szwarz scored to pull Providence within one but Providence couldn’t squeeze out any more offense to tie the game and Charlotte took the win.

The Checkers and Bruins will face off again tomorrow at 6 o’clock at Bojangles Coliseum. Canes Country will have coverage including post game quotes and recap.

Post Game Notes

  • Scouts for the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens were at the game. No man in his thirties named Kyle.
  • The Checkers tried a unit of Gauthier - Necas - Saarela- Bean - McKeown twice throughout the game. It didn’t work either time but impressed, nonetheless.
  • Clark Bishop was especially feisty in Friday’s game. He’s got an edge similar to Canes forward Michael Ferland.
  • Alex Nedeljkovic has solidified himself at the top of the leader board among goalies in wins.

Post Game Quotes