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Charlotte Checkers vs Laval Rocket Recap: Checkers keep rolling in 4-2 win

The Checkers are once again on a winning streak at home after a smothering defensive effort.

Scott Kinser/Charlotte Checkers

On a cold, brisk night in the Queen City, the Charlotte Checkers brought the heat with a 4-2 win over the Laval Rocket on Saturday night. Alex Nedeljkovic needed to make just 15 saves in the win.

Early in the first period, Checkers forward Andrew Poturalski walked in for an opportunity on a backhand shot but Rocket goalie Charlie Lindgren stopped him to keep it scoreless. With Trevor Carrick called up on Friday night, the Checkers had to make adjustments and paired Dan Renouf, Carrick’s usual partner, with Josh Wesley who was making his AHL season debut. Wesley made an impact in the first period by assisting on Valentin Zykov’s first period goal. It was just the second assist of Wesley’s AHL career and his third career point in 28 AHL games. Greg McKegg was credited with the primary assist on the play after strong forechecking.

Charlotte extended their lead with a goal from captain Patrick Brown. Renouf and Aleksi Saarela were credited with assists on Brown’s goal. Laval cut the lead in half with around three and a half minutes to play in the period. Defenseman Michal Moravcik released a shot from the point that somehow found its way through and past Nedeljkovic for Moravcik’s first of the season. Both teams exhanged chances late in the period but to no avail. Charlotte managed nine shots on goal in the period to Laval’s six.

The second period was not short of action. Just a minute in, Lindgren made a split pad save to keep the game at 2-1. Michael McCarron followed it up with a Bobby Orr impression while trying to score but Nedeljkovic stood his ground.

Four minutes in, Byron Froese tied it up at 2 after cleaning up his own rebound and depositing it behind Nedeljkovic. A minute later, Janne Kuokkanen swatted a feed pass out of mid air but lifted it too high over the shoulder of Lindgren and over the net. Then Bean broke the tie with a shot from the left circle to put Charlotte up 3-2 after he released a wrist shot from the circle and past Lindgren.

Laval pushed hard after Charlotte went up a goal but Nedeljkovic made a save along the goal line with his stick to preserve the Checkers lead. Saarela scored later in the period to open the game up and give Charlotte a two goal lead.

The two teams exchanged chances early in the third period but none of high quality. Just as the game crossed the ten-minute mark, Nedeljkovic shoveled a shot aside that shot up into the air and knuckleballed. Despite lots of shots on net, Charlotte couldn’t add to their lead in the middle frame of the third period on the power play after a Laval defenseman was whistled for delay of game. Laval pulled their goalie with over two minutes to play but to no avail as the Checkers would hold on for the win.

The two teams will face off again tomorrow in Charlotte at 1 p.m before embarking on a five-game road trip that kicks off against the Providence Bruins on Friday.

Postgame Quotes