CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Checkers’ three-game win streak was snapped after a 5-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Friday night. Tristan Jarry stopped 27 shots on his way to the win.
In the first period, the Checkers defense faltered early and allowed multiple odd-man rushes to start the game. The Penguins took the early lead less than three minutes in after putting a centering pass past Scott Darling. After a pair of minors were assessed to both teams, the ensuing 4-on-4 opportunity almost yielded another goal but a streaking Penguins forward was deemed offside.
Later in the period, Linus Olund struck shorthanded after an errant puck bounced off the boards and sprung a breakaway. The Checkers peppered Jarry and the Penguins with a flurry of shots around the six minute mark but none of them got past.
The Penguins scored a third time in the period after Anthony Angello scored on a rebound opportunity, and Scott Darling was replaced for Alex Nedeljkovic to cheers from the crowd. The Checkers went into the first intermission down three goals but leading 16-13 in shots.
Just 39 seconds into the second period, the Penguins increased their lead with a wrist shot from Teddy Blueger that made its way past Nedeljkovic for Blueger’s team-leading 17th goal. The Checkers finally got on the board with a little less than ten minutes to go in the period after Andrew Poturalski converted a 2-on-0 opportunity.
The Checkers were awarded a power play opportunity shortly after Poturalski’s tally but did not score with the man advantage. The Checkers only mustered a few more shots in the second but were not able to find the back of the net and wrapped up the period down a pair of men after they committed frustration penalties with less than two minutes remaining.
The Checkers killed off the carried over penalties to get back to even strength. Charlotte had another power play opportunity with around 13 minutes to play but could not capitalize. The Penguins took advantage of a couple short-handed opportunities but Nedeljkvoic stood tall.
However, it wouldn’t hold up; Jean-Sebastian Dea scored with 5:58 to go in the game on a wrist shot from between the circle and blue line that surprised Nedeljkovic and went through his five-hole. The Checkers were awarded another power play opportunity but once again did not capitalize to close the gap late in the third period.
Checkers coach Mike Vellucci minced few words after the game. “It was embarassing what we did tonight, in my opinion, from everybody down,” he said. “We didn’t compete. We didn’t produce and didn’t do enough.”
Charlotte will take on the Penguins again tonight at 6 p.m. at home. It will mark the second game of a six-game homestand.