The Charlotte Checkers continue to struggle to find consistency to their game as they split their weekend season series with the Springfield Thunderbirds. Charlotte has gone 2-2-2 over their last six games.
In their first game of the weekend, Alex Nedeljkovic earned his first win of the season with 20 saves on 21 shots. Both teams struggled greatly with the man advantage as the Thunderbirds were 0-for-7 on the power play and Charlotte went 0-for-5. Steven Lorentz got the scoring started midway through the first period with his third goal of the season but Springfield responded just 29 seconds later. The game remained tight until Colin Markison struck for his first goal of the season, which ended as the deciding goal in the 2-1 win.
Game two of the weekend didn’t go as planned for Charlotte as they dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime to Springfield. The Thunderbirds came out firing with a pair of goals in the first period. Charlotte responded with three of their own, with Max McCormick and Roland McKeown scoring their first goals of the season and Julien Gauthier potting his fifth. Charlotte maintained the lead until Brady Keeper scored with less than a minute remaining in the third period. Daniel Audette played hero for the Thunderbirds with the game-winning goal in overtime. Anton Forsberg made 25 saves on 29 shots.
On Wednesday, the Checkers announced that they have signed forward Casey Bailey to a professional tryout deal. The 28-year-old forward, who has 11 points (8g, 3a) in nine ECHL games with South Carolina this season, has produced 117 points (50, 67a) over 206 career AHL games for Toronto, Binghamton and Bridgeport, the team said in a statement.
Swamp Rabbits Roundup
The Swamp Rabbits’ week didn’t go as planned, either. Greenville dropped both games of their weekend against the first-place South Carolina Stingrays, losing 4-0 in their first game. The offense couldn’t find any answer for goalie Parker Milner who stopped all 23 shots he faced from Greenville.
Greenville’s play improved but fell in the shootout in the second game of the week. Stingrays forward Andrew Cherniwchan scored the lone goal in the shootout. Mason Baptiste scored his first goal as a member of the Swamp Rabbits.
The Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday reassigned forward Eetu Luostarinen to the Checkers, following the Canes’ practice earlier in the day. Luostarinen was recalled to cover for the injured Erik Haula, and earned his first NHL point with an assist in last night’s win over the Senators. Coach Rod Brind’Amour said that Luostarinen may return later in the week, depending on the health of a few players who he described as “day-to-day”. The release from the team is below.
CANES REASSIGN LUOSTARINEN TO CHARLOTTE
Forward has recorded one assist in three NHL games
Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has reassigned forward Eetu Luostarinen to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Luostarinen, 21, posted one assist in three NHL games after being recalled on Nov. 6. He made his NHL debut against the New York Rangers on Nov. 7 and registered his first career NHL point with an assist against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 11. Luostarinen has also tallied seven points (5g, 2a) in 10 AHL games with the Checkers this season. The 6’3”, 186-pound forward played the last three seasons for KalPa (Finland), recording 63 points (24g, 39a) in 141 career Liiga games. He represented Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, appearing in four games and winning gold. The Siilinjarvi, Finland, native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round, 42nd overall, of the 2017 NHL Draft.