Charlotte continued their mediocre start to the season and now just sit one point away from the bottom of their division. Scoring woes continue to plague the Checkers, who now sit 30th in the league in goal scoring. The Checkers do continue to sport the league’s best penalty kill, though, so not everything is falling apart, but it is still a long fall from grace for last year’s Calder Cup champions.
In game one of the week, Charlotte fell 3-2 to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday. Alex Lyon stood strong against the Checkers attack, stopping 32 shots. Alex Nedeljkovic didn’t have the saves when called upon, stopping only 19 of 22 shots. Casey Bailey, who joined the Checkers two weeks ago on a professional tryout deal, scored his first of the season for Charlotte and Hunter Shinkaruk added his second goal of the season.
Charlotte had another tight showing against Lehigh Valley in their second game of the week but blew a 4-2 lead and fell 5-4 in overtime on Friday night. After Max McCormick put the Checkers up 4-2 just seconds in the third period but the Phantoms responded with a quick pair just minutes later. Mark Friedman’s slap shot from the point beat Anton Forsberg in overtime. Forsberg had 30 saves in the appearance.
Charlotte earned their first win of the week on Saturday in a tight 1-0 contest with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and former head coach Mike Vellucci. Chase Priskie scored the lone goal in the game on the power play with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Charlotte’s penalty kill was a perfect 6-for-6 in the game and Nedeljkovic made 22 saves in the shutout appearance.
The Checkers return home for the first time in more than two weeks tonight and tomorrow with games against the Cleveland Monsters, and face the Providence Bruins in a weekend back-to-back beginning Saturday.
Swamp Rabbits Roundup
Greenville started the week with a convincing pair of wins before they were trounced by the Atlanta Gladiators to round out the week. In the first game of the week, goaltender Jeremy Helvig had a performance for the ages, stopping 48 shots on his way to a 5-2 win over the South Carolina Stingrays. The Swamp Rabbits also received good play from goaltender Ryan Bednard who made 25 saves in a 2-1 win over the Jacksonville Icemen in their second game of the week.
A tired Stingrays squad fell in an effort they’d like to forget as the Atlanta Gladiators dominated Greenville 8-2. Greenville takes on Jacksonville & Atlanta again this week, on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.