The Charlotte Checkers and Toronto Marlies have shown us so far that they may go the distance in this pivotal best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series. The first two games split between the two teams before the Checkers burst ahead to take the series lead with a beat down in Game 3.
In Game 1, the Marlies surprised the Checkers with a 2-1 win , a hole the Checkers haven’t found themselves in this postseason. Dmytro Timashov got the Marlies on the board a few minutes into the second period before Haydn Fleury tied the game with his first goal of the postseason. However, just 57 seconds into the third, Mason Marchment scored the deciding goal and the Checkers couldn’t find the equalizer later in the third. Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 26 shots on his way to securing the Game 1 win for the Marlies.
In Game 2, Charlotte tied the series with an offensive outburst during the 5-3 win. It didn’t come easy for the Checkers after allowing three goals through the early part of the second period. Head coach Mike Vellucci decided he had seen enough and pulled Alex Nedeljkovic in favor of Dustin Tokarski. Charlotte stormed back, rattling off five unanswered goals. Nicolas Roy, Jesper Sellgren and Patrick Brown joined the scoring party with each of their first goals of the postseason. Tokarski stopped all nine shots in the relief effort.
Charlotte didn’t stop there, putting together a strong 5-1 win in Game 3 as the series shifted to Toronto. The Checkers didn’t let up on Kaskisuo for the second consecutive game and the goaltender was yanked in favor of Michael Hutchinson. Neither goalie could solve the Checkers, with Kaskisuo allowing three and Hutchinson allowing a pair. Tomas Jurco scored his 6th of the postseason and Andrew Poturalski got on the board with his 7th of the playoffs.
The Checkers remain in Toronto for the next two games on Thursday and Friday. If they cannot close the series out on the road, the team will return to the Queen City for games on Sunday and Tuesday.
With the Checkers holding the series lead and being one of the best teams in the league, things look pretty promising for the Calder Cup favorites. But it looks like they may have reinforcements coming:
Sooooo anyone want to go to Charlotte for a @CheckersHockey game?!— Hamilton The Pig (@DtrHamilton) May 21, 2019
The Hurricanes’ good luck charm could make an appearance for Game 6 or 7. Guess you could say the Hurricanes aren’t... HOGGING all of Hamilton’s attention.
(ed. note: whyyyyyyyyyy)