Tonight in Charlotte, the hometown Checkers lost by a score of 5-3 to the Hershey Bears, who had many many fans that traveled quite the distance from Pennsylvania to cheer on their team.
The first goal of the game was scored by Hershey’s Nathan Walker, who deflected a point shot from Tyson Strachman over Rick DiPietro’s glove.
The Checkers first powerplay included a number of offensive zone turnovers by Charlotte, zero scoring opportunities and no shots on goal.
And then the goals from Hershey started coming. The second goal was the result of Rick DiPietro being out of position and the Bears Ryan Stoa was able to score on a virtually empty net.
Hershey’s third goal was scored by Casey Wellman, another high glove shot where a Checkers defenseman was nowhere in sight.
Finally, after Hershey had four goals, the Checkers got on the board with an unassisted power play goal from Michal Jordan.
A tripping call sent Rasmus Rissanen to the box during the second period. It took Hershey less than a minute on the power play to score a fifth goal, this time from AHL journeyman Jeff Taffe. The fifth goal was enough to pull DiPietro from the game in favor of John Muse, who sits atop the standings as the best goalie in the league.
Things appeared to turn around for Charlotte. With the goaltending change, a fire was lit beneath them, and it didn’t take long for Adam Brace to score with an assist from Captain Brett Sutter. This extended Brace’s point streak to five, the longest active point streak on the Checkers.
Coach Jeff Daniels felt the team did a lot of great things despite the final outcome.
“I thought we did a lot of great things tonight. We’ve just got to continue them tomorrow.. We did a lot of good things. We skated well,” Daniels continued, “The power play scored a couple goals…. We can’t change the outcome of the last four games, but we can change the outcome tomorrow night.”
Elias Lindholm was one of the bright spots for the Checkers. In only his third game since being assigned to Charlotte from the Hurricanes, he scored his first AHL goal on the power play with 1:04 left in the game.
Lindholm felt good about his third game as a member of the Checkers. “I haven’t played too many games yet, but the speed is a little bit faster in the NHL.”
The Checkers face Hershey again tomorrow. It’s a Thirsty Thursday game, and the beer will be flowing!
Random assorted observations:
- Rick DiPietro is now 0-3 with the Checkers. He has allowed 14 goals in just over 150 minutes of ice time.
- Though DiPietro had a tough night between the pipes, many of the goals he allowed were at times when he had no support from Checkers defensemen.
- Many many many giveaways by Charlotte in their offensive zone.
- Allan, who’s a regular contributor to Chasing Checkers observed that Allan York is 2-0 with a shutout since he was released from his PTO with Charlotte.
- Rasmus Rissanen was a -4 on the night (and was responsible for the tripping penalty that led to a Bears power play goal).
- Every time the Checkers play the Bears (which isn’t often, unfortunately), I’m reminded of Justin Pogge’s epic performance/temper tantrum in Hershey that got him thrown out of the game. I believe the line from the Bears play by play announcer was something to the effect of, “Justin Pogge has LOST HIS MIND.” I miss the days of characters like Mr. Pogge playing in Charlotte. He was definitely entertaining!
- Kudos to the Checkers for having a Hockey & Heels event. I think it has the potential to be a great night for ladies new to the sport. But please, please for the love of the hockey gods, fix the logo! It’s currently a FIGURE skate with a high heel on it. Hockey & Heels lesson number one: Hockey skates don’t have toe picks!