For the second time in as many days, the Charlotte Checkers game ended in a shootout, with the Checkers fourth straight victory. With their win, they moved to seventh place in the Western Conference standings.
The second period was the game changer for both teams, with six of the eight goals scored over a period of less than eight minutes.
The first two goals of the second period came off strange shots and weird angles.
First, Ben Eager roofed one over Murphy’s glove, a puck that hit the crossbar as it went into the net.
Chris Terry kept the score even at two a piece with a strange shot from behind the crease that deflected into the goal off of Barons goaltender Richard Bachman’s skate.
The Barons came back with a vengeance, peppering Mike Murphy with pucks from all angles.
At the time of Mike Murphy getting pulled from the net, he’d faced many many more shots than the box score revealed, and the defense appeared invisible at times, and even Checkers defensemen Matt Corrente scored on Murphy (though the Barons Taylor Fedun was credited with that goal).
The goalie substitution in the second period was a wakeup call for the Checkers bench. Immediately, the focus and style of play changed. The defense in front of John Muse appeared to be much more present, and the team’s offense struck quickly and erased the deficit with a pair of goals.
Coach Jeff Daniels acknowledged that the decision to change goalies worked in the Checkers favor. “There was still have the game to play there, and we knew we were going to get some chances, it was just a matter of bearing down in front. We were hoping it would provide a spark, and it did.”
Within moments of Muse taking over the crease eight minutes into the second period, the Checkers scored twice more. The first from Zach Boychuk with a great assist from Matt Pistilli. The third Checkers goal in the second period came from Jared Staal, his second of the year, who roofed the puck over Richard Bachman’s blocker.
The third period was scoreless, as was the five-minute overtime, and for the second game in a row, the Charlotte Checkers and Oklahoma City Barons headed to the shootout, with the same result, a victory by the home team. After five shooters for each team, the game was decided. Justin Shugg and Chris Terry both scored on their shootout attempts. The Barons Jack Combs scored his teams lone shootout goal.
Notes and quotes:
- After the game, Zach Boychuk recognized that at times, the team plays very differently in front of the two Checkers goaltenders. “Obviously, we’ve been really pulling for Murph the last few games, and we haven’t really been giving him much support. It’s tough for him,” Boychuk continued, “But at the same time, when Muse comes in it seems like we’re able to find those goals and find ways to score and shut them down defensively. It’s just one of those things where all Muse is doing is winning and it’s good to have a guy like that we can lean on.”
- Matt Pistilli made another big impact on today’s matchup against Oklahoma City, playing on a line with Boychuk and assisting on his second period goal, and the chemistry Pistilli continues to display with his past and present teammates is very apparent.
- Zach Boychuk was complimentary of Pistilli’s contributions to the team. “It seems like we’ve brought a lot of guys back this year. Guys that have played in the past and guys that have been huge contributions to our success this year, guys like Jenks and Pistilli who keep coming back. It’s nice that we’re finding chemistry and he (Pistilli) is a huge contributor.”