Cardiac Checker: Charlotte Inches Past Hershey 5-4

Thursday's winning goalie, Justin Pogge. (Photo Credit: Gregg Forwerck)

Checkers 5, Hershey Bears 4

The Checkers game one playoff victory Thursday night was like a Van Gough painting. It wasn’t necessarily pretty but a masterpiece never-the-less. Justin Pogge gets the win in the 5-4 win over the Bears.

Both goalies appeared to suffer from moments of puck fog. Pogge allowed four goals on 31 shots while Holtby permitted five on 28 attempts. If you read my pre-game post (shame on you if you didn’t), you know I am not Pogge’s biggest fan. I was concerned about his performance against Hershey. Does his win tonight change my opinion? No, well, not entirely at least.

He spends a ridiculous amount of time behind the net. Sometimes I think he forgets he is the goaltender. Although he was quick to temper a couple times Thursday, there were no meltdowns. Great goalie, but rattles my nerves to an uncomfortable level. Just my two cents for the night…for the second night in a row. You owe me a nickel (I charge interest).

First period got off to a quick start as Andrew Joudrey assisted Pinizzotto in an early goal just a minute into the contest.

Zac Dalpe answered barely three minutes later with an unassisted goal to tie things up. Another three minutes later, Dalpe lent a helper to Chris Terry to take the lead 2-1. Jacob Micflickier also was credited with an assist on the play.

Steve Aucoin kept Bear’s momentum by drawing a tie mere minutes before the first intermission with an extra-man goal as Matsumoto was sent to the box for hooking. Despite the nine power-play chances between both teams, Aucoin’s goal would be the only power play goal of the night. I guess misery loves company so I won’t complain about this deficit.

Nick Dodge started a sequence about eight minutes into the second that provided Nicolas Blanchard a shot. Bellemore grabbed the rebound for a shorthanded goal. The play took place during a Bear’s power-play opportunity.

Boyd Kane stole the Checker’s short lead at 13:11 to tie the game again at 3-3. Aucoin had the assist.

The final period started as a draw once again and, similar to the first twenty minutes, the Hershey Bears scored quickly. Willsie snuck one past Pogge to lead the Checkers by one.

Drayson Bowman (Phot Credit: Gregg Forwerck)

Enter the determined men of C-town. Zach Boychukshoved a rebound home from Dalpe. Drayson Bowmanhad the game winning, five hole goal at 10:38. Matsumoto and Bellemore aided the final nail in the Bear’s coffin.

Checkers won 5-4 before a 7,280 crowd at the Giant Center. The East Division teams tackle game two on Sunday at 5:00pm. It is no surprise how evenly they performed, and I expect the same this weekend. Here’s some stats from their first playoff match-up…

SOG: Checkers 28, Hershey Bears 31

PP: Checkers 0/5, Hershey Bears 1/4

PIM: Checkers 12 min, Hershey 16 min

GA: Checkers 4, Hershey 5

Points: Checkers 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 pts; Hershey 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 pts

May have been close, but Charlotte arises the victor which is the ultimate goal. Let’s do it again Sunday boys! Let’s Go Checkers!

Stars: 3. Dalpe, 2. Aucoin, 3. Bowman

Topics: Andrew Joudrey, Boyd Kane, Braden Holtby, Brett Bellemore, Brian Willsie, Charlotte Checkers, Checkers, Chris Terry, Drayson Bowman, Justin Pogge, Nick Dodge, Nicolas Blanchard, Steve Aucoin, Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk

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