The Charlotte Checkers were done in by their special teams tonight as the Texas Stars put an end to Charlotte’s five-game win streak. The Checkers went 0-for-5 on the powerplay for the second consecutive game against the Stars and their parade to the penalty box saw them allow two powerplay goals on eight chances. And did I mention the short-handed goal they also gave up? It was not a pretty game for the Checkers. It was a game that had another slow start in the first period; a game riddled with breakdowns on defense, indecisiveness on offense, and general inconsistencies all around. Coach Jeff Daniels said it best post game, “We got spanked tonight. We got pushed around.”
Texas opened up the scoring at 16:49 of the first period when Luke Gazdic put a short-handed opportunity past Checkers’ goaltender Justin Peters. Gazdic’s goal was the second against the Checkers in as many games. Captain Brett Sutter answered for the Checkers just 57 seconds later after some hard work with Nicolas Blanchard in the corner. Sutter now has four goals on the season and two in his last two games since his reassignment from the Carolina Hurricanes.
The only bright spot in Charlotte’s special teams was an early second period shorthanded goal by Drayson Bowman. Defenceman Mathieu Roy picked up the assist. Roy has now factored in on all three of the Checkers’ shorthanded goals this season (1G, 2A).
Texas would score two more goals in the second period, both on the powerplay, to send them into the lockerroom with a 3-2 lead. The second of those goals, the eventual game-winner from Mike Hedden, came with just 3.6 seconds left in the frame.
The Stars added an insurance goal from blueliner Maxime Fortunus at 6:30 of the third period and then went into stall mode as they clogged up the neutral zone and sat on their lead. Unlike the previous games in their win streak where they found ways to win games even if they weren’t playing their best hockey, the Checkers could not get anything going offensively, managing only five shots on goal in the third period.
Checkers’ goaltender Justin Peters let in an uncharacteristic four goals on twenty-nine shots, however extremely poor defensive coverage/breakdowns did not make it an easy night for him. Tyler Beskorowany picked up the win for the Stars, stopping twenty-two of Charlotte’s twenty-four shots on goal. The win was just Beskorowany’s second of the season.
Charlotte goes right back into action tomorrow night where they will play the first of a back-to-back set against the Lake Erie Monsters. The Checkers will need to put together a much more consistent effort if they hope to avoid starting a new streak of the much less desirable losing variety. Maybe this loss is what the Checkers needed to bring them back down to earth. Confidence had to be running high after the successful stretch they have been on so hopefully tonight will convince them they need to work for their wins. It sounds like Coach Daniels agrees, adding post-game, “Hopefully tonight was a wake-up call.”
See highlights and post-game comments from Captain Brett Sutter and Coach Jeff Daniels here
Game Sheet: click here
Game Photos: click here