It was pretty close to the consistent 60-minute game that Coach Jeff Daniels was hoping for as the Charlotte Checkers put in a much better effort than they had the previous night. Despite a couple costly breakdowns in the third period, the Checkers still found a way to pull out a 4-3 win over the Lake Erie Monsters. Another strange night for special teams saw both the Checkers and Monsters scoring shorthanded goals. This was the second time in back-to-back games that the Checkers have both scored and allowed a shorthanded goal.
Charlotte’s powerplay did finally cash in on an opportunity for the first time in the last three games. After going 0-for-10 in the two-game set against the Stars, Jon Matsumoto broke through for his team, scoring on the first man-advantage of the evening at 15:25 in the first period. Matsumoto picked up the rebound after a Chris Terry shot and beat Monsters’ goaltender Trevor Cann. The goal, Matsumoto’s tenth of the year, moved him into sole possession of the team goal scoring lead.
Drayson Bowman would score his second goal in as many games just a few minutes later, getting his own rebound, skating behind the net, and getting off a second shot that beat Cann. Brett Sutter was key in the play, grabbing the primary assist by feeding the puck to Bowman and then heading straight to the net, creating traffic in front of the Monsters’ netminder. Sutter has now picked up points in all three of his games (2G, 1A) since returning from a short stint with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes.
Lake Erie’s Mike Carman would cut Charlotte’s lead in half just 1:27 into the second period, capitalizing on a Michal Jordan turnover during a Checkers’ powerplay. Chris Terry would return the favor at the 13:51 mark of the second with a shorthanded goal of his own. A miscommunication behind the net, caused Monsters’ goaltender Cann to bobble the puck and Terry jumped on the opportunity, scoring a wrap-around goal into the empty net and restoring the Checkers’ two-goal lead.
The Monsters came out ready to play in the third period and their puck pressure resulted in two goals that would tie the game at three a piece. Leading goal scorer Hugh Jessiman picked up a powerplay tally at the 3:33 mark. Evan Brophey nabbed the game-tying goal at even strength at 10:45 when he was the recipient of a pass that resulted from a Mike Murphy miscue behind his own net.
With the game seeming destined for overtime, former Lake Erie Monster Chris Durno stepped in and played hero for the home team. Defenceman Chris Murray broke his stick on a shot from the point and headed to the bench where Michal Jordan stepped on in his place. Jordan rushed to the vacated point, received a pass from Matsumoto and promptly fired a shot on net. Durno was able to get a stick on the shot and saw the deflected puck beat Cann top shelf with just 93 seconds remaining in the game. The goal was Durno’s first marker in his last six games.
Mike Murphy earned the win for the Checkers, stopping 27 of Lake Erie’s 30 shots on goal, including several key saves while the Monsters were coming on strong in the second and third periods.
Tomorrow night, a rematch with the Monsters, will mark the final game in the Checkers’ current homestand. Come on out to Time Warner Cable Arena and cheer our future Canes on to victory!
See post-game comments from Chris Durno, Chris Terry, Zach Boychuk, and Coach Jeff Daniels here.
Game Sheet: click here
Game Photos: click here