The Charlotte Checkers were unable to overcome a sloppy start to the game and saw their comeback bid in the third fall short as they lost to division rival Chicago Wolves this afternoon by a score of 5-2. The loss cuts the Checkers lead over the Wolves to just three points in a tight Midwest Division race, with Chicago still holding two games in hand.
Chicago jumped out to a two-goal lead on two first period goals by their team-leader in goals Mark Mancari. The Checkers went into the first intermission not only down two goals but also saw themselves outshot 11-6.
The Wolves came out ready to play in the second period, netting a goal just over a minute in as Tim Miller was able to beat Charlotte goaltender Mike Murphy. Though the Checkers were able to fire a few more shots on goal in the second frame, the Wolves still dictated much of the play, preventing the visiting team from mounting any serious threat.
Center Zac Dalpe gave the Checkers some life in the final minute of the second period, beating Chicago goaltender Eddie Lack on an unassisted shorthanded breakaway and making it a two-goal game. The goal was Dalpe’s third goal in his last two games and gives him six points in his last six games (4G, 2A) with the Checkers.
The Checkers were able to carry some of the momentum from Dalpe’s goal into the third period where Nicolas Blanchard cut the deficit to one 4:29 in with his second goal in as many games.
Charlotte would be handed the perfect opportunity to tie the game when Mark Mancari was whistled fora tripping penalty at the midway point of the third frame. The Checkers, however, had a difficult time gaining the zone for the majority of the man-advantage and gave up a pair of two-on-one breakaways, with the Wolves cashing in on one just after the penalty time had expired.
Murphy made 22 saves in the losing effort.
Charlotte heads home for a four-game homestand which begins Wednesday night against the Hershey Bears, the Checkers’ forst round playoff opponent from last season. Head to www.gocheckers.com to get your tickets and cheer our future Canes on to victory!