Charlotte Checkers: Calder Cup Finals Coming To Charlotte

BRIDGEPORT, CT - NOVEMBER 11: Jake Bean #2 of the Charlotte Checkers brings the puck up ice during a game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena on November 11, 2018 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Gregory Vasil/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CT - NOVEMBER 11: Jake Bean #2 of the Charlotte Checkers brings the puck up ice during a game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena on November 11, 2018 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Gregory Vasil/Getty Images) /
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The Charlotte Checkers defeat the Toronto Marlies 4-3 in double overtime in Game 6 in Charlotte, sending all the fans to their feet, as they punch their first ever ticket to the Calder Cup Finals in franchise history.

The Charlotte Checkers are going to the Calder Cup Finals. It’s a great 2018-19 season for Carolina hockey. The Carolina Hurricanes made the playoffs for the first time in ten years and made it to the final four, ultimately losing in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Other hockey teams around the state have also experienced favorable seasons. The SPHL Marksmen of Fayetteville made the playoffs only to be knocked out in the first best of three round. The Thunderbirds of the FHL made it to their cup finals winning it all. It is. Glorious time for hockey in Carolina. Especially for the Checkers!

The Checkers started off right, but things got close real fast. In the first period, after a long scoreless near twenty minutes, Patrick Brown scored the first goal of the game, for the Checkers, with only 9 seconds remaining in the first. Clark Bishop added on to the lead for the Checkers shorthanded.

Things went south real quick with the Toronto Marlies scoring three in a row to not only cut the Checkers lead, tie the game, but also take the lead. Dmytro Timashov on a highlight reel, Nikita Kucherov trademarked, penalty shot goal. Andreas Borgman to tie it and Calle Rosen to take the lead.

The Checkers would not let the “choke” happen, as Patrick Brown would score on the powerplay, with assists from deadline acquired Tomas Jurco, and Morgan Geekie. The Marlies dominated the 3rd period, they led in shots 15-3. The 3rd period was not ideal for the Checkers, but the defensive core refused to surrender, and most importantly, Alex Nedeljkovic stood tall and kept it tied.

Throughout the game, the officiating was questionable, the Checkers were granted nine penalties in total, with the Marlies amounting to only three. An abundance of no-calls, including apparently the game-winning goal, which Toronto fans argue the puck went out of play and back in. Nonetheless, overtime was scoreless and Morgan Geekie would end it all in double overtime, off a rebound shot from Steven Lorentz.

Props to Carolina hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour and Charlotte Checkers head coach, Mike Vellucci. They’ve made this possible, Brind’Amour helped developed a select shining few of these players in Charlotte now like Bishop, Brown, and Haydn Fleury. Vellucci has led these Checkers to the best regular season record in the American Hockey League, to coming back in Game 2, and ultimately a Calder Cup Final appearance.

If you have not been watching the Charlotte Checkers, it is a good time to start doing so, the games are entertaining and the Checkers broke a franchise record of 8,393 fans at Bojangles Coliseum. The Checkers await the winner of the Chicago Wolves-San Diego Gulls series, as Chicago currently leads that series 3-2. Game 1 is on June 1st at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.

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Question for Cardiac Cane Readers: Who will the Charlotte Checkers see in the Calder Cup Finals?