Checkers Beat Bruins for 10th Win of the Season
CHARLOTTE, NC - The Checkers and Bruins locked in another tight battle Saturday night but the home team was once again able to pull through, winning 3-2 to move to 10-1-0 this season.
Charlotte's special teams kickstarted the offense once again, with Trevor Carrick opening the scoring on the power play and Michal Cajkovsky extended the lead with a shorthanded finish.
Like the night before, the Bruins pushed back with a power-play tally of their own to cut the advantage to just one through 40 minutes of play. Andrew Poturalski came through with the dagger in the third, however, converting a slick breakaway move and - despite one more push from the visitors - that would be enough.
Alex Nedeljkovic was once again in the net for the Checkers and once again emerged victorious, making 26 saves on the night including stoning former Olympian Ryan Donato on a penalty shot in the first.
Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
I thought it was a little bit of a slow start again for both teams, but we got that early goal on the power play that helped. There's something about this building with all these penalties. It's crazy. We both had nine power plays so it's hard to get into any flow.
Vellucci on leading the league in shorthanded goals
It's paying a price and blocking shots and the guys are looking for it. I'm not going to put a rein on them and say don't go for it. As long as we're doing the right things in our own end, if you have the appropriate time you can take your chance.
Vellucci on Alex Nedeljkovic
We don't win that game without Ned. He made four unbelievable saves at the end especially with the goalie pulled again. His anticipation was awesome, and all you can ask of a goalie is when you need a big save to make one and he's done that time and time again.
Andrew Poturalski on his hot start to the season
I've been given a good opportunity by coach Vellucci and I'm just trying to make the most of it. I have good players around me and when they can make plays around me and help out that makes my job easier too. I just want to run with it and keep having the confidence high.
Poturalski on playing a game with so many penalties
It's tough. It seems like a lot of games this year have had so many special teams. To get in the flow of things at five-on-five is tough, but you've just got to bear down, fight through it, hope you get your chances and make the most of it.
Poturalski on filling in as an alternate with Greg McKegg out due to injury
The boys joke about in the locker room, but I don't think anything changes. I just try to go out there and work hard, and I feel like I'm an older guy on this team so I try to do that stuff anyways.
The Checkers improved to 10-1-0, continuing what was already the best start in team history and improving their AHL-best points percentage to .909 ... This was their fifth consecutive win, tying their longest streak of the season ... Including last season, the Checkers are 19-1-1 in their last 21 regular-season games ... Alex Nedeljkovic maintained his AHL wins lead with his eighth of the season ... Cajkovsky's goal was the Checkers' league-leading fifth shorthanded goal of the season ... Saku Maenalanen assisted on that goal for his league-leading third shorthanded point (2g, 1a) ... Forward Greg McKegg missed the game due to injury ... Forwards Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.
The Checkers will take a week of practice before heading out on a six-game road trip starting Friday in Binghamton.
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