Checkers Continue Hot Streak with Another Home Win
CHARLOTTE, NC - Fresh off a week of strong showings and having punched their ticket to the playoffs, the Checkers didn't let their foot off the gas against Hartford, defeating the Wolf Pack 3-1.
Once again it was Charlotte's red-hot power play that paved the way, with the unit converting on two of five man advantages, plus adding a third goal that came just as Hartford's penalty expired.
Martin Necas continued his scoring tear on the man advantage, punching home a rebound from a play created by Tomas Jurco and Jake Bean for his fifth goal in five games. Bean and Necas also combined to set up Julien Gauthier later for another power-play tally, securing their second straight multi-point game each.
Alex Nedeljkovic took his spot between the pipes for the third consecutive game and came away with another win, stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced on the night, including 14 in the final frame alone.
Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
I didn't like the start. They were taking it to us a little bit early and we got a big power-play goal. We have to play better at five-on-five tomorrow. We gave them way too many chances. They out-chanced us five-on-five and we really got three power-play goals there because the guy was still in the box (for the second). We've got to be better at five-on-five.
Vellucci on the power play
The first one was a good shot and a rebound with Marty getting down low, which we've talked about for a long time. The second one with Brownie we talk about taking it to the net and he did a good job there. On the third one was a great pass by Beaner to Goat, and one-on-one he had all the time in the world and made a great play
Vellucci on Alex Nedeljkovic
The coaches were just talking about it. He's played a lot of big games but he was focused today and really kept us in there. They had six chances to our two in the third period and could have made it 3-2 really easy because we gave them too many looks, but he was really steady.
The Checkers extended their point streak to six games (5-0-1), which is their second-longest streak of the season. They also extended their franchise-record home point streak to nine games (8-0-1) and are now 9-1-1 since Feb. 22 ... Nedeljkovic tied his own franchise record with his 31st win of the season. He leads all AHL goalies in the category. He has allowed fewer than three goals in 15 of his last 16 starts ... The Checkers scored on the power play for the ninth straight game. During that time, they are 13-for-45 on the power play (28.9 percent) and 40-for-42 on the penalty kill (95.2 percent) during that time ... Patrick Brown's 29th point of the season is a new career high ... Gauthier became the third Checker to hit the 20-goal mark this season (Aleksi Saarela, Andrew Poturalski) ... Forward Stelio Mattheos made his professional debut ... Forwards Steven Lorentz and Zack Stortini and defensemen Dennis Robertson and Bobby Sanguinetti were healthy extras.
The Checkers and Wolf Pack face off once again tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the home stand finale.
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