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Checkers Get Payback to Earn Split of Weekend Series with T-Birds

April 7, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (31-28-8-5) could not complete a weekend sweep, as the Charlotte Checkers (49-17-7-1) responded with a 5-0 win on Sunday inside Bojangles' Coliseum.

Charlotte, like Saturday night, jumped to the early lead. This time around, it took just 38 seconds for Roland McKeown to blast a drop pass through Sam Montembeault to give the Checkers the 1-0 advantage.

At the other end, Dustin Tokarski got his first start against Springfield as a member of the Checkers and did his job, stopping all seven Springfield attempts in the first period. The action was overshadowed by a pair of fights in the opening frame. After delivering a late hit early in the period, Zack Stortini was challenged by Bobby Farnham. Later on, Joel Lowry also took to fisticuffs as he scrapped with Derek Sheppard.

After hitting the crossbar earlier in the period, Aleksi Saarela would not miss late in the period, scoring his second goal of the weekend on a beautiful move to the left side of Montembeault's net before lifting a wrister up into the top shelf at 18:27.

Charlotte would not slow down when the game got into the middle period, as Trevor Carrick slapped one through Montembeault at 5:55 to extend the lead to 3-0. After both teams failed with a couple of power play chances, the Checkers added to their lead at even strength, with Morgan Geekie beating Montembeault off a centering look from Saarela at 17:30.

After scoring all even-strength goals in the first 40 minutes, the Checkers added a power play strike from Julien Gauthier at the 7:18 mark of the third to make it 5-0.

The Thunderbirds return home for their final two home games of the season on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 against Bridgeport and Providence respectively. The puck drops each night at 7:05 p.m.

Springfield Thunderbirds 2019-2020 ticket memberships are on sale now and include the best benefits of being a Thunderbirds ticket holder. To learn more about memberships and single game tickets, visit or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).

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