Checkers Get Revenge with 5-3 Win over Pens
CHARLOTTE, NC - The Checkers rebounded nicely in front of a packed house Saturday night, dropping the Penguins by a 5-3 score.
In a reversal of the night before, the Checkers jumped out to an early lead by pumping in three goals before the nine-minute mark and never looking back. The visitors pushed back over the course of the final 40 minutes but it wasn't enough to overcome Charlotte's attack, specifically the duo of Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy, who each picked up three points on the night.
After entering last night's contest in relief and logging over two periods of play, Alex Nedeljkovic stayed dialed in for the start Saturday, making 32 stops to notch his league-leading 18th victory on the season.
Coach Mike Vellucci on the start
Obviously it was a strong start. I thought the guys came out with a lot of jump. I could tell in the locker room that they were focused before the game, and that's what you have to be all the time. I know it's a young group and sometimes it's hard to stay focused, but that's my job and the veteran's job to keep the guys focused.
Vellucci on the line of Nicolas Roy, Julien Gauthier and Janne Kuokkanen
I thought Gauthier was especially good. He played very smart and was a beast with the puck. You couldn't take the puck away from him, he went to the net and did a lot of good things that started with the first goal. I thought Nicky Roy has been struggling of late but I thought today was one of his best games for sure.
Vellucci on responding to last night's loss
(The players) believe in themselves and in each other so it's good to have bouncebacks. Obviously you don't want to have too many letdowns and we've had a few, but the bouncebacks are pretty critical when you want to be a good team.
Julien Gauthier on bouncing back from last night's loss
We really needed that game, to be honest. It was not the way we wanted to be paling last night of course, but I thought the boys answer back was really good and we had a big win tonight.
Gauthier on his line with Roy and Janne Kuokkanen
We played all year together and had fun together. The past few weeks we've been really good in practice together and have that chemistry, so it was a really good night for us three.
Tonight's postgame jersey auction raised $17,475 for the fight against ovarian cancer ... A day after trailing the Penguins 3-0 following one period, the Checkers led 3-0 after the first period tonight. They were up 14-3 in first-period shots... The Checkers avoided losing consecutive games for just the second time this season ... Gauthier's goal was his fifth in his last five games. He had seven in his first 35 ... Morgan Geekie's goal was his seventh in his last 12 games ... Defensemen Josiah Didier and Dennis Robertson missed the game due to injury ... Forward Steven Lorentz and defenseman Derek Sheppard were healthy extras
The Checkers' home stand rolls on Tuesday for Rolle Back Night, an annual 1950s themed game featuring discounted tickets and concessions.
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from January 12, 2019
- Game Day Build-Up: Senators at Griffins, January 12 - Belleville Senators
- Sens Clip Griffins in Shootout - Belleville Senators
- Amerks Answer Back - Toronto Marlies
- Audette Scores Twice, Nets Shooutout Gamewinner in 6-5 Victory over Manitoba - Laval Rocket
- Starrett Turns Aside 28 Shots to Blank Eagles, 2-0 - Colorado Eagles
- Condors Steal a Shutout in Colorado, 2-0 - Bakersfield Condors
- Moose Force Overtime but Fall in Shootout - Manitoba Moose
- Griffins in First Place After 5-2 Win - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Stars Net Three Unanswered Goals, Top Wild 4-2 - Texas Stars
- Iowa Falters against Texas in 4-2 Loss - Iowa Wild
- Admirals Can't Fly with Gulls - Milwaukee Admirals
- Fourth Straight PPL Center Sellout Crowd for Lehigh Valley Sees Phantoms Lose - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Gulls Dominate at Milwaukee - San Diego Gulls
- Wolf Pack Play Road Warriors in 4-2 Win at Bridgeport - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Devils Down Monsters for Fourth-Straight Win, 5-4 - Binghamton Devils
- Hartford snaps Bridgeport's franchise-record 15-game point streak at home - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Samsonov Earns First AHL Shutout in 3-0 Win - Hershey Bears
- Three-Goal T-Birds' Comeback Thwarted by Bruins - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Newcomer Carey Nets Late Game-Winner for P-Bruins - Providence Bruins
- Comeback Falls Short for Monsters in 5-4 Loss to Devils - Cleveland Monsters
- Kulbakov Shuts Down Crunch in 3-2 Win - Utica Comets
- Penguins Upended by Checkers, 5-3 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Crunch Downed by Comets, 3-2 - Syracuse Crunch
- Checkers Get Revenge with 5-3 Win over Pens - Charlotte Checkers
- Smith's Hat Trick Helps Amerks Turn the Tables on Marlies - Rochester Americans
- Game #34 Preview: Tucson vs. Chicago - Tucson Roadrunners
- Heat365 Memberships for 15th Season of Stockton Hockey on Sale Now - Stockton Heat
- Coyotes Assign Bunting to Tucson - Tucson Roadrunners
- Heat Close Home Stand against Ontario - Stockton Heat
- Blue Jackets Recall Defenseman Gabriel Carlsson from Monsters - Cleveland Monsters
- Game Preview: Bears at Phantoms, 7:05 p.m. - Hershey Bears
- Rockford Snags Point Thanks to Special Teams Surge - Rockford IceHogs
- Moulson Pots a Pair in Reign Victory - Ontario Reign
- Late Ontario Goal Drops San Jose - San Jose Barracuda
- Rutta Traded to Tampa Bay - Rockford IceHogs
- Slow Start Hinders Roadrunners in 6-3 Loss to Chicago - Tucson Roadrunners
- Rampage Top Wild for Ninth Straight Home Win - San Antonio Rampage
- Specialty Teams Play Pivotal Role in Eagles 6-3 Win over Condors - Colorado Eagles
- Wolves Torch Tucson - Chicago Wolves
- Gust Scores Twice in Condors Loss to Colorado - Bakersfield Condors
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.