Checkers Snag a Point But Fall in OT 2-1
CHARLOTTE, NC - As they continue through their gauntlet of formidable opponents, the Checkers were able to snag a point against the Syracuse Crunch but ultimately fell in overtime 2-1.
Cal Foote opened the scoring midway through the first period, but that would prove to be the lone tally for the entirety of the first 40 minutes of play. Both sides struggled to create chances, with Syracuse holding a slight 17-15 edge in shots after two frames, and the netminders stood tall throughout.
It wasn't until an early man advantage in the third that the Checkers finally broke through, with a mad scramble in front ending with Martin Necas potting his 11th goal of the season to even the score. Charlotte would continue pushing from there, including two more shots at the power play down the stretch, but to no avail, and the game moved on to overtime.
The Checkers created their fair share of chances early on in the extra frame but couldn't solve Syracuse goalie Eddie Pasquale, then it was the Crunch who gained possession and found a back-door play to clinch the win and take home the two points.
Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
Down 1-0, it was a very tight game both ways. There wasn't much room. We didn't give them many chances and they didn't give us many chances. To get a big power-play goal there to tie it up was big. We did get two more chances in the third on the power play and mustered one or two chances. Overall it was a good game to fight. IT was a playoff hockey game against a really good team and a really good coach over there, and there wasn't much room at all.
Vellucci on Syracuse's shot blocking
We talked after the first that you have to get your shot through and we didn't get it through very often. Give them credit because it was a playoff game and they played hard.
Vellucci on Clark Bishop's physical play
I think it gives everybody energy and it gives the building energy. He's physical, he's fast and he scored a goal there that we had a penalty on. He played a good game.
Vellucci on the overtime period
There were three or four chances for us and one for them. I don't think we shot enough but their goalie made some big saves, and there's not much Ned could do on the goal.
Patrick Brown on the game
I thought it was a good game. Ned was definitely our best player on the ice tonight and I don't think we did a good enough job coming back for him. He held us in it the whole game and gave us a chance to win, but they made some good plays in overtime and came out on top.
Brown on getting a goal early in the third period
It was huge to get a power-play goal that was pretty grindy too. It was just getting bodies to the net and crashing, and Marty was able to put it away and get the boys going.
Brown on getting a point in the standings
It's better than no points, but we have to hit the reset button and try to focus on tomorrow.
Brown on Clark Bishop's physical play
Bish is great. When he hits, he hits hard and he hits all the way through the guy. They're clean. He's fast, he's strong, it makes a loud noise and it gets everybody going, especially the fans. I love his game, and he's going to keep doing that for us down the stretch and that's huge.
The Checkers now have a two-point lead over Syracuse with equal games played. Charlotte leads the season series that concludes tomorrow with a 2-0-1 record ... Charlotte missed an opportunity to set a new franchise record with their seventh consecutive home win. They have won six straight at home three times, including twice this season ... In seven games since the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, Jurco has seven points (3g, 4a) and Necas has eight (2g, 6a) ... After losing five straight, the Checkers are now 7-7 in games decided during the five-minute overtime period. They have gone to just two shootouts (1-1) ... Forward Aleksi Saarela served the first game of a two-game suspension ... Forward Zack Stortini was a healthy extra.
The Checkers and Crunch will face off for one last time this regular season tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
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