Checkers Throttle Phantoms 6-2 to Stay Hot
CHARLOTTE, NC - The surging Checkers showed no signs of slowing down Wednesday night, thrashing the Phantoms by a 6-2 score to pick up another series sweep.
Tomas Jurco set the tone right off the bat when he cut through the Lehigh Valley defense and opened the scoring just 20 seconds after the opening faceoff and it was all Checkers from there. Morgan Geekie punched a loose puck through a mass of bodies minutes later to double the lead, then Jake Bean unleashed a one-timer to give Charlotte a three-goal advantage before the first buzzer.
The Phantoms would finally break through late in the first to show some signs of life, but Charlotte's power play propelled the home squad back ahead from there. Patrick Brown netted the lone goal of the middle frame, powering home a puck from down low for his 18th of the season, then Martin Necas kicked off the third by launching a one-time goal from his new favorite firing spot - the left circle.
Lehigh Valley had one more rally attempt in them but it was squashed out by an empty-net conversion from Steven Lorentz and that would seal the deal for Charlotte. Dustin Tokarski kept his pristine record perfect as he recorded 22 saves in another winning effort.
Assistant Coach Ryan Warsofsky on the team playing hard down the final stretch of the regular season
Our mindset since day one is that no matter what the score is, we're going to compete and play the right way. We've got to be proud of our guys because they're not looking at the standings. They're just putting their heads down and going to work.
Warsofsky on trying to secure the league's best record
It's important to have home ice, and we're playing for home ice through the whole playoffs. It's important to line changes and matchups, and our building gets loud and we want to use that to our advantage and as motivation too.
Warsofsky on Tomas Jurco
I think the biggest thing is his compete level. He's playing with a little bit of an edge, and you can see that he wants the puck on his stick and plays with a little bit of a swagger. He's got some good pro experience in the NHL, and he's playing with confidence and it was a huge goal to get us started right away.
Jake Bean on playing well down the stretch
I think we've just got to keep trying to do the little things right. Going into the playoffs, you're not going to just flip a switch. You've got to have that mode before you get in there, and we want to be playing our best hockey these last four games.
Bean on his offensive success this season
I think I'm fortunate to be out there with good guys. We've got a lot of skill on our team and guys can put you in spots were you just have to put it in, or you can give them the puck and they can do some pretty special things with it. I'm fortunate to be in the spot I'm and hopefully I can keep going.
Tomas Jurco on his early goal
The last couple of games we've scored right away in the first couple of minutes, and that obviously helps a lot. It's not always going to go this way, but the last couple of games we've played really good so hopefully if we keep working hard we're going to have some results.
Jurco on his play
It's been pretty good the last couple of games for me. I wasn't playing until late January, so for me this is kind of the beginning or the middle of the season. I'm getting back to feeling pretty good, so I'll keep working hard and hopefully it's going to keep going that way.
Jurco on if his experience can help the team in its playoff run
Any way I can help. Mostly it's on the ice, but anytime it's needed in the locker room I'm trying to step up and talk to guys. Honestly, here we have so many good players that it hasn't been the case yet.
The Checkers have 16 wins in their last 20 games since Feb. 15. Though idle until Saturday, they can clinch the best record in the conference and the league on Friday depending on other results around the league ... The Checkers out-scored Lehigh Valley by a combined 11-3 margin and out-shot them by a combined 77-41 margin over this week's two-game set. Charlotte won the season series with a 6-1-1 record ... Jurco's three points give him 13 points in 15 games as a Checker ... Bean's 13th goal of the season tied the Checkers' franchise record for most by a defenseman in a single season ... Geekie's goal gave him eight points (3g, 5a) in his last eight games ... Tokarski improved to 5-0-0 as a Checker with just seven total goals allowed ... Forward Clark Bishop and defenseman Josiah Didier missed the game due to injury ... Forward Zack Stortini and goaltender Scott Darling were healthy extras.
The Checkers continue their final home stand of the season by hosting the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday at 6 p.m.
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from April 3, 2019
- Admirals Top Rampage for Sixth Straight Win - Milwaukee Admirals
- Cleveland Monsters Blank Rocket 5-0 - Laval Rocket
- Condors Stumble Late in 3-2 Loss to Manitoba - Bakersfield Condors
- Monsters Start Road Trip with 5-0 Win over Laval Rocket - Cleveland Monsters
- Early Struggles Hinder Wolf Pack - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Phantoms Conclude Five-Game Road-Trip - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Lowry's Quick Start Springboards T-Birds Past Wolf Pack - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Checkers Throttle Phantoms 6-2 to Stay Hot - Charlotte Checkers
- Senators Shutout by Syracuse - Belleville Senators
- Crunch Blank Senators, 1-0 - Syracuse Crunch
- Aidan Dudas Joins Reign on ATO - Ontario Reign
- Wolves Insider: Taking the Central - Chicago Wolves
- Game #64 Preview: Tucson at Iowa - Tucson Roadrunners
- Penguins Sign Jon Lizotte to ATO - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Sabres Assign Borgen to Rochester - Rochester Americans
- The Bridgeport Report: Week 26 - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Senators Sign Gruden to ATO for Remainder of Season - Belleville Senators
- Ivan Chekhovich Assigned to Barracuda - San Jose Barracuda
- Thunderbirds Sign F Adam Rockwood to One-Year AHL Contract for 2019-20 Season - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Forward Landon Ferraro Named Iowa Wild's IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Iowa Wild
- Matt Taormina Named Heat 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Stockton Heat
- Alex Belzile Named Laval Rocket's 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Laval Rocket
- Syracuse Crunch Knockout Poker Tournament at Turning Stone Resort Casino Set for April 10 - Syracuse Crunch
- Leier Named Belleville's 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Belleville Senators
- Chris Breen Named P-Bruins 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Providence Bruins
- Alex Lyon Named Lehigh Valley's 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Tyler Wong Named Chicago Wolves' 2018-19 AHL Man of the Year - Chicago Wolves
- Mermis Named Roadrunners 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year - Tucson Roadrunners
- Doyle Somerby Named Cleveland Monsters 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Cleveland Monsters
- Zack Stortini Named Checkers 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Charlotte Checkers
- Peter Stoykewych Named Moose 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Manitoba Moose
- Beck Malenstyn Named Hershey Bears 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Hershey Bears
- McCollum Named Admirals IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year - Milwaukee Admirals
- Tristan Jarry Named Penguins' Winner of IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Brett Sutter Named Reign's IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Ontario Reign
- Holmstrom Named Bridgeport's IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Lowe Named Condors 2018-19 Ioa/Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Bakersfield Condors
- Nathan Paetsch Named Amerks 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Rochester Americans
- Chris Terry Named Griffins' 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Daniel Walcott Named Syracuse Crunch's IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Syracuse Crunch
- Mason Geertsen Named Colorado Eagles 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Colorado Eagles
- John Gilmour Named Wolf Pack's 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Sam Carrick Named San Diego Gulls 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - San Diego Gulls
- Caamano Earns Stars Nomination for AHL Man of the Year - Texas Stars
- Anaheim Ducks Announce Roster Moves - San Diego Gulls
- Bobby Farnham Named Springfield Thunderbirds 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Springfield Thunderbirds
- 2018-19 American Hockey League Man of the Year Team Winners Named - AHL
- Jaime Sifers Names Utica Comets' 2019-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - Utica Comets
- Bibeau Named Barracuda 2018-19 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year - San Jose Barracuda
- Powell Named to ECHL All-Rookie Team - Rochester Americans
- Coyotes Recall Hill from Tucson - Tucson Roadrunners
- Senators Recall Racine from Brampton - Belleville Senators
- Thunderbirds Sign F Liam Pecararo, D Dylan Macpherson to ATOs - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Flames Recall Dube on Emergency Basis - Stockton Heat
- Barracuda Recall Defenseman Zach Frye - San Jose Barracuda
- Moose Sign Declan Chisholm - Manitoba Moose
- Game Day Build-Up: Senators vs. Crunch, April 3 - Belleville Senators
- Blue Jackets Assign Defenseman Adam Clendening to Monsters - Cleveland Monsters
- Moose Edge Bakersfield, 3-1, in First of Back-to-Back - Manitoba Moose
- Roadrunners Score and Survive to Beat Iowa 5-4 - Tucson Roadrunners
- Iowa's Comeback Falls Short in 5-4 Defeat to Tucson - Iowa Wild
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.