Denisenko Comes up Clutch in 3-2 Checkers Win
BRIDGEPORT, CT - Some late-game heroics lifted the Checkers once again as they sunk the Bridgeport Islanders 3-2 to pull off a perfect weekend road trip.
For the second game in a row, the Checkers found themselves in a tightly-contested tie game with time winding down. After Charlotte successfully killed off the majority of a Bridgeport two-man advantage, the Islanders took a penalty of their own to negate the remainder of their advantage and hand the visitors a late power-play opportunity of their own.
With just over two minutes to play, Grigori Denisenko loaded up a slap shot from the top of the right circle and rocketed a shot to the back of the net - breaking the tie and clinching two points in the standings for Charlotte.
It was a game of responses for both sides up until Denisenko's game-winner. Scott Wilson opened the scoring early for Charlotte before Chris Terry evened things up less than two minutes after. Then when Andy Andreoff pushed Bridgeport ahead late in the middle frame, Cole Schwindt tied the game less than three minutes later with his team-leading ninth of the season.
Aside from those outbursts the offensive chances were limited for both sides, as the Checkers held a slight edge in shots 18-17. Antoine Bibeau got the starting nod for Charlotte - his first AHL appearance since Nov. 7 - and improved to 2-0-1 in a Checkers sweater.
Notes The Checkers have regulation wins in consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 14 and 17 ... The Checkers scored the game-winning goal in the final five minutes of regulation for the second straight game ... Three of Charlotte's last four wins have been by one goal ... Cole Schwindt has goals in three straight games and multi-point outings in each of the last two, giving him five points over his last three contests ... Connor Carrick extended his assist streak to three games ... Scott Wilson, Grigori Denisenko and Serron Noel each posted a point for the second straight game, while Alexander True ran his point streak to three games ... Dating back to the 2019-20 season the Checkers have won three straight against Bridgeport, with their last loss coming on Oct. 11, 2019 ... Aleksi Heponiemi and Matt Kiersted returned to the lineup after their NHL stints ... Max McCormick, Max Gildon, Ryan Lohin and Christopher Gibson were healthy extras ... John Ludvig missed the game due to injury
With this weekend road trip in the books, the Checkers will return to the Queen City and kick off a pre-holiday home stand that begins Friday at 7 p.m. against the Syracuse Crunch.
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