McCormick's Hat Trick Leads Checkers to 5-2 Road Win
BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Checkers wrapped up their lengthy road trip with an impressive 5-2 win over Bridgeport.
Max McCormick was the primary contributor to Charlotte's offense, notching three goals to pick up the Checkers' first hat trick of the season. His first tally came when the Checkers were trailing late in the opening frame and the powerful forward knocked home a rebound out front, then late in the third he launched a quick shot from the right circle that found the back of the net to give the visitors' some breathing room. Finally, McCormick wrapped up his first career hat trick in the waning moments of regulation by hitting the empty net to seal Charlotte's road victory.
For the second night in a row for Charlotte, the opening frame featured offensive fireworks. Fredrik Claesson opened the scoring with a seeing-eye point shot just 67 seconds into regulation, but the Sound Tigers responded with a pair of their own tallies just minutes later. McCormick's power-play strike later in the frame brought the score to a 2-2 deadlock heading into the first intermission.
Things settled in the second, with neither side able to break the tie, but Charlotte's power-play answered the call again in the third. Eetu Luostarinen cleaned up a rebound in front just 74 seconds into the frame to snatch the lead back and the Checkers never looked back, cruising on to a 5-2 victory.
Alex Nedeljkovic shook off Bridgeport's early surge and shut them down the rest of the way, finishing the night with 23 saves and another win under his belt.
With tonight's win, the Checkers finish their road trip with a 6-1-0 record ... Max McCormick's first career hat trick is the 12th in franchise history and the first since Janne Kuokkanen's on April 7, 2018 ... McCormick has points in each of his last three games ... Colin Markison has assists in each of his last two games ... Morgan Geekie has points in each of his last three games ... Oliwer Kaski had his third multi-point game of the season and his first multi-assist game ... Eetu Luostarinen returned to the lineup after missing two games due to illness and set a career high with three points. He now has points in two straight games ... Alex Nedeljkovic has won four straight games ... Tonight was the seventh time this season that the Checkers have scored multiple power-play goals ... The Checkers have scored at least three goals in eight straight games and are 18-3-2 this season when hitting that mark ... The Checkers are 17-4-1 this season when scoring the game's first goal ... Julien Gauthier suffered an injury during warmups and missed the game ... Stelio Mattheos and Kerby Rychel also missed the game due to injury ... Derek Sheppard was a healthy extra
The Checkers now return to Charlotte for a six-game homestand, starting with the sold-out 50s Night on Tuesday against Hershey.
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