Saarela Seals Charlotte's 50th Win with OT Winner
CLEVELAND, OH- It took longer than 60 minutes, but the Checkers went toe-to-toe with the desperation driven Cleveland Monsters and came away with an overtime victory.
Throughout the entirety of the 60 minutes of regulation the Checkers never found themselves with a lead. Cleveland busted out of the gates with two goals in the first six minutes, but a pair of greasy goals from Patrick Brown and Tomas Jurco evened the score heading into the first intermission.
The Monsters were outshot in the middle frame but came away with the period's lone goal, pushing a puck over the line to regain their advantage through 40 minutes of play. Needing a win to keep their ground in a tight North Division playoff race, the Monsters attempted to lock things down in the third, but Julien Gauthier pulled the visitors back into a tie by splitting a pair of defenders and wiring a wrister top shelf midway through the frame to eventually force overtime.
The extra frame saw some key chances for both sides, but a strong defensive play by Charlotte turned into an odd-man rush for Nick Schilkey and Aleksi Saarela, with the former feeding a pass across and the latter rifling a shot past Cleveland netminder Brad Thiessen for his 30th goal of the season and the game winner.
Ale Nedeljkovic shook off Cleveland's early success and turned in a strong performance, finishing the night with 25 saves, including several tough stops down the stretch of regulation and into overtime.
The Checkers became the first team this season and the sixth in the last seven seasons to hit 50 wins ... Tonight's win snapped a five-game losing streak in overtime games ... Tonight was Saarela's third overtime winner of the season ... Saarela is the fourth player in franchise history to score 30 goals in a single season ... Saarela extended his goal streak to three games, tied for the longest by a Checker this season ... Julien Gauthier has goals in six of his last seven games and is on a three-game goal streak, tied for the longest by a Checker this season ... Martin Necas recorded his second straight two-assist game and has two points in each of his last four games ... Tomas Jurco extended his point streak to five games ... Eric Williams made his AHL debut and finished with a +1 rating ... Andrew Poturalski, Roland McKeown, Josiah Didier, Clark Bishop, Janne Kuokkanen and Spencer Smallman all missed the game due to injury ... Scott Davidson and Scot Darling were healthy extras
The Checkers wrap up their regular season schedule with a rematch against Cleveland tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
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American Hockey League Stories from April 11, 2019
- Monsters Stumble, Fall to Checkers 4-3 in Overtime - Cleveland Monsters
- Saarela Seals Charlotte's 50th Win with OT Winner - Charlotte Checkers
- Roadrunners Look to Clinch Playoff Berth this Weekend at Tucson Arena - Tucson Roadrunners
- Hogs Cap Regular Season with Fan Appreciation Night - Rockford IceHogs
- Rampage Announce Roster Moves - San Antonio Rampage
- Iowa Wild Recalls CJ Motte and Dante Salituro from Allen - Iowa Wild
- Toronto Marlies Named to 2018-19 AHL All-Star Teams - Toronto Marlies
- Barracuda Trainer Will Leonard and Sara Leonard Celebrate Birth of Baby Girl Twins - San Jose Barracuda
- The Bridgeport Report: Week 27 - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Tampa Bay Lightning Reassign Jonne Tammela, Matthew Spencer to Orlando Solar Bears - Syracuse Crunch
- Griffins Sign Alec McCrea to One-Year Contract, Assign Nagle to Walleye - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Carter Verhaeghe Named 2018-19 AHL First Team All-Star - Syracuse Crunch
- Carr Named to 2018-19 AHL First All-Star Team - Chicago Wolves
- Benson and Starrett Named to 2018-19 AHL Second All-Star Team - Bakersfield Condors
- Wolf Pack's John Gilmour Earns First-Team AHL All-Star Honors - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Amerks Defenseman Zach Redmond Named to 2018-19 AHL First All-Star Team - Rochester Americans
- Ethan Prow Named 2018-19 AHL Second Team All-Star - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Ness Named 2018-19 AHL Second Team All-Star - Hershey Bears
- Nedeljkovic, Poturalski Named to AHL All-Star Teams - Charlotte Checkers
- 2018-19 American Hockey League First and Second All-Star Teams Named - AHL
- Thunderbirds Close 2018-19 Season with Three-Game Weekend - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Jets Reassign Eric Comrie to the Manitoba Moose - Manitoba Moose
- Moose Release Declan Chisholm - Manitoba Moose
- Bears Recall Goaltender Adam Morrison from South Carolina - Hershey Bears
- Tampa Bay Lightning Reassign Defenseman Cameron Gaunce to Syracuse Crunch - Syracuse Crunch
- Senators Announce Fan Appreciation Details - Belleville Senators
- Blue Jackets Assign Defenseman Adam Clendening to Monsters - Cleveland Monsters
- Capitals Recall Ilya Samsonov from Hershey - Hershey Bears
- Reign Strikes for Biggest Win of the Season - Ontario Reign
- Barracuda Secure Home-Ice with 4-3 Win at San Diego - San Jose Barracuda
- Roadrunners Edged in Bakersfield as Pacific's Playoff Race Thickens - Tucson Roadrunners
- Gulls Drop Regular Season Home Finale - San Diego Gulls
- Currie Notches a Hat Trick as Condors Win 40th Game, 4-3 - Bakersfield Condors
- Heat Drop Midweek Tilt to Ontario - Stockton Heat
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