Six Unanswered Strikes Sink Charlotte in 7-3 Loss
BRIDGEPORT, CT - A strong start for the Checkers ended up falling apart as they dropped their weekend finale to Bridgeport 7-3.
The visitors started the scoring thanks to an impressive breakaway effort from Nick Schilkey midway through the first, then used tallies from Dan Renouf and Aleksi Saarela to build a 3-1 advantage seven minutes into the middle frame. Thomas Hickey, on a conditioning stint from the NHL, would answer back 90 seconds after Saarela's strike with a goal that turned the tide for the home team.
With momentum on their side, the Sound Tigers would tack on two more goals before the next buzzer to give them their first lead of the night heading into the second intermission. The Checkers would push back to start the third, but a defensive breakdown led to a wide-open one-timer for Josh Ho-Sang, who would take over the frame from there.
Charlotte went the aggressive route and pulled netminder Callum Booth for an extra attacker with over six minutes to play and would create several high-end chances, but Ho-Sang would eventually make them pay. Penalty trouble further hindered the Checkers' last-ditch comeback attempt late, and Ho-Sang would pot one more on the man advantage to pick up a natural hat trick with Bridgeport sixth unanswered tally, and the home squad rolled away with a lopsided victory.
Ho-Sang would finish the night with a staggering five points, while Hickey and Andrew Ladd - also on a conditioning stint from the Islanders - each notched three points to drive the offense. Christopher Gibson made 25 stops to pick up his fifth straight win, while Callum Booth had 26 saves in the losing effort, including helping to kill five of Bridgeport's six power plays. On the flip side the Checkers converted on their one man advantage for the night.
The Checkers finished their fourth and final three-in-three series of the season with a 2-1-0 record, giving them a 7-5-0 mark on the season ... Tonight snapped Charlotte's three-game winning streak against the Sound Tigers and evened the season series at 3-3-0 ... Seven goals is the most the Checkers have allowed in a game this season, breaking the previous high mark of six that was also held by Bridgeport ... Tonight was the fourth time in 24 instances that the Checkers have lost a game in regulation when they held a lead at the first intermission ... Josh Ho-Sang is the first player to record a hat trick against the Checkers this season ... Nick Schilkey extended his points streak to four games, Janne Kuokkanen extended his assist streak to three games, and Julien Gauthier and Zach Nastasiuk extended their point streaks to three games ... Clark Bishop, Roland McKeown and Spencer Smallman missed the game due to injury ... Dennis Robertson was a healthy extra
With their final three-in-three road trip behind them, the Checkers now head back home for a weekend series against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
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