Charlotte Checkers Even Up Series: Calder Cup Finals
The Charlotte Checkers are on their way to Rosemont, Illinois with a 1-1 split in the opening two games of the Calder Cup Finals. The series began Saturday night where the Checkers let one slip away from them. Coming out hot with three goals in the first period (Trevor Carrick, Martin Necas, and Andrew Poturalski), the home team maintained a 3-1 lead going into the 2nd. But that’s where things started sliding downhill for the Checkers.
Zac Leslie and Zach Whitecloud both were able to score against Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic in the 2nd period, tying things up at 3 goals apiece. That last goal especially hurt because there was just 6 seconds to go until the horn. With things all tied up at 3 heading into the 3rd period, both defenses buckled down and held the other team scoreless. The OT period featured a Chicago powerplay that Charlotte was able to kill, but at the 5:30 mark Stefan Matteau snuck the game winner past Nedeljkovic to give the Wolves a 1-0 series lead.
With a 24-hour turnaround, the two teams met again last night on the ice of Bojangles Coliseum. Looking for revenge and desperately not wanting to go down in a 2-0 series hole, the Checkers bounced back in a nice way. This one was very similar to Game 1, except had a better outcome. The Checkers got on the board first with a shot from Nick Schilkey. But less than a minute later the Wolves answered with a goal of their own, with Dustin Tokarski in the net for Charlotte.
The 2nd period saw the most action in Game 2 with five goals scored between the two teams. Nicolas Roy and Stelio Mattheos scored the first two, giving Charlotte a 3-1 lead. Like I mentioned, this was very similar to Game 1 because with a 2nd period 3-1 lead, the Wolves scored the next two goals to tie things up at 3. This created some uncertainty for Charlotte fans who remembered what happened just 24 hours earlier. But this time around, the Checkers answered the call with a Tomas Jurco goal with just over a minute left to play in the 2nd.
The Checkers defense really clamped down after that. They held Chicago to just 4 shots on goal throughout the 3rd period, while Andrew Poturalski added an empty netter that gave the Checkers a 5-3 lead with a minute remaining. Charlotte rode out the last minute to a much-needed Game 2 victory at home.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the Checkers and Wolves both travel to Rosemont for games 3,4, and 5. They will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday of this week, all starting at 8:00 p.m. Charlotte fans who cannot travel for the games can catch the action on AHLtv. If the best of four series goes on longer than that, games 6 and 7 will be played back here in Charlotte Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14. Let’s go Checkers!