KALAMAZOO, MI—The Charlotte Checkers managed to put four goals past one of the league’s hottest goaltenders, Ryan Nie, but it wasn’t enough as they were downed, 7-4, by the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night in Michigan.
Andrew Carroll added a pair of goals and now has a team-leading 15 tallies while Julien Brouilette recorded a goal, assist and fighting major for the Gordie Howe hat trick. Miika Wiikman made 24 saves and was handed his first regulation loss since Nov. 8, also against Kalamazoo, a span of 11 games.
Nie stopped 36 shots for his fourth win in a row while Matt Jones led the way offensively for Wings with three goals and, for the second consecutive game, scored the game-winner. The Wings have now won five straight.
Charlotte opened the scoring just under two minutes into the game when Jean-Philipp Chabot fed a nice pass to Carroll in the slot. Carroll cradled the pass and slid it past Nie to take the early 1-0 lead.
Kalamazoo would light the lamp three times before the end of the period. Jones directed a cross-crease pass from Andrew Fournier past Wiikman at 5:28 before adding another just over six minutes later. With under two minutes to play in the period, Sam Ftorek skated in alone on the Checkers’ netminder and beat him with a backhander to take a two-goal lead.
The Wings then took a three-goal lead just over five minutes into the second, on the power play, as Mathieu Curadeau took a point shot that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net.
The Checkers would capitalize on a power play of their own late in the period to cut Kalamazoo’s lead to two. On a 5-on-3 advantage, leading scorer Tyler Doig fed a pass to Brouillette who then rifled a slap shot over the glove of Nie for his seventh of the season.
Kalamazoo, however, would tally three quick goals in a span of 2:16 midway through the period, jumping to a 7-2 lead. On the power play, Jones recorded the hat trick when he redirected a pass from Ftorek past Wiikman. Just a minute and a half later, Rick Cleaver chased Wiikman from the Charlotte net when he blasted a one-timer into the top corner on a 4-on-3 man advantage. Ftorek, riding a wave of momentum, added a breakaway goal just 44 seconds later for the five-goal lead.
At the midway point of the third period, Charlotte showed signs of life as David Marshall beat Nie, making it a 7-3 game. Mike Taylor and Brouillette picked up assists on the play.
Carroll would add a late goal, his fifth in the last five games, however, it wasn’t enough as Kalamazoo hung on for the 7-4 victory.
The Checkers (18-12-4-0) will continue their northern swing in Toledo tomorrow before returning home to host the Gwinnett Gladiators on Wednesday. Game time is 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com.
Notes: Ryan Munce (.922) ranks 2nd in save percentage among all ECHL goaltenders…Andrew Carroll has five goals in his last five games…Miika Wiikman has only two regulation losses in 12 games this season (7-2-2)…Julien Brouillette has five points (2g, 3a) in his last five games…T.J. Reynolds has six points in his last seven games, leads all ECHL defensemen with 147 penalty minutes, and is second in overall ECHL plus-minus with a +18 rating…The Checkers are 10-3-1 in their last 14 home games…Derek Couture and Daniel Tkaczuk are on loan to Hartford (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)…Trevor Glass and Chris Chappell are on the 21-day injured reserve.
Charlotte Checkers 4 At Kalamazoo Wings 7 - Status: Final
Jan 9, 2010 - Wings Stadium
Charlotte 1 1 2 - 4
Kalamazoo 3 1 3 - 7
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Carroll 14 (Chabot, Burki), 1:58. 2, Kalamazoo, Jones 13 (Ftorek, Fournier), 5:28. 3, Kalamazoo, Jones 14 (Curadeau, Featherstone), 11:50. 4, Kalamazoo, Ftorek 5 (Willis, Featherstone), 18:46. Penalties-Chabot Chr (roughing), 2:32; Ward Chr (slashing ), 3:21.
2nd Period-5, Kalamazoo, Curadeau 14 (Bootland, Mason), 5:24 (pp). 6, Charlotte, Brouillette 7 (Doig, Leveille), 18:07 (pp). Penalties-Bootland Kal (hooking), 3:06; served by Marshall Chr (bench - too many men), 4:24; Lloyd Kal (high-sticking), 6:48; Chabot Chr (slashing ), 9:18; Fournier Kal (tripping), 16:30; McGinnis Kal (roughing), 17:01.
3rd Period-7, Kalamazoo, Jones 15 (Ftorek, Daavettila), 6:45 (pp). 8, Kalamazoo, Cleaver 17 (Daavettila, Jones), 8:17 (pp). 9, Kalamazoo, Ftorek 6 (Mason, McGinnis), 9:01. 10, Charlotte, Marshall 6 (Taylor, Brouillette), 10:22. 11, Charlotte, Carroll 15 (Slattengren, Graham), 17:19 (pp). Penalties-Roche Chr (holding), 5:50; Willis Kal (interference on the goalkeeper), 7:25; Leveille Chr (slashing ), 7:41; Schaeffer Chr (slashing ), 7:49; Doig Chr (misconduct), 11:25; Brouillette Chr (fighting - major), 16:07; Reynolds Chr (misconduct), 16:07; Bootland Kal (roughing, misconduct), 16:07; Willis Kal (instigating, fighting - major), 16:07.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 10-19-11-40. Kalamazoo 11-7-18-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 2 of 7; Kalamazoo 3 of 7.
Goalies-Charlotte, Wiikman 7-1-1-1 (30 shots-24 saves); Munce 5-6-1-0 (6 shots-5 saves). Kalamazoo, Nie 10-4-1-0 (40 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Keith Kaval (20).
Linesmen-Ray King (39), Bob Marcis (94).