The Checkers tied a franchise record by extending their point streak to seven games, though it not occur under the most ideal circumstances.
Up by a goal with three minutes remaining in regulation, the Checkers allowed the tying goal to Markus Granlund and the overtime winner to Johan Larsson in a 3-2 defeat at Houston on Friday night. Charlotte still earned a point for the effort, which dropped them to 5-0-2 in their last seven outings dating back to Dec. 11.
Tim Wallace and Chris Terry scored for Charlotte, while Justin Peters made 18 saves as his personal four-game win streak came to an end. The Checkers now continue their three-in-three weekend with games at Texas and San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Despite trailing 1-0 at the second intermission courtesy of a great individual effort by the Aeros’ Nick Peterson, the Checkers seemed to be heading toward another victory when they were finally rewarded for offensive pressure that saw them exit the game with a 32-21 edge in shots, including a segment in the first 11 minutes of the second period in which the Checkers out-shot the Aeros 8-0.
Wallace, who scored the Checkers’ first goal of the season in the same building during the season opener on Oct. 13, was the first to dent Houston goalie Darcy Kuemper, who had played just six of the team’s previous 29 games. Just over five minutes into the third, Wallace entered the zone with speed coming down the right side and fired a wrist shot from along the wall that picked the corner over the goalie’s right shoulder for his fifth of the season.
That set up a prolonged period of sustained pressure from the visitors, who eventually took their first lead of the game on Terry’s shot from the right point following a faceoff win in the Houston zone. The goal by Terry, whose shot found its way in through a screen set by Jeremy Welsh, was his first since Nov. 21, ending a 13-game drought that tied the longest of his professional career.
Despite that goal and continued Checkers pressure that included a hit post by Bobby Sanguinetti, the tide would turn dramatically after Charlotte defenseman Justin Krueger took a tripping penalty with 2:59 remaining in regulation. After just 10 seconds of power-play time, Brian Connelly’s shot from the point hit Peters and rebounded to Granlund for the tying score.
With 1:22 remaining in overtime, Larsson sealed the win when he found space to walk in alone on Peters from the left side, giving his team its first win in four meetings with the Checkers this season.
Charlotte played the vast majority of the game with only five defensemen as Rasmus Rissanen left the game early in the first period due to injury and did not return. Should he be unable to play in Texas tomorrow, Friday’s recall of compatriot Tommi Kivisto from ECHL Florida would be enough to fill the void.
Though the Checkers’ current point streak ties another seven-game run from Oct. 29-Nov. 7, 2010, the current streak is the more productive, as the former included three overtime/shootout losses (4-0-3).
The result also extended the Checkers’ road point streak to six games (4-0-2), with the team not suffering a regulation loss away from home since Halloween night. The team is now 10-2-3 on the road this season.
The Checkers fell to 3-4 in overtime this season, with five of those games ending in a shootout … In addition to his goal, Terry took a game-high five shots on goal … Zach Boychuk’s six-game point streak (1g, 8a) came to an end. He was one point away from tying his personal best from the 2011 playoffs … The Checkers were previously undefeated in the first games of three-in-three sets, having gone 4-0-0 this season … Peters allowed as many goals on Friday as he had in his previous four starts combined … Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani (lower body) missed the game for Charlotte, as did healthy scratches Justin Soryal, Jared Staal and Kivisto.
<h3>North Carolina Education Lottery Three Stars</h3>
1. Johan Larsson (Houston Aeros)<br />
2. Mikael Granlund (Houston Aeros)<br />
3. Darcy Kuemper (Houston Aeros)