KALAMAZOO, MI— The Charlotte Checkers fell behind early in the first period and never managed to regain their scoring touch as they lost 5-2 to the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday.
The Checkers struggled to find rebounds and create second and third chances. Kalamazoo goalie Jeremy Duchesne played well, but gave up many rebounds and Charlotte couldn’t seem to take advantage.
From the opening faceoff, the game was full of offensive scoring chances. The first period was all offense as there were 33 shots taken between the two teams with four of them finding the back of the net.
Kalamazoo, using home-ice to its advantage, opened the scoring when Charlotte goalie Ryan Munce lost control of the puck behind the net after a bad bounce and forward Dean Strong flipped the puck into the empty net.
Charlotte answered back minutes later when Matt Stefanishion lifted the puck over the blocker of Duchesne, his second goal since joining the Checkers on Feb. 7.
After a high-sticking penalty on Wings forward Trent Daavettila, Kalamazoo took the lead on a controversial shorthanded goal by Brian McGuirk. McGuirk collected the puck in the neutral zone, drove in on goal, and barreled into Ryan Munce. The puck crossed the goal line before the whistle was blown to put the home team up by one.
The Wings would then extend their lead late in the first period when center Rick Cleaver drove home a rebound on the power play to make it 3-1.
The second period picked up right where the first period left off, with plenty of offensive scoring chances. Tyler Doig and Mike Taylor combined for a pair of scoring chances for Charlotte as they dangled the puck through Kalamazoo defenders, but were unable to beat Duchesne.
Kalamazoo, however, scored again when Cleaver intercepted a T.J. Reynolds’ pass in the Charlotte zone that led to a Patrick Asselin goal to increase their lead to 4-1.
Tempers began to flare in the third period. Just over four minutes in, Stefanishion and Kalamazoo’s Mitch Versteeg wrestled each other to the ground after a stoppage in play, which led to coincidental roughing minors.
Charlotte began to show a glimpse of offensive presence while on the power play midway through the third period. They pounded Duchesne with a flurry of shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
After coming up empty with the man advantage, Reynolds showed his frustration and took an interference penalty in the defensive zone. Seconds later, Kevin Schaeffer found himself in the box after a hooking call. Kalamazoo took advantage of the 5-on-3 advantage when Andrew Fournier wristed a shot over the glove of Munce to make it 5-1.
Charlotte would add another goal late in the third off of the stick of David Marshall, but the game was well out of reach.
The Checkers (30-18-6) drop to 1-1-0 on their current road trip and will play their third game in as many days when they take on Kalamazoo again tomorrow at Wings Stadium at 4:00 p.m. The team will return home on Wednesday, Mar. 3 to host Cincinnati. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com.
Notes: Charlotte is 4-2-0 in its last six road games…Matt Schepke has six goals and three assists in his last nine games…Ryan Munce is 7-3-1 in his last 11 games…Julien Brouillette ranks tied for second among ECHL defensemen with 13 goals…Andrew Carroll leads the team with 23 goals and ranks tied for fourth among all ECHL rookies…T.J. Reynolds ranks second in the ECHL with 222 penalty minutes and second in overall plus-minus with a +23 rating… Derek Couture and Kenny Roche remain with Hartford (AHL), Ethan Graham is with Texas (AHL) while Matt Ford and Randy Rowe are with Lake Erie (AHL)…Codey Burki, Chris Chappell, Trevor Glass and Chris Snavely are on the 21-day injured reserve.
Charlotte Checkers 2 At Kalamazoo Wings 5 - Status: Final
Feb 27, 2010 - Wings Stadium
Charlotte 1 0 1 - 2
Kalamazoo 3 1 1 - 5
1st Period-1, Kalamazoo, Strong 5 (Lloyd), 1:06. 2, Charlotte, Stefanishion 16 (Tkaczuk), 3:41. 3, Kalamazoo, McGuirk 10 (Featherstone), 13:52 (sh). 4, Kalamazoo, Cleaver 22 (Landry, Curadeau), 18:53 (pp). Penalties-Lloyd Kal (slashing ), 4:24; McGuirk Kal (delay of game), 5:34; Daavettila Kal (high-sticking), 13:35; Crane Chr (hooking), 18:00.
2nd Period-5, Kalamazoo, Asselin 8 (McGuirk, Cleaver), 13:43. Penalties-Bezeau Kal (tripping), 4:30; Berube Chr (slashing ), 11:01; Doig Chr (slashing ), 14:59; Versteeg Kal (tripping), 17:49.
3rd Period-6, Kalamazoo, Fournier 19 (Lloyd, Cleaver), 11:28 (pp). 7, Charlotte, Marshall 15 (Schepke, Ward), 19:53 (pp). Penalties-Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 4:33; Versteeg Kal (roughing), 4:33; Morrow Kal (interference), 7:35; Reynolds Chr (interference), 10:11; Schaeffer Chr (hooking), 10:37; Featherstone Kal (slashing ), 18:00.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 18-8-13-39. Kalamazoo 15-11-12-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 7; Kalamazoo 2 of 5.
Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 15-12-1-1 (38 shots-33 saves). Kalamazoo, Duchesne 9-4-3-2 (39 shots-37 saves).
Referees-Nick Suhy (2).
Linesmen-Jim Scarpace (50), Eric Kipp (52).