CHARLOTTE, NC—More than 11,000 fans attended the fourth annual “Pink in the Rink” and were not disappointed as the Charlotte Checkers downed the Gwinnett Gladiators, 4-2, on Saturday evening.
The Checkers are now 10-2-1 in their last 13 home games and 4-0-1 in their last five overall.
Aaron Slattengren potted two goals and an assist while Mike Taylor chipped in with one goal and two assists. Ryan Munce stopped 28 of 30 shots en route to his 19th win of the season and fourth in his last five tries. Newly acquired defenseman Trevor Hendrikx became the fifth Checkers player this season to score a goal in his first game joining Ryan Crane, Mike Harder, Randy Rowe and Matt Stefanishion.
Mike Taylor put the Checkers ahead 1-0 with his third of the season just two minutes into the game. Devin DiDiomete started the play with a big hit behind the net freeing the puck up for Slattengren in the corner. Slattengren then passed to Taylor who one timed the puck from the top of the crease past Gwinnett goaltender Danny Taylor.
The Gladiators would tie it up four minutes later when Dan Sullivan banged the puck home from a scrum in front of the Charlotte net.
Just minutes later, the Checkers were assessed two penalties 16 seconds apart and Gwinnett went to work on a 5-on-3 power play. Munce was solid, however, and turned aside several good scoring chances to keep it a one-goal game.
Charlotte took its second lead of the game with four minutes left in the period on a goal by Slattengren, his 13th of the season. Taylor poke-checked the puck away from a Gwinnett defender in front of the net and Slattengren fired a wrist shot into the top right corner past Taylor.
Just a minute and a half into the second, the Checkers would score to make it a 3-1 game. Stefanishion laid a big hit on a Gwinnett defender before dishing the puck over the Andrew Carroll. Carroll then fed Hendrix who made no mistake and fired it home low-blocker side from the high slot for his first as a Checker.
Late in the second period, Gwinnett cut the Checkers’ lead in half when defenseman Drew Paris caught a lucky break, skated around a defender and beat Munce high over the glove for his 11th of the year.
The Gladiators showed some desperation in the third period, down by a goal, and fired all they could at Munce, however the Charlotte goaltender stopped everything that came his way.
With less than 10 seconds left and Gwinnett’s goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, Taylor made a good play along the boards to keep the puck alive and Aaron Slattengren fired it into the empty net for the 4-2 victory.
The Checkers (33-20-7) will host Gwinnett again tomorrow (Sunday) for the inaugural “Pooch Party”. The puck drops at 2 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.
Notes: The Checkers are 4-0-1 in their last five games and 10-2-1 in their last 13 at home…David Marshall has four goals in the last three games…Matt Schepke leads the team with a +18 rating…Aaron Slattengren has seven points (2g, 5a) in the last five games…Andrew Carroll leads the team with 24 goals and leads the ECHL with four shootout-winning goals…Julien Brouillette and Derek Couture are up with Hartford (AHL), Kenny Roche is with Providence (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.
Gwinnett Gladiators 2 At Charlotte Checkers 4 - Status: Unofficial Final
Mar 13, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Gwinnett 1 1 0 - 2
Charlotte 2 1 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Taylor 3 (Slattengren, DiDiomete), 2:15. 2, Gwinnett, Sullivan 13 (McLean, Hurley), 6:20. 3, Charlotte, Slattengren 13 (Taylor, Marshall), 16:05. Penalties-Urquhart Chr (interference), 8:32; Hendrikx Chr (hooking), 8:48; Miller Gwt (tripping, fighting - major), 17:27; Berube Chr (fighting - major), 17:27.
2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Hendrikx 7 (Doig, Tkaczuk), 1:26. 5, Gwinnett, Paris 11 15:26. Penalties-Fritsch Gwt (high-sticking - double), 1:26; Stefanishion Chr (double - roughing), 1:26; Crane Chr (interference), 4:52; Mifsud Gwt (slashing ), 14:04; Paris Gwt (high-sticking), 16:26.
3rd Period-6, Charlotte, Slattengren 14 (Taylor), 19:51 (en). Penalties-DiDiomete Chr (high-sticking), 2:01.
Shots on Goal-Gwinnett 9-9-12-30. Charlotte 7-14-10-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Gwinnett 0 of 4; Charlotte 0 of 3.
Goalies-Gwinnett, Taylor 17-12-2-3 (30 shots-27 saves). Charlotte, Munce 18-13-2-1 (30 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Steve Patafie (29).
Linesmen-Mathieu Chenier (71), Mark Hamlett (81).