CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte Checkers fell behind by two early in the game but battled back to beat the Gwinnett Gladiators, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon.
The Checkers have now won four straight games and have not lost in regulation in six straight tries (5-0-1). Charlotte has beaten division-rival Gwinnett four times in a row and own the season series with a record of 11-4-2 in 17 games.
Matt Schepke scored two goals, including the game winner, while Ryan Munce stopped 22 of 24 shots for his fourth straight victory and is now 12-4-2 in his last 18 games. Tyler Doig chipped in with a goal and an assist and Mike Taylor added two helpers.
Gwinnett opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game when the puck took a strange bounce and landed on the stick of Chad Denny in the slot. Denny made no mistake and one-timed it past Munce for the early 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, the Gladiators would find the back of the net again when forward Matt Francis let a wrist shot go from the slot. Munce dove across his net but was unable to get a piece of the puck and Gwinnett went up 2-0.
With one minute remaining in the opening period, the Checkers got on the board on a goal by defenseman Steve Ward. Ward skated in from the point, took a shot and banged home his own rebound for his fourth goal of the season. Doig and David Marshall picked up assists on the play.
Charlotte tied the game early in the second period when Daniel Tkaczuk grabbed the puck at the right-wing wall and circled the net. Tkaczuk then dished a cross-crease pass to Doig who backhanded it home for his 17th.
Charlotte held a 31-18 shot advantage through two periods of play though the score remained tied at 2-2.
The Checkers then took the lead on a shorthanded goal at the 5:19 mark of the third period. Mike Taylor fed a cross-ice saucer pass to Matt Schepke who skated in alone and blasted a slap shot over the glove of Gwinnett goaltender David Brown.
Schepke would then put Charlotte ahead 4-2 eight minutes later on a 3-on-2 with Marshall and Taylor. Marshall took a pass from Taylor, showed great patience and fired a pass to Schepke who was streaking down the left wing. Schepke then one-timed the puck past Brown for his second of the game and 24th of the season, tying him with Andrew Carroll for the team lead.
The Checkers (34-20-7) will travel to Elmira and Reading before returning on Friday to host Trenton. The puck drops at 7 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 5-0-1 in their last six games and 11-2-1 in their last 14 at home…Ryan Munce has won four straight games and is 5-0-1 in his last six starts…David Marshall is currently on a four-game point streak (4g, 3a)…Matt Schepke leads the team with a +20 rating and is tied with Andrew Carroll for the team lead in goals with 24…Carroll 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: Final
Mar 14, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Gwinnett 2 0 0 - 2
Charlotte 1 1 2 - 4
1st Period-1, Gwinnett, Denny 9 1:53. 2, Gwinnett, Francis 15 (Miller), 4:50. 3, Charlotte, Ward 4 (Marshall, Doig), 18:59. Penalties-Leveille Chr (tripping), 12:37; Sullivan Gwt (hooking), 12:53; Youngclaus Gwt (hooking), 14:05; Hurley Gwt (hooking), 16:24.
2nd Period-4, Charlotte, Doig 17 (Tkaczuk, Hendrikx), 1:12. Penalties-Tkaczuk Chr (interference), 3:36; Caruana Gwt (tripping), 6:46; Doig Chr (slashing ), 8:33; Forney Gwt (roughing), 11:37; Caruana Gwt (interference on the goalkeeper, misconduct), 15:19.
3rd Period-5, Charlotte, Schepke 23 (Taylor), 4:19 (sh). 6, Charlotte, Schepke 24 (Marshall, Taylor), 12:34. Penalties-Slattengren Chr (tripping), 3:13; McLean Gwt (delay of game), 9:31; Miller Gwt (fighting - major), 16:52; Hendrikx Chr (fighting - major), 16:52.
Shots on Goal-Gwinnett 11-7-6-24. Charlotte 15-16-12-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Gwinnett 0 of 4; Charlotte 0 of 7.
Goalies-Gwinnett, Brown 8-14-2-0 (43 shots-39 saves). Charlotte, Munce 20-13-2-1 (24 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (28).
Linesmen-Mark Hamlett (81), Paul Reid (97).