CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte Checkers fell behind by two and fought back with four unanswered goals as they defeated the Reading Royals, 4-2, on Saturday evening in front of 12,044 enthusiastic fans. The crowd was the largest in the entire ECHL this season.
With the win, their 40th of the season and ninth in 10 games, the Checkers close the gap with South Carolina and are now only one point out of first place in the conference with a game in hand.
David Urquhart notched a goal and an assist while Ryan Munce stopped 29 of 31 for his ninth win in 10 starts. Kevin Schaeffer scored the game-winning goal, David Marshall extended his point streak to seven games with a goal and Daniel Tkaczuk chipped in with two assists.
Andrew Carroll got things going in the first with a big hit that sent a Royals defender flying into the boards. The Checkers responded but Reading goaltender Andrew Engelage stopped a flurry of shots to keep it a scoreless game.
Reading would strike first with 10 seconds to play in the period when Stefano Giliati picked up an unsuccessful clearing attempt by a Charlotte defender and fired it home past Munce.
Early in the second, the Royals took a two-goal lead on a penalty shot off a questionable tripping call against Munce. Andrew Sarauer skated in alone and put on the brakes before beating Munce with a wrist shot blocker side.
The rest of the period was all Checkers as they scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead.
Devin DiDiomete sparked the comeback by giving his team some energy when he dropped the gloves with Reading defenseman Scott Fletcher. Just 23 seconds later, David Marshall carried the puck into the Royals’ zone and, using Mike Taylor as a screen, fired a wrist shot between the legs of Engelage for his 21st of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Reading forward Daniel Steiner was assessed a costly interference penalty when he ran into Munce in front of the Charlotte net. The Checkers made good on the power play as Matt Stefanishion won the draw back to Steve Ward who let a wrist shot go that beat Engelage high over the glove.
With six minutes to play in the period, Charlotte took its first lead of the game on a goal by defenseman Kevin Schaeffer. Brock Bradford entered the Reading zone and fed a saucer pass over to Schaeffer who redirected it into the net.
The Checkers then capitalized on a Royals miscue and took a two-goal lead. Daniel Tkaczuk picked up the mishandled puck at his own blue line and skated into the Reading zone on a 1-on-1. Tkaczuk stalled as he waited for help then deked the defender and backhanded a shot on net. David Urquhart joined the play as he skated in and stuffed home the rebound for his second goal in nine games since joining the Checkers.
Reading pulled its goaltender in the dying seconds for the extra attacker but Munce turned aside everything that came his way and walked away with his 24th win of the season. The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 2 p.m.
The Checkers (40-21-7) will host Reading Sunday 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: Saturday’s crowd of 12,044 was the largest in the entire ECHL this season…The Checkers are 14-3-1 in their last 18 home games and are 9-1-0 in their last 10 overall…Ryan Munce is 9-1-0 in his last 10 starts and leads the ECHL with a .911 save percentage…David Marshall is currently on a seven-game point streak (6g, 5a)…Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with five shootout-winning goals and leads the Checkers with 28 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, T.J. Reynolds and Chris Snavely are on the 21-day injured reserve.
Reading Royals 2 At Charlotte Checkers 4 - Status: Final
Mar 27, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Reading 1 1 0 - 2
Charlotte 0 3 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Reading, Giliati 21 19:50 (pp). Penalties-Hendrikx Chr (hooking), 3:10; Cruthers Rea (slashing ), 7:57; Stefanishion Chr (elbowing), 7:57; DiDiomete Chr (high-sticking), 10:32; Gwilliam Rea (interference), 16:04; Berube Chr (boarding), 18:40.
2nd Period-2, Reading, Sarauer 25 4:29 (ps). 3, Charlotte, Marshall 21 (Taylor, Urquhart), 6:46. 4, Charlotte, Ward 6 (Stefanishion, Tkaczuk), 8:20 (pp). 5, Charlotte, Schaeffer 5 (Bradford, Schepke), 13:56. Penalties-LaLonde Rea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:39; DiDiomete Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:39; Fletcher Rea (fighting - major), 6:23; DiDiomete Chr (fighting - major), 6:23; Steiner Rea (interference on the goalkeeper), 7:21; Cavosie Rea (tripping), 8:41; Stefanishion Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:41; Ward Chr (tripping), 10:53; Brocklehurst Rea (slashing ), 16:52; Giliati Rea (roughing), 19:51; DiDiomete Chr (roughing), 19:51.
3rd Period-6, Charlotte, Urquhart 2 (Tkaczuk), 10:04 (sh). Penalties-Schepke Chr (interference on the goalkeeper), 8:11; Leveille Chr (hooking), 13:29; LaLonde Rea (holding), 16:48.
Shots on Goal-Reading 13-11-7-31. Charlotte 8-17-10-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Reading 1 of 6; Charlotte 1 of 5.
Goalies-Reading, Engelage 7-3-0-0 (35 shots-31 saves). Charlotte, Munce 24-14-2-1 (31 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (28).
Linesmen-Mathieu Chenier (71), Ben Shiley (92).