ESTERO, FL—The Charlotte Checkers used three second-period goals to down the Florida Everblades, 3-1, and maintain first place in the American Conference standings with one game to play.
The Checkers scored while shorthanded, on the power play and at even strength on the way to their 12th victory in the last 13 games.
Aaron Slattengren and Matt Stefanishion each had a goal and an assist while Ryan Munce stopped 25 of 26 shots for his 26th victory of the season. Munce now ranks second in the ECHL with 26 wins and first with a .913 save percentage.
Checkers defenseman Trevor Hendrikx got things going early when he dropped the gloves with Florida’s Benn Olson as payback for a hit on goaltender Ryan Munce on Mar. 23 which resulted in a suspension. Charlotte then went on the attack following the fight but Everblades rookie goaltender Adrien Lemay shut the door.
The game remained scoreless until the 7:41 mark of the second period when Slattengren notched a shorthanded goal. Stefanishion stripped the puck from a Florida defender and fed a backhand pass to Slattengren who then beat Lemay over the glove for his 17th tally of the season.
Just 23 seconds later, Everblades forward Matthew Pistilli forced a turnover and broke in alone on Munce. Pistilli then beat the Checkers’ netminder high over the glove to make it a 1-1 game.
Charlotte took its second lead of the game, two minutes later, on a tic-tac-toe play down low in the Florida zone. Slattengren started the play as he dished a nifty pass over to Mike Taylor at the left wing. Taylor then faked to avoid an Everblades defender and fed Stefanishion who one-timed a slap shot past Lemay on the blocker side.
Less than three minutes later, the Checkers took a two-goal lead on the power play when Hendrikx one-timed a pass from Michel Leveille through traffic and into the back of the net.
Shortly after the goal, Florida forward Milan Gajic broke in on a breakaway but Munce made an impressive stacked pad save to keep it a 3-1 game.
With time winding down in the third period and a Checkers player in the penalty box, Florida pulled its goaltender for a 6-on-4 man advantage. The Everblades threw everything they could on net but Munce stood strong and walked away with the 3-1 win.
Charlotte (93 points) has a chance to clinch first place in the conference with a win over Florida tomorrow. Kalamazoo (92), South Carolina (92) and Cincinnati (91) all won their games tonight to keep pace with the Checkers with one game to play in the regular season.
The Checkers (43-21-7) will play their last ever ECHL regular season game tomorrow in Florida. Playoff dates will be announced shortly 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: Last Saturday’s crowd of 12,044 was the largest in the entire ECHL this season…The Checkers are 16-3-1 in their last 20 home games and are 12-1-0 in their last 13 overall…Ryan Munce is 10-1-0 in his last 11 starts and leads the ECHL with a .913 save percentage…Andrew Carroll leads the ECHL with six shootout-winning goals and leads the Checkers with 29 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.
Charlotte Checkers 3 At Florida Everblades 1 - Status: Final
Apr 2, 2010 - Germain Arena
Charlotte 0 3 0 - 3
Florida 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Hendrikx Chr (fighting - major), 2:37; Olson Fla (fighting - major), 2:37; Berube Chr (high-sticking), 4:25; Roche Chr (hooking), 17:59; Olson Fla (cross-checking), 20:00.
2nd Period-1, Charlotte, Slattengren 17 (Stefanishion, Reynolds), 7:41 (sh). 2, Florida, Pistilli 2 (Lang, Nicholson), 8:04. 3, Charlotte, Stefanishion 21 (Slattengren, Taylor), 10:08. 4, Charlotte, Hendrikx 8 (Leveille, Bradford), 12:56 (pp). Penalties-Schepke Chr (holding), 5:46; Olson Fla (hooking), 12:00; Urquhart Chr (fighting - major), 18:31; Baker Fla (cross-checking, fighting - major), 18:31.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Carroll Chr (hooking), 2:34; Stefanishion Chr (roughing), 12:52; Reynolds Chr (cross-checking), 19:42.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 12-13-2-27. Florida 7-11-8-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 3; Florida 0 of 6.
Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 26-14-2-1 (26 shots-25 saves). Florida, Lemay 1-1-0-0 (27 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (11).
Linesmen-Jay Jacobs (54), James Johnstone (61).