TOLEDO, OH—The Charlotte Checkers fell behind early and couldn’t recover as they were downed, 7-2, by the Toledo Walleye in the opening game of the American Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday evening.
Adam Keefe recorded the hat trick for the Walleye while Andrew Carroll and Mike Taylor scored for Charlotte. Jordan Pearce stopped 38 of 40 shots in the Toledo net and Checkers netminder Ryan Munce made 23 saves in a losing effort.
Toledo opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the game on a turnover from an errant Checkers pass. Keefe intercepted the pass and fired a shot off the post. He then skated around the net, picked up the puck and stuffed home the rebound past Munce.
The Checkers would storm back and even the score at 1-1 just over a minute later when defenseman Kevin Schaeffer let go a wrist shot from the right point that was tipped home by Taylor.
Midway through the period, Walleye forward Akim Aliu stole the puck from a Checkers defender and passed to Tony Romano who one-timed it into the back of the net to take a 2-1 lead.
Keefe would then add two more goals to make it a 4-1 game. He stuffed home the rebound off a Mike Hedden wrist shot before tucking home another rebound between the legs of Munce while falling to the ice. The hat trick goal came at the 10:17 mark of the second period.
Andrew Carroll cut the Toledo lead to two goals when Michel Leveille hit him with a beautiful power-play breakout pass for a breakaway. Carroll faked the shot then switched to the backhand and roofed it over the glove of Pearce.
Just three minutes later, Charlotte was penalized on a questionable intentional offside resulting in a defensive zone faceoff. Toledo won the ensuing draw back to the point and J.C. Sawyer fired a slap shot high over the glove of Munce.
Midway through the third period, Aliu stripped a Checkers defender of the puck, broke in alone and buried it between the legs of Munce. Toledo would add another, four minutes later, and walk away with the 7-2 victory. The two teams will meet again tomorrow in Toledo at 7 p.m.
Charlotte (0-1) will face Toledo again tomorrow before returning home for game 3 on Friday. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/playoffs. Season tickets for the inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200.
Notes: Charlotte clinched its first division title and #1 conference seed in franchise history heading into the playoffs...the Checkers had the four largest crowds in the ECHL this season…Charlotte is 16-3-1 in its last 20 home games and 12-1-1 in the last 14 overall heading into the playoffs…Ryan Munce led the ECHL in save percentage (.913) and was third in wins (26)…Andrew Carroll led the Checkers this season with 30 goals, including six game winners.
Charlotte Checkers 2 At Toledo Walleye 7 - Status: Final
Apr 6, 2010 - Lucas County Arena
Charlotte 1 1 0 - 2
Toledo 3 2 2 - 7
1st Period-1, Toledo, Keefe 1 0:43. 2, Charlotte, Taylor 1 (Schaeffer, Stefanishion), 1:52. 3, Toledo, Romano 1 (Aliu, Rankin), 11:13. 4, Toledo, Keefe 2 (Hedden, Danis-Pepin), 17:51 (pp). Penalties-Schaeffer Chr (delay of game), 5:53; Urquhart Chr (interference), 16:05; Peralta Tol (tripping), 18:48.
2nd Period-5, Toledo, Keefe 3 (Smith, Hedden), 10:17. 6, Charlotte, Carroll 1 (Leveille), 11:43 (pp). 7, Toledo, Sawyer 1 (Tanguay), 14:42. Penalties-Hendrikx Chr (double - roughing), 10:17; Stefanishion Chr (fighting - major), 10:17; Hedden Tol (double - roughing), 10:17; Keefe Tol (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting - major), 10:17; Rankin Tol (tripping), 12:23; Hendrikx Chr (slashing ), 13:15; Hendrikx Chr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00; Aliu Tol (double - roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-8, Toledo, Aliu 1 9:15. 9, Toledo, Nesbitt 1 (Robertson, Sawyer), 13:40 (pp). Penalties-Keefe Tol (hooking), 0:39; Romano Tol (slashing ), 10:32; Carroll Chr (instigating, fighting - major), 11:55; Aliu Tol (game misconduct - third man in, game misconduct - abuse of officials), 11:55; Charlebois Tol (fighting - major), 11:55; Leveille Chr (cross-checking), 12:04; Sawyer Tol (tripping), 16:10.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 13-10-17-40. Toledo 11-11-8-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 of 7; Toledo 2 of 5.
Goalies-Charlotte, Munce 0-1-0-0 (30 shots-23 saves). Toledo, Pearce 1-0-0-0 (40 shots-38 saves).
Referees-Nick Krebsbach (8).
Linesmen-Ray King (39), Jim Scarpace (50).