CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Checkers opened the scoring early before giving up three straight goals and falling, 4-2, to the Hartford Wolf Pack in their first ever American Hockey League game on Saturday night.
Jacob Micflikier and Jon Matsumoto scored for the Checkers and goaltender Mike Murphy made 18 saves in a losing effort. The Wolf Pack struck twice on the power play, while Charlotte went 1-for-7 with a man-advantage.
Micflikier opened the scoring five minutes into the game when he received a stretch pass from Ethan Graham, came in on a breakaway and beat Wolf Pack netminder Chad Johnson with a backhand-to-forehand move. Matsumoto picked up the extra assist on the goal at 5:19.
Hartford would even the score later in the period on the power play when Dale Weise received a cross-crease pass from Kris Newbury and put the puck in the top corner of the net.
Less than six minutes into the second period, the Wolf Pack went ahead, 2-1, when Chris McKelvie picked up the rebound off a Kelsey Tessier wraparound attempt and buried it past a helpless Murphy. The goal came at 5:49 and former ECHL Checker Ryan Garlock picked up the other assist.
Hartford then doubled its lead on the power play with less than seven minutes to play in the period. Forward Jeremy Williams beat a Charlotte defender one-on-one before tucking it past Murphy on the short side.
Charlotte held a 19-16 shot advantage through two periods of play but trailed, 3-1, on the scoreboard.
Midway through the third period, the Checkers made it a 3-2 game when Jon Matsumoto carried the puck from the right-wing wall and fired a shot through a screen and into the back of the net. The power-play tally came at 9:50 of the third period.
With time winding down, Charlotte pulled Murphy for an extra attacked but an errant pass bounced off a shin pad and landed on the stick of Newbury. Newbury then dropped to forward Dane Byers, who put the puck into the empty net with 46 seconds to play.
The Checkers will travel to Springfield tomorrow to take on the Falcons. Game time is 3:00 p.m. and fans can catch all the action by heading to www.gocheckers.com and clicking the “Listen Live” button on the right side of the page.
Charlotte’s home opener is Friday, October 15 and ticket information can be obtained by visiting www.gocheckers.com or calling 704-342-4423.
Charlotte Checkers 2 at Hartford Wolf Pack 4 - Status: Final
Saturday, October 9, 2010 - XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Charlotte 1 0 1 - 2
Hartford 1 2 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Micflikier 1 (Matsumoto, Graham), 5:19. 2, Hartford, Weise 1 (Newbury, Redden), 16:55 (PP). Penalties-McKelvie Hfd (goaltender interference), 2:34; Weise Hfd (hooking), 3:38; Fitzgerald Cha (roughing), 14:38; Matsumoto Cha (tripping), 16:22; Garlock Hfd (interference), 18:39.
2nd Period-3, Hartford, McKelvie 1 (Tessier, Garlock), 5:49. 4, Hartford, Williams 1 (Redden), 13:45 (PP). Penalties-Micflikier Cha (charging), 2:14; Zuccarello Hfd (goaltender interference), 8:16; served by Micflikier Cha (bench minor - too many men), 13:21; Valentenko Hfd (holding), 14:48; Samson Cha (slashing), 16:01; Soryal Hfd (roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-5, Charlotte, Matsumoto 1 (Terry), 9:50 (PP). 6, Hartford, Byers 1 (Newbury, Weise), 19:14 (EN). Penalties-Fitzgerald Cha (hooking, roughing), 3:38; McKelvie Hfd (roughing), 3:38; Williams Hfd (holding), 8:28; Blanchard Cha (fighting), 20:00; Soryal Hfd (roughing, fighting), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 9-10-7-26. Hartford 9-7-7-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 / 7; Hartford 2 / 6.
Goalies-Charlotte, Murphy 0-1-0 (22 shots-19 saves). Hartford, Johnson 1-0-0 (26 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Ryan Fraser (14).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Paul Simeon (66).