CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Checkers held a one-goal lead midway through the third period but could not hold on as they were edged by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon in Uptown Charlotte.
Zach Boychuk, a former first-round pick of the Hurricanes, notched two goals for the Checkers, while Jerome Samson extended his goal streak to four games. Tim Wallace led the way for the Penguins with two goals while Tim Jeffrey added three assists for a two-game, five-point effort against Charlotte over the weekend.
Boychuk opened the scoring at the 8:48 mark of the first period when he received a cross-ice pass from Oskar Osala on the left wing and promptly rifled the puck short-side over the blocker of Curry. Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy picked up the other assist for his first professional point.
Charlotte would then make it a 2-0 game, 17 seconds later, on an exceptional individual effort by Samson. Samson pulled an outside-inside move on a Penguins defender at the blue line before deking another and tapping the puck through the legs of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Jon Curry while falling to the ice. Nicolas Blanchard and Stefan Chaput drew assists on the goal at 9:07 of the first period.
Less than four minutes later, Penguins forward Brett Sterling cut the Checkers’ lead in half. A defensive breakdown on a waved-off icing call allowed Jeffrey to grab the puck and feed Sterling in the slot, who beat Murphy under the left arm.
Boychuk notched his second of the game, with 20 seconds left in the period, to restore the two-goal lead. Jon Matsumoto beat a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defender to the puck to negate an icing call and made a spin-around pass to Boychuk. Boychuk then one-timed the fluttering puck into the top corner from an improbable angle.
Murphy was outstanding in the early part of the second period, making several stops, including an acrobatic kick save on Wallace.
Wallace redeemed himself, however, with less than five minutes to play in the period, and brought Wilkes-Barre/Scranton within one. Sterling sent a pass to the right-wing circle to Wallace, who beat Murphy short-side through a screen.
Shots favored the Penguins 25-13 through forty minutes of play, but the Checkers held a 3-2 lead on the scoreboard.
With less than seven minutes to play in the game, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled even on Wallace’s second goal of the afternoon. Jeffrey threw a backhanded pass from the right-wing boards to a streaking Wallace, who poked it in past Murphy.
The Penguins then completed the comeback at the 16:50 mark of the third period when a cross-ice pass from Nick Johnson was deflected off a body in front and into the net.
Charlotte (1-4-0) will embark on a five-game road trip Wednesday in Albany before returning home to host the Portland Pirates on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4423 or visiting www.gocheckers.com.
Notes: Friday’s opener in Charlotte is the second largest crowd in the AHL this season (12,512)…Jerome Samson is currently on a four-game goal streak (4g) and leads the AHL with 31 shots…Jon Matsumoto leads the team with six points (2g, 4a)…The Checkers will play in Albany Wednesday for the first time since the River Rats were purchased and moved to Charlotte.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4 at Charlotte Checkers 3 - Status: Final
Sunday, October 17, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
W-B/Scranton 1 1 2 - 4
Charlotte 3 0 0 - 3
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Boychuk 1 (Osala, Murphy), 8:48. 2, Charlotte, Samson 4 (Chaput, Blanchard), 9:07. 3, W-B/Scranton, Sterling 1 (Johnson, Jeffrey), 12:56. 4, Charlotte, Boychuk 2 (Sanguinetti, Matsumoto), 19:40.
Penalties-Boulerice Wbs (hooking), 13:21.
2nd Period-5, W-B/Scranton, Wallace 2 (Sterling, Jeffrey), 15:17.
Penalties-Osala Cha (hooking), 5:07; Terry Cha (slashing), 8:39; Bellemore Cha (tripping), 19:44.
3rd Period-6, W-B/Scranton, Wallace 3 (Jeffrey), 13:12. 7, W-B/Scranton, Wagner 2 (Johnson, Potter), 16:50.
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 12-13-14-39. Charlotte 7-6-8-21.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 0 / 3; Charlotte 0 / 1.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Curry 2-0-0 (21 shots-18 saves). Charlotte, Murphy 1-2-0 (39 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Ben Shiley, Paul Carnathan (93).