NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—The Charlotte Checkers opened the 2009-10 season with a 3-1 victory over the defending Kelly Cup Champion South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday. Two-time ECHL All-Star Tyler Doig led the way for the Checkers with the game-winning goal and an assist.
South Carolina opened the scoring just 25 seconds in when forward Matt Scherer let a wrist shot go from the side boards that seemed to fool Checkers’ netminder Ryan Munce.
Charlotte would answer back at 14:17 of the opening frame when Aaron Slattengren took a pass on the goal line from Michel Leveille and tucked it between the legs of goaltender Todd Ford. Matt Ford drew the other assist.
The Checkers carried the play throughout the first period posting a 20-4 shot total.
Five minutes into the second, South Carolina forward Gregg Johnson drew a slashing penalty that would prove to be costly. On the ensuing power play, Charlotte forward Ryan Garlock fed a behind-the-back pass to Tyler Doig who netted his first of the year.
Early in the third period, Checkers’ all-star forward Matt Ford was sent in alone on a breakaway but Todd Ford turned the shot aside to keep it a one-goal game.
With just over 11 minutes to play in the contest, Ryan Munce fell awkwardly into the Checkers’ net and left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. Rookie netminder Billy Sauer entered the game for his first taste of professional action.
The Checkers would add to their lead on a power-play goal with 6:26 to play in the contest. Ethan Graham fired a shot from the blueline that deflected off a South Carolina stick and trickled in past Ford.
Sauer went on to stop all nine shots he faced to preserve the 3-1 victory. Ryan Munce, who stopped 22 of 23, earned the victory while Todd Ford made 37 saves for the Stingrays in a losing cause.
The team will now prepare for a two-game road trip next weekend in Florida where they will face the always-competitive Everblades.The Checkers’ home opener is set for Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. against the Gwinnett Gladiators. For ticket information please call 704-342-4-ICE or visit www.gocheckers.com.