CHARLOTTE, N.C – Charlotte Checkers goaltender Justin Pogge made 48 saves and helped his team to extra time, but the Hershey Bears scored twice in the shootout and walked away with a 2-1 victory on Friday evening in Uptown Charlotte.
Bears goaltender Braden Holtby was steady as well, making 28 saves in the win. The teams traded first period goals and were unable to create anymore offense from there on. Lawrence Nycholat scored the shootout winner. Jerome Samson scored the lone goal for the Checkers in regulation, while Andrew Gordon scored for Hershey.
Gordon struck for Hershey at 1:05 of the opening period with his league-leading 16th goal of the season. He took a pass at the right-wing dot from Brian Willsie and one-timed a shot through Pogge’s legs.
Samson evened the game up for the Checkers with just over five minutes remaining in the opening period. Chris Terry broke into the zone and beat a Bears defender with an inside-out move, but Holtby made a diving pokecheck to knock the puck away. Samson picked it up in the slot and back-handed the puck over the sprawled goaltender. The goal triggered the teddy bear toss, setting a Charlotte record for number of stuffed animals thrown onto the ice.
Terry had the best chance in the second period but was hauled down on a partial break-away and the Checkers were given the only power play of the game. Charlotte was unable force any sustained pressure on the man-advantage and squandered the opportunity.
The teams exchanged chances in the third period but neither side was able to capitalize. Pogge made numerous key saves in the third period, including a redirect save off Kyle Greentree from the hash-marks. Holtby was equal to the task stopping Zach Boychuk on a pair of breaks.
Pogge made a point-blank stop on Jay Beagle in overtime from the slot, getting his right shoulder on the snap-shot. Minutes later, Boychuk fed a wide-open Casey Borer in the offensive zone. Borer beat Holtby with a deke, but lost control of the puck and it slid wide.
The Bears then scored twice in the shootout and earned a 2-1 victory.
The Checkers (14-9-4) will again host Hershey on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring art supplies or toys to the game and receive a complimentary ticket to the Jan. 1 game, courtesy of Presbyterian Hospital. Holiday packs are now on sale and include four games and a puck for as low as $35. Call 704-342-4423 or head to www.gocheckers.com for more information.
NOTES: The Checkers are 7-2-1 in their last ten games... Chris Terry is currently riding a six-game point streak (3g, 5a)…Bryan Rodney is tied for third among AHL defensemen with 17 points (4g, 13a)… Jerome Samson has 12 points (4g, 8a) in his last eight games. He is also tied for second in league in goals (15) and is tied for fifth in points with 29 (15g, 14a).
Hershey Bears 2 (SO) at Charlotte Checkers 1 - Status: Final SO
Friday, December 10, 2010 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Hershey 1 0 0 0 - 2
Charlotte 1 0 0 0 - 1
1st Period-1, Hershey, Gordon 16 (Willsie), 1:05. 2, Charlotte, Samson 15 (Terry), 14:37. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Lacroix Her (holding), 4:05.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-McNeill Her (slashing), 6:38; Herauf Cha (slashing), 6:38.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout - Hershey 2 (Gordon NG, Nycholat G, Willsie G), Charlotte 0 (Micflikier NG, Dalpe NG, Boychuk NG, Terry NG).
Shots on Goal-Hershey 17-9-15-8-1-50. Charlotte 5-14-9-1-0-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 0 / 0; Charlotte 0 / 1.
Goalies-Hershey, Holtby 7-1-1 (29 shots-28 saves). Charlotte, Pogge 7-6-1 (49 shots-48 saves).
Referees-Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Mike Sheehan (90), Alex Stagnone (7).