CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Down four goals in the third period, the Charlotte Checkers scored two quick tallies but could not complete the comeback as they were downed, 5-2, by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday evening.
The win was the third in Charlotte for the Penguins, who improve to a league-best 27-8-0 record and 12-3-0 on the road. The Checkers meanwhile, drop to 20-12-4 and remain tied with idle Norfolk for second in the East Division.
Forward Eric Tangradi scored twice for the Penguins, while Jacob Micflikier added a goal and an assist for the Checkers. Micflikier now has points in eight of his last nine games (5g, 6a) and ranks second on the team with 32 points (16g, 16a).
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the scoring, just six minutes in, on a goal by forward Tim Wallace. Brett Sterling grabbed the puck at the blue line and threaded a pass down low through two defenders to Wallace, who faked and slid the puck between the legs of Checkers goaltender Justin Pogge.
The score would remain 1-0 for another 33 minutes of play until Tangradi put his team ahead by two with 14 seconds to play in the second period. From a scrum in front, the 6-foot-4 winger grabbed the loose puck and chipped it into the top corner for his 10th of the season.
The Penguins jumped ahead, 4-0, with two quick goals, midway through the third period. Dustin Jeffrey, on a 2-on-1 with Nick Johnson, faked a shot and fed the streaking winger, who one-timed it past Pogge before Steve Wagner scored with a slap shot, 40 seconds later.
The Checkers got on the board with less than five minutes to play when Micflikier drove hard to the net and redirected an Oskar Osala saucer pass past Thiessen.
Rookie Michal Jordan then sent a laser of a wrist shot from the point into the back of the net for his first ever professional goal to make it 4-2, with less than two minutes to play in the game.
The comeback attempt was foiled, however, as Tangradi added an empty-net goal, 52 seconds later, and the Penguins walked away with a 5-2 victory.
The Checkers (20-12-4) will host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton again tomorrow at 7 p.m. Call 704-342-4423 or head to www.gocheckers.com for more information.
NOTES: Jacob Micflikier has 11 points (5g, 6a) in his last nine games…Jon Matsumoto has five goals and three assists in the last seven games…Justin Pogge was handed his first loss in regulation since Dec. 5…the Penguins have the AHL’s best road record at 12-3-0...the Checkers have the league’s second-best penalty kill at 87.6% and the fourth-ranked power play at 21.2% efficiency.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5 at Charlotte Checkers 2 - Status: Final
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - Time Warner Cable Arena
W-B/Scranton 1 1 3 - 5
Charlotte 0 0 2 - 2
1st Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Wallace 10 (Sterling), 6:12. Penalties-Bowman Cha (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:25; Osala Cha (interference), 12:09; Craig Wbs (tripping), 12:15.
2nd Period-2, W-B/Scranton, Tangradi 14 (Craig, Johnson), 19:45. Penalties-Walker Wbs (hooking), 2:19; Collins Wbs (tripping), 4:35; Micflikier Cha (boarding), 5:31; Herauf Cha (cross-checking), 11:57; Sill Wbs (high-sticking), 15:15.
3rd Period-3, W-B/Scranton, Johnson 12 (Jeffrey), 9:06. 4, W-B/Scranton, Wagner 3 (Jeffrey, Potter), 9:46. 5, Charlotte, Micflikier 16 (Matsumoto, Osala), 14:58 (PP). 6, Charlotte, Jordan 1 (Micflikier, Matsumoto), 18:10 (PP). 7, W-B/Scranton, Tangradi 15 (Vitale), 19:02 (EN). Penalties-Walker Wbs (hooking), 2:58; Mormina Wbs (roughing), 7:53; Herauf Cha (roughing), 7:53; Wallace Wbs (slashing), 13:01; Sterling Wbs (high-sticking), 16:05.
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 10-10-9-29. Charlotte 8-4-15-27.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 0 / 4; Charlotte 2 / 7.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Thiessen 15-3-0 (27 shots-25 saves). Charlotte, Pogge 11-7-1 (27 shots-23 saves); Murphy 9-6-2 (1 shots-1 saves).
Referees-Jason Rollins (37), Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Terry Wicklum (58), Paul Carnathan (93).