ALBANY, N.Y. – The Charlotte Checkers benefitted from another solid performance by goaltender Justin Pogge as they doubled up the Albany Devils, 4-2, on Friday evening for their 10th road win in the last 11 tries.
Pogge made 37 saves for his eighth straight victory away from Time Warner Cable Arena and his 12th in the last 16 games overall (12-3-1). Jerome Samson became the first AHL player to 20 goals with his third-period, game-winning tally.
Nicolas Blanchard opened the scoring for Charlotte, just four minutes in, with the help of a great fore-checking effort by Nick Dodge. Dodge forced Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee to turn the puck over behind the net and Blanchard wrapped it in on the backhand.
The Devils pressed midway through the second period but Pogge came up big with two point-blank saves, stopping a cross-ice one-timer before making a big stop on a rebound shot from Albany forward Matt Anderson.
Minutes later, Albany leading scorer Michael Swift was hooked on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Swift faked left and slid the puck between the legs of Pogge to tie the game at 1-1. The goal extended Swift’s point streak to 10 games, the longest active streak in the AHL.
Charlotte regained its lead before the end of the period on Chris Terry’s 17th of the season. Casey Borer fired a shot from the point, which was smothered by Frazee. Oskar Osala dug the puck free and Terry tapped it in to put the Checkers ahead, 2-1.
Early in the third, Samson made it 3-1 Checkers when he took a pass from McNicoll at the faceoff dot and ripped a wrist shot short-side past Frazee.
Albany stormed back, however, and scored just 21 seconds later when Anderson skated in on a breakaway and beat Pogge over the blocker.
With three minutes left in the game, defenseman Casey Borer made two impressive plays to keep the Devils from tying things up. Borer poked away a potential one-timer pass with an active stick before swatting away a bouncing puck in front of Pogge.
Then, with nine seconds left, the Checkers put the game out of reach after Albany pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker. Jacob Micflikier chased down the puck toward the goal line and unselfishly dropped a behind-the-back pass to Brett Sutter, who tapped it into the empty net for a 4-2 victory.
The Checkers (21-12-5) will travel to Springfield tomorrow and Norfolk Tuesday before returning to Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday, Jan. 13 to host the Manchester Monarchs. Joey Logano will headline the fifth annual ‘Race Night’ on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. Head to www.gocheckers.com/racenight or call 704-342-4423 for more information.
NOTES: The Checkers are 10-1-0 in their last 11 road games...Justin Pogge has eight straight road wins and is 12-3-1 in his last 16 games...Jerome Samson leads the AHL with 20 goals...Jacob Micflikier has 12 points (5g, 7a) in the last 11 games and has points in 12 of his last 15 games...Chris Terry has goals in three of the last four games...Charlotte ranks first in the AHL in penalty killing (87.9%)
Charlotte Checkers 4 at Albany Devils 2 - Status: Final
Friday, January 7, 2011 - Times Union Center
Charlotte 1 1 2 - 4
Albany 0 1 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Blanchard 2 (Dodge), 4:04. Penalties-McNicoll Cha (hooking), 5:56; Kelly Alb (holding), 15:35.
2nd Period-2, Albany, Swift 13 13:55 (TXT_PS). 3, Charlotte, Terry 17 (Borer, Osala), 18:23. Penalties-FitzGerald Cha (roughing), 2:31; Robitaille Alb (boarding), 2:31; Mills Alb (hooking), 14:13; Magnan Alb (roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-4, Charlotte, Samson 20 (McNicoll), 3:53. 5, Albany, Anderson 12 (Josefson, Eckford), 4:14. 6, Charlotte, Sutter 3 (Micflikier, Samson), 19:51 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 10-6-11-27. Albany 11-16-12-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 3; Albany 0 / 1.
Goalies-Charlotte, Pogge 12-7-2 (39 shots-37 saves). Albany, Frazee 9-11-3 (26 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Chris Ciamaga (41).
Linesmen-Jim Harper (59), Steeve Lemay (64).