Photo credit: John Wright
NORFOLK, Va. – The Charlotte Checkers won for the fifth straight time in Norfolk this season, defeating the Admirals, 2-1, and moving into sole possession of second place in the East Division on Tuesday evening.
The Checkers (22-13-1-4) scored the game’s first two goals and held on for their 11th win in the last 13 road games despite a late tally from Norfolk’s Marc-Antoine Pouliot. Justin Pogge earned the win and is now 9-0-0 in his last nine decisions on the road.
Oskar Osala and Nicolas Blanchard were the goal scorers for Charlotte, with Blanchard notching the game winner. The Checkers now have 14 different players who have registered a game-winning goal, leading the league in that category.
The Checkers opened the scoring on Osala’s ninth goal of the season, 11:16 into the first period. Norfolk goaltender Cedric Desjardins stopped Brett Sutter’s initial wraparound attempt but Osala was there to fire a shot beyond his reach. Chris Terry also earned an assist on the play, extending his point streak to four games.
The score remained 1-0 until 10:49 of the third period, when Blanchard potted the eventual game-winning goal. The Checkers forward gained possession of the puck by winning a foot-race with a Norfolk defenseman and stuffed home his third goal of the season out of a net-mouth scramble.
The Admirals responded to being put in a two-goal hole by playing their best hockey of the evening in the game’s final minutes and pulled to within one on Pouliot’s tally at 14:52.
Norfolk then was given a chance to tie the game when Oscar Osala was flagged for tripping with 4:31 remaining. The Checkers’ penalty-killing unit, however, rose to the occasion and shut down the Admirals’ fifth power-play chance of the night. Charlotte has now successfully killed all 30 Norfolk power-play attempts this season.
In the game’s final seconds, Pogge nearly deposited his first-career goal into the vacated Norfolk net, but the final buzzer sounded just a second before the Charlotte netminder’s shot missed the left post by an inch.
Norfolk and Charlotte’s next meeting is only six days away, when the Admirals visit Time Warner Cable Arena for a 5:00 p.m. matchup this Sunday. The Checkers will attempt to reverse the trend of road-team dominance in a season series that has seen the visiting club prevail in all seven games.
The Checkers return to Charlotte on Thursday to host the Manchester Monarchs (NHL affiliate: Los Angeles Kings) at 7 p.m. Friday is ‘Race Night’ and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano is back as the headliner. Proceeds from the jersey auction and a portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Bennett family from Albany, N.Y. Visit www.gocheckers.com/racenight for more information.
NOTES: The Checkers have only lost two road games since Oct. 29 (11-2-0-0)…Justin Pogge is 9-0-0 in his last nine road decisions...Chris Terry is on a four-game point streak (3g, 1a)... Cedric McNicoll has tallied assists in all three of his games with Charlotte since his arrival from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
Charlotte Checkers 2 at Norfolk Admirals 1 - Status: Final
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - Norfolk Scope
Charlotte 1 0 1 - 2
Norfolk 0 0 1 - 1
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Osala 9 (Sutter, Terry), 11:16. Penalties-Graham Cha (interference), 6:17; Berry Nor (tripping), 16:46.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Terry Cha (boarding), 4:39; Borer Cha (hooking), 6:31; Harju Nor (hooking), 7:48; Bergeron Nor (interference), 10:31; Mihalik Nor (interference), 16:08.
3rd Period-2, Charlotte, Blanchard 3 (Samson, McNicoll), 10:49. 3, Norfolk, Pouliot 10 14:52. Penalties-Carson Cha (roughing), 11:23; Szczechura Nor (holding), 11:44; Osala Cha (tripping), 15:29.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 14-10-15-39. Norfolk 8-7-19-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 5; Norfolk 0 / 5.
Goalies-Charlotte, Pogge 12-7-2 (34 shots-33 saves). Norfolk, Desjardins 13-5-1 (39 shots-37 saves).
Referees-Steve Patafie (85), Chris Ciamaga (41).
Linesmen-Dan Cohen (47), Mark Hamlett (81).