CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte Checkers defeated the Florida Everblades, 4-3, in a shootout thriller on Wednesday evening. Rookie Matt Schepke netted two goals and Billy Sauer stopped 39 of 42 shots for the victory.
The game was scoreless until midway through the second period when the two teams combined for three goals in a span of 2:17.
Charlotte forward Matt Schepke opened the scoring on the team’s 15th shot when he fired a wrist shot past Florida goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu. The goal came at the 13:34 mark and was assisted by Kenny Roche and T.J. Reynolds.
Florida answered back shortly thereafter when Jacob Micflikier, back from an American Hockey League call-up, netted his third goal in as many games. Milan Gajic skated in alone on Charlotte goaltender Billy Sauer and Micflikier was there to bang home the rebound.
Just 35 seconds later, Schepke put the Checkers ahead by one with his second of the game when he took an Andrew Carroll rebound and stuffed it in from the crease. The goal came at the 15:51 mark of the second period.
Florida held a 26-20 shot advantage through two periods of play.
Early in the third frame, Florida rookie forward Brandon Buck made a beautiful play dragging the puck around a Charlotte defender. He then dished the puck to Gajic who tapped it in, tying the game at 2-2.
With 3:25 left to play, the Checkers would pull ahead, 3-2, on a laser of a wrist shot by rookie Jason Lawrence. Lawrence took a pass from Jared Nightingale and let the shot go off the cross-bar and in past Beckford-Tseu.
Florida tied the game 25 seconds later on a goal by Brandon Buck and the Checkers headed to overtime for the third straight game.
Overtime would solve nothing and the teams prepared for the shootout. After 11 rounds of shooters, Checkers defenseman Julien Brouillette solved Beckford-Tseu and sealed the win for Charlotte.
The Checkers will host Florida again tomorrow at Time Warner Cable Arena. Game time is 7 p.m. and ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com.