NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—The Charlotte Checkers dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday night. Matt Schepke netted his fifth goal in five games and goaltender Miika Wiikman put aside 24 of 26 shots in a losing cause.
Charlotte got on the board first for the third game in a row on a goal by Matt Schepke. Codey Burki, assigned by Lake Erie (AHL) before the game, started the play by dropping a pass back to Tyler Doig. Doig dished it to Schepke on the right-wing who then one-timed it home past South Carolina netminder Braden Holtby.
The Stingrays would answer back on a shorthanded breakaway by Keith Johnson, his fifth goal and 14th point of the season. The goal came at the 10:56 mark of the first period.
Less than six minutes later, South Carolina took the lead on another breakaway. Rookie forward Nikita Kashirsky broke in all alone and faked both ways before beating Wiikman between the legs for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
The game would remain 2-1 until fifteen minutes into the second period when rookie winger Andrew Carroll tied it up with his third tally of the season. Ryan Hillier picked up the assist on the goal.
Despite several chances in the third period for either team, the game remained tied and went to overtime. South Carolina was assessed a late penalty in overtime but the Checkers were unable to capitalize and the two teams prepared for the shootout.
Each team needed seven shooters in the shootout and Ketih Johnson netted the eventual game winner for the Stingrays.
Notes: Head Coach Derek Wilkinson (199-164-36) needs one more win for 200 career coaching victories…Matt Schepke now has five goals in five games…Michel Leveille leads the team in scoring with 11 pts (6g, 5a) in 10 games…Derek Couture remains on loan to Hartford, Matt Ford remains with Lake Erie (AHL) and defenseman Ethan Graham is with Norfolk (AHL)…Ryan Munce, Trevor Glass and Randy Rowe are all on the 21-day injured reserve.