CHARLOTTE, NC—For the second game in the row, the Charlotte Checkers scored seven goals and skated away with the victory. Rookie Matt Schepke netted his first career hat trick and Miika Wiikman stopped 27 of 31 shots for the win.
Johnstown struck first on the power play just under two minutes into the game on a goal by winger Ryan Menei. Menei picked up a rebound in front of the net and let a shot go that beat Wiikman over the glove.
The Checkers would reply two minutes later on a nifty play by Michel Leveille. T.J. Reynolds started the play with a big hit on a Johnstown defenseman who then coughed up the puck. Leveille grabbed it and faked out Johnstown goaltender Kris Mayotte before sliding the puck over to Kenny Roche who tapped it into the empty cage. The goal came at the 3:55 mark and was Roche’s fifth of the season.
Just over three minutes later, Charlotte took the lead on a great shorthanded effort by Mike Taylor and Matt Schepke. On a two-on-one, Taylor faked a shot and fed Schepke who tipped the puck between the legs of the Johnstown netminder.
Johnstown would answer back 38 seconds later on the power play as Jim McKenzie notched his fourth of the season.
With just over three minutes to play in the first frame, Andrew Carroll stickhandled around two Johnstown defensemen and roofed the puck past Mayotte from a bad angle to make it a 3-2 game. The goal was Carroll’s sixth of the season and he currently leads the ECHL with a five-game goal streak.
The Chiefs would tie the game again on a power-play goal by Connor Shields, his team-leading seventh of the season.
Both teams then traded goals as Kenny Roche tipped a T.J. Reynolds point shot in and Johnstown added another power-play goal, their fourth of the night with the man advantage.
The third period was all Charlotte as the team scored three unanswered goals. Matt Schepke netted two more for his first career hat trick and Leveille notched his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Mayotte stopped 30 of 37 in a losing cause for Johnstown and the Chiefs scored all four of their goals on the power play.
The Checkers (8-3-2-0) will host Johnstown 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.
Notes: Tyler Doig now has 10 points (1g, 9a) in his last five games…Matt Schepke has eight goals in his last eight games…Michel Leveille leads the team in scoring with 19 pts (9g, 10a) in 13 games…rookie Andrew Carroll has a goal in each of his last five 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.