Charlotte Checkers VERSUS Connecticut Whale

WHALE STUN CHECKERS W/COMEBACK SHOOTOUT WIN Checkers earn point; magic number now 8 points

HARTFORD, Conn. – After erasing a 2-0 deficit in the final 2:21 of the third period, the Connecticut Whale got shootout goals from John Mitchell and Evgeny Grachev to earn a 3-2 win over the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night.

Jon Matsumoto had a chance to keep his team alive in the second half of the fifth shootout round, but he was stopped by Dov Grumet-Morris, who also denied 29 of Charlotte’s 31 shots in regulation and overtime in a winning effort.

Justin Pogge played well and stopped 34 shots on the way to earning a point in the standings. The Checkers’ regulation-time goals were scored by Brad Herauf and Zach Boychuk.

After the teams played a scoreless first period, Herauf scored his third goal of the season to give the Checkers a 1-0 lead at 3:30 of the second period. He received a leading pass from Riley Nash and broke in on a two-on-one with Cedric McNicoll, but elected to shoot and picked the corner on Grumet-Morris.

Charlotte increased its lead to 2-0 when Boychuk finished off a solo effort by ripping a slap shot from the left-wing circle through Grumet-Morris’ legs. The goal was Boychuk’s 20th on the season.

The Checkers maintained their two-goal lead until the 17:39 mark of the third period, when Russian defenseman Pavel Valentenko scored a slap-shot goal from the right point off a faceoff win by Kris Newbury,

Gaining momentum from the goal, the Whale stormed Charlotte’s net in the final minutes of the third period and Stu Bickel used a high slap shot to beat Pogge and tie the game with 1:08 left in regulation.

Tied 2-2, the teams battled through overtime and into a shootout, where John Mitchell and Evgeny Grachev scored to lift the Whale to a 3-2 victory.

The Checkers (39-25-2-7) will finish their road trip in Portland tomorrow night at 7 p.m. before returning to Time Warner Cable Arena for a 5 p.m. meeting with the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.

For every ‘like’ the Checkers get on their Facebook page between now and Apr. 1, the team will donate $2 to Zach Bennett and his family, who plan to move to Charlotte for better medical care and to be closer to the team. Visit or head to


Brad Herauf scored his first goal in 23 games dating back to Jan. 28…Prior to Valentenko’s third-period goal , the Checkers had held the Whale scoreless over 123:43 of the season series over a stretch of six periods. Zac Dalpe scored his team-leading sixth shootout goal.

Charlotte Checkers 2 at Connecticut Whale 3 (SO) – Status: Final SO
Friday, March 25, 2011 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Charlotte 0 2 0 0 – 2
Connecticut 0 0 2 0 – 3

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Herauf Cha (boarding), 6:42; Blanchard Cha (goaltender interference), 8:02.

2nd Period-1, Charlotte, Herauf 3 (Nash), 3:30. 2, Charlotte, Boychuk 20 (Micflikier, FitzGerald), 19:35. Penalties-Williams Ct (tripping), 13:13.

3rd Period-3, Connecticut, Valentenko 4 (Parlett, Newbury), 17:39. 4, Connecticut, Bickel 2 (Redden, Mitchell), 18:52. Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Charlotte 1 (Dalpe G, McNicoll NG, Terry NG, Micflikier NG, Matsumoto NG), Connecticut 2 (Mitchell G, Williams NG, Newbury NG, Weise NG, Grachev G).
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 5-10-11-5-0-31. Connecticut 12-15-8-1-1-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 1; Connecticut 0 / 2.
Goalies-Charlotte, Pogge 18-16-4 (36 shots-34 saves). Connecticut, Grumet-Morris 11-3-1 (31 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Kevin Redding (16).