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.
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 www.gocheckers.com or head to www.facebook.com/charlottecheckers.
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).