CHECKERS IN PLAYOFFS IN INAUGURAL AHL SEASON

Charlotte CheckersCHECKERS CLINCH THIRD IN EAST WITH 2-1 WIN
Charlotte to face two-time defending champion Hershey in the first round

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Checkers scored two second-period goals and held on for a 2-1 win over the Worcester Sharks on Friday evening in front of 9,813 fans at Time Warner Cable Arena.

With the win, the Checkers clinched third place in the East Division and set up a first-round matchup with the two-time defending champion Hershey Bears. The Sharks, meanwhile, were eliminated from playoff contention.

Cedric McNicoll scored the game-winning goal for Charlotte on a power play, while Jacob Micflikier netted the Checkers’ other tally. Justin Pogge had a strong game, turning away all but one of Worcester’s 22 shots and earning second star honors. Harri Sateri stopped 25 shots for Worcester in a losing effort.

The Checkers opened the scoring, 3:59 into the second period, on Micflikier’s 29th goal of the season after he and Chris Terry entered the zone on a 2-on-1. Terry fed Micflikier, who fired a shot, then got his own rebound and roofed a wrist shot over a sprawling Sateri.

At 10:05 of the second, Charlotte took a 2-0 lead on a power-play goal by McNicoll. From behind the net, Zach Boychuk slipped the puck across the front of the crease and McNicoll got it at the right-wing faceoff dot then went top shelf over Sateri.

Just 43 seconds later, Worcester answered back to cut the Checkers’ lead to 2-1. McCarthy was the last Shark to get his stick on a Nick Schaus shot that deflected multiple times to beat Pogge.

Worcester pulled Sateri with 1:34 remaining in regulation in a desperate attempt to save the game and their season. Pogge stood tall, however, and the Checkers defense clamped down to take a 2-1 victory.

The Checkers (43-27-2-7) will close out their inaugural AHL regular season when they take on Worcester again Saturday from Time Warner Cable Arena at 7 p.m.

Saturday will be the sixth annual “Salute to Heroes” game, presented by AutoTrader.com, Harris Teeter and The Pita Pit. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.gocheckers.com/salutetoheroes.

The Checkers are packing the house on Saturday and a special $2 upper-level ticket is available. Use the promo code “two” at www.ticketmaster.com to get your tickets before noon tomorrow. The first 3,000 fans will receive a Wilson bobblehead, courtesy of Horizon Eye Care.

Checkers playoff tickets for the opening round against Hershey are now on sale. For playoff ticket information call 704-342-4423 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

NOTES: The Checkers are 31-1-2 when leading after two periods…The Checkers have scored 11 power-play goals in the last six games…Chris Terry has eight goals in the last 12 games… Zach Boychuk has 15 points (5g, 10a) in the last eight games…Cedric McNicoll has eight points (4g, 4a) in eight games since being called up on Mar. 22.

Worcester Sharks 1 at Charlotte Checkers 2 – Status: Final
Friday, April 8, 2011 – Time Warner Cable Arena

Worcester 0 1 0 – 1
Charlotte 0 2 0 – 2

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Bellemore Cha (tripping), 18:21; FitzGerald Cha (slashing), 19:08.

2nd Period-1, Charlotte, Micflikier 29 (Terry, Bellemore), 3:49.2, Charlotte, McNicoll 6 (Boychuk, Dalpe), 10:05 (PP).3, Worcester, McCarthy 7 (Wingels, Schaus), 10:48.Penalties-Petrecki Wor (interference), 9:25.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Rodney Cha (hooking), 4:10; Sutter Cha (high-sticking, high-sticking), 18:41.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 6-7-9-22. Charlotte 10-9-8-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 4; Charlotte 1 / 1.
Goalies-Worcester, Sateri 1-3-1 (27 shots-25 saves). Charlotte, Pogge 22-18-4 (22 shots-21 saves).
A-9,813
Referees-David Banfield (44).
Linesmen-Paul Carnathan (93), Mark Hamlett (81).

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