CHECKERS ON THE VERGE OF JUMPING OVER BEARS

Charlotte Checkers VERSUS Hershey

CHECKERS SCORE 5 STRAIGHT IN THRILLING 5-3 COMEBACK
Dodge scores winner for second straight game; Checkers lead series 3-2

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After falling behind 3-0 midway through the second period, the Charlotte Checkers scored five unanswered goals and shocked the Hershey Bears, 5-3, to take a 3-2 lead in the East Division Semifinals.

Four of the Checkers’ goals came in the third period and Nick Dodge scoring his second straight game-winning tally. Dodge now has seven goals in 13 career postseason games. Brett Sutter, Zach Boychuk, Oskar Osala and Drayson Bowman also scored for the Checkers, while Mike Murphy made 31 saves on 34 shots to earn the win.

The Bears got goals from Steve Pinizzotto, Mathieu Perrault and Andrew Carroll, but fell after Braden Holtby allowed four goals on 33 shots, including three on 13 shots in the third period.

For the fourth time in five games, it was Hershey who scored the game’s first goal. Just 3:06 into the first period, a heavy forecheck forced a Checkers turnover in the defensive zone. Boyd Kane emerged with the puck and centered a feed from the left-wing corner to Pinizzotto, who buried it into the top corner of the net.

The Bears upped their lead to 2-0 when Perreault scored off a rebound at 1:49 of the second period before former Checker Carroll put his team ahead by three, 10 minutes later, by banging home a rebound in the paint.

The Checkers got their first goal and started the comeback with 2:46 left in the second period, thanks in part to an odd bounce off an innocent looking dump-in. Dalpe sent the puck ringing around the boards from center ice, which caught a nick in the corner and squirted directly into the goal mouth, where Sutter poked it in for his first playoff goal as a Checker.
The Checkers climbed to within one goal when Boychuk deflected a shot by Bowman into the back of the net, just 1:00 into the third period.

Charlotte continued its relentless attack and tied the score five minutes later when former Bear, Osala, banged in his own rebound after being sprung on a breakaway.

Continuing to carry the play and not allowing a shot through the first 11 minutes of the third period, the Checkers took their first lead of the game when a backhand pass by Osala hit Dodge’s skate and ricocheted over the goal line.

The resilient Bears refused to go without a fight, though, and were given a golden chance to pull even when two Checkers penalties 1:08 apart put the road team on a two-man advantage. Thanks to several acrobatic saves by Murphy, and solid defensive play by the Checkers, the Bears were held at bay and Bowman scored an empty-net goal to secure the 5-3 win.

After a travel day on Saturday, the series will resume at Giant Center on Sunday at 5 p.m., where the Checkers will have a chance to clinch the series and dethrone the two-time defending Calder Cup Champions.

Notes:

Drayson Bowman and Oskar Osala both contributed a goal and two assists…Brett Sutter and Zach Boychuk both had a goal and an assist…Boychuk has a point in every game of the series (3g, 3a)…Nick Dodge has seven goals in 13 career postseason games…The Checkers have outscored the Bears, 9-2, in third periods in the series.

Hershey Bears 3 at Charlotte Checkers 5 – Status: Final
Friday, April 22, 2011 – Time Warner Cable Arena

Hershey 1 2 0 – 3
Charlotte 0 1 4 – 5

1st Period-1, Hershey, Pinizzotto 2 (Kane), 3:06. Penalties-McNeill Her (slashing), 4:20; Nash Cha (tripping), 8:29; Matsumoto Cha (delay of game), 9:26; Orlov Her (slashing), 16:12.

2nd Period-2, Hershey, Perreault 3 (Willsie, Greentree), 1:49. 3, Hershey, Carroll 1 (Perreault, McNeill), 12:57. 4, Charlotte, Sutter 1 (Dalpe, Boychuk), 17:14. Penalties-Nash Cha (hooking), 2:33; Blanchard Cha (boarding), 4:24; Miskovic Her (holding), 13:12; Fahey Her (boarding), 19:29.

3rd Period-5, Charlotte, Boychuk 3 (Bowman, Rodney), 1:00 (PP). 6, Charlotte, Osala 2 (Sutter), 5:48. 7, Charlotte, Dodge 3 (Osala, Bowman), 11:24. 8, Charlotte, Bowman 2 (Osala), 19:00 (EN). Penalties-Wellar Her (interference), 1:22; Pinizzotto Her (roughing), 7:09; Terry Cha (goaltender interference), 12:44; Rodney Cha (interference), 13:52; Borer Cha (delay of game), 19:59.

Shots on Goal-Hershey 14-14-7-35. Charlotte 11-9-14-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 0 / 7; Charlotte 1 / 6.
Goalies-Hershey, Holtby 2-3-0 (33 shots-29 saves). Charlotte, Murphy 2-1-0 (35 shots-32 saves).
A-6,183
Referees-Geno Binda (22), Ghislain Hebert (49).
Linesmen-Mike Sheehan (90), Alex Stagnone (7).

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