Charlotte Checkers  VERSUS  Wilkes Barre

Jon Matsumoto scored a pair of goals as the Checkers take Game 1 win

WILKES-BARRE, P.A.—Jon Matsumoto scored two power-play goals as the Charlotte Checkers defeated the top-seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2, on Thursday evening.

With the win, the Checkers take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with three of the next four games in Charlotte. Game 2 is Saturday in Wilkes-Barre at 7:05 p.m.

Mike Murphy continued his stellar play in goal for Charlotte, making 28 saves to improve his postseason record to 4-1. Zac Dalpe scored the Checkers’ first goal to jump out to an early lead.

Geoff Walker and Brett Sterling scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while goalie Brad Thiessen stopped 16 of the Checkers’ 19 shots. The Penguins outshot Charlotte 30-19 on the night.

At 15:10 of the first period, the Checkers drew first blood in the series with a goal by Dalpe. Following a takeaway by Brett Sutter at center ice, Zach Boychuk fed Dalpe, who moved into Penguins’ zone and snapped a wrist shot from the top of the left-wing circle that beat Thiessen high, glove-side.

The Penguins evened the score, early in the second, with a power-play goal by Walker. Keven Veilleux backhanded a pass across from the left wing to the driving Walker, who drove the puck by Murphy.

The Checkers regained a 2-1 lead at 7:18 of the second period on Matsumoto’s first goal of the postseason. While on the power play, Casey Borer faked a shot, found an opening in the defense and slipped a pass across the ice to Matsumoto. The veteran center one-timed the pass from the lower right-wing circle to beat the moving Thiessen.

Five minutes into the third period, Matsumoto picked up his second power-play goal of the night on an abbreviated 5-on-3. After a battle in front, Riley Nash found Matsumoto at the side of the net, who then lifted the pick over the sprawling Thiessen.

Only 1:23 later, Sterling cut the Checkers’ lead to 3-2 with the Penguins’ second power-play goal of the evening. Tim Wallace backhanded a pass from the left-wing boards to Sterling in front, who chipped the puck past Murphy.

Drayson Bowman was assessed a minor penalty with 1:47 remaining. With about a minute remaining, the Penguins pulled Thiessen to create a 6-on-4 advantage, but the Checkers’ defense clamped down and Murphy stood tall to hang on for the 3-2 victory.

The Checkers (1-0) will remain in Wilkes-Barre for Game 2 on Saturday before returning to Time Warner Cable Arena for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, respectively. For ticket information call 704-342-4423 or visit


Zach Boychuk has a point in every playoff game so far (3g, 5a)…Zac Dalpe leads all rookies with nine playoff points (4g, 5a)…Drayson Bowman has seven points (2g, 5a) in seven playoff games…Brett Sutter has seven points (2g, 5a) in seven playoff games.

Charlotte Checkers 3 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2 – Status: Final
Thursday, April 28, 2011 – Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Charlotte 1 1 1 – 3
W-B/Scranton 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Dalpe 4 (Boychuk, Sutter), 15:10. Penalties-Murphy Cha (delay of game – restricted area), 1:55; Boulerice Wbs (holding), 8:04; served by Matsumoto Cha (bench minor – too many men), 17:00.

2nd Period-2, W-B/Scranton, Walker 1 (Veilleux, Potter), 4:29 (PP). 3, Charlotte, Matsumoto 1 (Borer, Jordan), 7:18 (PP). Penalties-Borer Cha (tripping), 3:10; Vitale Wbs (tripping), 4:40; Wallace Wbs (high-sticking), 5:36; Micflikier Cha (roughing), 12:00; Marshall Wbs (roughing), 12:00; Terry Cha (tripping), 16:41.

3rd Period-4, Charlotte, Matsumoto 2 (Faulk, Bowman), 5:03 (PP). 5, W-B/Scranton, Sterling 1 (Wallace, Hutchinson), 6:26 (PP). Penalties-Rodney Cha (cross-checking), 1:17; FitzGerald Cha (boarding), 2:36; Sterling Wbs (high-sticking), 3:13; Vitale Wbs (interference), 3:22; Matsumoto Cha (hooking), 5:23; Boulerice Wbs (hooking), 14:54; Bowman Cha (slashing), 18:13.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 4-9-6-19. W-B/Scranton 10-7-13-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 2 / 6; W-B/Scranton 2 / 8.
Goalies-Charlotte, Murphy 4-1-0 (30 shots-28 saves). W-B/Scranton, Thiessen 4-3-0 (19 shots-16 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (44), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Judson Ritter (34), Jameel Chaudry (51).

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