In front of a sellout crowd, the Checkers rolled over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-0 to put an end to their losing streak.
Alex Nedeljkovic was peppered with 25 shots during the game, including 11 during Bridgeport’s third-period push alone, but was up to the task on all 25, notching his second shutout of the season and his 15th victory.
After a period and a half of stalemate hockey, the Checkers started the scoring off thanks to an eye-popping individual effort by Warren Foegele that saw him follow up on the rebound of his own shot. The forward then sparked another Checkers’ goal minutes later, firing an initial shot that was knocked home by Nicolas Roy to give Charlotte a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes of play.
The Checkers buckled down in the third to keep the Sound Tigers’ rally attempt at bay until Foegele burst out and tallied an empty netter in the final minute of play to clinch Charlotte’s decisive win.
Coach Mike Vellucci on the difference between tonight’s game and previous losses
We had more guys back. Walllmark adds to our top line. Nicky Roy was playing on our top line and now he played on the fourth line. When you get Saarela and Wallmark back it gives you strength down the middle. We played well..
Vellucci on the key to winning
Obviously Ned played really well, held us in there and made some really big saves when we did have some trouble, but we scored some ugly goals in the dirty areas which isn’t normally our game. That’s something I’ve been preaching all year long and we did it there. We had to learn to win those tight games and get those ugly goals.
Alex Nedeljkovic on breaking the team’s losing streak
I don’t know if we did anything different than we did the last two games here against Toronto. Tonight we just wanted to break the skid because we got in a bit of a slump there and you never want to fall too far behind in the standings. Tonight was a good one to kind of get us back on track.
Nedeljkovic on winning a low-scoring game
Teams are bearing down and tightening up defensively, and come playoff tie you’re not going to score six goals a game. We’ve got to be more consistent defensively, and tonight was a really good way to show that.
The Checkers’ annual 1950s Night promotion drew a sellout crowd of 8,341. Fans consumed over 6,000 $1 hot dogs … Nedeljkovic earned his second shutout of the season and the third of his career … This was the fifth multi-goal game of Foegele’s rookie season. His 19 goals put him into a three-way tie for most in the AHL, and he has already tied the third-most by a Checkers rookie in a single season (Lucas Wallmark set the record last season with 24) … Charlotte improved to 16-5-0 with Wallmark in the lineup. He had missed the last six games, when the team went 1-5-0 … With the win, the Checkers overtook Bridgeport for the fourth spot in the Atlantic Divison … The Checkers snapped a four-game losing streak that tied their longest of the season. This was their first win of 2018 … Before scoring three tonight, the Checkers had three goals in their previous four games combined … Charlotte improved to 2-2-0 against Bridgeport this season … Forward Sergey Tolchinsky missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.
The Checkers continue their home stand tomorrow night with a rematch against the Sound Tigers at 7:00 p.m.
Press release provided by the Charlotte Checkers