Checkers secure point in shootout loss to Penguins

Jean-Francois Berube after allowing a goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a...
Jean-Francois Berube after allowing a goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a shootout loss Sunday Jan. 15 at the Bojangles Coliseum.(WBTV)
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 7:24 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC – The Checkers added another point to the standings Sunday afternoon but couldn’t secure the victory, falling to the Penguins in a shootout.

The visitors opened the scoring in the tight contest early on in the second period, but the Charlotte blue line came up big once again for the home side. Matt Kiersted swooped in from the point and potted his first goal of the season shortly after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s strike, then Lucas Carlsson kicked off the third with his second goal in as many games.

The Checkers’ lone lead of the night wouldn’t survive till the end of regulation, however, as the Penguins converted on one of their seven power plays on the night to even the score and send the game to overtime.

After an up-and-down extra frame couldn’t produce a winner, the game shifted to a shootout. Zac Dalpe was the lone conversion for Charlotte, while the Penguins were successful on each of their first two shots - securing the win for the visitors.

Quotes

Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game

“Both teams are in similar situations with the travel and where their lineups are at, so I thought it was a good hockey game that went back and forth and ended up going to the shootout, which it probably should’ve. We fell on the short end of the stick on that one.”

Kinnear on penalties disrupting the flow of the game

“The sequence of the last goal against on the PK, I’m not sure what the situation was there. We have to be mentally tough. Those games are going to happen. We’ve got to move beyond it, keep our focus and not lose our focus. It was a hockey game that was back and forth, it’s a tight division and tight teams. A good hockey game. The teams battled and I thought both teams really worked hard.”

Kinnear on J-F Berube

“It’s not been an ideal situation for him being the third goalie here and waiting, waiting, waiting. He finally got into a little bit of a rhythm and then today he was much better and he was good for us.”

Kinnear on Zac Dalpe contributing in his first game back

“That’s what he does. He’s a Charlotte Checker through and through, but give him a lot of credit for where he is in his career. He worked hard, had a great year last year and got called up to the National Hockey League. I don’t know how long he was up there, almost a month and a half or two months maybe. So good on him, but we’re always excited to get our captain back. He’s a big part of what we want to do down here and everyone’s excited to have our captain back.”

Kinnear on defensemen scoring goals

“It’s nice, right? That’s the way the modern-day game is played. You have to have contribution from your back end. I thought the group has got way better at that, so we want to continue to build it as a group. I’m proud of the guys and the effort for back-to-back games, tough fought games. We’ll get some rest now and get to work during the week.”

Lucas Carlsson on the game”We created some good chances out there. It was obviously a close game and we’re playing a good team. I think we played a solid game. We’ve just got to bury the chances.”Carlsson on J-F Berube

“He’s been unbelievable. These last couple of games in net he’s been great. It’s tough for him because he hasn’t played much, but he played a great game.”

Carlsson on his confidence after scoring in back to back games

“It’s good. It’s always fun to produce some offense. I play power play and that’s what I should do, so the confidence is good.”

Carlsson on navigating through a tough stretch”We know how to handle it. The older guys have to step up and be leaders, and I think the guys have been doing a great job bouncing back from those games. We’re happy with where we are right now.”

Notes

Carlsson scored in consecutive games for the first time since December 15-16, 2018 … The Checkers finished the series one point ahead of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for third in the Atlantic Division … Four of the Checkers’ last five goals were scored by defensemen … The Checkers’ 11th overtime game of the season, seven of which were at home, is tied for most in the AHL. They are 7-4 in those games, including 3-2 in the shootout … Aleksi Heponiemi (assist) has 11 points (2g, 9a) in his last 11 games … Checkers scratches included forwards Grigori Denisenko, Logan Hutsko and Justin Sourdif, and defensemen Dennis Cesana and Zach Uens.