CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On a brisk November day, the Charlotte Checkers played their last game in November on the heels of a back-to-back against the Utica Comets. This game, in particular, was unique and special because it was Teddy Bear Toss Night at Bojangles Coliseum. For these nights, once the home team scores their first goal, fans throw stuffed animals on the ice to get donated as presents to hospitals and charities. Although the Checkers did lose 3-2 in overtime, it was a special night for deserving children as we head into this Christmas season.
The Checkers faithful did not have to wait long for the first home goal of the night as Justin Sourdif would score at the 1:27 mark of the first period. The initial shot from Grigori Denisenko was stopped, but Sourdif was in the right place to backhand home the rebound to make it 1-0 Charlotte. Once Sourdif’s goal went in, it just rained stuffed animals all over the Bojangles Coliseum ice.
Stay hot Sourdif! 🔥🧸️🔥🧸️🔥🧸️ pic.twitter.com/r25oepN4yb
— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) November 26, 2022
Never been to one of these games personally, so these nights have to be a must-attended event for families in the future. Getting to see a hockey game in person while giving away stuffed animals to children in hospitals and charities is one of the best things to do at a game. There have been some record-breaking nights for teddy bear tosses, but when it comes to Checkers’ games, these seem one of the best. Honestly, look at all the bears that will be going to a child this Christmas season:
Oh my pic.twitter.com/nIEwfNqewP
— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) November 26, 2022
While this was fun to see, when the stuffed animals were picked up, hockey resumed. The Checkers did have a good lead for a decent amount in the first period. Although, Utica would tie the game up at 9:54 in the period to make it a 1-1 game. Comets forward Nolan Foote would be the one to equalize the game right around the halfway mark of the period. The period would end with the score tied at one goal apiece. The Checkers would lead the period 14-9 at shots on goal.
While the Checkers did not score in the second period, the Comets would take a 2-1 lead off forward Graeme Clarke at the 18:29 mark. The former Ottawa 67s right-winger notched his third goal of the season on that particular goal. While that was the only goal, there were six penalties in that period, four to the Checkers alone, forcing Charlotte to play on the back foot for most of the period. When it comes down to it, that alone was a factor as to why the Checkers were outshot that period by the Comets 10-8 and losing the game at the time. Although, the third period would be in favor of the home team.
Home fans, once again, did not have to wait long to see the Checkers equalize the game at two in the third period. The captain himself, Zac Dalpe, came in clutch for the red and black. The goal came at the 2:22 mark of the period off a great feed from Denisenko (his second primary assist of the night) in the slot. Dalpe just wound up and one-timed it in the net to tie the game. That gave the Checkers much-needed momentum to look for a possible third goal of the game. All in all, what a great feed and shot by Charlotte to make it 2-2 at 2:22 in the third.
Four goals in his last five games 🔥 pic.twitter.com/aO03ZFVFLP
— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) November 27, 2022
Fun fact: this is Dalpe’s fourth goal in his last five games. The captain is getting hot at the right time for the Checkers to keep them in games the last couple of weeks. Also, this was Dalpe’s tenth goal of the year, and he’s now fifth in the league in goals. After that typing goal, there were no more goals in regulation, with shots on goal being tied at ten apiece.
Teddy Bear Toss night headed to overtime.
Unfortunately, the home faithful did not go home with a win. The Comets scored the game-winning goal at the 1:43 mark in overtime, Alexander Holtz‘s first goal of the season. Utica emerged with the 3-2 win in overtime, but the Checkers would gain a point in the standings. The shot totals of the period were in a 2-1 favor of the Checkers, but for the game, Charlotte led in shots on goal 34 to 30.
Final Stats & Game Notes
Dalpe and Denisenko finished as the second and third stars, respectively. Dalpe was the second star for his game-tying goal in the third period. Denisenko was the third star for his two assists in the game, both being primaries. Checkers goaltender Mack Guzda stopped 27 of the 30 Utica shots on the night. Total attendance for the night was 6,561. The Checkers are currently third in the Atlantic Division with a record of 11-5-2-1 and have 25 points on the season. They are only two points behind division leaders Providence Bruins, who sit at 27 points (11-2-3-2).
What is next for Charlotte?
The Checkers are off until next weekend. On December 2nd and 3rd, they face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for a back-to-back. Friday’s game will start at 7 p.m. Eastern, and Saturday’s game will start at 6 p.m. Those will kick off the month of December for the Checkers. Both games will be streamed on AHLtv. You can also check out every Charlotte Checkers radio call on the Field Pass Hockey app.
Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!
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