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Charlotte Checkers

Checkers Shutout on Hockey 101 Night

#AHL | @CheckersHockey had a sold-out crowd for Hockey 101 NIght on Tuesday, but @WolfpackAHL spoiled the show in a 5-0 win. Here’s a recap by @FPHCheckers

Checkers Shutout on Hockey 101 Night

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Checkers hosted a “Hockey 101 Night” on Tuesday at the Bojangles Coliseum. The event was held in an effort to get fans interested in hockey and tickets were offered for $1.01. With a sold-out crowd of 8,506 in attendance, the Checkers were shutout 5-0 by Hartford.

First Period

The first period was relatively quiet on the scoresheet with a scoreless period, although the Wolf Pack had 15 shots on goal. Right away, it seemed that Hartford wanted to set the tempo of the game, peppering Checkers goaltender Mack Guzda. Guzda stood tall for the Checkers in the period stopping the onslaught with a perfect 13-for-13 in the saves category. The Wolf Pack’s Louis Domingue only faced three shots in the first period. The only other main thing that happened in the period was that the Checkers’ Lucas Carlsson was called for a high-sticking penalty that was eventually killed off in the second period.

Second Period

While the first period flew by with a scoreless frame, the second period was anything but. The Wolf Pack would score three goals in the period to put a stranglehold on the game. The first goal came early 50 seconds into the game, from the Wolf Pack’s Karl Henriksson. Henriksson got the puck in the middle of the zone between the faceoff circles and slotted the puck past Guzda to make it a 1-0 Hartford lead. There was nothing Guzda could have done as he had a net-front battle screening him from seeing Henriksson’s shot. The goal was Henriksson’s second goal of the game, with Zac Jones getting credited with his fifth assist on the season.

About five minutes later, Hartford would double their lead at the 5:47 mark of the period. While going to the bottom of the zone o the right side of the net, Wolf Pack forward Matt Rempe snuck the puck passed Guzda. Guzda tried to stop the puck by twisting his body on the post, but it didn’t work out as the puck squeezed past him, giving the Wolf Pack a 2-0 lead in the period. The goal was Rempe’s third of the season but not his last of the game.

At the 13:04 mark of the period, Rempe would score once again for his second goal of the game to give Hartford a wider lead. Rempe scored after circling around the Checkers’ net trying to throw it in front of the goal for a teammate. Although, the puck would actually bounce off of a Checkers player’s skate and into the net. An unfortunate bounce for the Checkers who couldn’t catch a break in the game. It would become a 3-0 Wolf Pack lead-off of Rempe’s fourth goal of the season, his second of back-to-back goals in the period. The shot totals after the period were 28-8 in favor of Hartford. The Checkers only had five shots to the Wolf Pack’s 13.

Third Period

While there were no penalties in the second period, the third period brought some fireworks. The third period alone had eight penalties compared to the one penalty in the first two periods combined. Before the main festivities, Hartford would score their fourth goal of the game at the 7:46 mark of the period. Hartford’s Bobby Trivigno skated into the Checkers’ zone and went straight for their net. He would end up crashing into the net and glancing the puck off the post past Guzda while falling onto the ice beside the net. It was a solid individual effort, and it caught the Checkers’ defense off guard to make it a 4-0 Wolf Pack lead. The goal would become Trivigno’s sixth of the season, while Henriksson would get his sixth assist of the season and his second point on the night.

Before Hartford scored its fifth and final goal of the game, there was a brouhaha in front of the Wolf Pack goal. Not sure what was said, but the Checkers’ Riley Bezeau and the Wolf Pack’s Matthew Robertson would drop the gloves. Although, the bout wouldn’t last long because after a solid two, maybe three punches Bezeau knocked Robertson to the ice, and the linesman broke up the fight. The quick knockdown brought the Checkers’ fans to their feet, the most they’d gotten excited for all night. The fight lasted maybe a total of 15 seconds but maybe something to get the Checkers’ going if not at least the Bojangles Coliseum.

The last goal of the game came at the 13:55 mark off of a Will Cuylle powerplay goal. It was the only special team’s goal in which the Checkers would kill off three of the four penalties they committed on the night. Unfortunately, the Checkers would end up going 0-for-3 on the night themselves on their own powerplay chances. The goal was Cuylle’s 10th of this season, and Tanner Fritz would be credited with his 15th assist on the season.

The final horn would sound and Domingue would end up getting the win after a 21-save shutout in the Checker’s first home game of the season on Hockey 101 Night.

Thoughts and What’s Next

The only bright spots for the Checkers were a couple of huge stops on defense by Carlsson and Johnny Ludvig on some rushes by the Wolf Pack. Despite the five goals given up, Guzda played as well as he could have as a rookie goalie. In the first period alone, he stopped 15 shots from Hartford. The lack of offensive chances, eight total shots in the first two periods and then 13 in the third period, did not help Guzda at all. The puck was in the Checkers’ defensive zone for the majority of the game, and the Wolf Pack dictated the style and tempo of the game right from puck drop. The Checkers need t get back to what was working in their small two-game winning streak during their Pennsylvania road trip.

The Checkers play the Wolf Pack on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EST followed by a two-game set against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday and Sunday.

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