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Charlotte Checkers

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Checkers Split Two-Game Set Against Penguins

#AHL | Before the Friday night game between @WBSPenguins and @CheckersHockey ended early, some exciting hockey was played. @FPHCheckers takes a look:

Checkers Split Two-Game Set Against Penguins

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –  I want to start this recap by sending well wishes to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins player Filip Hållander who was injured in the game’s final minutes Friday. He was stretchered off the ice, and we will update this post as details are released. We hope he is okay and send hopeful thoughts to him, his family, and the WBS Penguins team.

The Charlotte Checkers went into Friday night looking to even the two-game set between them and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Penguins won Wednesday night 5-3 after a late Checkers comeback. The Checkers on Friday night did, in fact, win the game 4-2.

First Period

Like Wednesday night, it seemed like it would be all Penguins to start the first period. After five minutes into the period, the shot totals between the two teams were wide apart, with the Penguins having six to the Checkers one. Furthermore, the Penguins scored first at the 5:17 mark of the first period. The goal was scored by Hållander, who was wide open in front of the Checkers’ net after a spin-o-Rama shot was thrown on the net by Sam Houde. It seemed that the puck made it on the net and bounced off of Checkers goaltender Mack Guzda; Hållander picked up the rebound and shot the puck off the crossbar and into the net to make it a 1-0 Penguins lead. The goal was Hållander’s eighth of the season, Houde’s fifth assist on the year, and his third point in two games against the Checkers.

About ten minutes later, the Penguins doubled their lead at the 15:00 mark of the period. Penguin’s Alex Nylander made the Checkers pay for giving him too much space on the ice. He received a pass from the team’s points leader Valtteri Puustinen in the left faceoff circle after Puustinen circled around the net. Nylander took a couple of strides and snapped the puck on the net and into the net farside off the bar. The Checkers gave Nylander too much space and gave him his 13th goal of the season to tie Puustinen for the team lead. Puustinen was also credited for his 14th assist of the year on the goal.

Although, just a couple of minutes later, the Checkers cut the Penguins’ lead in half at the 17:22 mark. Grigori Denisenko brought the Checkers back within one after a beautiful goal right in front of the Penguins’ crease in his second game back with the Checkers. Denisenko was left wide open right of the net and took a beautiful pass from Patrick Giles to make it a 2-1 Penguins lead. The goal stopped the bleeding for the Checkers; it was Denisenko’s seventh goal of the season and Giles’ fourth assist. The Checkers went into the intermission down 2-1, but the second period ended up going in Charlotte’s favor momentum-wise.

Second Period

The first period was all Wilkes-Barre/Scranton until the Denisenko goal, but the second period saw a tide shift in favor of the Checkers. At the 2:17 mark, Denisenko scored his second goal of the night to tie the game up for Charlotte. Denisenko, while in the left faceoff circle, looked like he was going to one-time the shot, but he seemed to take the extra second to set up a wicked wrist shot to beat Penguins goaltender Taylor Gauthier to make it a 2-2 game. The play was set up well by Johnny Ludvigwho took the time to find Denisenko all alone in the faceoff circle. The goal was Denisenko’s eighth of the season and his second of the night. Ludvig was credited with his fifth assist of the year.

About three minutes later, the Checkers earned their first lead of the night from their points leader Riley Nash at the 5:08 mark of the period. Nash tipped the puck into the net off of a Denisenko wrist shot from the right faceoff circle to give the Checkers a 3-2 lead, their first of the night. Denisenko, on the goal, got his third point of the night and his 10th assist on the year. The goal was Nash’s 11th on the year, giving him a broader margin on his team-leading points total.

The game slipped farther away for the Penguins when not even a minute later, the Checkers tallied their fourth and final goal of the game. At the 6:02 mark of the period, Santtu Kinnunen ripped a one-timer on the net to double the Checkers’ lead, making it a 4-2 game. Kinnunen received an excellent cross-ice pass in his wheelhouse from Anton Levtchi above the left faceoff circle, and the puck went top shelf into the net. Kinnunen picked up his fourth of the season, along with Levtchi getting credited with his seventh assist to cap off a four-unanswered goal run for the Checkers.

Third Period

The game was called short with 1:12 left after Penguin’s Hållander took a fall onto the ice near the boards. Ludvig immediately called for the trainers to come onto the ice to attend to Hallander. He was later stretchered off the ice, with both teams taking a knee, hoping Hållander was okay. Not long after, the game was called final early as both teams skated into their locker rooms. The Checkers are now 17-12-2-1 with 37 points on the year and are third in the Atlantic Division. Their next game is Saturday night against the Hershey Bears at 7 p.m. Eastern.

We here at Field Pass Hockey send our thoughts and well wishes to Filip Hållander, his family, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins team. When stuff like this happens, being there for each other is bigger than hockey, and we hope everyone stays safe while playing this beautiful game. We will update this post once more news gets released.

Saturday morning, the Penguins released a new statement regarding Hållander’s condition:

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