It seems to be a growing theme of the Checkers this season. Build a lead in the third, and try to survive a late surge from the opposing team. Friday night, that was exactly the formula as the Checkers began a three games in three nights road stint off on the right foot, grabbing a three goal lead, and holding on to win 4-3 in Milwaukee.
Justin Peters got the start in goal for Charlotte, making 22 saves for his second win of the season, and Zach Boychuk continued his goal streak by scoring the eventual game-winner early in the third period. Boychuk has points in all three games this season, and leads the Checkers in points with two goals, and three assists.
Rookie Victor Rask got the scoring going midway through the first period when he deflected a pass from Jerome Samson for his first-ever professional goal. Brett Sutter, Checkers Captain, picked up the other assist on the goal.
Milwaukee forward Mark Van Guilder beat Peters on the glove side, minutes later, only for it to go ringing off the post. Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith made big stops after giving up the goal, including a nice pad save on Marc-Andre Gragnani on a 2-on-1 chance. His performance helped get his team motivated, and with 7:42 left in the second period, Gabriel Bourque forced a giveaway at the side of the net, and tied it 1-1.
Later in the second, Checkers rookie Jeremy Welsh was hit high and the Checkers went to work on the power play. With the man advantage, Drayson Bowman gave the Checkers the lead after taking a pass from Bobby Sanguinetti, and scored to make it 2-1. Less than two minutes later, Sean Dolan scored his first of the season with a wraparound goal, making it 3-1.
Justin Faulk left the game in the second period and never returned to the game. He was diagnosed early Saturday morning with a strained muscle and is considered day to day.
Then the team’s points leader, Boychuk put the Checkers up by three when he got the puck, came in alone, and beat Smith for the 4-1 lead.
Milwaukee then began to put on the pressure to get back into the game, making it 4-2 with a two-man advantage goal from Patrick Cehlin midway through the third, and Mattias Ekholm put in a rebound with three minutes left in the game. Peters would stand strong in net for the remaining time, leading his team and holding on to win 4-3.
The Checkers are now heading to Rockford for a two game series against the IceHogs on Saturday and Sunday. The Checkers have earned points in all three games this season, earning 5 of the 6 possible points.
Boychuk is the points leader with 5 (2 goals, 3 assists). Bobby Sanguinetti picked up two assists in the game, for his first multi-point game of the season. Six games left of the road trip before Charlotte plays their home opener in Time Warner Cable Arena on November 4. Tickets are still available, as well as options for mini-plans and other ticket options. You can go to http://www.gocheckers.com/tickets for more information and to purchase tickets.