01/25/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2020 23:02
Deadlocked at two with under two minutes to play, the Penguins countered Charlotte's attack as Thomas Di Pauli split the Charlotte defense and fired a shot into the back of the net to reclaim the visitors' lead.
The Checkers pushed with an extra attacker down the final stretch, but the Pens hit the empty net in the waning seconds to ice the contest and escape Charlotte with another victory.
Charlotte's hot hands carried the offense, as Julien Gauthier notched his team-best 21st goal less than a minute in, then Morgan Geekie extended his point streak to nine games with a second-period strike that tied the contest heading into the second intermission.
They weren't able to try their hand at the man advantage, however, earning no power plays across the contest. The Checkers' kill came through with a perfect slate on three times shorthanded, with Alex Nedeljkovic finishing the night with 27 saves.
QUOTESCoach Ryan Warsofsky on the game We didn't have a good start. A lot of passengers. We got it going there at moments there in the second and fought our way back into it, and I thought we pushed really good in the third and played more of our style, but it's a heartbreaker.
Warsofsky on giving up odd-man rushes
They're a good team. They're high offense, their D can skate and they get up in the rush. Obviously we play similar structure and we knew it was going to be a chess match and tight and come down to who wanted it more. We had times where we could see it and times where we came off the gas there.
Warsofsky on what to learn from this game
It's a young group that's learning how to win hockey games. We've got to figure it out. Our best players, our leadership, need to step up. It's a one-game season every time you go out there and play and the puck drops, we focus on that one game. We're not focused on what happened in this stretch of 10 or 12 games. We lost last night, we lost tonight. We need some guys to step up in there and be our leaders. They wear letters on their jersey for our reason. Even if you don't and you've been in the league long enough, you've got to step up.
Warsofsky on the message heading into the All-Star break
Clear your minds, get away from the game for thee or four days here, regroup, get healthy and get back to work Thursday.
NOTESPrior to this weekend, the Checkers had not lost consecutive games since Nov. 30-Dec. 1 … The Checkers did not receive a power play during the game … Geekie extended his point streak to nine games (6g, 5a), which ties the longest by a Checker this season (Gauthier) … Gauthier has goals in three straight games and points in four straight (3g, 2a) … Eetu Luostarinen has points in three straight (2g, 3a) … The Checkers fell to 2-2-0 against the Penguins this season, with the road team winning each time … Forwards Brian Gibbons, Colin Markison, Stelio Mattheos and Kerby Rychel missed the game due to injury … Defenseman Derek Sheppard was a healthy extras.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.