ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia The Checkers haven’t had much trouble breaking down the AHL’s best defensive team this season.
Zac Dalpe (two goals, two assists) and Brett Sutter (one goal, three assists) tied a franchise record and their own career highs with four points apiece as the Checkers began a back-to-back set in Abbotsford with a 5-1 win on Friday night. Matt Beca and Luke Pither had the other goals for Charlotte, which got 28 saves from goalie Justin Peters.
Both of Dalpe’s goals came short-handed, making him the first Checker to record multiple short-handed goals in the same game in the team’s three-year history. He also became the first player to score three short-handed goals in a season for the Checkers, who finished the night 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.
The win, the Checkers’ fourth in their past five games, gave them a 2-1-0 lead in the four-game season series with Abbotsford that concluded Saturday night. (The result of Game 4 was not completed in time for this edition.) It also gave the Checkers 13 goals in three games against the Heat, which entered the game allowing an AHL-best 2.33 goals per game.
Continuing a theme seen throughout the season, the Checkers didn’t pull away until the third period, scoring three times for a plus-28 goal differential in third periods this season. Dalpe started the run just one minute into the third with his second goal of the night, a low shot that beat goalie Barry Brust after Sutter had sprung him loose for the second time.
This goal was the third time that Sutter and Dalpe connected during the game, with Sutter finishing a slap pass from Dalpe to tie the game at 1-1 on a first-period power play.
Checkers 5, Heat 1
First Period—1, Abbotsford, Nemisz 1 (Horak, Bancks), 6:06. 2, Charlotte, Bre. Sutter 13 (Dalpe, Gragnani), 12:31 (PP). Penalties-Bre. Sutter Cha (checking to the head), 0:54; Horak Abb (high-sticking), 11:48.
Second Period—3 , Charlotte, Dalpe 17 (Bre. Sutter), 12:22 (SH). Penalties-Bellemore Cha (cross-checking), 5:33; Kivisto Cha (delay of game), 11:50; Staal Cha (tripping), 14:03.
Third Period—4, Charlotte, Dalpe 18 (Bre. Sutter), 1:11 (SH). 5, Charlotte, Beca 1 (Bre. Sutter, Dalpe), 10:00. 6, Charlotte, Pither 6 (Terry, Shugg), 11:40. Penalties-served by Shugg Cha (bench minor - too many men), 0:46; Wahl Abb (boarding), 3:48; Dalpe Cha (slashing), 4:23; Kolanos Abb (closing hand on puck), 6:23; Raymond Cha (hooking), 14:42; Kolanos Abb (roughing, misconduct), 16:41.
Shots on Goal—Charlotte 4-6-6-16. Abbotsford 8-11-9-28.
Power-play opportunities—Charlotte 1 / 4; Abbotsford 0 / 7.
Goalies—Charlotte, Peters 20-12-1 (28 shots-27 saves). Abbotsford, Brust 11-11-2 (16 shots-11 saves).
Referees—David Banfield (77), Tom Chmielewski (65).
Linesmen—Bevan Mills (35), Nathan Vanoosten (96).