NORFOLK, Va. Marc-Andre Gragnani made his one shot on goal count Wednesday night, beating Frederik Andersen at 36 seconds of overtime to give the Charlotte Checkers a 3-2 American Hockey League victory over the Norfolk Admirals.
Norfolk, last in the East Division, forced the extra time when left wing Patrick Maroon got the puck past John Muse only 22 seconds into the third period. It was the only time on the night the Admirals were successful on a power play. The Checkers killed off five other times when Norfolk had a manpower advantage.
A goaltender interference call on Luca Caputi at 19 minutes of the third period, however, opened the door for Gragnani and the Checkers.
Charlotte, trying to stay close to first-place Texas in the South Division, improved to 20-8-2-2 on the road and 4-2 against Norfolk. The Checkers entered the day four points behind the Stars and will have the next five games at Time Warner Cable Arena in their pursuit of the division lead.
Gragnani is a big reason they still are close. In addition to chalking up his third power-play goal this season and second game-winner, the defenseman assisted on a first-period goal by Chris Terry and one in the second by Jeremy Welsh. Gragnani has a team-leading 18 power-play assists after notching one Wednesday.
Charlotte will return home to face the Houston Aeros at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
First Period–1, Norfolk, Smith-Pelly 7 (Guenin, Sexton), 6:58. 2, Charlotte, Terry 22 (Marshall, Gragnani), 10:48. Penalties–Bellemore, C (fighting major), 4:05; Maroon, N (fighting major), 4:05; Gragnani, C (hooking), 17:43.
Second Period–3, Charlotte, Welsh 11 (Gragnani, Pither), 15:08 (pp). Penalties–Staal, C (tripping), 8:32; Terry, C (tripping), 10:27; Lindholm, N (holding), 14:24; Parent, N (interference), 14:45; Rissanen, C (roughing), 17:37; Gragnani, C (high-sticking), 18:43.
Third Period–4, Norfolk, Maroon 14 (Smith-Pelly, Vatanen), 0:22 (pp). Penalties–Soryal, C (hooking), 3:30; Caputi, N (charging), 14:10; Caputi, N (goaltender interference), 19:00.
Overtime–5, Charlotte, Gragnani 3 (Rutherford, Terry), 0:36 (pp). Penalties–None.
Shots on goal–Charlotte 9-5-7-1–22. Norfolk 11-9-13-0–33. Goalies–Charlotte, Muse 4-2-0 (33 shots-31 saves). Norfolk, Andersen 13-11-1 (22-19). Att.–2,738 (at Norfolk, Va.).