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Checkers blanked in Cam Ward’s debut

CLEVELAND Cam Ward gave his team a chance to win, but the team wasn’t able to provide him much help.

One game after scoring a season-high nine goals, the Checkers were shut out for the first time this season in a 1-0 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday. In his first game since the Carolina Hurricanes sent him to the AHL on a conditioning stint, Ward made 35 saves.

Charlotte’s winning streak ended at four games.

Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard stopped all 33 shots he faced. The four-game series between the teams continues with a rematch on Saturday.

The game’s only goal came with five minutes left in the first period when the Monsters’ Brad Malone found Paul Carey all alone in the slot for a one-timer – one that Ward, who was playing his first AHL game since Dec. 18, 2005, would have needed to make an outstanding save to stop.

The 2006 Stanley Cup champion made plenty throughout the game, including on a shorthanded breakaway save in the first period, a two-on-one stop in the third and a flashy glove save down the stretch that gave the Checkers more than enough time to find their first goal.

The start of the third period offered some promise for Charlotte, which took 16 shots in the final 20 minutes. The first line of Zach Boychuk, Brett Sutter and Chris Terry got things going with a high-pressure shift that resulted in a Lake Erie penalty and the Checkers’ best power play of the night, but Pickard responded with some tough saves.

CHA000-0
LE100-0

1st Period-1, Lake Erie, Carey 7 (Malone, Hishon), 15:05. Penalties-Murphy Cha (double minor - high-sticking), 1:47; Sgarbossa Le (high-sticking), 2:47; Rissanen Cha (hooking), 3:33; Heard Le (high-sticking), 7:22; served by Schumacher Le (bench minor - too many men), 10:10; Rissanen Cha (boarding), 16:00.

2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Beaupre Le (tripping), 1:36; Cornet Cha (slashing), 2:01; Shugg Cha (holding the stick), 6:20; Nemisz Cha (slashing), 18:10; Malone Le (cross-checking), 18:37.

3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Sgarbossa Le (holding), 4:06; Carey Le (slashing), 8:18; Boychuk Cha (goaltender interference), 9:08.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 9-8-16-33. Lake Erie 14-10-12-36.

Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 6; Lake Erie 0 / 8.

Goalies-Charlotte, Ward 0-1-0 (36 shots-35 saves). Lake Erie, Pickard 11-11-3 (33 shots-33 saves).

A-9,215 Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Mark Lemelin (41). Linesmen-Ray King (55), Brian Wisner (35).

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