For the second game in a row, the Charlotte Checkers were unable to overcome a slow start to stay winless on their road trip through Canada.
The Hamilton Bulldogs got all of the game’s scoring out of the way in the first period as they cruised to a 4-0 win over the Checkers on Friday at FirstOntario Centre in the first of back-to-back games between the teams. The loss dropped the Checkers, who are a league-worst 6-18-4 on the road this season, to 0-3-0 on their four-game trip that concludes with Saturday’s rematch.
The result marked the fifth time the Checkers, who rank last in the AHL in terms of goals scored this season, have been shut out this season. That puts them one shy of their franchise record for a single campaign set in 2011-12. Since enjoying a stretch that saw them score three or more goals in four straight games, they have managed just one total goal in their last two outings.
It didn’t take a particularly long time for it to become apparent that the Checkers were in for a long night. Eric Tangradi started things off with two goals in the game’s first 13 minutes, both of which came off highlight-reel passing plays by the Bulldogs’ attack. The wheels then came off in the following minutes, with Daniel Carr taking over on an unassisted goal as he stripped the Checkers’ defense and went in alone on Charlotte goaltender Drew MacIntyre and then tipped in a Sven Andrighetto shot to finish a shift of sustained pressure in the Charlotte zone four minutes later.
The fruitless first marked the fourth time the Checkers have given up four or more goals in a period this season – two of which have occurred in their last three games. It was also the second time in as many games that Charlotte gave up what would prove to be the winning goal within the first six minutes, having also done so in Toronto on Wednesday.
The game settled down considerably over the final two periods, with the Checkers and MacIntyre (28 saves) able to stop the bleeding from that point out. However, signs of a comeback were never truly prominent, with Charlotte mustering just four shots in the second period. A hit post by Phil Di Giuseppe and a giveaway received by Hamilton native Kyle Hagel in the third period proved to be the visitors’ best chances of the night, but they were not enough to foil a 24-save shutout by Hamilton goalie Mike Condon.
Following Saturday’s game, the Checkers return to Charlotte to play five home games in nine days starting Wednesday.
1st Period-1, Hamilton, Tangradi 4 (Andrighetto, Hensick), 5:45. 2, Hamilton, Tangradi 5 (Dumont), 12:50. 3, Hamilton, Carr 17 14:02. 4, Hamilton, Carr 18 (Andrighetto, Hudon), 18:39. Penalties-Hagel Cha (fighting), 2:15; Bakker Ham (fighting), 2:15; Biega Cha (holding), 9:20; Bowman Ham (cross-checking), 10:33; Cornell Cha (roughing), 14:02; Hudon Ham (roughing), 14:02.
2nd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Woods Cha (slashing), 8:32; Staal Cha (interference, fighting), 10:09; Dumont Ham (cross-checking, fighting), 10:09; Schmitz Cha (closing hand on puck), 18:00.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Shugg Cha (tripping), 0:16; Ellis Ham (interference), 12:02; Hudon Ham (interference), 18:56.
Shots on Goal-Charlotte 8-4-12-24. Hamilton 14-14-4-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 3; Hamilton 0 / 4.
Goalies-Charlotte, MacIntyre 14-19-1 (32 shots-28 saves). Hamilton, Condon 18-12-0 (24 shots-24 saves).
A-4,027 Referees-T.J. Luxmore (49). Linesmen-Mike Harrington (11), Cory Piche (22).