Drew MacIntyre gave the Charlotte Checkers a major lift to close out the team’s five-game home stand.
The goaltender turned away 47 shots and then two of three shootout attempts to help the Checkers earn a hard-fought 2-1 win Thursday night against the red-hot Grand Rapids Griffins in front of 4,903 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Justin Shugg netted the Checkers’ goal in regulation and then combined with Brock McGinn to beat Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum in the shootout to give Charlotte (23-31-5-1) earn a series split.
“We cared,” said MacIntyre, who has stopped 21 of 23 shootout attempts this season. “We were into it. We were emotionally into the game, and that’s what you want. We need to be like that. These young guys have to learn to do that every game.”
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The Griffins (36-17-6-2), who lead the Western Conference, are on a 17-game (13-0-4) point streak. Although MacIntyre didn’t end the streak, he did become the first goaltender to hold the Griffins to one goal in regulation since Feb. 31 (17 games).
“When you’ve got a goalie like that in the crease, you’re confident whether it’s a breakaway, two-on-one, or odd-man rush,” said Shugg. “When he’s in the blue paint, him or (backup goaltender John Muse), we know that they’re going to come up big.”
MacIntyre turned away breakaway attempts from Kevin Porter (with 2 minutes, 22 seconds to play in regulation), Landon Ferraro (in the first minute of overtime), and Anthony Mantha (with less than 10 seconds left in overtime).
“I just want to win,” said MacIntyre, who ranks second in the league with 1,178 saves.