The Charlotte Checkers closed their stint at Time Warner Cable Arena in fine fashion.
Left winger Brock McGinn’s go-ahead goal with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left pushed Charlotte to a 4-3 victory Sunday against Rockford in the Checkers’ home finale. Next season Charlotte moves back to Bojangles’ Coliseum, the Checkers’ home before moving to uptown in 2005.
“It feels good,” McGinn said. “It’s definitely history here and going to Bojangles’ next year, it’s definitely a cool thing to note back on. I think it was really good just coming out with two points.”
Rockford tied the game at 3 on Brandon Mashinter’s penalty shot with 5:04 remaining, but Charlotte, didn’t take long to get back in front on McGinn’s blast from the right wing after taking a pass from Chad LaRose.
“We got down 2-0 at the start of the first, then we fought our way back to tie it up and it was a back-and-forth game there,” McGinn said. “I think we did a good job of getting pucks toward the net, crashing and banging and putting them in.”
Rockford broke on top quickly, with Tanner Kero scoring on a redirect 1:48 in, followed by Phillip Danault’s goal at 7:18 to grab a two-goal advantage. Charlotte responded with goals by Patrick Brown and Justin Shugg to force a 2-2 deadlock at the first intermission.
Rockford outshot Charlotte 35-32 for the game, but the Checkers received good effort from younger players, among them defenseman Haydn Fleury, whose first AHL goal put them in front 3-2, and goalkeeper Rasmus Tirronen, who recorded 32 saves in his first professional game.
“We battled through injuries throughout the game, and guys stepped up and played some big minutes and some big (penalty) kills at the end,” Charlotte coach Jeff Daniels said. “It was a great, great team effort.”
First Period—1, Rockford, Kero 2 (Dahlstrom, Mashinter), 1:48. 2, Rockford, Danault 12 (McNeill, Ross), 7:18. 3, Charlotte, Brown 2 (Aleardi, McKeown), 8:53. 4, Charlotte, Shugg 20 (Woods), 10:26. Penalties—None.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Sandlak, Cha (holding), 2:15; Pesce, Cha (tripping), 6:20; Dahlstrom, Rfd (hooking), 11:33; Biega, Cha (interference), 16:47.
Third Period—5, Charlotte, Fleury 1 (Holmstrom, Shugg), 6:42 (PP). 6, Rockford, Mashinter 17 14:06 (PS). 7, Charlotte, McGinn 14 (LaRose, Sutter), 16:21. Penalties—Walters, Rfd (tripping), 4:53; Fournier, Rfd (tripping), 7:44; Robertson, Cha (holding), 11:37; Robertson, Cha (holding), 18:31; Biega, Cha (delay of game), 19:57.
Shots on Goal—Rockford 8-7-20—35. Charlotte 10-14-8—32.
Power-play Opportunities—Rockford 0 of 6; Charlotte 1 of 3.
Goalies—Rockford, Leighton 20-13-2 (32 shots-28 saves). Charlotte, Tirronen 1-0-0 (35-32).