The Charlotte Checkers’ season ended Wednesday night after a disastrous start in the deciding game of its American Hockey League playoffs series with the Chicago Wolves.
In the first winner-take-all game of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Chicago Wolves rode a pair of early power-play goals to a 3-2 Game 5 victory against the Checkers.
The game began on a bad omen for the Checkers as they were assessed a bench minor after the game’s first shift for having iced an incorrect starting lineup. Kenny Agostino converted on the ensuing power play 1:50 into the game with his second goal of the series.
Another power play resulted in another Wolves goal, with Andrew Agozzino striking at 4:28 to send Tom McCollum to the bench in favor of Michael Leighton.
Adam Musil scored shorthanded early in the second period to give Chicago a 3-0 lead.
The Checkers began chipping away just over a minute later as Connor Brickley tallied his second goal of the series at 5:09.
Phil Di Giuseppe made it a 3-2 game with 6:34 remaining in regulation but Chicago held on for the win to improve to 8-3 all-time in winner-take-all Calder Cup Playoff games, including 6-2 at home.
Ville Husso (3-2) made 32 saves in the win. Charlotte finished with a 34-19 advantage in shots on goal.
The Wolves will meet the Grand Rapids Griffins in the second round of the playoffs, beginning May 3.