One night after scoring seven goals to ensure their best-ever start to a season, the Checkers allowed nine to suffer their first defeat.
The Checkers fell back to earth in dramatic fashion Saturday in Chicago, as a disastrous first period doomed them to an eventual 9-5 loss. Charlotte tied its franchise record for most goals allowed in a single game and most goals allowed in a first period that saw them trail 5-2.
It marked the first loss of the season for Charlotte, which on Friday beat Milwaukee 7-2 to start 3-0-0 for the first time in their six AHL seasons.
Defenseman Trevor Carrick tied his career high with four points (2g, 2a), with Jake Chelios, Phil Di Giuseppe and Derek Ryan also finding the back of the net for Charlotte.
Starting goaltender Rasmus Tirronen gave way to Drew MacIntyre after allowing two goals in the game’s first eight minutes but later re-entered the game after Chicago’s seventh tally in the second period.
Chicago’s Ty Rattie, Pat Cannone, Magnus Paajarvi, Danny Kristo and Ivan Barbashev all finished with three points for the Wolves, who were coming off a 7-3 defeat to Texas on Friday.
Despite falling into an early 3-1 hole after Andre Benoit scored what was essentially the Wolves’ second power-play goal in as many tries (the Wolves first goal by Kristo went in just as a man advantage had expired), the Checkers had a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Carrick scored with plenty of time to spare in a 65-second, two-man advantage.
Down by just one, the Checkers had roughly three minutes of power-play time remaining thanks to a Kristo double-minor that had triggered the five-on-three, but moments after Zach Boychuk’s tripping penalty negated the final portion, Rattie and Cannone scored less than a minute apart essentially ice the game before the initial period had ended.
The remainder of the game was mostly a formality, with Jordan Caron and Paajarvi scoring in the second to end MacIntye’s night. Despite the loss, a handful of Checkers were able to continue impressive offensive starts to the season, with Ryan scoring a goal for the third straight game. Di Giuseppe and Sergey Tolchinsky (2a) are the only Checkers to record at least one point in all four games this season.
The Checkers continue their eight-game road trip with a pair of games in Grand Rapids starting Wednesday.