Charlotte Checkers

Charlotte Checkers win home opener

Once the Charlotte Checkers finally lit up the scoreboard Friday night, the rest was easy in a 4-2 American Hockey League victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Winger Brock McGinn scored two goals — one in a big three-goal second period to erase a 2-0 deficit — and center Derek Ryan recorded three assists for the Checkers (2-3) in their home opener in front of a crowd of 7,117 at Bojangles Coliseum.

“We got caught a little flat-footed when they scored two quick goals, which sets anyone back. But we managed to regain our composure and get a little momentum going,” Checkers coach Ulf Samuelsson said.

Samuelsson credited the Charlotte power-play, which was an unimpressive-seeming 1-for -5 for the evening but managed to create a good number of scoring chances. And on the other end of special teams play, the Checkers stopped all seven power plays by Grand Rapids (4-2).

“I think we tired them out, on the power play and the penalty kill,” Samuelsson said. “We only scored once (a man-advantage goal by McGinn that just beat the horn at the end of the second period), but we had a lot of action and got a lot of pucks to the net.”

Defenseman Keegan Lowe got Charlotte on the scoreboard with a wrist shot from the slot to the glove side of Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau. That came 7 minutes and 38 seconds into the second period.

“We came out harder and finished our checks, so it was a good chance for us to show some character,” Lowe said. “They say the two-goal lead is the worst kind in hockey and I’m glad I was able to give us a lift and get us back in it.”

Andrew Poturalski slid a pass across the slot to Sergei Tolchinsky, who slapped the puck in at the right of the crease.

The Checkers took the lead for good on the power play in the closing seconds of the oeriod. Checkers goaltender Michael Leighton stopped a short-handed chance by Grand Rapids and McGinn converted the 2-on-1 rush at the other end

The Griffins scored a pair of early goals a minute-and-a-half apart to take a 2-0 lead to the first intermission. Mike Borkowski netted a wrist shot from the slot 3:02 into the game for the first score and Anthony Manti scored the second Grand Rapids goal on a slap shot from the top of the right circle.

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