Following a no-call late in the second period of the Charlotte Checkers’ matchup with the San Antonio Rampage on Thursday, veteran forward Zach Boychuk could be heard voicing his displeasure on the way to the bench.
“That no call was… brutal,” Boychuk barked.
Although there were several questionable whistles on the night, the Checkers seemed to focus their anger toward the on-ice officials instead of the Rampage.
And in the end, that cost them.
San Antonio (32-19-5-1) skated off the ice with a 5-2 win to salvage a series split in front of 4,056 at Time Warner Cable Arena in a game the Checkers (22-30-5-1) turned into a two-on-one with the officials.
“Guys are competitive and they’re going to get frustrated and sometimes that ends up working against you,” said Boychuk, who gave Charlotte a 2-1 lead with his 10th goal of the season with six minutes left in the first period.
On the play in the second period that got Boychuk fired up, he was taken down by a Rampage defenseman on a potential breakaway, but the officials saw the contact as incidental.
In the following moments, San Antonio lobbed the puck the length of the ice, dug it out from against the boards, and put it past goaltender John Muse (27 saves) for the eventual winning goal with 24 seconds left in the second period.
“It was kind of frustrating,” said Boychuk, who has six goals in his past nine games. “I think there were a few moments where it almost felt like (the calls) kind of changed the momentum of the game.”
The tone of the game was set early when an apparent icing went uncalled and led to a Rampage goal just 43 seconds in.
The loss snapped a season-best four-game home-winning streak for the Checkers and dropped Muse’s record to 4-2 over his past six starts, despite a .927 save percentage over that span.
The Checkers next will take the ice Sunday, when they will host the Norfolk Admirals.
“We’ve got to put our energy into the ice and not worry so much about whether it¹s a good call or a bad call,” said Checkers coach Jeff Daniels. “… They’re pros. They’ve got to be pros. Bottom line.”