The Charlotte Checkers poured in plenty of goals to win their first four games of the season. Tuesday night, it was the defense and goaltending that came through.
A 36-save performance from veteran netminder Drew MacIntyre helped the Checkers to a 2-1 shootout victory against the Rockford IceHogs. T.J. Hensick scored the only goal of the shootout, while Derek Ryan recorded the Charlotte’s regulation tally in a tight-checking affair.
The victory improved the Checkers to 5-3-0 as they prepare to travel to Cleveland to face the Lake Erie Monsters for the final two games of their marathon, 10-game road swing to start the season.
As was the case in its debut last season, the AHL’s new three-on-three overtime format, normally a nightmare for goaltenders, brought out the best in the MacIntyre. Rockford enjoyed the better of the play in the frantic frame, with MacIntyre stepping up to stifle numerous odd-man rushes.
In the shootout, MacIntyre stopped all three comers to ensure the win, with Hensick beating Michael Leighton to give him two goals in two opportunities this season. The Checkers’ previous shootout this season also produced a victory.