A day after failing to register any offense in their home opener, the Charlotte Checkers used a dominant power play and some late heroics from defenseman Jake Chelios to upend the Manitoba Moose 3-2 Sunday at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Charlotte jumped to an early lead thanks to power-play goals from Derek Ryan and Joakim Nordstrom during the first six minutes.
The Moose didn’t fold, however, getting a pair of goals from JC Lipon to tie the score with just more than 10 minutes to play. But it was the Checkers’ power-play attack that struck again, with Chelios ripping a one-timer with 25 seconds remaining to give Charlotte its first home victory of the American Hockey League season.
“It’s important for us as leaders to make sure the guys are upbeat, have a lot of energy and aren’t fading away,” said newly named team captain Ryan, whose seventh goal of the season was the team’s first at home. “After giving up a two-goal lead we want to make sure we’re upbeat and ready to go and we were doing that.”
After this weekend’s quick turnaround, the Checkers will use this week to regroup and prepare for contests Friday and Saturday against Milwaukee and Saturday.
“We’re going to give them a day off (Monday) because they’ve earned it,” Checkers coach Mark Morris said. “That was a pretty stressful game and they played a hard game (Saturday) night, too.”