Charlotte Checkers

Charlotte Checkers can’t erase early deficit against Ontario

Ryan Murphy gave the Charlotte Checkers hope Saturday night, but Michael Mersch dashed their hopes about eight minutes later.

The Ontario Reign built a two-goal lead through two periods and then held on for a 3-1 American Hockey League victory at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Paul Bissonnette and Scott Sabourin scored just more than six minutes part during the second period to stake the Reign to a 2-0 lead.

With Valentin Zykov serving a two-minute penalty for high-sticking at the end of the second period, Charlotte opened the third on a power play. After trying twice earlier to beat goaltender Peter Budaj with a manpower advantage, Murphy finally succeeded at 36 seconds of the third to get the Checkers within a goal.

Mersch, however, extended the lead back to two just shy of nine minutes in by getting his shot past Drew MacIntyre.

The Checkers will get a chance to avenge the loss at 5 p.m. Sunday when the teams will meet again in Charlotte.