The Charlotte Checkers returned to their home ice Friday night, but their woes followed them as Grand Rapids skated off with a 4-0 American Hockey League victory at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, things unraveled quickly in the second for Charlotte. Robbie Russo set up goals by Tomas Nosek, Anthony Mantha and Xavier Ouellet during the opening 11 1/2 minutes of the period to put the Checkers away.
Charlotte continued to be haunted by offensive struggles with Friday marking the 12th time in 14 contests that they have failed to score more than two goals and the fifth time they’ve been blanked.
“For whatever reason it seems to be that we’re struggling to find ways to score goals,” center T.J. Hensick said. “It doesn’t really matter if you get 10 shots or 40 shots. At the end of the day you’ve got to find a way to get them past the goalie. It’s frustrating for sure.”
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This time the lack of offense was not for a lack of effort. The Checkers put the pressure on the Griffins, but couldn’t quite solve Jared Coreau, who recorded his fifth shutout of the season.
Charlotte sported a drastically different lineup, with top scorers Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn and defenseman Ryan Murphy with the Carolina Hurricanes. That shakeup led to different and bigger roles for several players.
The same teams will match up again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re still a good team, we’ve just got to find ways to win,” Hensick said. “We’re keeping the puck out of our net for the most part and limiting scoring chances, but for whatever reason we’re just struggling to score. We’ve got to find ways to get dirtier and grittier in front of the net, and I think if we can get one it might give us some confidence to get some more.”