The American Hockey League season is inching closer to conclusion, and the Charlotte Checkers can use every point they can get.
It didn’t happen Wednesday night because Rockford’s Mac Carruth turned aside 38 saves and helped the IceHogs win 2-1 at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Despite the loss, Charlotte will go into Thursday in what would be a playoff spot. But San Jose could’ve changed that with wins Wednesday at San Antonio and Friday at Texas. The Barrcuda, however, fell 4-3 in overtime on the road to keep the margin the same.
It wasn’t until late in the second period that someone scored Wednesday, and it came from Vinnie Hinostroza after forcing a turnover and converting on a breakaway. Jake Dowell quickly doubled Rockford’s lead less than three minutes into the third, beating goaltender John Muse, but Anthony Camara answered back, popping in a rebound at the side of the net to pull the Checkers within one.
Despite mounting considerable pressure late and outshooting the IceHogs 18-2 during the final period, the Checkers could not find the equalizer.
“I thought we looked sluggish at times and really good at times,” Charlotte coach Mark Morris said. “We threw everything we could at their guy and he was razor sharp again. We hit a lot of pipes and posts and we’ve got to bury our chances.”
The game was further evidence of the Checkers’ up-and-down production. They were held to just one goal in regulation for a second straight night despite seemingly solid play throughout the lineup.
“I don’t know if it was just a hot goalie or if we didn’t have enough traffic in front of him or if we had a lot of shots and maybe we didn’t have enough Grade-A opportunities,” left wing Kyle Hagel said. “I feel like we played well enough to win tonight and unfortunately just didn’t get it.”