03/11/2016 10:22 PM
Article By: Bob Mills
Charlotte, N.C. - The Charlotte Checkers (30-24-3-3) took control of the game early, scoring four goals in the first period as the Rockford IceHogs (33-15-7-4) fell 6-3 in the first of a back-to-back set in Charlotte.
The Checkers came out firing, knocking home the first goal of the game just 1:32 into the contest. After a failed clearing attempt, David Wohlberg took a pass from Kyle Hagel and snapped the puck just under the pads of Michael Leighton.
Just 59 seconds later, Charlotte doubled thier lead when Ethan Werek raced up the ice on an uncontested breakaway, fired a shot off the goal post and eventually into the net.
Mark McNeill was able to cut the lead in half at 4:01 of the period. A shot from Vinnie Hinostroza deflected off the glove of John Muse. McNeill was on the doorstep and knocked home the rebound to cut the Checkers lead to 2-1.
Charlotte used the first power play of the game to go back up by two. Justin Shugg was able to sneak a pass through the neutral zone and Anthony Camara skated up the left wing and whipped a shot off the post and into the back of the net at 15:10 of the frame.
The first period scoring was rounded out when Andrew Poturalski one-timed a backdoor pass Sergey Tolchinsky into the cage. It was the first pro goal for Poturalski, who was second in the NCAA this season with 52 points.
In the second frame, the scoring slowed down as just one puck found its way over the line. The lone goal was scored late in the period as Shugg finished off a rebound after a flurry of saves from goaltender Drew MacIntyre, who relieved Leighton at the start of the the second stanza. The goal put Charlotte up 5-1 entering the third.
Rockford started to mount a third period comeback late in the final frame. McNeill banged home his second of the contest when he tapped in a pass from Hinostroza at 14:26, cutting the lead to 5-2.
Tanner Kero then gave the IceHogs some life less than three minutes later when he took a pass from Kyle Cumiskey on the left cirlce. His pass towards the slot deflected off a skate blade and slid into the back of the net.
The comeback bid for Rockford was ended with 1:36 to play. Patrick Brown intercepted a pass through the neutral zone and fired the puck into the vacant cage to polish off a 6-3 victory for the Checkers.
Rockford finished the game 0-for-8 on the power play while Charlotte took advantage of one of their six chances.