Sunday, February 23, 2014

Peters solid in Checkers 3-2 shootout loss

Justin Peters turned away 34 shots in the first game of his conditioning stint with the Checkers, keeping Charlotte neck-and-neck with the Texas Stars all the way to the seventh round of a sudden-death shootout on Saturday.

After surrendering two goals in regulation, Peters stopped three of the Stars first six shootout attempts before Matej Stransky netted the game-winner to hand Texas the 3-2 overtime win at the Cedar Park Center in front of 6,863.

Philippe Cornet and Mark Flood took care of the scoring in regulation for the Checkers, while Chris Terry – who did his best T.J. Oshie impression in the shootout – saw his three-game scoring streak come to an end.

Terry improved to a perfect 5-for-5 (3-for-3 with Charlotte and a 2-for-2 with Carolina) this season on shootout attempts.

Defenseman Ryan Murphy, however, was able to continue his point-streak – now at seven games – with his 12th assist in 12 games since being assigned to Charlotte from the Hurricanes, the longest active streak of any AHL blue-liner.

The goal for Flood was his career-high 12th of the season, and extended the Checkers record (which he already had) for most goals by a defenseman in a single season. 

Texas netminder, Cristopher Nilstorp (34 saves), started the seventh round with a save on Checkers captain Brett Sutter to pick up the win.

Aaron Palushaj, Terry and Brody Sutter each scored shootout goals for the Checkers, who finished their two-game set in Texas with one point.

Peters, in his first game at any level since his last start for Carolina on Jan. 19, helped Charlotte end an ugly streak of nine-straight games where it allowed three of more goals in regulation.

Ironically enough, the last time the Checkers had successfully held a team under three goals in regulation was Jan. 31 (a 1-0 loss) with Carolina goalie Cam Ward in net on a conditioning stint of his own.

The Stars put their league-best power-play (27.9-percnet) to work against the Checkers on Saturday, scoring on two of their three opportunities with a man-advantage.

The Checkers will now return to Charlotte for a few days of practice before heading out to face the Norfolk Admirals for two (beginning on Wednesday) and Hershey.

Greg Nemisz, Brendan Woods and John Muse missed the game due to injury, while defenseman Matt Corrente was the healthy extra on defense.