Entering Sunday, the Charlotte Checkers had generated only a single goal in each of their three home games this season.
Greg Nemisz put an end to that trend all by himself, scoring a goal in the second and third periods to lead the Checkers over the Hamilton Bulldogs, 2-1, in front of 3,753 at Time Warner Cable Arena .
“Nemo, for me, is just a real solid pro with his voice in the locker room and the way he prepares for practice every day,” said Checkers coach Jeff Daniels of Nemisz, who now leads Charlotte with six points (four goals, two assists). “He put up a lot of points in junior (hockey) and it hasn’t happened yet at the pro level... but he’s off to a good start.”
The win – which featured five fights – was the Checkers’ first at home this season and improved the team to 3-6-0 overall, while also serving as revenge for a 3-1 loss to the Bulldogs this past Friday.
“We came to the rink today with a chip on our shoulder – enough is enough,” said Daniels. “It wasn’t our plan to fight five times, it just kind of happened. It got a little chippy at times, but for the most part it was a pretty honest game.”
After taking a 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs on Friday and then surrendering three unanswered goals, the Checkers found themselves in a similar position on Sunday.
Nemisz’ first – a backhanded chip past Hamilton goalie Mike Condon (31 saves) – came a minute and 47 seconds into the second period. Early on in the third, Hamilton evened the game at 1-1, thanks to a puck that bounced off the backside of Drew MacIntyre (24 saves) and slid just over the goal line.
The Checkers response, left coach Daniels impressed.
“(The game) could have gone either way with the mindset of our team, but I thought the shift after that (goal) was a really good shift by Brownie’s line (Phil Di Giuseppe-Patrick Brown-Alex Aleardi)," Daniels said. "They just went in there, were moving their legs, had some zone time and we moved on from it.”
Midway through the second period, Nemisz was sent hard into the boards by Connor Crisp and was slow to get up, as Charlotte defenseman Carter Sandlak and Crisp dropped the gloves.
In the third, Nemisz got revenge, batting home the rebound from a power-play shot off the stick of Ryan Murphy for the game-winning goal.
“As much as you want to play with a lead through 60 minutes it doesn’t always happen,” Daniels said. “Goals happen and it’s just how you respond to it. We didn’t respond well on Friday but I thought we responded well today.”
NOTES: With two goals on Sunday, Greg Nemisz now has 17 points (7g, 10a) in 23 games since his acquisition from Calgary last season. The two-goal game was his first since 2012. … Andrew Rowe, who signed with the team early on Sunday to play for the suspended Brock McGinn, played his fourth game in four days. He finished the game with four shots on goal. “He played a three-in-three and all of the sudden you get in the car, get in at two this morning and then play at one a clock,” Daniels said. “I thought he gave us everything he had and I thought he did some good things. We’ll see how this week goes about with injuries and whatnot and we’ll see where he fits in.”… 20-year-old rookie defenseman Trevor Carrick has impressed coach Daniels with his play thus far. “He’s been a pleasant surprise for us,” Daniels said. “He’s a confident kid and he plays a big, strong game. He’s not afraid to make a play out there and he gets involved physically. He’s been real good for us for a first-year pro nine games into his pro season and he’s handled it real well.”
INJURIES: Justin Shugg (upper-body injury) is yet to practice with the team and missed his sixth consecutive game. … Ben Holmstrom (shoulder injury) missed his first game of the season and “was definitely out” according to Daniels. “He wasn’s a question mark today.”