Checkers Bounce Back with 5-3 Win Over Penguins
The Checkers rebounded nicely in front of a packed house Saturday night, dropping the Penguins by a 5-3 score.

In a reversal of the night before, the Checkers jumped out to an early lead by pumping in three goals before the nine-minute mark and never looking back. The visitors pushed back over the course of the final 40 minutes but it wasn’t enough to overcome Charlotte’s attack, specifically the duo of Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy, who each picked up three points on the night.

After entering last night’s contest in relief and logging over two periods of play, Alex Nedeljkovic stayed dialed in for the start Saturday, making 32 stops to notch his league-leading 18th victory on the season.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the start
Obviously it was a strong start. I thought the guys came out with a lot of jump. I could tell in the locker room that they were focused before the game, and that’s what you have to be all the time. I know it’s a young group and sometimes it’s hard to stay focused, but that’s my job and the veteran’s job to keep the guys focused.

Vellucci on the line of Nicolas Roy, Julien Gauthier and Janne Kuokkanen
I thought Gauthier was especially good. He played very smart and was a beast with the puck. You couldn’t take the puck away from him, he went to the net and did a lot of good things that started with the first goal. I thought Nicky Roy has been struggling of late but I thought today was one of his best games for sure.

Vellucci on responding to last night’s loss
(The players) believe in themselves and in each other so it’s good to have bouncebacks. Obviously you don’t want to have too many letdowns and we’ve had a few, but the bouncebacks are pretty critical when you want to be a good team.

Julien Gauthier on bouncing back from last night’s loss
We really needed that game, to be honest. It was not the way we wanted to be paling last night of course, but I thought the boys answer back was really good and we had a big win tonight.

Gauthier on his line with Roy and Janne Kuokkanen
We played all year together and had fun together. The past few weeks we’ve been really good in practice together and have that chemistry, so it was a really good night for us three.

NOTES

The postgame jersey auction raised $17,475 for the fight against ovarian cancer ... A day after trailing the Penguins 3-0 following one period, the Checkers led 3-0 after the first period tonight. They were up 14-3 in first-period shots… The Checkers avoided losing consecutive games for just the second time this season … Gauthier’s goal was his fifth in his last five games. He had seven in his first 35 … Morgan Geekie’s goal was his seventh in his last 12 games … Defensemen Josiah Didier and Dennis Robertson missed the game due to injury … Forward Steven Lorentz and defenseman Derek Sheppard were healthy extras. 17475
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.