After falling behind early the Checkers were able to roar back against the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack, nabbing a 4-3 victory over their division rivals.

The Wolf Pack jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first frame until Valentin Zykov tipped home a point shot from the newly re-assigned Lucas Wallmark on a late man advantage. That same unit kept the momentum rolling in the second, with Zykov again finishing a Wallmark feed on the power play to even the score less than a minute into the period.

Hartford punched back to start the third, with Cole Schneider squeaking one through early to regain the lead, but that was short-lived as Janne Kuokkanen crushed a one-timer from the right circle to draw the score back even at three.

Charlotte’s power play would come through one more time in the clutch, with Andrew Poturalski cleaning up a rebound off the post from Trevor Carrick to give the Checkers their first lead of the night. The Checkers would then squash any Hartford rally down the final stretch to clinch the come-from-behind win, their third in a row.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the game
I thought we were terrible tonight, to be honest with you. I thought it was one of the worst two periods we’ve played all year. No legs, no movement and our brains weren’t working. We just played terrible, really. I think we got lucky to win that game tonight.

Vellucci on taking positives from coming back in this game
I guess so, but I don’t like to think that way because we didn’t play a good game and you can’t rely on trying to come back every game. We were just not ready to play mentally and physically. I know it’s a letdown when you come back from a long road trip, but we gave them plenty of rest and two days off. To come out with a performance like that in the first two periods is not good enough.

Vellucci on the power play
You can work on it all you want, but when you get Walmark back from the NHL then it makes a pretty good power play. He made the two plays to Z, but Z is always in the right spot and finds a way to get it in.

Lucas Wallmark on returning to the Checkers’ lineup from Carolina
It’s not so easy coming down and it’s very different, but I tried to be smart out there and get the first game going. We played OK and can do much better, and hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow.

Wallmark on the win
We know that we had a really bad game tonight. I felt like it wasn’t pretty, but we’ve got to win and be happy with that. We need to have a way better game tomorrow and give ourselves a chance here because it’s so tight in the playoff race.

Trevor Carrick on the power play
The last few games prior to this it was struggling, so we’ve been working on that in practice and trying to simplify it. Obviously having Lucas Wallmark back is huge for us because you kind of just give that guy the puck and he can make things happen.

Carrick on Vellucci’s message to the team during the game
He wasn’t too pleased with us and he had every right to be. It was a sloppy first two periods. He just said to get it together and we were able to fight back and get the win.

Carrick on tomorrow’s rematch
It’s all about the start tomorrow. We’re going to come out ready to go and build off each shift off the start. We need a better all-around effort and hopefully we can get a better one tomorrow.

NOTES

The Checkers have won three straight games for the fifth time this season … Zykov’s 30th goal of the season gives him at least five more than any other AHL player. He has five goals in his last three outings and six multi-goal games on the season … Zykov became the first Russian-born skater with 30 goals in an AHL season since Artem Anisimov (37 in 2008-09) … Wallmark was playing his first game with the Checkers since Feb. 14, having missed the last eight while on NHL recall with the Hurricanes. He had two assists … Carrick had a season-high three points … After going six straight games without a power-play goal, the Checkers have power-play goals in each of their last three … The Checkers have allowed a power-play goal in each of their last four … Forward Andrew Miller and defenseman Jake Chelios missed the game due to injury … Forward Julien Gauthier missed out due to illness … Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Zack Stortini and defenseman Tyler Ganly were healthy extras.

UP NEXT

The Checkers' six-game home stand continues with a 6 p.m. rematch against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday.
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.