Despite outshooting the visitors 11-5 in the opening frame, the Checkers found themselves in a hole after 20 minutes of play when the Bears capitalized on a pair of chances less than three minutes apart.
The Checkers created a spark in the second when Patrick Khodorenko redirected in a point blast to narrow the deficit, but the Bears responded with another pair to close out the frame - both off the stick of Pierrick Dube.
Down 4-1 with one period remaining, the Checkers ramped up their chances down the stretch and Mackie Samoskevich knocked home a Khodorenko feed from behind the net to pull the home side back within two. That would be the final breakthrough for Charlotte, however, as Hershey netminder Clay Stevenson wrapped up his big performance with some key denials and guided his squad to the final buzzer.
Come for the goal highlight, stay for the bat flip celly pic.twitter.com/jEhnztqEoE— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) December 2, 2023
QUOTESCoach Geordie Kinnear on the game
You can’t be down 2-0 to the best team in the league.
Kinnear on if he saw something click for his team later in the game
Nope. When you’re chasing the game you play with a little more urgency, but you can’t be down 2-0 to start a game against the best team in the league.
Kinnear on if his team can take lessons from this game
You definitely have to take lessons. Nothing changes for me, but 2-0 against the best team in the league in our building is not a recipe for success. We want to learn how to play winning hockey, and that’s not winning hockey. Lesson learned and move forward.
Kinnear on if he can lean on his leadership group to get the team going
I’m not sure. It’s a team effort. It’s all the guys in that locker room. It’s all the coaching staff. We’re all leaders. We’re all in this together. Down 2-0 against the best team in the league, I’m just repeating myself, but it’s not the leadership group. It’s on everybody to be better at the start. I was definitely disappointed in the start of the game because I didn’t feel there was enough fire to be really good. That’s on everybody. It’s not just on the leadership group or on young guys. It’s on coaching staff and everybody. Lesson learned, just move forward and continue to get better. There were some good takeaways after that, but you can’t start that way.