The Checkers claimed a point in the standings in their rematch with Bridgeport but couldn’t quite fend off the Islanders’ rally, ultimately falling in overtime 4-3.

After being blanked the night before, Bridgeport broke through first in tonight’s tilt with a power-play conversion midway through the opening frame, but the Checkers took control from there.

Justin Sourdif helped power up Charlotte’s power-play unit, knocking home a goal from in tight with just three seconds left in the first and then redirecting a point shot in the middle frame to claim himself his second power-play goal of the night and the Checkers the lead. Mike Benning would then pull off another buzzer beater to push Charlotte ahead 3-1 through 40 minutes of play.

The tide turned in the third, however. The Islanders came out firing and cut into the lead 90 seconds in, then evened the score with a fortunate bounce of a shot to tie things up before the midpoint of the period. The visitors would continue to push hard down the stretch, outshooting the Checkers 14-5 in the third, but regulation would run out and the contest would head to overtime.

The Checkers created chances in the extra frame, but a swing of momentum going Bridgeport’s way ended with the puck in the back of the Charlotte net and the Islanders claiming the win.


Coach Geordie Kinnear Bridgeport coming back in the third period
We got watching the game a little bit. Credit to them. They got that goal that gave them energy and took energy away from us, and it went to overtime.

Kinnear on the overtime
It’s overtime. The guy made a shot and it went in. Really with a 3-1 lead you don’t want to leave it to overtime to be honest, but I’m proud of the guys. If you look at the schedule it’s been super tough. Super tough travel, we played three-in-three last weekend, we played Wednesday in Lehigh and then back here and played them back-to-back. The group has done a real good job and played to our identity, we just fell a little flat in the third period after we gave up that goal. Good point and move on.

Kinnear on the power play going 2-for-2
They made some plays. We shot some pucks rather than playing on the perimeter. The power play is important and it gave us momentum. It was a big second period that allowed us to get a point tonight. We want to continue to build off of that. Scoring goals has been tough for us as a group, but I really like the way we’ve played for the most part. This is going to be expected when you ask a group to play a certain way with all the games we’ve played. Move on, learn from it and we’ll be better because of it.

Kinnear on Uvis Balinskis
He made some plays on the power play which helps out. It gives us a little more depth back there and allows some other guys to not have as many minutes and hard minutes. It was nice for him to come down and contribute.

Kinnear on Justin Sourdif
Just ultra-competitive. Him and Samo have a little bit of chemistry, but just playing the right way. All that stuff is a byproduct of how he plays. As long as he’s doing the right things. He has physicality, skating. He’s a pretty dangerous player. With and without the puck he’s dangerous.


The Checkers’ holiday jerseys raised $33,286 in a charity auction … The Checkers are now 3-0-1 against Bridgeport this season … After winning their first three overtime games of the season, the Checkers have lost their last two. They have yet to go to a shootout … This was Sourdif’s second two-goal game of the season … Knight made his fourth straight start in goal … Mackie Samoskevich had two assists to extend his point streak to four games (3g, 4a) … Zac Dalpe returned to the lineup after missing three games due to injury and picked up an assist … Balinskis has three points in two AHL games this season (1g, 2a) … Prior to going 2/2 tonight, the Checkers’ power play was 1/30 in its previous eight games … Checkers scratches included forwards Patrick Giles and Brendan Perlini; defensemen Evan Nause, Santtu Kinnunen, Will Reilly and Calle Sjalin; and goaltender Mack Guzda.