The Checkers couldn’t find a way to bounce back in their rematch with the defending champs, falling 5-2 to Hershey.

Unlike last night’s tilt, the Checkers took control out of the gates Saturday night - holding the Bears to just five shots in the first period and snaring the lead thanks to a seeing-eye snipe from Uvis Balinskis in his Charlotte debut.

Unfortunately for Charlotte, the middle frame proved to be all Hershey. The Bears wasted no time drawing the game back even, then tacked on two strikes in quick succession later in the period to hold a two-goal advantage heading into the second intermission.

That lopsided period would ultimately be the difference. The Bears pushed their lead even further early on in the third, but Lucas Carlsson had a rebuttal shortly after - hammering home a point blast to pull within two and put a spark back in the home team. Hershey netminder Clay Stevenson once again frustrated the Checkers, though, and an empty-net deposit from Ethen Frank for the hat trick sealed Charlotte’s fate.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on this game compared to yesterday’s
Yesterday I didn’t like the start and being down, especially in the first period. I thought there was some good things after that and it continued on to tonight. A good start, a 1-0 start, so we corrected that mistake. I’d like to get it to 2-0 when we had some chances and didn’t get it to 2-0. They’re Calder Cup champs for a reason. They have experience over there and they’re opportunistic. I thought they were opportunistic. Move on.

Kinnear on what Hershey did well to take the lead in the second period
I thought they were opportunistic. We made a couple of little mistakes. Two of the goals are on our sticks, so we want to make sure we correct that. A lot to like from the game. A good building block. We corrected a mistake from the other night. Again, it’s early in the season. We want to become a 60-minute hockey team, but there’s a process to getting there and getting guys to be able to feel confident scoring goals. I like the competitiveness to be able to score, now once they get the confidence, you’ll start to see a little more results with regard to scoring goals.

Kinnear on how to get out of a slump
I think there’s a lot of really good things and recipes. We have to score some big-time goals at opportunistic times. Again, a 1-0 hockey game, you want to make it 2-0. We’re not giving up many chances to be quite honest, but we have to be able to get the back-breaking goals to make it 2-0. You look at the Cleveland game, 1-1, they come down on a 2-on-1 to score and make it 2-1. We have to get that big-time goal at the right time from some of our players.


The Checkers went 1-5-0 over their six-game home stand. Prior to that, they were 4-1-0 at home with four straight wins … The Checkers have scored two goals or fewer in seven of their last nine games. During that time, they have out-shot the opposition eight times and tied once … Carlsson’s goal was his first since scoring a hat trick on Nov. 10 … Balinskis played his first AHL game … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau and Brendan Perlini; defensemen Dennis Cesana, Matt Kiersted, Evan Nause and Will Reilly; and goaltender Mack Guzda.