The Checkers rang in the new year in winning fashion, besting the Phantoms 5-2 to cap off a busy weekend on the road.
For the second night in a row the Checkers hung a three-goal period on their opponent, with that outburst coming in the first tonight. Zac Dalpe redirected a point shot in to open the scoring once again, then Brendan Perlini doubled the lead by forcing a turnover and swooping into the zone with speed before burying a quick shot past the Phantoms netminder. Charlotte’s big guns continued to pepper Lehigh Valley in the opening frame, and with just a few ticks remaining Lucas Carlsson unleashed a bomb of a shot on a late power play to send the visitors to the room with a substantial 3-0 lead.
Dalpe’s hot streak continued in the second as he potted his second of the night less than two minutes in, but the Phantoms grabbed hold of the momentum from there. A shorthanded strike broke the ice for the home side early on in the frame, then the Phantoms added one more before the next buzzer to cut Charlotte’s lead in half with 20 to play.
The Checkers steadied themselves in the third, though, and a strong showing from Spencer Knight kept the Phantoms at bay despite their desperate pushes throughout. Ultimately they were unable to solve Knight, and an empty-net dagger from Mackie Samoskevich wrapped up 2023 with a win for Charlotte.
The Checkers have points in eight of their last nine games (5-1-3) … After scoring five goals in his first 24 games of the season, Dalpe has four in his last two … He is now one away from tying Zach Boychuk’s franchise record for goals (123) … Prior to this weekend, Dalpe had not scored multiple goals in consecutive games since Nov. 2-4, 2018, with Cleveland … Carlsson (2g, 2a), Perlini (3g, 1a) and Patrick Giles (3g, 1a) all extended their point streaks to three games. Giles’ streak is a career long … Perlini has goals in three straight and nine points (7g, 2a) in his last eight overall … Casey Fitzgerald five points, all assists, in his last five games. He had four total points in 25 previous games to start the season … Uvis Balinskis’ assist gave him eight points (1g, 7a) in seven career AHL games … Mackie Samoskevich (1g, 1a) has recorded five multi-point games in his last nine outings … Checkers scratches included forwards Ryan McAllister, Cam Morrison, Alexander True and Jake Wise; defensemen Dennis Cesana, Santtu Kinnunen and Will Reilly; and goaltender Mack Guzda.