The 65 minutes leading up to the shootout were a wild, back-and-forth affair. The Checkers jumped out to a quick two-goal lead after Zac Dalpe set a franchise record with a tally nine seconds into play and Perlini tacked on one of his own minutes later. That advantage wouldn’t last, though, as the Phantoms broke through late in the first and then deadlocked things with a power-play strike 93 seconds into the middle frame.
The tide then swung Charlotte’s way thanks to a spark from Mackie Samoskevich, who reclaimed the lead for the home team in the second and then kicked off the third with a stunning individual effort to extend the Checkers’ lead.
The Phantoms had another push in them, however, as they pumped in a pair of goals less than two minutes after Samoskevich’s power-play tally to once again pull the game even.
Waeber rebounded quickly and was a critical piece for Charlotte from there as the game progressed beyond the third and into an overtime frame that featured end-to-end action but nothing into the back of the net
Slow and steady wins the game pic.twitter.com/YxhSkMkd6C— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) December 23, 2023
QUOTESCoach Geordie Kinnear on the game
It was up and down. Unique situations, guys in and out, and we had guys step up that came in from the Everblades. They’ve been waiting for an opportunity and I thought they provided a lot of good hockey for us and some energy. A big win, but I’m not surprised by the group. It’s a group that works hard for each other, and when you do that and you stick to it and try to manage the down times, good things happen. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m proud of the game yesterday because it’s been tough circumstances with injuries, sicknesses and all that stuff. Good on the group.
Kinnear on Mackie Samoskevich
Samo early on was doing that but wasn’t playing exactly how he needs to be successful over time. He got to that identity, and he wasn’t scoring as much but if you play that way and you have the skillset and the care that that kid does, he’s going to score big goals for us. He’s a great player, but he’s a better teammate and a better person. We’re proud of Samo and where he’s at, but he’s part of the group and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Kinnear on Ludovic Waeber
He looked more confident after he gave up the two goals, so that’s a good sign that you just move on from the two goals that we gave up back-to-back. If you look at that chain of events, Morrison’s got a Grade A chance that goes through the goalie’s legs and they come down and score two, we dug in, we bent but we didn’t break. Waeber looked really confident moving forward after that.
Kinnear on Brendan Perlini
What I liked about Perlini all night, he looked determined to me. I talked a lot of about being a determined offensive player, and he looked that tonight and he was rewarded. It’s not just the shootout goal. He had a couple of breakaways and he looked determined all night for me. That’s another guy that came off an injury, stepped in tonight and contributed. I’m proud of him too.
Brendan Perlini on his shootout goal
The third time’s a charm. I had two in the overtime and would have liked for one of those to go in. Our ice is really jumpy out there too, so I kind of knew on the third one that I’m going quick shot. It was a good game by the guys. I’m glad to get the win and get the points going into Christmas break here.
Perlini on getting an overtime win after losing the previous three
We had our chances in overtime. It is what it is in OT. I’m a guy that likes to go for it, and if you go for it and miss, chances are it’s coming back the other way. We were lucky obviously to get it to the shootout, and then a couple of nice moves by the guys out there and we got the win. All good.
Perlini on holding on after the Phantoms got two quick goals to tie it
At that point there’s nothing to kind of save it for. It’s Christmas break. Just keep on pushing on the bench. We’ve got a real good group of older guys who are good pros and have been around for a long time like Dalps and Gerry, and even throw myself in that category because this is my seventh or eighth year pro now. Sticking with it and hopefully coming back and starting the road trip after Christmas with a good couple of games and just build on it from there.