It was a back-and-forth affair for the first 40 minutes, with the two sides feeling out the chilly conditions and trading goals to set up a 2-2 deadlock heading into a decisive third.
Mackie Samoskevich kicked the third off with a bang, ripping a quick shot from the right circle to give Charlotte its first lead of the night and starting the fireworks for the home team. Brendan Perlini struck midway through the third to extend the Checkers’ advantage, and Lucas Carlsson deposited a dagger into the empty net to seal the impressive win in front of a raucous crowd.
Spencer Knight came up big when the Checkers needed him - stopping all 12 shots he faced in the pivotal third period - and his 25 saves earned him the victory between the pipes.
MACKIE. OUTDOOR. WINNER. pic.twitter.com/Ii84xxmUKL— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) January 14, 2024
To get a win is our main concern, but the whole experience is second to none. I was talking to some of the older guys, and you don’t get these very often. This is my second now, and not many guys have even played in one. You’ve got to take advantage of it and then have a lot of fun. For me, to be honest, when we did the little walk-in thing right at the start, I looked over and I’d seen some military guys standing on the side. It kind of gave me a little heads up that you should go enjoy it. There’s a lot more going on in the world that is a lot crazier than going and playing a hockey game outside. For me that was a cool little moment where I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m really going to soak this in and enjoy the whole experience.
Brendan Perlini on his outdoor goal scoring record
I’m going to petition the league to only go outside. We’ll see.
Mackie Samoskevich on his game-winning goal
Sourdie kind of chipped it to me, I cut up and saw them back up a little bit, and then I kind of cut inside and shut my eyes and shot. It was a special feeling for sure. The whole day has been cool. I’ve got family here too so it was nice to do that in front of them and just get it done with the goal there.
Coach Geordie Kinnear on community support for the game
I’m in a unique position because I was here from day one when Michael Kahn put the team in the American Hockey League. His vision from day one when he talked to us was about having a positive impact on the community. We actually talked about it as a group to celebrate his hard work and the impact that he’s had on the community here. There will be a celebration tonight for me from day one when he bought the team to the vision he has now. I think it’s a special moment for me but I know it’s special for him too.