It was a bumpier ride than they may have liked, but the Checkers got the job done Tuesday night, beating the Barracuda 5-4 in overtime in front of a sold-out Bojangles Coliseum.

Justin Sourdif played the hero in the extra frame, collecting a pass off the rush from Brendan Perlini and picking a corner to claim his second goal of the night and his second-consecutive three-point effort.

The Checkers looked to be running away with things in the opening frame. Mackie Samoskevich kept his hot streak rolling with a tally just 89 seconds after puck drop, then Santtu Kinnunen piled on another 46 seconds after that to double the lead. The Barracuda bit back almost immediately, but a redirection on the power-play by Wilmer Skoog late in the frame capped a strong 3-1 start for Charlotte.

The script flipped in the second, though, and it was San Jose that hung a trio of tallies in a single frame. They started things off with a quick strike on the man advantage, then responded to Sourdif’s power-play conversion with back-to-back goals in the final five minutes of the period to bring the score even.

Things settled down in the third as Spencer Knight took over between the pipes in the third for starter Ludovic Waeber. Neither side could push back ahead for the final 20 minutes of regulation, and the game rolled on to overtime.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
A lot of stuff I liked in the first period. Second period was a bit of a track meet and I didn’t love that. What I did like was that we regained composure because there’s lots of ebbs and flows to games in general. We regained our composure in the third and I thought you saw our identity in the third period. We didn’t give up much and we had a lot in the o-zone. We didn’t win it in regulation but I thought we deserved it in overtime.

Kinnear on his team staying resilient when San Jose came back
I think it’s a whole environment. We talk about it all the time, and it starts with your leadership group. I think all the young guys have really taken a leadership role too. We just regained composure, got back after it, found our identity again and that says a lot for the group.

Kinnear on Justin Sourdif
I’ve seen Sourdie have a lot of chances playing the right way. You know the goals are going to go in at some point. It’s a point of emphasis that he wanted to work on his shot, and he got rewarded for it tonight. It’s like we always talk about. If a kid loves the game and is passionate about the game and has fun playing the game and gets rewarded because he’s working hard, the rest will take care of itself. I’m happy for him. In the last two games the puck has gone a little bit more for him.

Justin Sourdif on his overtime goal
It was a great play by Knighter to recognize that San Jose was kind of relaxed there. He played it and I didn’t really see anything. I was going to try to pass it to Samo there but the guy kind of had his stick in the lane so I turned back. Then Balinskis made a really good play up to Perlini and he was fresh and just came off the bench, so instead of going for a chance I saw they both went to him so I knew I’d have an opportunity. I just kind of took it and he made a really good pass.

Sourdif on playing with Mackie Samoskevich and Wilmer Skoog
I think just staying out after practice and working with Samo and Skooger, that’s why I think our line has such good chemistry too because we’re just working on stuff after practice and kind of building that chemistry. I think it’s working out so far and hopefully we can keep it rolling.

Sourdif on staying with it when San Jose came back
We just kind of came out flat in the second. Give them credit because they capitalized on their power plays and their chances. Every time we scored they kind of turned the momentum back in their favor. Give them all the credit in the world, but our guys kind of stuck with it. We’ve been in this position before and have had quite a few overtime games, so we knew what to do.


The Checkers are now 5-4 in games decided during the five-minute overtime period. They’ve been to a shootout just once … The Checkers have earned points in 12 of their last 15 games (8-3-4) … Attendance for the team’s annual $1 ticket game was a sellout crowd of 8,455. It marked the ninth consecutive season that this promotion has sold out, and the Checkers second consecutive sellout following Saturdays’ Queen City Outdoor Classic … Sourdif has back-to-back three point games (2g, 4a). They are the only three-point games of his career … Kinnunen recorded his first point since Nov. 25 (15 games) … Jake Wise extended his point streak to a career-long five games (2g, 4a) … Wilmer Skoog recorded his first multi-point game (1g, 1a). He has four points (2g, 2a) in his last four … Knight has played in each of the Checkers last seven games, starting five and entering in relief twice … The Checkers have scored on the power play in eight of their last 12 games. They are 12/44 (27.2 percent) during that time … Checkers scratches included forwards Ryan McAllister, Cam Morrison, Mark Senden and Alexander True; defenseman Dennis Cesana, Evan Nause and Calle Sjalin; and goaltender Mack Guzda.