The Checkers bounced back in a big way Friday night, carving up the Penguins for a 6-3 post-Thanksgiving victory.

The dynamic duo of Justin Sourdif and Mackie Samoskevich put the Checkers in the driver’s seat early. Sourdif opened the scoring by capitalizing on a feed from Samoskevich midway through the first period, then returned the favor minutes later when he set Samoskevich up for a strike of his own.

Zac Dalpe notched a power-play goal in the middle frame - Charlotte’s second of the night - and the Checkers maintained a strong grip of the lead through 40 minutes of play.

The Penguins wouldn’t roll over, narrowing the lead to just one with a pair of quick strikes to start the third and adding another later in the frame, but the Checkers answered the bell each time. Santtu Kinnunen and Brendan Perlini each lit the lamp 31 seconds apart to negate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s initial punch, then Sourdif iced the contest with an empty-net dagger in the waning moments and guided Charlotte to the crucial two points.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
I thought the first two periods were outstanding and I give Wilkes-Barre a lot of credit too because I thought they were really good in the first period. I thought it was a good, fast hockey game and both teams were playing really well. The second period we stuck to it, and then the road trip and the travel – out of the three games that was fatigue kicking in a little bit. Let’s be real, we knew there was going to have to be some dig in at some point with the amount of games and the travel.

Kinnear on his team answering back after Wilkes-Barre scored twice in the third period
It’s a really good group of hard-working people. They just need to be reminded of what makes them successful. I thought the leadership group did a good job of telling them what they needed to do to get back to it, and they found their way out of it. They didn’t wait for me to call a timeout or anything. That’s a growth moment from the group.

Kinnear on chemistry between Mackie Samsokevich and Justin Sourdif
I think it might be the first time I’ve seen a lot of chemistry. It’s something that we’ve talked about that we want to see a little bit more. Two young players that have really good skill and energy that we’re excited about. They’ve got to continue to get better collectively with each other, with the team and individually too.

Justin Sourdif on the feeling in the room
We’re really happy. We lost Monday and Wednesday, and it was a pretty big crowd Wednesday so we were disappointed to lose in front of our fans. It was a good rebound.

Sourdif on playing with Samsokevich
Samo is an unbelievably fast player and he’s super smart, so if you’re open he’s going to find you, and he’s always open. I’ve just got to try to make a good pass and find him. It’s super easy, and Aspy as well. Aspy is an unbelievable smart player and very, very skilled, so just playing with those two makes my life very easy.


The Checkers jumped from sixth to third in the Atlantic Division after this win … After scoring zero goals in his first 14 regular-season games, Samoskevich has two in his last three … Sourdif has multi-point efforts in two of his last three games. This was his first career three-point outing … Asplund’s three points tied his career high set four times with Rochester in 2018-19 … Knight has won four of his last five games. This was his first game since Nov. 12 … Carlsson has assists and points in each of his last three games (3a) … After going through an 0-for-14 stretch, the Checkers’ power play is 3-for-9 in its last two … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau, Ryan McAllister, Mark Senden and Jake Wise; defensemen Matt Kiersted and Evan Nause; and goaltenders Mack Guzda and Ludovic Waeber.