The Checkers kept their points streak alive Thursday night but couldn’t quite claim the second point, falling to the Phantoms 3-2 in overtime.

The two sides traded blows, starting with Patrick Khodorenko’s breakaway conversion early in the first to give Charlotte the lead. The Phantoms were able to draw things even in the final minute of the opening frame, but Riley Bezeau made the visitors pay just 11 seconds later to reclaim a one-goal advantage for the home team.

Lehigh Valley pushed hard in the middle frame - outshooting the Checkers 17-6 - and finally broke through once again in the final minute, striking on the man advantage to pull things even heading into the final 20 of regulation.

Neither side would budge in the third, and the game would proceed on to overtime. The extra frame saw the Checkers threaten - most notably a quick shot from Justin Sourdif that rang off the crossbar - but it was the Phantoms who found the back of the net on a rush to pull out the win.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on his team’s effort
Gutsy. We lost Truesy (Alexander True) there, and it was an opportunity for a lot of players there, but losing Truesy hurt. I thought it was a gutsy effort by the whole group to be honest.

Kinnear on defenseman Dennis Cesana playing forward in in this game
Dennis is just a total team guy. Always has been, always will be. He’s team first, and he played forward for us last year on a road swing. He’s got the composure, he’s got the swagger and he gave us great minutes today.

Kinnear on his team’s power play
We didn’t get any chances. That would be a problem. I think you just have to take what’s given and give them credit. The ice wasn’t very good either but that’s where you’ve got to simplify. Definitely something that we have to correct.

Kinnear on tomorrow’s rematch
We’ve got to check the health of everybody first and foremost, but we did well tonight. We were a gutsy group and took it to overtime. I’d like to finish it off there, but we didn’t. Move forward. One more game before break and you want to play well so you can go home to your family and enjoy your family, because it’s a long season and it’s important you get the time off to be with the ones that you’ve missed a little bit while making the sacrifices for what we do here. Looking forward to that, but we want to make sure we play well tomorrow.


Kinnear added that he was not sure if True, Patrick Giles or Gerry Mayhew would be available to play tomorrow … Despite the loss, the Checkers extended their point streak to five games (2-0-3). That ties their longest of the season, a 5-0-0 run from Oct. 27-Nov. 10 … The Checkers went to overtime for the second straight game and for the third time in their last four … After winning their first three overtime games of the season, the Checkers have lost their last three. They have yet to go to a shootout … Spencer Knight made his fifth straight start in goal … The Checkers and Phantoms play five times in December. Charlotte is 0-1-2 in the series thus far … Checkers scratches included forwards Patrick Giles, Gerry Mayhew and Brendan Perlini; defensemen Evan Nause, Will Reilly and Calle Sjalin; and goaltender Mack Guzda.