A low-scoring battle between Charlotte and Hartford ended with fireworks, as Mackie Samoskevich notched the overtime winner and claimed a huge two points for the home team.

Just under a minute into the extra frame Samoskevich scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone and turned on the jets, blowing by a Wolf Pack defender and wiring a wrister top shelf to end the game in thrilling fashion.

Offense was scarce up to that point in the contest. Patrick Giles continued his hot streak, picking up a turnover and burying a shot to claim a lead for Charlotte in the first - a lead that lasted until midway through the second period when the Wolf Pack found the equalizer.

That deadlock would roll all the way into overtime, propelled by the strong play between the pipes from both sides. For the Checkers it was Magnus Hellberg, who was strong in his Charlotte debut and finished the night with 18 stops en route to a victory.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
I really liked the game overall. I thought they (Hartford) did a great job actually in front of their net with sticks blocking shots. It was a good hockey game. It went to overtime and we found a way to score.

Kinnear on the low scoring
I thought in the second period we had good zone time, but again, you have to give them a lot of credit. I thought they got their sticks on a lot of shots and blocked shots, and then the one zone time we had, they go down and score. I’ve got to give them a lot of credit defensively with their sticks and blocking shots.

Kinnear on his team fighting through a tight game
They do that. You’ve got to give credit to the goaltender (Magnus Hellberg) who had a veteran presence there. There were a couple of scrambles that he just kept in front of him and looked big, and he swallowed up a couple which calmed us down and got a faceoff. Credit to the new guys, because it's not easy coming into a new situation and understanding the systems and how we want to play, but I thought they both did a great job. You’ve got to give the guys that didn’t play last game a lot of credit for coming in too. We talked about how we’re going to need everybody, so credit to those guys for coming in too.

Kinnear on Samoskevich’s goal
That’s what he can do. I talked to you guys early on about Samo. We know he can do that, it’s the other stuff that we’ve asked him to do that he’s embraced and has been really good with. We’re proud of where he’s at, and the bottom line is that’s a guy who you want the puck on his stick in a game-winning situation. I’m glad he had it.

Mackie Samoskevich on his goal
I just saw their guy kind of step up on me and try to angle me, and I just kind of cut back on him and saw their defensemen kind of cheat to the other side, so I knew I had a shot. In the pre-scout it was high glove, so that’s what I went with.

Samoskevich on fighting through a tight game
I think our game has grown so much. We’re not giving much space and I think that’s hard to play against. I know it sucks when we play against teams that are on us. I think we’re night and day better than what we were before Christmas, and I think we’re just going to keep building. It’s a good step for us.

Samoskevich on if the team could feel Hellberg’s veteran presence
Yeah. Right away. He’s such a great guy. The Swedes, there’s something about them. They’re so funny. Obviously he’s been around for a while and you can just tell. Even during the play he’s talking to us about if we have time or whatever it is. We’re definitely happy to have him.

Samoskevich on tomorrow’s rematch
They’re going to make their adjustments and we’re going to make ours. We know Hershey came out banging in the second game, so it’ll be a good lesson for us to keep building into the second night.


This was Samsokevich’s third overtime goal of the season, tying him for fourth in the AHL and first among rookies. He has scored each of the last three OT winners for the Checkers (Feb. 9, Feb. 28 and tonight). The Feb. 28 goal was also against Hartford …The Checkers improved to 8-6 in games decided during three-on-three overtime. They have gone to a shootout just once … Giles scored for the second consecutive game. He now has 11 goals on the season, up from just three in his rookie campaign last season. He also has a three-game point streak (2g, 1a), matching the longest of his career that was set earlier this season … This was the 10th time the Checkers have held an opponent to under 20 shots this season. They are 6-4-0 in those games … The Checkers are 3-0-0 against Hartford this season. Including tomorrow’s game, the teams will play five more times over the last month of the regular season … Over the last five seasons, the Checkers are 17-4-2 against the Wolf Pack … Defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel and goaltender Magnus Hellberg made their Checkers debuts … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau, Skyler Brind’Amour, Brendan Perlini and Justin Sourdif; defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Dennis Cesana; and goaltender Mack Guzda.