The Checkers carried their hot streak home, beating down the Wolf Pack 4-0 in a wild, penalty-filled tilt.

The Wolf Pack had no answer for Magnus Hellberg, as the Charlotte netminder was perfect on all 20 shots they threw his way and picked up his first shutout in a Checkers sweater.

Tempers flared throughout the contest between the two teams - who have played each other four times in the last 10 games - and things boiled over to the tune of 94 total penalty minutes.

The Checkers seemed to build momentum off the physical play, and the offense came with it. After Gerry Mayhew followed up his own deflected shot to open the scoring in the first, Mackie Samoskevich punched in a shot in the middle frame to double the lead and set the Checkers up to deliver the finishing blow in the third.

Mayhew struck again to start the third on one of Charlotte’s nine power plays and Will Lockwood added another minutes later for good measure to push the lead to 4-0. The frustrated Hartford squad couldn’t muster anything from there and the Checkers coasted to another victory on home ice.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
The first period, we had the 1-0 lead on a power play which was good. It took us a little bit to get going. In the second and third I liked our compete a lot more in those periods, but full marks to them. I thought it was a competitive hockey game with lots of emotion attached, and that’s what you get this time of year.

Kinnear on the game’s feisty nature
It’s what makes the game great. This time of year, you expect it, you want it, you embrace it and you just move forward with it. I thought the guys handled it very well.

Kinnear on the team’s defensive success of late
It’s just five guys working together and obviously the goalies have played well. It’s a total team game and team defense. I keep saying it this time of year, but if you look at the teams that win in the end, they’re good defensively.

Kinnear on Hellberg
It’s the whole group. We went on the road, everyone played well, and then today everyone played well. The goalie is a part of that group, and we need everybody, including the guys when somebody gets called up or somebody gets hurt, stepping in like we had tonight. We need everybody.

Magnus Hellberg on the feeling in the room
Great. I feel like we have a great group in there and everybody knows what we’re supposed to do. I think it was a great team effort today. We know Hartford is a good team that we could end up playing in the playoffs, so every game now is really important setting us up for home advantage and whatnot in the playoffs. It’s a great feeling in there.

Hellberg on the team’s play in front of him
I’m really happy with how the guys play. They let me see the first shots, they help me with the rebounds and we have good communication back there. I feel like everybody is on the same page working together, and that helps you so much as a goalie. It’s easier to read what’s going to happen when everyone is in their spots. As a goalie, I’m happy with how we played for sure.

Hellberg on maintaining momentum in this game
It’s tight games. The momentum is really important in these kinds of games. I think we had a 1-0 lead in the beginning, then they kind of had a breakaway and then we ended up scoring right after 2-0 and that kind of kills them a little bit. I just try to play my part and hopefully the guys in front of me score some goals. Knighter has obviously been playing extremely well too. I feel like we’re in a good spot where everybody wants to contribute, and it’s fun to play hockey here for sure.

Hellberg on playing in Charlotte as a visitor and a Checker
It's always great times coming here and playing here before. I have some good memories here. I had my first goalie fight here way back, and now I’m having the Checkers jersey on me. The fans here are great, it’s a great city and the sun is shining. You know you can’t complain. I’m happy I’m here.

Gerry Mayhew on the team’s momentum
It’s good. You want to play your best hockey going into the playoffs, and I think that’s what happened last year. We went and played great in the first round and great in the second round but didn’t come out. Hopefully we can make it a lot farther this year.


The Checkers are now 6-0-0 against Hartford this season and 20-4-2 over the last five seasons. This was their third consecutive shutout in the season series … The Checkers are 15-3-3 since Feb. 9 and remain third in the Atlantic Division. The Wolf Pack are 1-9-3 in their last 12 games overall and have dropped to fifth … This was Hellberg’s 15th career AHL shutout and first since playing for Hartford in 2016-17 … The Checkers have allowed two goals in their last four games and four in their last six … Mayhew recorded his fourth multi-goal game of the season … Ben Steeves recorded his first professional point with an assist on Lockwood’s goal … The Checkers have been involved in seven penalty shot situations (three for, four against) this season, the most of any AHL team. Only the first instance resulted in a goal, a goal against vs. San Diego on Nov. 4 … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau, Riese Gaber, Ryan McAllister, Cam Morrison, Brendan Perlini, Gracyn Sawchyn and Kai Schwindt; defensemen Lucas Carlsson, Dennis Cesana and Andy Welinski; and goaltenders Cooper Black and Mack Guzda.