The Checkers’ winning ways at home came to a halt on Monday as the Cleveland Monsters pulled away in the third period to take a 3-1 win at Bojangles Coliseum.

Mackie Samoskevich netted his first professional goal to tie the game at 1-1 in the second period, giving the Checkers some momentum in their first game back from a long trip to California. They had a golden opportunity to cash in and take their first lead of the game on a lengthy five-on-three power play midway through the third but were unsuccessful, setting the stage for the Monsters to make them pay on an odd-man rush the other way that proved to be the difference.

Emil Bemstrom had that goal and an empty-net dagger for Cleveland, which halted Charlotte’s home winning streak at five games. It also marked the first loss of the season for Checkers goalie Ludovic Waeber, who had won his first four starts of the season. Charlotte out-shot the Monsters 31-19, with Cleveland goaltender Pavel Cajan earning first-star honors.

Both teams finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play, with the Checkers nullifying the AHL’s best team on the man advantage. Cleveland’s opener from Brendan Gaunce midway through the first period came just after a Checkers man advantage had expired.

The teams are set to play a rematch Wednesday at 7 p.m.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
We lost, but I think if you look at it as a whole, there was a lot of good stuff. Tough travel, and we asked the guys to embrace the type of game it was going to be. I think they exceeded expectations, especially in the first and second periods. I thought we had some Grade-A chances, and I give their group a lot of credit because they had some tough travel too. They played recently and had to travel in. A couple of skilled players made a play on a couple of goals that were in the back of our net, but I can’t fault the effort.

Kinnear on the late five-on-three being a turning point in the game
The power play in general. I think you can’t give up one – the first goal was a shorthanded goal – and then you can’t end up minus-one at the end of the night. It’s still early in the season in terms of developing chemistry with units, etc., etc., but obviously that was a key moment in the game and they scored right after. Move on, learn from it and just keep growing.

Kinnear on the power play in general
We’ve got to find some chemistry. The five-on-three maybe had one shot on it, I don’t know the exact total, but you need to be dangerous. I didn’t feel that we were dangerous in that situation.

Kinnear on Mackie Samoskevich
I think he’s been really good, to be honest with you. He’s been doing everything we’ve been asking in adjusting from college to play the pro game and play a winning style. He was rewarded for his work tonight with a nice shot. He’ll score, but he’s done a lot of great things for our group and we want him to keep building too.


Charlotte’s Gerry Mayhew had an unsuccessful penalty shot attempt in the second period. There have been four penalty shots in the AHL this season, and the Checkers were involved in two (one for, one against) … The Checkers five-game win streak at home tied the longest posted by an AHL team thus far this season. They have still won seven of their last nine games overall … Checkers scratches included forwards Skyler Brind’Amour, Ryan McAllister, Cam Morrison and Justin Sourdif; defensemen Matt Kiersted and Evan Nause; and goaltenders Mack Guzda and Spencer Knight.