Things started well for the home side, with back-to-back tallies from Mike Benning and Rasmus Asplund erasing Toronto’s early advantage and giving Charlotte a lead heading into the first intermission.
Special teams swung things Toronto’s way from there, though. After the Marlies evened the score quickly in the middle frame, they converted on back-to-back man advantages less than two minutes apart to blow things open.
On the other side, the Checkers couldn’t spark their own power play, coming up empty on six opportunities across the contest - including three in the third period alone.
There would be no comeback from the Checkers, as they couldn’t quite find the back of the net, and an empty netter sealed the deal for Toronto.
I thought (Toronto) was a motivated team coming in. I thought they were the better team in the first half. We pride ourselves on starting on time, but I thought we were on our heels at the start. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. To start, the power play got us going. They didn’t score, but it got us going on the first one. We came out and had a 2-1 lead, then kind of a bad break on the one goal to make it 2-2, then they score on the power play. We had opportunities on the power play after that but didn’t capitalize, and that ended up being the difference.
Kinnear on Toronto’s two power-play goals in the second period
The one is a shot that goes in, and on the other one they executed a seam play that’s tough for a goalie to save – a breakdown on the PK. The bottom line is that you’re going to get chances on the power play - I think we had six and had a five-on-three - you have to find a way to score to give us momentum and get us back in the hockey game. Special teams played a huge role. I thought both teams five-on-five, it was back and forth a little bit, tight, and there wasn’t a lot of space. Then we just didn’t get it done.
Kinnear on the forward lines without Justin Sourdif
The lines at the start of the game, I didn’t feel they were going to win the hockey game, so I moved them around. We were chasing it a little bit because we need everybody going and we need all four lines. We didn’t have that tonight, so we had to adjust. For us to be successful and for any team to be successful, you need depth. A lot of guys had quality time on ice tonight. For them to get better, we need to take a step tomorrow and move on.