Getting the start in back-to-back games for the first time this season, Waeber turned in a gem for Charlotte. The Swiss netminder was called upon throughout the contest to stave off San Diego’s attack, and was up to the task each time - earning a 21-save shutout that included multiple highlight-reel denials.
With the netminders taking center stage - San Diego’s Alex Stalock finished the night with 31 saves himself - it was a single breakthrough that made the difference. Naturally it was Zac Dalpe who came through in the clutch for the visitors, unrelentingly following up his own chance out front and beating several Gulls defenders to punch the puck home in the back half of the first period.
There would be chances up and down the ice for the remainder of regulation, including 11 total power plays - 6 for the home side, 5 for Charlotte - but neither side would yield until time ticked all the way down and the Checkers headed home on a high note.
QUOTESHead Coach Geordie Kinnear on his team’s play
“I liked a lot of our game. Obviously in the third period you don’t want to take three penalties and go on the kill. But there’s a lot to like. They came out with a lot of intent to be physical and I thought we did a good job with it early on to settle down a little bit. I’m proud of the group.”
Kinnear on Ludovic Waeber
“Guys love playing for him. He’s got a great personality, he brings a lot of energy, composure and calmness. You can see it within the group when he plays.”
Kinnear on his team’s response to the increase in physicality tonight
“For two periods I really liked the composure. I said the intent for them was to do that, they put some different personnel in the lineup, but I thought we kept our composure. But we also kept our competitiveness. We didn’t go away. That’s an important lesson for our group - when teams try to ramp it up, I still thought we were very competitive. That’s a really good sign for me.”
Kinnear on taking three of four games on this road trip
“It’s good. What I liked was the response after the San Jose game. We didn’t like it as a group or as a coaching staff, we felt like it was the first time that we came out and weren’t playing to our identity. We addressed it, and then the last two games were great.”