The Checkers took care of business Friday night, handily dispatching the league-leading Bears 5-3 behind a big-time performance by Will Lockwood.

The two sides traded blows for the first leg of the contest, with Hershey drawing the score even at two early on in the second period. Justin Sourdif would respond shortly after with a breakaway conversion, and the Checkers wouldn’t let the lead out of their grasp from that point.

Lockwood kicked off the third with a clutch tally to extend Charlotte’s advantage, earning his second goal en route to a three-point effort in his first contest with the Checkers since December.

The Bears would pull back within one with under five to play, but an impressive effort by Gerry Mayhew for an empty-net dagger in the waning seconds put the final nail in Hershey’s coffin and sent the jam-packed Coliseum crowd home happy.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
Obviously a really good and highly-skilled hockey team. The best in the league, Calder Cup champs, but to be honest with you, we focused on our group. A lot of distractions today with a lot going on with trades and transactions and guys moving on. I was proud of the group. It took us a little bit to find the game, probably halfway through the second and we got going, but a good hockey game. We have to learn from the things we did right and did wrong and then apply it tomorrow.

Kinnear on scoring goals from around the crease
It's always the plan to get pucks to the blue paint. If you look at it, it’s a really good defensive team and they don’t give up a lot with really good goaltenders and big D. I’m proud of the guys for finding those loose pucks, but it will be a huge challenge tomorrow.

Kinnear on Evan Cormier
He’s like a lot of guys that had to go find their game a little bit down in the East Coast League. He continued to work and continued to have belief in himself, and then he came in and was really good today.

Will Lockwood on his first game back from the NHL
It was great. I love this group of guys and I think that’s kind of what made it so easy coming back down. Cheers to those guys, and it’s fun to be back here.

Lockwood on playing against Hershey
I’ve played those guys a lot in my career and every time it’s a battle. I thought we handled it well. We know they’re going to be coming back even harder tomorrow, so that will be a challenge for us.

Lockwood on maintaining the lead
We just stayed in our structure. We didn’t make too many mistakes and I think in a game like that it’s a game of mistakes, especially against a team as good as that. It was good that we limited our mistakes and buried our chances.

Lockwood on playing a different role here than in the NHL
I don’t think it changes too much. I try to just implement an idenity and then use that and work as hard as I can each night. It’s nice to get to play a little bit more, but nothing really changes.

Lockwood on Cormier
He was awesome. He was so calm and collected back there, it’s like he’s been playing every game. It’s no surprise because he’s a great goaltender and I expect a lot of good things from him.


Lockwood played his first AHL game since Dec. 13. This was his sixth career multi-goal game … The league-leading Bears fell to 41-11-4 on the season. The Checkers are now 2-3-0 in the season series … The Checkers out-shot Hershey 15-4 in the second period … Dalpe has goals and points in consecutive games (2g, 1a) … Matt Kiersted posted a +5 rating and is now the team leader in that category for the season (+13) … The Checkers have points in eight of their last nine games (6-1-2) … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau, Skyler Brind’Amour, Patrick Khodorenko and Ryan McAllister; defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Mitch Vande Sompel; and goaltenders Mack Guzda and Magnus Hellberg.