It took a come-from-behind surge, but the Checkers kept their hot streak alive by taking down the Thunderbirds 4-3 Saturday afternoon.

Despite Wilmer Skoog’s quick response to Springfield’s opening tally, the visitors took control of the contest with a 3-1 advantage as the game reached its midway point.

The Checkers refused to roll over, however, and it was Skoog’s second goal of the night - a slick move from the side of the net on the power play - that cut into that lead in the middle frame and lit a fire under the Checkers. New addition Mitch Vande Sompel cashed in on a loose rebound from the slot minutes later to even the score and swing the momentum fully toward the home team.

Still buzzing to start the third, the Checkers completed their comeback quickly in the final frame courtesy of a clutch tally from Gerry Mayhew.

Charlotte clamped down on its first lead of the contest and weathered anything else the Thunderbirds threw at them from there. Spencer Knight stood tall in the third and denied all 11 shots he faced down the stretch, keeping his winning streak alive and banking another huge two points in the standings for Charlotte.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
I thought they (Springfield) were the better team to start. We kind of knew that we would see a pretty good hockey team. We stuck with it, but we lost Patty Giles along the way and had to mix and match the lines a little bit, but everyone built it over time and then I thought it was a really good third period.

Kinnear on coming back
We weren’t playing our best and we wanted to find a way to find our game a little bit. We found it a little bit along the way. The power play got us started there to make it 3-2 and gave us a little bit of juice. Again, I liked the third period.

Kinnear on Wilmer Skoog
He just works hard. He works on his game. There’s a couple of them, but he’s one of them that’s always on the ice after practice and working on their own game, so he’s got a lot of self leadership. No surprise by me.

Kinnear on holding on to the lead down the stretch
We play the same way all the time. Nothing special. I thought guys blocked some shots at critical times. Will Lockwood at the end there blocked one. It’s a team sacrifice to keep the puck out of the net, which is absolutely critical in desperate moments. You have to have composure, but you have to be willing to block a shot, and we were willing to do that.

Wilmer Skoog on the mood in the locker room
Really good. I think we did a good job throughout the whole game of managing our energy. We got away from the game a little bit in the second, but a strong effort by the group to come out of this with two points.

Skoog on coming back to win this game
Just keep going. There’s no other way to get back in the game. Just keep going, keep skating and keep pressuring their defensemen all the time. We did a good job.

Skoog on his goals
I’m a little bigger body and can battle in front of the net. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of that, and it’s great to be rewarded as well when I’m around there. Got a good pass from Mac (Ryan McAllister) to be able to make that play.

Skoog on holding off a late charge from Springfield
I think we could see throughout the whole year and especially this last game. Kiersted, Fitzgerald and everyone is just willing to block shots and do everything to keep the puck out of the net. I think that’s one of our strongest pieces and I think that was helpful for us tonight.


The Checkers have won three in a row, five of their last six and are 10-2-2 in their last 14 games … Skoog scored for the second consecutive game. He ranks tied for fourth on the team with 14 goals despite playing in only 36 of the team’s 58 games. This was his second multi-goal game of the season and also his second three-point outing … Rasmus Asplund extended his assist/point streak to four games (4a). He is the team’s leader in that category … After an 0-for-18 stretch on the power play spanning six games, the Checkers are 3-for-11 in their last two … Including Justin Sourdif’s attempt tonight, the Checkers have been involved in six penalty shots this season (three for and three against). Only one, a San Diego attempt on Nov. 4, has resulted in a goal … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau, Patrick Khodorenko and Brendan Perlini; defensemen Lucas Carlsson, Dennis Cesana and Andy Welinski; and goaltender Mack Guzda.