Needing a win to get back in playoff position with 10 games to play, the Checkers earned a big one in Chicago.
Sergey Tolchinsky scored twice for his first multi-goal game as a professional and Derek Ryan, who was playing his fifth game in six days in four different cities, tied a franchise record with four assists as Charlotte routed the Wolves by a 7-3 score on Wednesday.
With the victory, Charlotte leapfrogged the idle San Jose Barracuda to reclaim the hotly-contested fourth spot in the Pacific Division bracket. Both teams next return to action on Saturday, which for the Checkers marks the first of two games in Manitoba that will conclude their seven-game road trip.
Though Charlotte announced its intentions early when Tolchinsky scored his first of the game on a tic-tac-toe passing play with Andrew Miller and Ryan just 1:46 into the game and Kyle Hagel followed suit with a tally of his own on a delayed penalty at 4:17, the Wolves would claw back into the game to make it 2-2 midway through the second.
A goal by Jake Chelios early in the third made the rest of the period mostly a formality, with Chicago’s Ty Rattie and Charlotte’s Blair Jones trading goals down the stretch.
The offensive explosion by Charlotte, which had scored two goals or fewer in each of its previous four games, tied its season high for goals in a single game set twice previously. Ryan, who played three consecutive days in Charlotte over the weekend, had Monday off and then played for the parent Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Tuesday before going on to rejoin the Checkers in Chicago, marked the ninth time that a Checkers skater has enjoyed a four-assist game.
The only potential blemish on the game is that the Checkers, who were already without seven players due to injury and were thus forced to play the game with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, were without the services of Miller and defenseman Rasmus Rissanen for the latter portion of the contest.