Gustav Olofsson played the unlikely hero as the Checkers scored three straight goals to secure a 3-2 come-from-behind win in their 2022 playoff opener in Bridgeport.

With 3:20 remaining in regulation and the Checkers applying pressure, Olofsson, a defenseman who had just two goals in 41 regular season games, fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Islanders goaltender Cory Schneider and gave his team its first lead of the game – one they would not relinquish down the stretch.

Alexander True scored twice and Joey Daccord stood tall with 25 saves for the Checkers, who now takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five, second round series that will continue with a rematch in Bridgeport on Thursday.

The Checkers, who secured a first-round bye and had thus not played since concluding their regular season on April 23, showed signs of rust in the early going as Bridgeport jumped out to a 2-0 lead through a pair of Austin Czarnik goals in the first period.

The rest of the game was a different story, as Charlotte settled in and got a breakthrough when Max McCormick’s cross-ice pass found True for a power-play strike early in the second.

Bridgeport had a golden opportunity to reclaim the momentum minutes later when True and Olofsson were called for minor penalties just six seconds apart, resulting in a lengthy two-man advantage for the Islanders.

Daccord was up to the task, however, turning in several key stops that were magnified when McCormick and True again hooked up to tie the game just 19 seconds after the penalties expired. That goal came when McCormick hustled up ice and intercepted an attempt to play the puck by Schneider, quickly sending the puck over to True for a quick finish before the goaltender could get back in position.

The rest of the game was closely played until the Checkers turned up the pressure late, completing the comeback on Olofsson’s shot.


Geordie Kinnear on the game
We’ll take the win. It wasn’t a great start but we’ve had a long layoff and I thought guys got better as the game wore on, and we have to continue to get better.

Kinnear on the slow start
We knew we weren’t playing our best and we knew it might take a little bit of time to get up to speed. We still have a long ways to go to get to that pace, but the guys continued to work through it and continued to build. We’ll enjoy the win, but we have to become better as we move forward here.

Kinnear on the chemistry between True and McCormick
They’ve always enjoyed playing with each other. They’ve killed penalties together and they’ve been on power plays together. They’ve been great players all year for us and they stepped up tonight.

Kinnear on the five-on-three penalty kill
Joey was our best player and I thought the penalty kill did a good job. For a penalty kill to be successful everyone has to be in sync with the goaltender and I thought they did a good job. It’s a dangerous power play with a lot of good personnel and we don’t want to be in the box.

Alexander True on the team’s mentality after falling behind early
I think it was just to keep building our game. I don’t think there was really any worries in our game. We knew we had three weeks off and it was just getting the first-game jitters out of the legs and out of the mind. We were fine as a group after the first.

True on playing with McCormick
Me and Maxy have had that chemistry the whole year. When the chances present themselves, he’s good at finding me and he made really good plays there both times.

True on matching up with Bridgeport
We had some time to look at them, but it really comes down our own game and the way we play. I still think we’ve got room for improvement, but we’ll focus on our game mostly.


Olofsson was playing his first professional playoff game. In 244 career AHL regular-season games, he has just 13 goals … This was True’s third multi-goal game of the season and first since Feb. 19 … Dating back to their 2019 championship, the Checkers have won five straight playoff games … Including their stellar run to end the regular season, the Checkers are 17-3-3 in their last 23 games since March 2 … Grigori Denisenko and Max Gildon missed the game due to injury … Dennis Cesana, Max Zimmer, Zach Uens, John Ludvig, German Rubtsov, Justin Nachbaur, Ryker Evans, Luke Henman, Antoine Bibeau and Evan Fitzpatrick were healthy extras.