The defensive side of the game was at the forefront throughout the contest, as both teams frustratingly stymied their opponent’s chances. After 20 minutes of scoreless hockey - despite Charlotte pumping in 14 shots on goal to Lehigh Valley’s four - the offenses finally ramped up as Aleksi Heponiemi buried a wrister from the slot early in the middle frame to open the scoring.
The Phantoms punched back, however, evening the score later in the period and taking the lead in the waning minutes courtesy of a Kieffer Bellows blast on a Lehigh Valley man advantage.
Heponiemi buries this shot and we've got the lead! pic.twitter.com/5D4gNJoop2— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) December 10, 2022
That outburst in the second period would prove to be the only offensive sparks across the entirety of regulation, as the netminders continued to be the stars of the show - Mack Guzda finishing with 27 saves and Phantoms netminder Samuel Ersson coming up with 29. The Checkers poured on the chances down the stretch - including earning two power plays in the back half of the third - but they couldn’t solve Ersson, and as the clock ran down to zero Charlotte was saddled with the narrow defeat.
no, seriously ? pic.twitter.com/ENjJXPGxWd— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) December 10, 2022