The Checkers found themselves in the familiar spot of overtime Saturday night, but they couldn’t replicate their success from the night before and fell to the Comets 3-2.

The team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss was triggered less than 90 seconds into the contest when Justin Sourdif knocked home a puck from right out front, signaling the crowd to throw stuffed animals that are destined for various local organizations.

That would be the start of a back-and-forth affair between the Checkers and Comets. Utica evened things up minutes later then claimed a lead of their own in the waning moments of the second period, but Zac Dalpe once again came through when needed and potted the equalizer early in the third to ultimately force overtime.

The Checkers carried much of the play in the extra frame but couldn’t quite find the back of the net, then a miscue led to a 2-on-0 for Utica that the Comets buried to claim the win.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
An honest effort from everybody. This has been a tough stretch from the group and the honest effort was very evident in the first period. I’m not sure what happened in the second period with all the penalties and four-on-four, etc. It kind of caught me off guard because the first period was back and forth the way it should be played, and then there were a lot of special teams there. The guys dug in and we scored a big power-play goal. It’s a resilient group and I couldn’t be more proud of the group.

Kinnear on his team’s response to a more physical game
They pushed through. They didn’t give up at all. Someone laid a hand on them and they kept their feet moving. The effort was outstanding.

Kinnear on Zac Dalpe scoring clutch goals
He’s Zac Dalpe, that’s who he is and that’s what he does. That’s what he did last year. I call them red zone players because they’re hard to play in the red zone, but when there’s no space and you find to way to get it done, he finds a way. A big time goal, but it was a total team effort and that’s what Dalps does.

Kinnear on the next week
We have to get some rest. Behind the scenes you don’t see how much these guys put in with the travel and the 3 a.m. wakeup to catch a flight. They need some rest mentally and physically and then back to work on Tuesday. It’s important that we take the rest and then keep getting better.


The Checkers collected approximately 4,000 stuffed animals that will now be donated to local nonprofits serving children in need this holiday season ... The Checkers have played a league-high nine overtime games, including two straight and three of their last four. They are 6-3 in those contests, including a 3-2 mark in the overtime period and a 3-1 record in shootouts … The Checkers have earned points in six of their last seven games (5-1-1) … Sourdif scored for the second consecutive game … Dalpe has four goals in his last five games. His 10th of the season ties him with several other players for fifth-most in the AHL … Grigori Denisenko had the primary assist on each of the Checkers’ first two goals … Michael Del Zotto had one assist to extend his point streak to five games (1g, 5a) … Checkers scratches included forwards Riley Bezeau and Ethan Keppen, defensemen Dennis Cesana, Max Gildon, Johnny Ludvig and Zach Uens, and goaltender Alex Lyon.