Locked in a tight battle on opening night, the Checkers ultimately stumbled in the third period to drop a 4-2 contest to the Penguins.

Neither side could break through for the first 40 minutes of play, with the goalies taking center stage on each side - Spencer Knight denied the first 18 shots he faced while his counterpart Magnus Hellberg turned aside 20 before the second buzzer.

It wasn’t until early in the third frame that the Penguins broke the ice, burying two quick wristers inside the first four minutes of play. Will Lockwood answered back for the home side just 14 seconds later, however, when he redirected a point shot in to cut the deficit in half.

The Checkers couldn’t spark any more offense from there, though. Pushing late with the extra attacker, Charlotte ceded a pair of empty netters that ended up being the difference - Ryan McAllister found the back of the net in the waning moments but it proved to be too little, too late.


Coach Geordie Kinnear on the game
Obviously we didn’t have any exhibition games, but I thought it was an honest effort by everybody. Obviously a lot to work on, but we also want to be a team that doesn’t beat ourselves. Two offensive-zone penalties, we’re in the box quite a bit and then a turnover led to a goal. I thought for the group, for the first time they’ve been together, it was an honest effort.

Kinnear on team chemistry
We’ve got to develop some synergy. It’s up to me to find some guys that can work together a little bit. That will come over time and I’m not worried about it. We know what we want to be, and we definitely have to get to the blue paint. I thought Wilkes did a great job of boxing us out and not allowing us there for any seconds and thirds, but if we want to score we’ve got to definitely get there.

Kinnear on line combinations
We’re still working through that. It’s only my first viewing of the group as a whole and the first pro game for a lot of guys. A young group. It’s a good starting point, and we’ll just keep building.

Kinnear on goalie Spencer Knight
You ask your goalie to keep you in the game. A 0-0 hockey game going into the third, we had a couple of mistakes that end up in the back of the net. I thought for the first game in a while that he was really solid for us.


The teams went a combined 0-for-9 on the power play … In addition to scoring the Checkers’ first goal of the season, Lockwood had a goal disallowed for goaltender interference in the second period. He also led the team with five shots on goal … Knight played his first regular-season game at any level since Feb. 18 … The Checkers fell to 6-6-1 in season openers since joining the AHL … Forwards Skyler Brind’Amour and Wilmer Skoog and defenseman Mike Benning made their professional debuts … Lockwood, forward Rasmus Asplund and defenseman Casey Fitzgerald made their Checkers debuts.