The Checkers ran out of steam in their rematch with the first-place Comets, falling by a score of 5-2.

After being shut out the night before, the Checkers fell behind by two goals in the opening frame, but the offense came to life before the first buzzer as Cole Schwindt capitalized on a long stretch pass to put Charlotte on the board.

The home side would keep that momentum with an early tying goal in the middle frame courtesy of Alex True cleaning up a loose puck out front, but things would swing in Utica’s favor from there.

The Comets evened things up quickly and opened the third period with a pair of quick strikes to propel themselves ahead, and the Checkers couldn’t catch up before time wound down on the 5-2 defeat.


Head Coach Geordie Kinnear on tonight’s game
“I thought we had spurts. We had the power-play goal and then another power play right after and we started clicking a little bit, then they come right down and get a couple goals. Our group can learn a lot from this. You have to play 60 minutes against a good team and we definitely didn’t have a 60-minute effort tonight.”

On his team
“We have a good group here, I’ve been proud of the effort. Today was not our best.”

On trying to rally in the third period
“You look at our third periods over the last little while and we’ve had some Grade-A chances, but for some reason we haven’t scored them or the goalie’s come up with a big save.”

On the physical nature of tonight’s game
“I like the physicality, we need a little more of that at times. It’s the way the game should be played. It’s something we can do more of going forward.”

On this stretch of the schedule
We need to reset, I think it caught up to us a little bit here, it’s been a really tough schedule, to be honest. It’s the American Hockey League, you have to be ready and be able to dig in and play with grit and find ways to win hockey games.


The Checkers are now 0-3-0 against Utica this season … Tonight gave the Checkers consecutive regulation losses for the third time this season and the first time with both coming on home ice … This was the sixth time this season that the Checkers have allowed multiple third-period goals and the first time since Nov. 21 … Tonight was just the fifth time this season that the Checkers have allowed the first goal of the game, but the second game in a row in which that happened … The Checkers went perfect on the penalty kill for the second time in the last three games … Frank Hora made his second appearance for Charlotte this season and his first on home ice … Ryan Lohin, Luke Henman and Matt Kiersted served as healthy extras … John Ludvig missed the game due to injury


The Checkers will have a week of practice to prepare for a three-in-three road trip, starting Friday in Lehigh Valley.