The visitors set the tone early with a dominant first frame, outshooting their hosts 19-3 and constructing an impressive three-goal lead. Patrick Giles kicked things off with a redirection of a Santu Kinnunen point rip, Cam Morrison doubled the advantage minutes later with his first goal as a Checker, and then Grigori Deinsenko kept his red-hot run rolling by jamming in a loose puck in the crease.
The Monsters would gain some steam over the next two periods with a string of chances and finally broke through in the third, as Cleveland converted on a two-man advantage early on and then struck again with an extra attacker to pull within one with under four minutes to play.
The Charlotte defense threw water on the Cleveland rally attempt down the final stretch, however, and a strong cap to Mack Guzda’s 28-save night pushed the Checkers across the finish line to claim two points in the standings.
On the heels of a season-long, five-game losing streak, the Checkers have won four straight to tie their longest win streak of the season (set twice previously) … Cleveland’s goal ended a streak of 32 consecutive penalties killed for Charlotte. The streak lasted parts of six games … Denisenko has five points (3g, 2a) over the course of a three-game streak. He took at least six shots on goal in both of this week’s games in Cleveland – something he had not done in any previous game this season … Morrison’s goal was his first as a Checker … Aleksi Heponiemi had an assist to extend his point streak to four games (1g, 3a) … The Checkers’ 19 shots in the first period tied a season high for the Checkers set on Dec. 16 vs. Rochester … Checkers scratches included forwards Tag Bertuzzi, Logan Hutsko and Riley Nash, defenseman Zach Uens, and goaltender J-F Berube.