The opening frame was marred by a parade to the penalty box with seven power plays occurring - five for the Islanders and just two for Charlotte. The Checkers converted on one of their man advantages - with Gerry Mayhew pulling off a redirection out front - but it was Bridgeport that won the special teams battle. The visitors scored twice on the power play and added in a shorthanded tally as well to skate into the intermission holding a 3-1 lead.
After being outshot 13-5 in the first, the Checkers flipped the script and outshot Bridgeport 22-4 in the middle frame. They struggled to solve veteran netminder Cory Schneider, but with just five seconds left Anthony Bitetto threaded a point shot through traffic and in to narrow the margin to just one heading into the final frame.
Charlotte’s comeback magic ran out, however, and despite tilting the ice in their favor down the stretch, the Checkers were unable to locate the equalizing goal before the final buzzer sounded.
The first period was all special teams and they won the special teams battle. Then in the next two periods the guys played extremely hard and didn’t find the back of the net. Give their goalie some credit, but the effort was there. Were we perfect? No, but the effort was there.
Kinnear on nearly pulling off another comeback
We try to be a 60-minute team, and if we need a goal obviously everyone is going to press. I thought in the second period we got skating a little bit because in the first period, again, with special teams you lose rhythm, and we just got off a road trip. So the energy wasn’t extremely high to start with but I thought the guys dug in and got going in a little bit. There were some new bodies in the lineup and we weren’t totally in sync. It was a good effort in the last two but we were chasing the game.
Kinnear on if chemistry built during the game
We still need more chemistry, to be honest. The work ethic was there but there were plays left on the table. Is it completely chemistry? No, but it’s something we’re working towards when we start getting bodies back.
Anthony Bitetto on shaking off the first period
It’s something we’ve got to learn as a team. There are only a handful of us that are over the 30 mark, so for the most part we’ve got a young team. Sometimes it’s hard coming back off a road trip like that because mentally you take a break off, but that’s something we learn and go forward and kind of build on that. That’s how you become a better team.
Bitetto on the team coming on in the third period once again
The desperation factor is there. The urgency and the push that we don’t think we’re out of any game. We proved that the other night when we put of five in Hartford. The biggest thing for us is that you just keep building. We’re coming down to that crunch time of the year and the fun part of the year. Our PK has been pretty damn good the whole year, and to give up two tonight is frustrating, especially being on that and being a part of that and taking pride in that. It will be a good test for this weekend and it’s good we get to play the same team again.