For the first time since Oct. 22, the Checkers found themselves on the losing side of things, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Rockford IceHogs.
A large chunk of the first period for both teams was spent in the penalty box. Charlotte took four minor penalties to Rockford’s three, plus Kyle Hagel and Jake Dowell each were assessed a major for dropping the gloves. It took until the final moments for someone to capitalize, though, and it was Brandon Mashinter hammering in a rebound to give the home team a lead heading into the first intermission.
Things tilted the IceHogs’ way in the middle frame, as they doubled up the Checkers on shots 14-7 and then doubled their lead thanks to another Mashinter tally. That would be all the scoring for the second, and as it would turn out, the third as well. Both teams tightened up in the final frame, totaling just 14 shots , and the Checkers couldn’t find any sort of offensive spark. After a ripe power-play opportunity late in regulation was wiped out immediately due to Lucas Wallmark closing his hand on the puck, Mashinter deposited the puck into an empty Charlotte net to complete his hat trick and seal the IceHogs victory.
Charlotte’s 27 shots on goal is just one more than the team’s lowest output this season, and Lars Johansson turned aside all of them. On the other side, Michael Leighton got the start for the second night in a row, stopping 31 of the 33 shots he saw but taking his first loss of the season against his former club.
With their franchise record-tying win streak halted, the Checkers will travel to Milwaukee, where they will regroup before taking on the Admirals for the first time this season on Tuesday.