Charlotte fired a ton of rubber at the Lehigh Valley netminder - including outshooting its opponent 23-8 through the first two periods of play - but struggled to find the back of the net. Riley Nash eventually erased Lehigh Valley’s early lead with a shorthanded tally, and the two sides came to a stalemate for an extended stretch from there.
Just past the halfway point of the third Adam Brooks pushed the Phantoms back ahead with a power-play conversion, but Logan Hutsko responded one minute later with a quick one-timer to pull things even once more.
It was the Phantoms who notched the next strike in the back-and-forth affair though, as Jordy Bellerive threw a puck on net from a low angle that snuck across the line. The Checkers mounted one last push across the waning minutes of play, but they couldn’t find another equalizer and the clock ran out on their comeback attempt.
I didn’t love the third period. I thought we lost a little bit of jump. I thought we stopped skating a little bit, especially in a 2-2 hockey game you’ve got to make sure you play the right way to win the hockey game and we didn’t.
Kinnear on not converting enough scoring chances
Compete to score. Be hungry, determined. We had our chances and we’ve talked about getting better execution. That still has to continue obviously but there’s a lot to like, especially in the first two periods. We have to learn to play in those one-goal games in the third period and find ways to score big goals. Credit to them. I thought they ate a lot of our shots. It is what it is. Move on, learn from it.
Kinnear on making adjustments for tomorrow’s rematch
We’re not worried about the other team. We’re still looking for our identity and there’s still many levels of our game we have to get to. There’s many levels individually. Coaches have to get to another level. It’s part of the process. Respect it.