CHARLOTTE, NC – At the end of a grueling stretch of games, the Checkers ran out of gas in their rematch with Syracuse, falling to the Crunch 3-1.

The first two frames followed the same pattern as last night’s contest, with the teams sitting deadlocked through one period until the Checkers broke through in the second. This time it was Brenden Kichton pinching in and firing a wrist shot to the far side for his second tally of the season.

That would stand as the lone goal until midway through the third, when Olivier Archambault broke through rookie netminder Callum Booth, who was making his first AHL start. The Crunch would surge from there, taking their first lead of the game with under five minutes to play, then tacking on an insurance marker less than a minute later. The Checkers would push back with an extra attacker late, but they couldn’t spark a rally, dropping their first game of the home stand to snap a five-game winning streak.

Quotes

Coach Mike Vellucci on the goals against

The first goal was a deflection and a nice play by those guys, we made a bad line change on the second one and we didn’t have a good gap and it just snuck through Booth. On the third, we were pushing and they got a good chance on that one.

Vellucci on Callum Booth’s first AHL start

I thought he played well. We would have liked to get him the win because he had a lot of chances to score, but I thought he was solid and he made some big saves early on. It was a great opportunity to see where he is. He’ll go back to (ECHL) Florida now and have a great rest of the year.

Vellucci on Syracuse goalie Connor Ingram

We had our chances and their goalie played really well. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. We had a four-on-one there and he stoned Krueger. He played really well and was the difference in the game.

Vellucci on going 5-1-0 on this home stand

It was a good home stand. I would have loved to get today, but it’s a learning experience. We got ourselves back into a playoff position and now we’ve got to get it done on the road.

Brenden Kichton on Syracuse’s late goals

I honestly felt like we just got tired. We’ve played a lot of games lately and obviously losing Didier early in that fight was tough on our D corps because he’s been very solid for us. We all had to step up and I thought we really did a really good job of that, but at the end of the third we started to get a little tired, our gaps got bad and they got some lucky goals. That kind of turned the game.

Kichton on defensemen scoring the team’s last three goals

The offense has to pick up from somewhere, and I think our D have done a really good job of picking and choosing our spots. Fortunately lately we’ve been able to contribute, and that’s going to have to continue if we want to win hockey games.

Kichton on the schedule

It’s a grind, but fortunately we’ve got a good week off here. I’m sure we’ll take some time, refocus, get our rest and come back ready to go on the road.

Notes

Charlotte’s season-long, five-game win streak dating back to Feb. 9 came to an end, as did their six-game win streak at home that dated back to Jan. 21 … The Checkers had a shutout streak of 114:37 end on Syracuse’s first goal … Each of the Checkers’ last three goals were scored by defensemen … Kichton’s goal was his first since Nov. 21, a span of 34 games … Trevor Carrick’s assist extended his point streak to three games (1g, 3a) … Marcus Kruger’s assist extended his point streak to three games (1g, 2a) … Callum Booth made his first career AHL start, ending a run in which Alex Nedeljkovic played in 12 consecutive games and made seven consecutive starts … The Checkers played the majority of the game with five defensemen after Josiah Didier and Syracuse’s Alex Gallant each received a game misconduct for fighting off the faceoff just 1:54 into the first period … Shutout streak until SYR goal … Sergey Tolchinsky returned to the lineup after missing the last 20 games due to injury … With Andrew Miller and Aleski Saarela injured and Lucas Wallmark in the NHL with Carolina, the Checkers were playing without three of their top six scorers … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Spencer Smallman and Zack Stortini, defenseman Dennis Robertson and goaltender Jeremy Smith sat as extras.

Up Next

The Checkers enjoy a bit of a break this week before they return to the road Friday in Springfield.

American Hockey League Stories from February 18, 2018
Monsters Clipped by Wolves, 5-3 – Cleveland Monsters Walman, Appleby Lift Devils to 2-1 Shootout Victory – Binghamton Devils P-Bruins Comeback Falls Short in 3-2 Loss – Providence Bruins Gibson records second straight shutout to help Bridgeport snap five-game slide – Bridgeport Sound Tigers Syracuse Snaps Charlotte’s Streak with 3-1 Defeat – Charlotte Checkers Sateri’s 36 Saves Snap T-Birds Losing Streak – Springfield Thunderbirds Dickinson Returns to Texas Stars – Texas Stars Brandon Halverson Returned by NY Rangers, Drew Fielding Released, Desmond Bergin Signed to PTO – Hartford Wolf Pack Sound Tigers Host Wolf Pack for the Final Time this Season – Bridgeport Sound Tigers Gulls Win Eighth in a Row – San Diego Gulls Turgeon’s Hat Trick Leads Griffins to 5-0 Victory – Grand Rapids Griffins Monsters Scare off Hogs in 5-2 Win – Rockford IceHogs

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