BARONS FALL TO CHECKERS, 7-0
By Cassie Gage,
The Charlotte Checkers scored five goals in the first two periods en route to blanking the Oklahoma City Barons, 7-0, Friday evening at the Cox Convention Center.
Charlotte won the opening faceoff, and the Checkers wasted no time in getting on the board. Zach Boychuk buried a cross-ice feed from Bobby Sanguinetti to give the Checkers a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds in.
The Barons settled down and responded with several chances throughout the period. Recent call-up Toni Rajala hit a shot off the post and Anton Lander’s re-direct of a Taylor Fedun point shot was turned away by Justin Peters.
Josh Green got his own scoring chance and then centered a pass for Teemu Hartikainen and Andrew Hotham also got a chance but Peters turned them both away. Curtis Hamilton gave Rajala another chance to get on the scoreboard, but Peters unknowingly came up with the save.
Despite Charlotte controlling the opening faceoff, the Barons tightened on defense even after Charlotte put on pressure during two power plays during the period. Tanner House and the Barons penalty killers kept the Checkers at bay, as did Oklahoma City starting goaltender Yann Danis.
Fedun and Hamilton each had chances late in the period, but Peters continued to turn away the Barons’ shots. With 11.2 seconds remaining in the period, Chris Terry made it 2-0 Charlotte as the Checkers took advantage of a late line change by Oklahoma City. The Checkers led in shots 8-5 at the end of the first.
The Barons got quality scoring chances to start the second. Lander was robbed by a Peters glove save and Green got another scoring chance, but Charlotte was able to extend the lead at 5:10. Zac Dalpe jammed in a pass from Terry to give the Checkers a 3-0 lead early in the period.
Oklahoma City went on the penalty kill at the 6:36 mark of the second period. Chris VandeVelde got several shorthanded chances but was unable to break the shutout.
Charlotte stretched the lead out to 4-0 on a Jeremy Welsh goal at 8:23 while on the power play. Danis was replaced by Olivier Roy following the goal.
Oklahoma City got its second power play chance of the game just following the goal. The Barons were unable to find the back of the net despite scoring chances from Fedun, Jordan Henry and a Green shot that was just tipped wide.
Sean Dolan got in on the scoring for Charlotte at 13:02 as the Checkers made it 5-0.
The Barons went back on the power play and got two more shorthanded scoring chances as Magnus Paajarvi took the puck away and forced Peters to make a save. House came up with a feed to Henry but Henry’s shot just missed the net.
The Checkers put 13 shots on goal in the period, leading 21-16 at the second intermission.
Sanguinetti added a goal to his assist at 4:01 of the third period as the Checkers went up 6-0 with a second power play goal. Tim Wallace got in on the scoring action at 8:30 making it 7-0 Charlotte. The Checkers out-shot the Barons 34-24.
The two teams meet in a rematch Saturday evening at 7 p.m. CT. The game is the second of a five-game homestand for Oklahoma City.
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