Checkers Score Four Goals Early, Beat Bears 4-1, Take 1-0 Series Lead

Photo: Charlotte Checkers

The Hershey Bears fell to the Charlotte Checkers 4-1 Friday night at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Checkers victory gives them an early 1-0 lead in the second round series. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Saturday night in Charlotte. Puck drop is set for 6:00 PM. The series will then shift to Giant Center in Hershey for games 3, 4 and 5 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Tickets can be purchased here.

Vitek Vanecek (3-1, 1.49 GAA, .962 sv%) started between the pipes for the visiting Bears. Dustin Tokarski (17-6-2-2, 2.58 GAA, .914 sv%) got the start in goal for the Charlotte Checkers, his first start in the postseason. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

O’Brien – Pilon – Barber
Walker – Megna– Whitney
Gersich – McCarthy – Pinho
Malenstyn – Steman – Cherniwchan

Ness– Lewington
Geisser – Sproul
Johansen– Hobbs

Scratches:  Mike Sgarbossa and Kris Bindulis (upper body) were the injury scratches. Joe Snively (School), Jusso Ikonen, Joey Leach, Colby Williams, Hampuus Gustafsson, Steven Spinner and Bobby Nardell0 were the healthy scratches for Game 5. Max Kammerer was placed on unconditional waivers earlier in the week.

The Bears got off to a decent start, outshooting the Checkers 5-3 in the early going, but it would be the Checkers that took over the game from that point forward. The Checkers would strike first with a goal from Julien Gauthier 1:42 into the first period.

Charlotte would quickly make it 2-0 with a goal from Derek Sheppard at 3:56 of the first frame.

The Checkers would add to their lead with a tally from Aleksi Saarela at 10:27 and a fourth goal from Stelio Mattheos at 11:32. The Checkers led in shots on goal 13-6 at the midway point of the opening frame.

The Bears would finally get on the board with a goal from Chris McCarthy, making it 4-1 Checkers with 4:22 left in the first period.

The first period would end with the Checkers leading 4-1. Charlotte outshot Hershey 15-12 for the first 20 minutes. The Bears were 0 for 1 and the Checkers 0 for 0 on the power play in the first period.

The Bears and Checkers would skate to a scoreless draw for the middle frame. The Checkers outshot the Bears 11-5 in the second period, and led 26-17 after two periods of play. The Bears were 0 for 2 and the Checkers 0 for 3 on the power play through two periods of play.

The Checkers would shutdown the game in the final frame, with no teams finding the back of the net since the first period. The Checkers would hold on for the 4-1 win.


  • The Bears were 3-0-0-1 against the top-ranked Checkers during the regular season.
  • Checkers outshot the Bears 38-26.
  • The Bears were 0 for 2 and the Checkers 0 for 5 on the power play.
  • Checkers scored four goals on their first eight shots of the game.
  • Attendance: 6,441
  • The AHL box score for this game is here.


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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1 Response to Checkers Score Four Goals Early, Beat Bears 4-1, Take 1-0 Series Lead

  1. Pingback: Washington Capitals Prospect Review and Forecast: Vitek Vanecek | NoVa Caps

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