NORFOLK, Va. -- The Charlotte Checkers won for the fifth straight time in Norfolk this season, defeating the Admirals, 2-1, and moving into sole possession of second place in the East Division on Tuesday evening.
The Checkers (22-13-1-4) scored the game’s first two goals and held on for their 11th win in the last 13 road games despite a late tally from Norfolk’s Marc-Antoine Pouliot. Justin Pogge earned the win and is now 9-0-0 in his last nine decisions on the road.
Oskar Osala and Nicolas Blanchard were the goal scorers for Charlotte, with Blanchard notching the game winner. The Checkers now have 14 different players who have registered a game-winning goal, leading the league in that category.
The Checkers opened the scoring on Osala’s ninth goal of the season, 11:16 into the first period. Norfolk goaltender Cedric Desjardins stopped Brett Sutter’s initial wraparound attempt but Osala was there to fire a shot beyond his reach. Chris Terry also earned an assist on the play, extending his point streak to four games.
The score remained 1-0 until 10:49 of the third period, when Blanchard potted the eventual game-winning goal. The Checkers forward gained possession of the puck by winning a foot-race with a Norfolk defenseman and stuffed home his third goal of the season out of a net-mouth scramble.
The Admirals responded to being put in a two-goal hole by playing their best hockey of the evening in the game’s final minutes and pulled to within one on Pouliot’s tally at 14:52.
Norfolk then was given a chance to tie the game when Oscar Osala was flagged for tripping with 4:31 remaining. The Checkers’ penalty-killing unit, however, rose to the occasion and shut down the Admirals’ fifth power-play chance of the night. Charlotte has now successfully killed all 30 Norfolk power-play attempts this season.
In the game’s final seconds, Pogge nearly deposited his first-career goal into the vacated Norfolk net, but the final buzzer sounded just a second before the Charlotte netminder’s shot missed the left post by an inch.
Norfolk and Charlotte’s next meeting is only six days away, when the Admirals visit Time Warner Cable Arena for a 5:00 p.m. matchup this Sunday. The Checkers will attempt to reverse the trend of road-team dominance in a season series that has seen the visiting club prevail in all seven games.