NORFOLK, Va. -- While Sunday’s win over Norfolk marked one of the Checkers’ best special teams performances of the season, the opposite was true in Wednesday’s rematch.
Charlotte went 0-for-7 on the power play and allowed the Admirals to score on two of their three man advantages en route to a 3-1 loss in Norfolk. Despite the loss, the Checkers still hold a two-game lead (3-1-0) in the race for the GEICO Challenge Cup, which is awarded to the team with the most points at the conclusion of the eight-game season series between the teams.
Andreas Nodl scored the Checkers’ only goal, his first in the AHL since April 9, 2010, while Justin Peters made 31 saves but allowed more than one goal for just the fifth time in his last 13 starts. The loss ended a four-game road winning streak for Charlotte, which was the longest in the AHL heading into the game.
Three days after going 3-for-5 on the power play and killing all three Norfolk power plays in a 6-1 victory over the Admirals on Sunday, the Checkers’ power play never got going this time around. Their off night included penalties that twice prevented them from getting a full two minutes to work with, a failed four-on-three opportunity in the first period and a four-minute double minor in the second that never seemed to get in sync.
Meanwhile, two of Norfolk’s three second-period goals came on the man advantage, including an early one on a Charlotte penalty for having too many men on the ice that carried over from the opening frame. Luca Caputi did the honors, knocking in a rebound of Nick Schaus’ shot from the right point.
After Jay Rosehill had made the score 2-0 by finishing his own rebound two minutes later, Dan Sexton scored the Admirals’ second power-play goal of the game on a shot from the right circle that trickled through Peters’ legs.
The Checkers managed to claw one back on a goal Norfolk goalie Igor Bobkov would like to have back, as Nodl, assigned from the Carolina Hurricanes last week, blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line for his first as a Checker. In three games with Charlotte, his first in the AHL in two seasons, Nodl now has three points (1g, 2a).
David Rutherford earned the primary assist on the goal for his second career AHL point (two assists in 10 games), while Luke Pither picked up the other for his sixth point (3g, 3a) in four games since joining the team in a Jan. 13 Hurricanes trade that sent goalie Brian Boucher to Philadelphia.
That would wrap up the game’s scoring, with all four goals coming in the second period. Shots for the game were an even 31 apiece, with neither team out-shooting the other by more than one in any period.
The Checkers now return home for back-to-back games against the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Saturday, including the team’s annual Race Night event on Friday. The GEICO Challenge Cup series continues when the Checkers make another visit to Norfolk on March 1.
NOTES: The 0-for-7 performance on the power play was the Checkers’ worst since going 0-for-8 at Milwaukee on Nov. 4, 2011 … The Checkers’ Justin Shugg (five games), Tim Wallace (four games), Marc-Andre Gragnani (four games), Michal Jordan (three games), Riley Nash (two games) and Chris Terry (two games) all saw their point streaks come to an end … Pither extended his point streak to four games, which mark his only AHL games of the season … Defenseman Beau Schmitz was a healthy scratch for Charlotte, while forwards Nicolas Blanchard, A.J. Jenks and Jerome Samson missed the game due to injury.