CHICAGO -- After a late power play robbed them of a chance to win in regulation, the Checkers returned the favor in overtime.
Chris Terry atoned for a late penalty by scoring his sixth game-winning goal of the season and second in overtime as the Checkers took a 4-3 victory in Chicago on Thursday. Nicolas Blanchard, Justin Soryal and Riley Nash also scored for Charlotte, with Justin Peters getting his second straight win as the team began its six-game road swing on a high note.
The Checkers had led for the majority of the game until a penalty by Terry, a delay of game infraction for taking a few skating strides with the puck in his glove, set up Darren Haydar’s equalizer on a scramble in front of Peters with 1:50 left in regulation. However, a Wolves penalty with 25 seconds left in regulation gave the Checkers, and Terry, a chance to settle the score.
Near the end of the four-on-three portion of the power play in overtime, Terry, who would have ended the game in regulation if not for a one-on-one save by Matt Climie after the Wolves had tied it, secured the win on a one-time finish of a cross-ice pass from Marc-Andre Gragnani.
The goal marked the third straight overtime win for the Checkers, all of which have come during the five-minute period that precedes the shootout. All three of those took place on the road, with Terry doing the honors for the first game of the streak in Oklahoma City on Jan. 12.
Terry, the Checkers’ scoring leader with 36 points (17g, 19a) in 47 games, also assisted on Nash’s goal, giving him 21 points in his last 18 outings.
Prior to the late drama, Blanchard and Soryal, who had a combined three goals (all by Blanchard) entering the game, gave the Checkers a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. Blanchard struck first, depositing the rebound of a Jared Staal shot for his first goal since Dec. 14. Two minutes later, Soryal scored on a bizarre play, as goalie Matt Climie casually left the puck behind his net for a defenseman to retrieve, only for Soryal to swoop in and tuck it into the empty cage.
Soryal’s goal came nearly one year after his previous tally on Feb. 19, 2012. Coincidentally, that goal also came at Chicago and against Climie.
In a prequel to the back-and-forth, power-play strikes that decided the outcome of the game, the teams also traded quick man-advantage goals in period two. Chicago’s came on something of a lucky bounce, as Andrew Gordon stuffed home the rebound of a missed shot from the point that hit the glass behind Peters and bounced right into the goal crease. Minutes later, Nash, who assisted on Terry’s winner, had a perfect tip on a low slap shot from the point by Gragnani.
Chicago had made the score 3-2 on a Anton Rodin goal, a chance that began when a point shot by former Checker Derek Joslin hit Peters up high, possibly in the mask, and landed in the goal crease.
The Checkers, who entered the game with the AHL’s best road power play at 24.8 percent, had two power play goals for the third consecutive game away from Time Warner Cable Arena. Though they allowed two power play goals, the Checkers emerged unscathed from a 40-second, five-on-three power play in period one.
With a win under their belt from their first visit to Chicago this season, the Checkers continue the first leg of their road swing with games in Milwaukee and Grand Rapids on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
NOTES: Zac Dalpe’s career-high, seven-game point streak (7g, 4a) came to an end … Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen played his 100th AHL/Checkers game … Defenseman Tommi Kivisto, recalled earlier in the day, played his seventh career AHL game, all of which have come this season and all of which were played on the road ... Brett Bellemore earned an assist for the second straight game, giving him a new career high with 11 points on the season … The Checkers improved to 2-1-0 against Chicago this season … Forward Matt Beca was a healthy scratch, while forwards A.J. Jenks, David Rutherford and Jerome Samson missed the game due to injury.