Checkers Beat the Bears in Game 1

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Posted May 3, 2019

via Sarah Hobday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Before fans were even in their seats at Bojangles’ Coliseum, the Charlotte Checkers were up a goal scoring just 102 seconds into the opening frame. The AHL’s best regular season team would tack on another less than two minutes later and that was all the offense they would need.

The Checkers would score twice more before the game was 12 minutes old on their way to a 4-1 victory and a 1-0 series lead.

“A couple of bounces don’t go our way,” Bears head coach Spencer Carbery said. “A little bit of unlucky fortune.

After the fourth goal, Carbery used his timeout to reset his team.

“I just said, ‘it’s going to be a long series. [We’re] not worried about the score at this point, it’s just us building momentum,'” he said.

That momentum came in the form of Chris McCarthy who gave the Bears life by cutting into the deficit before the opening frame was over. He capitalized on a loose rebound from a Connor Hobbs shot in front of the net and shoveled it home.

“We talk a lot about getting pucks low-to-high and getting bodies to the front [of the net],” McCarthy said.  We just try to fight through that and hope that bounce goes our way.”

“It gave us some life. No question,” Carbery said of the goal.

The Bears struggled to get going offensively. The generated just 11 shots in the final 40 minutes, three of which came with the man advantage in the final 54 seconds of the second period.

“We just didn’t do enough five-on-five offensively. From all four of our lines, it was just average.”

The two teams meet in Game 2 on Saturday, but with the Carolina Hurricanes sweeping the Islanders, the Checkers are likely to get some reinforcements. Primarily in the name of Alex Nedeljkovic who had 34 wins on the season.

“For us to get through this series, as just being okay or average, from the majority of our group, there’s no way. It’s going to take a large group of our personnel to elevate their game. We’re going to need that immediately,” Carbery said. “There’s no way we are going to blend in, or we’re going to have 15 guys that just blend in and play okay and get out of this series on the right side.”