The Charlotte Checkers lost 5-2 Saturday night and 4-1 Sunday afternoon at the hands of the visiting Rockford Ice Hogs to push their losing streak to four games. The Charlotte Checkers started the season as the American Hockey League's top scoring team due to success both even strength and on the powerplay, but the Checkers have been outscored 20-7 during their four-games losing streak.
In the first game of the weekend home-stand, played Saturday, December 1, the Checkers conceded five unanswered goals in the second and third period after taking a 2-0 first period lead to lose 5-2. Charlotte defenseman Brett Bellemore got the Checkers off to an early lead, scoring his first goal of the season a mere 1:57 into the first period after taking a pass from Jeremy Welsh and firing a slow-moving snap-shot from the blue line past Rockford starting goaltender Carter Hutton.
Zach Boychuk gave the Charlotte Checkers a 2-0 lead on the powerplay by scoring his team-leading thirteenth goal of the season at the 11:26 mark of the first period. Boychuk took a lead pass from teammate Bobby Sanguinetti coming down the left side of the ice into the attacking zone and beat Hutton with a quick wrist-shot over his glove. The Checkers finished the first period ahead 13-12 in terms of shots on goal and ahead 2-0 where it counted on the scoreboard.
The second period belonged to the Rockford Ice Hogs who fired off 17 shots on goal, compared to eight by the Checkers, and scored four unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 lead after two periods. Ice Hogs' center Martin St. Pierre got the scoring started 4:37 into the period after taking a pass from Jimmy Hayes and beating Checkers starting goaltender Justin Peters for his sixth of the season. Rockford added to their first goal by adding two more in the following 5:04 to take a 3-1 lead. Brandon Saad scored his fifth of the season, assisted by Jeremy Morin and Adam Clendening, at the 6:48 mark and Ben Smith netted his eighth of the season, assisted by Brandon Pirri and Adam Clendening, at the 9:41.
Rockford scored again at the 15:35 mark of the second period to take a 4-1 lead, goal scored by St. Pierre his second of the game and seventh of the season, and tallied their final goal of the game on the powerplay 10:28 into the third period when Jeremy Morin took a pass from Marcus Kruger and beat Justin Peters to record his ninth of the season.
The second game of the two-day homestand was played Sunday, December 2 and ended with the Checkers losing 4-1 despite outshooting the Rockford Ice Hogs 31-27 for the game. Rockford jumped out to a 1-0 lead 11:00 into the first period on the powerplay when Adam Clendening netted his fourth of the season, assisted by Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger. The Ice Hogs would score again with 4:04 remaining in the second period to take a 2-0 lead; Kyle Beach scored his seventh of the season by beating Dan Ellis with a powerful shot off a pass from Brandon Shaw.
Brett Sutter scored to cut the Checkers' defect to 2-1, his seventh of the season, at the 7:23 mark of the third period. His goal was assisted by Jerome Sampson and Drayson Bowman, and gave the Checkers some hope to tie but the Rockford Ice Hogs were able to hold on and score twice more in the third to claim a 4-1 victory.
Brandon Pirri scored his seventh of the season at he 13:36 mark and Martin St. Pierre netted his seventh of the season, empty-net, at eh 18:36 mark to seal the deal.
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