BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Rob Hisey's shorthanded goal with 22.3 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, but Jon Matsumoto's tally in the sixth round of the shootout propelled the Charlotte Checkers to their second straight shootout victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, this time by a count of 3-2. The Checkers improve to 38-23-2-6 overall. The Sound Tigers now have a point in four out of five games, however three have been shootout losses as their record stands at 22-36-3-7.
Neither team mustered much offense to start as the teams combined for one shot on goal in the first five minutes of play. Later in the period, Checkers forward Brad Herauf was called for goalie interference on Nathan Lawson, but the Sound Tigers power play could not capitalize despite several shots on net. With just under a minute remaining in the period, Mark Katic hit Charlotte defender Nick Dodge against the glass and immediately was given the boarding call as Dodge fell to the ground. Katic was then given a five-minute major as well as a game misconduct. Charlotte ended the period on the power play and outshot Bridgeport 12-9.
Charlotte jumped in front with a 5-on-3 goal by Jon Matsumoto as he banged a rebound past Nathan Lawson 56 seconds into the second period. The Checkers increased that lead to two 3:55 into the third period when Nick Dodge’s shot caromed off of Chris Terry’s skate and past Lawson to make the score 2-0.
However, Rhett Rakhshani keyed the Sound Tigers comeback midway through the period. As a 4-on-3 power play was about to end, Rakhshani fired his team-leading 17th goal of the season from the point past Checkers netminder Mike Murphy. The comeback seemed less likely as Mark Wotton was sent off for holding with 1:50 remaining in the game, putting the Sound Tigers down a man for the rest of regulation. But with 22.3 remaining, the Sound Tigers managed to even the score. Rakhshani drove to the net shorthanded and Murphy stopped his initial attempt, but Rob Hisey found the rebound and knocked it home for the shorthanded equalizer to send the game to overtime, and eventually a shootout for the second consecutive game.
Zac Dalpe shot first and beat Lawson, but Rob Hisey evened the shootout score with his own goal in the bottom half of the first round. Chris Terry scored in the fourth round to put the Checkers back on top, but David Ullstrom would force extra frames as he scored in the bottom of the fifth. However, Jon Matsumoto scored to lead off the sixth round and Robin Figren was denied by Murphy as Charlotte won for the second straight gave via the shootout, this time by a count of 3-2.
Nathan Lawson stopped 34 shots in the loss. Mike Murphy made 35 saves to earn his second straight shootout win.
The Sound Tigers continue their four-game homestand tomorrow evening as they host Manchester in its final visit to Webster Bank Arena this season at 7 p.m.
Hisey - Colliton - Rakhshani
DiBenedetto - Ullstrom - Marcinko
Bourbeau - Romano - Figren
Gallant - Svendsen - Ginand
Kohn - Reese
Katic - Wishart
Ness - Wotton