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Checkers fall in OT in Game 4

– Contributed

The Checkers and Marlies went toe-to-toe in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday night, trading blows until the home team came away with the overtime winner to even the series at two games each with a 4-3 win.

Deadlocked at three after 60 minutes of regulation, the two sides exchanged chances in the extra frame, including an elongated, breakneck stretch of play with no whistle. The Marlies finally broke through just over seven minutes in when Michael Carcone swung into the zone and wired a low shot into the back of the net to end the game.

Carcone’s game-winner capped a hat trick for the forward, as he opened the scoring and later provided one of two game-tying goals for the Marlies.

Nic Roy evened the score for Charlotte in the middle frame, catching a feed from the hard-forechecking Zach Nastasiuk for a shorthanded tally, then newcomer Jesper Sellgren gave the Checkers their first lead of the night with a snipe just 68 seconds into the third.

Shortly after Carcone drew Toronto back even minutes later, Andrew Poturalski threaded a seeing-eye shot past Kasimir Kaskisuo on the power play to once again push the visitors ahead. That lead would also vanish, however, as Jeremy Bracco would throw a low-angle shot on net and tie the game just past the midway point of the third to force the eventual overtime.

Regarding overtime, Charlotte head coach Mike Vellucci said “It was pretty quick. I think we had one chance, they had two and they scored on the one. That’s the way it goes. The ice was terrible, pucks bouncing everywhere. We turned it over at their blueline after we talked about making sure we got it deep. It bounced on our guy’s stick and they went down the other way and got a nice goal.”

The Checkers coach added he “thought we played great really for three periods. We out-chanced them in all three periods. We had a chance to make it 3-1 on a back-door pass to (Aleksi Saarela), and then Geekie had a little breakaway too. You get either of those goals to make it 3-1 or 4-1 and that’s the difference in the game.

Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals is tonight at 7 in Toronto with the series shifting to Charlotte for Game 6 Sunday. If necessary, a deciding seventh game would be Tuesday night at Bojangles Coliseum.

“It’s the Eastern Conference Finals. Nobody is going to have to talk to the guys about being ready. Everyone is ready. We were ready for that game, we played a really good game and just didn’t win the game,” Vellucci said.

Toronto Marlies 4, Charlotte Checkers 3 (OT)

Charlotte 0 1 2 0 – 3
Toronto 1 0 2 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Toronto, Carcone 4 (Brooks, Engvall), 17:12. Penalties-Liljegren Tor (hooking), 12:18; Renouf Cha (interference), 15:07.

2nd Period-2, Charlotte, Roy 2 (Nastasiuk), 3:40 (SH). Penalties-Carrick Cha (high-sticking), 2:01; Borgman Tor (tripping), 9:48; Jurco Cha (tripping), 11:31; Marchment Tor (tripping), 19:34.

3rd Period-3, Charlotte, Sellgren 2 (Poturalski, McKeown), 1:08. 4, Toronto, Carcone 5 (Lindgren), 5:07. 5, Charlotte, Poturalski 8 (Carrick, Schilkey), 7:35 (PP). 6, Toronto, Bracco 4 (Carcone, Mueller), 11:16. Penalties-Gauthier Cha (slashing), 0:46; Rosen Tor (tripping), 6:36.

OT Period-7, Toronto, Carcone 6 (Liljegren), 7:29. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 10-11-11-0-32. Toronto 9-5-9-5-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 1 / 4; Toronto 0 / 4.
Goalies-Charlotte, Nedeljkovic 7-3 (28 shots-24 saves). Toronto, Kaskisuo 9-2 (32 shots-29 saves).
A-6,713
Referees-Reid Anderson (49), Furman South (44).
Linesmen-Jesse Marquis (86), Bevan Mills (53).

– Charlotte Checkers Sports Information