Checkers blank Phantoms, take series

Photo: Gregg Forwerck

Charlotte scored five times in the second period and finished off Lehigh Valley, 6-0, in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the teams’ first-round playoff series on Friday night.

The Checkers will meet the Hershey Bears in the Atlantic Division semifinals.

After a scoreless first period, Charlotte erupted for five goals in a span of 15:04. Patrick Giles, Riley Nash, Dominic Franco, Henry Bowlby and Cameron Morrison scored, with Aleksi Heponiemi and Santtu Kinnunen tallying three assists each.

Connor Bunnaman tacked on a shorthanded goal in the third period to finish the scoring.

Jean-Francois Berube (1-0) made his first start of the series for Charlotte and turned aside 31 shots to earn his second career playoff shutout.

Starting less than 24 hours after a double-overtime loss in Game 2, Samuel Ersson (1-2) allowed four goals on 15 shots before giving way to Nolan Maier, who finished with nine saves.

Atlantic Division First Round (best-of-3)
A3-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 18 – Lehigh Valley 4, CHARLOTTE 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 20 – CHARLOTTE 5, Lehigh Valley 4 (2OT) | Recap
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 21 – CHARLOTTE 6, Lehigh Valley 0