Checkers finish off sweep of Penguins

Photo: KDP Studio

The Charlotte Checkers are off to the second round for the first time since 2011 after they completed a sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with a 7-3 win on Thursday night.

Charlotte will face either Lehigh Valley or Providence in the Atlantic Division Finals.

After winning the first two games of the series at home, the Checkers spotted the Penguins an early 2-0 lead in Game 3 on goals by Anthony Angello and Adam Johnson.

But Charlotte responded as Lucas Wallmark and Greg McKegg scored 21 seconds apart to tie the game at 2-2 before the first intermission.

Aleksi Saarela gave the Checkers the lead for good with 2:14 left in the second period, and Clark Bishop and Andrew Miller scored in the third to open a 5-2 lead.

Angello added his second goal of the night with 6:29 remaining, but Andrew Poturalski and Janne Kuokkanen both hit the empty net late to seal the series.

Alex Nedeljkovic (3-0) made 26 saves for his third straight win in the series after tying for the AHL lead with 31 victories in the regular season. Charlotte has won 10 games in a row overall by a combined score of 46-17.

Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos, who previously announced his retirement effective at the end of the season, became the 19th player in AHL history to skate in 100 career Calder Cup Playoff contests. Kostopoulos finished his 19-year pro career with 1,468 regular-season and playoff games played between the AHL and the NHL.

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
A2-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. A3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – CHARLOTTE 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – CHARLOTTE 4, W-B/Scranton 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 26 – Charlotte 7, W-B/SCRANTON 3