Zac Dalpe completed his first career playoff hat trick with 3:36 gone in the second overtime as Charlotte prevailed, 7-6, in a wild Game 2 at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport.
The Checkers head home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Dalpe opened the scoring 53 seconds into the game and Charlotte raced out to a 4-0 lead before the contest was 13 minutes old, chasing starting goaltender Cory Schneider (five saves).
But the Islanders answered with three goals in a span of 53 seconds to climb back within one before Dalpe’s second goal gave the Checkers a 5-3 lead at the first intermission. It was the highest-scoring period in the Calder Cup Playoffs since Hartford (7) and New Haven (1) combined for eight goals in the third period of their game on April 17, 1998.
The teams each had a goal waved off during the first OT period, and each had an abbreviated power play early in the second OT before Dalpe converted on a two-on-one rush for the winner.
Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Bridgeport Islanders
Game 1 – Tue., May 10 – Charlotte 3, BRIDGEPORT 2
Game 2 – Thu., May 12 – Charlotte 7, BRIDGEPORT 6 (2OT)
Game 3 – Sat., May 14 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 4:00
*Game 4 – Mon., May 16 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Wed., May 18 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern