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Photo: Jacob Kupferman

Late strike lifts Checkers in Game 3

Stelio Mattheos scored the go-ahead goal with 2:08 left in regulation and Charlotte stunned Hershey, 3-1, to take a 3-0 lead in the Atlantic Division Finals on Tuesday night.

The Checkers will look to complete the sweep when the teams play Game 4 on Wednesday.

Charlotte did not record a shot on goal in the third period until Vitek Vanecek (20 saves) stopped Julien Gauthier on a breakaway attempt with about 2:15 to go. But the Bears couldn’t clear the zone and Mattheos banged home a rebound of Trevor Carrick‘s point shot for his second goal of the series.

Aleksi Saarela scored twice for the Checkers, tying the game early in the second period and sealing the win with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.

Alex Nedeljkovic (5-1) finished with 17 saves in the victory.

Nathan Walker scored Hershey’s goal, redirecting a Ryan Sproul shot late in the first period.

The Bears were 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 3, falling to 2-for-31 for the postseason. The Checkers went 0-for-2.

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A3-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Fri., May 3 – CHARLOTTE 4, Hershey 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 4 – CHARLOTTE 7, Hershey 3 | Recap
Game 3 – Tue., May 7 – Charlotte 3, HERSHEY 1
Game 4 – Wed., May 8 – Charlotte at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 10 – Charlotte at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 12 – Hershey at Charlotte, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 14 – Hershey at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern