Tyson Foerster scored twice in his postseason debut and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms held off a third-period rally to grab a 4-3 victory over Charlotte in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division first-round series on Tuesday night.
The Phantoms can wrap up the best-of-three series with another win in Game 2 on Thursday.
The host Checkers got on the board first with a goal from Lucas Carlsson, whose 20 goals in the regular season were tied for the AHL lead among defensemen.
Lehigh Valley responded with a goal from Adam Brooks later in the first period, then scored three times in the first five minutes of the second to take a 4-1 lead and chase Charlotte starting goaltender Mack Guzda.
The Checkers got goals from Riley Nash and Santtu Kinnunen 38 seconds apart midway through the third to pull within a goal, but Samuel Ersson made 13 of his 28 saves in the final period, including a stop in close on Mackie Samoskevich with just three seconds to play.
Foerster (2g), Brooks (1g, 1a) and Cooper Marody (1g, 1a) all recorded two points for the Phantoms.
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
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 20 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 21 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern