The Florida Panthers AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers are on the brink of elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs after dropping a tough 4-3 decision to the Springfield Thunderbirds at MassMutual Center.
Zac Dalpe put the Checkers up by two by scoring his sixth and seventh goals of the postseason at 4:22 and 12:39 of the first period. Aleksi Heponiemi had the primary assist on Dalpe’s second marker.
After the Thunderbirds battled back to tie the game, Alexander True gave Charlotte the lead back with 8:29 left in regulation.
Unfortunately, the Checkers weren’t able to hold on as Will Bitten evened the score at 16:55 and veteran scorer James Neal notched the game-winner with five seconds left on the clock with defenseman Cale Fleury off for kneeing.
The remainder of the series will be played at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. The Checkers will need to start winning on Saturday night to stay alive.
Tyler Bozak scored 3:38 into overtime as the St. Louis Blues got off the mat for an improbable 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 at Ball Arena in Denver. Bozak won it with a slap shot from the point that eluded Darcy Kuemper. Robert Thomas sent the game to overtime by notching his second of the night with 56 seconds left in regulation. The Blues rallied from a three-goal deficit only to fall behind again late when Nathan MacKinnon completed a hat trick…