By Tim Donelli
The Charlotte Observer
INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. – The Charlotte Checkers took advantage of their opportunities Thursday, winning Game 1 of their best-of-7 ECHL South Division semifinal series 5-3 against South Carolina.
Marty Guerin had a pair of goals, and Mike Bayrack (pictured) added a goal and three assists for the Checkers at Extreme Ice. Maxime Daigneault earned the win with 21 saves, yielding one goal in 36 minutes, after replacing Jeff Jakaitis when Jakaitis suffered a cut above the eye.
Four minutes after Jakaitis left, the Checkers reeled off three goals within 2minutes, 30seconds to take a 5-2 lead. Matt Ford started the barrage with a goal that appeared to deflect off a South Carolina stick. Guerin got his second of the night two minutes later with a nifty spin in front of the net.
“I think 36 of their 42 wins this season came when they scored first,” said Checkers coach Derek Wilkinson. “Stats don’t always matter, but you see that one and that really pops off the page at you, so getting that first one was key.”
The series will resume at 7p.m. Saturday at the Extreme Ice Center.