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Coghlan’s 3-Point Effort Not Enough in Charlotte

Coghlan's 3-Point Effort Not Enough in Charlotte

Mar 16, 2024

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Springfield Thunderbirds (26-27-3-2) could not make a second-period lead stand up in a 4-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers (31-22-6-0) on Saturday at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Starting goalies Spencer Knight and Vadim Zherenko were not given much time to get their legs under them as each team traded grade-A scoring chances in the opening three minutes. Joey Duszak had the first golden opportunity on a clean breakaway, but Knight calmly kicked out the right leg to deny it. Zherenko, meanwhile, had a 2-on-1 bearing in on his net with Alexander True pulling the trigger, but the Springfield netminder answered with a kick save of his own. 

An innocent-looking shot broke the scoreless game at 8:47 when Dylan Coghlan held a puck in at the right point and flipped a forehand wrister toward Knight’s crease. As Duszak ducked out of the way, the shot surprised the Charlotte goaltender and sailed into the twine, making it 1-0 T-Birds on Coghlan’s 14th goal of the season.

Just 24 seconds later, off an offensive zone draw, Wilmer Skoog surprised Zherenko with a quick release that squeezed home at 9:11, tying the game, 1-1.

Charlotte drew the first power play of the night, but the Springfield penalty killers thwarted the Checkers’ advance, and with their own power play minutes later, the T-Birds restored their lead, 2-1.

After taking a pass on the right-wing from Coghlan, Adam Gaudette performed a perfect toe-drag to snap off a post-ringer behind Knight at 13:25, giving the dynamic goal scorer his 35th of the season and 12th on the man advantage.

Gaudette thought he had his second of the night on a 2-on-1 chance early in the second, but the sharpshooter’s one-time bid clipped the underside of the crossbar and stayed out, so the 2-1 score carried forward. Coghlan, however, would not make any mistake in his attempt for a second goal of the day, snapping a wrister from the left circle over Knight’s glove at 8:21, making it 3-1 on his third point of the game.

Charlotte showed their resolve, taking advantage of a Coghlan penalty just 2:46 later with a Skoog power play goal on a net-front jam at 11:07 to make it a 3-2 game.

With the T-Birds’ defense on its heels, the Checkers took advantage just 3:13 after the Skoog tally, as newcoming defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel skated up to a rebound in the right circle, beating Zherenko on a snapper and sending the game into the third period in a 3-3 tie.

Gerry Mayhew fired the ultimate…

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