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2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, Round 1 Game 2: WBS 1, Charlotte 4

Joseph Cramarossa scored 22 seconds into the game, but they didn’t score again as Charlotte’s Josiah Didier scored the game-winner with 5:28 left to give the Checkers a 2-0 series lead coming up to Wilkes-Barre Township.

WBS Penguins

Coming out of Game 1, WBS needed to be much more disciplined. They were not going to survive another game with the Charlotte Checkers having to kill off seven penalties. The good news is, they only had to kill off two penalties in Game 2. The bad news? It didn’t matter.

Two changes for WBS from Game 1, as Tom Sestito and Christian Thomas make way for Jarrett Burton and Anthony Angello, Angello making only his third professional start. Josh Jooris also moved to wing to make space for Burton at the center position.

After closing Game 1 with a bench game misconduct for abuse of officials (no, I’m not joking), WBS needed to come out of the gates fast, hard, and legally in Game 2. Did they ever.

Just 22 seconds into the game, and Joseph Cramarossa put WBS ahead 1-0. Andrey Pedan and Josh Jooris were given the assists.

WBS held the lead for approximately 13 minutes until defender Haydn Fleury, one of the Carolina Four sent down by the Hurricanes to bolster Charlotte for their Calder Cup run, bounced one off Tristan Jarry’s back and in to tie the score.

I agree, Charlotte social media.

Greg McKegg and Andrew Poturalski were given assists; for McKegg, that was his third helper of the series. The first period ended tied at 1, with shots favoring WBS 9-8 despite Charlotte getting the final five shots on goal of the period.

Charlotte carried that momentum into the second period, outshooting WBS 9-3 through the first ten minutes or so, but once again WBS goaltender Tristan Jarry was up to the challenge.

After the 9-3 start in shots to the second period, WBS turned it around in the second half to eventually narrow the shot gap to 10-8 Charlotte, but neither team was able to break the deadlock after 40 minutes.

Charlotte didn’t get their first power play of the evening until 5:48 of the third, when Chris Summers took an interference penalty. WBS was able to kill off the penalty despite Jarred Tinordi going to the locker room with an unknown injury and Kevin Czuczman favoring his arm. Czuczman was forced into further one-armed penalty killing duty when Andrey Pedan took a slashing penalty at 11:01 of the third, but the WBS defense stood tall.

Unfortunately, the WBS defense finally cracked with 5:42 to play, as Josiah Didier broke the tie.

The goal spurred WBS to action, and they forced a power play of their own with 3:28 to go as Andrew Miller sat for hooking, but the worst of WBS’s power plays have been notoriously awful this season, and this one was no exception. Just as the power play was ending, Tristan Jarry left his cage for an extra attacker, but just as he was doing so, Daniel Sprong turned over the puck at his defensive blue line, and the puck ended up in the empty net off the stick of Clark Bishop.

Not willing to concede, WBS again pulled Jarry on the ensuing play, but Haydn Fleury scored his second of the game from full ice to finalize the score, 4-1, and give the Checkers a 2-0 series lead.

After the goal at 22 seconds, once again Nedeljkovic settled down to stop everything else he saw, ending with 27 saves on 28 shots. Jarry finished with 24 saves on 26 shots.

Cramarossa’s goal was good enough for third star honors. Second star went to Didier with the game-winner. Top honors went to Fleury with two goals.

The series now travels north to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for Game 3 on Thursday night, 7:05 pm EDT start time. We will see in the coming days whether Czuczman or Tinordi will be healthy enough to play, but that won’t change the fact that WBS must now win three games in four days on its home ice against these Checkers to continue Tom Kostopoulos’s career.

I’ve seen crazier things happen.