Some costly turnovers made the difference for the Belleville Senators on Friday night as they welcomed the best team in the American Hockey League to CAA Arena.
The Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) got help from four difference goal scorers and 30 saves from Alex Nedeljkovic en route to a 4-1 win.
Charlotte go on the board just over 2:00 in when Darren Archibald’s pass hit the skate of his intended target and Nick Schilkey fed Patrick Brown in the slot, who beat Filip Gustavsson.
It was a tough welcome to Belleville for Archibald, who was making his B-Sens debut, after being acquired from Vancouver earlier in the week.
Belleville would generate 14 shots in the period but couldn’t even the score.
Julien Gauthier made it 2-0 with a power play goal at 9:21 of the second, taking a short pass in the slot from Jake Bean and rifling a shot over the left shoulder of Gustavsson.
Belleville would get within a goal at 13:16 when Filip Chlapik, returning from a 10 game injury layoff, sent a rink-wide feed to Max McCormick and he wired a bullet-like wrist shot past into the top corner.
But another neutral zone turnover would bite Belleville at 18:12, with Andrew Poturalski slipping a pass to Aleksi Saareli, past a sprawling defender on a two-on-one and the Finnish forward buried it into a half-empty net to make it 3-1.
The Checkers would stretch the lead to three just 1:15 into the third when Nicolas Roy stuffed the puck past Gustavsson, who seemed to be sitting against the far post, but couldn’t keep it out.
The Senators would outshoot the Checkers 31-27 in the losing cause.
B-Sens coach Troy Mann says he thought his team had some chances and made a good push to make it 2-1, but didn’t play well enough overall to beat the best team in the league.
Belleville will host Charlotte again on Saturday night, with a 7:05 puck drop at CAA Arena and A 6:50 broadcast time on 800 CJBQ, for Eastern Overhead Doors and Deerhaven Farm and Garden.
You can click here to read the box score from Friday and see highlights below.