A 28-save performance from Checkers’ goalie Alex Nedeljkovic kept Rochester’s offense at bay as Charlotte topped the visiting Americans, 4-1, at the Bojangles Coliseum on Friday Night.
The loss drops Rochester to 39-14-3-2 overall. With Syracuse’s win over the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Crunch take over first place in the North Division.
Rasmus Asplund kept his five-game point streak alive with the Americans’ only goal of the night.
Patrick Brown scored twice for the league-leading Checkers (40-15-6-1). Alexsi Saarela and Martin Necas netted a goal apiece.
Rochester failed to capitalize on five power-play opportunities as the team’s man-advantage woes continued. The Amerks went 1-for-8 on the power play on Wednesday against Utica.
The team started the second and third periods shorthanded, which led to a Checkers goal.
Charlotte did not fare much better on the man advantage, going 1-for-7 on their power-play chances.
That didn’t matter as goals came quickly for the home icers. Charlotte scored nine minutes into the game on Necas’ goal with Trevor Carrick and Tomas Jurco assisting.
Saarela made the game 2-0 just before the end of the first period with his 21st goal of the season, which leads the team.
Rochester goalie Scott Wedgewood never saw the goal coming, a common theme for the night. He finished with 18 saves on 21 shots.
The Checkers picked up where they had left off in the first when Brown netted his first goal a minute into the middle period to make the game 3-0.
From there, neither team found success until Asplund finally solved Nedeljkovic late in the third period.
Charlotte drove the nail into the coffin on an empty-netter with seven seconds left to play.
The two teams will meet again tonight at 6 p.m. in Charlotte.
A win would help Rochester keep pace for first in the league with Charlotte and Syracuse, which lurks close behind.
After that, Rochester will return home for a 7:05 p.m. game with Cleveland on March 22.