CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Hershey Bears dropped the second contest of back-to-back games with the Charlotte Checkers 6-0 on Thursday at the Bojangles' Coliseum. Charlotte's Aleksi Saarela notched a hat-trick in the victory.
After scoring four unanswered goals in a comeback attempt the night prior, the Checkers added two in the first period. At 11:37, Valentin Zykov scored his American Hockey League leading 18th goal of the season. On a 3-on-2 rush, Zykov drove the middle lane and beat Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley along the blocker side.
At 18:13, Charlotte doubled their lead after capitalizing on their first power play chance of the night. Following a Zach Sill slashing minor in the offensive zone at 17:28, the Checkers tallied less than a minute later. From the left point, Saarela blasted a shot to the top-shelf past Copley to make it 2-0 for the home team.
The Checkers stretched the lead to 3-0 at 11:38 of the second period on Saarela's second goal of the night. Entering the final period up 3-0, the Charlotte added three goals of insurance and doubled their margin to 6-0.
At 9:54, Sergey Tolchinsky added his club's fourth tally off a pretty move following a drive to the net. Julien Gauthier scored against the Bears in the second straight night by adding a fifth goal at 17:01. The Checkers rounded out the scoring, and Saarela finished the hat-trick only 1:20 later.
The 6-0 loss for the Bears is their largest margin of defeat during the 2017-18 season. Hershey was outshot 9-2 in the third period, and in the game 30-20. The Bears drop to 13-15-0-3, while Charlotte advances to 20-10-0-1.