The Charlotte Checkers opened a three-goal lead in the first period on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena and rode that to a 6-1 win over the Oklahoma City Barons and a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five, opening round Calder Cup playoff series. The Barons will try to avoid elimination in Game 4 on Friday at 6 pm (CDT) at Charlotte.
The Checkers went 3-for-7 on the man advantage and scored a pair of power play goals in jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Former Baron Matt Marquardt scored his first of the playoffs from the deep slot after picking up a deflection off defenseman Garrett Stafford's stick at 2:32.
Chris Terry followed with a pair of power play goals, the first on a two-man advantage at 6:50 on a centering pass from Zach Boychuk. Terry made it 3-0 at 8:18 on an ensuing one-man power play, banking one off Randy Jones from a steep angle.
The Barons countered with a two-man advantage goal of their own at 19:52 when Toni Rajala scored his first Calder Cup playoff goal by picking the top short-side corner of Rob Madore (2-1 in the series), who made 37 saves. Oklahoma City went 1-for-9 on the power play.
Tim Wallace had the only goal of the second, as he slipped one past Yann Danis (1-2) at 11:34 off a rush to make it 4-1.
Oklahoma City had 17 shots in the second period and out-shot the Checkers for the game 38-33.
Charlotte scored twice in the third period, as Bobby Raymond put home a shot from the left wing on a power play at 14:08 and Justin Shugg snapped one between Danis' pads at 16:12.
The six Charlotte goals match the most allowed by the Barons in their three-season Calder Cup playoff history, joining a 6-4 defeat against San Antonio on May 3, 2012 in a second-round series opener.