For the second consecutive week, the Checkers split a two-game set against a South Division rival, keeping them within shouting distance of first place.
After a 2-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage on Sunday, the Checkers now trail Texas by two points for the top spot in the division and for the highest point total in the entire league. That game and a 3-2 loss to the Rampage on Saturday were the Checkers’ only home games during the month of February, as they will play each of their next six on the road, including a three-game trip through Chicago, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids this week.
Though the Checkers have rarely been seen at Time Warner Cable Arena these days, they will begin a stretch of playing 14 of 17 games at home starting on March 3 – a segment that will take them right up to the final week of the regular season.
Week in Review
Last week's record
Last 10 games
San Antonio 3, Checkers 2
After canceling out Jared Staal’s opening goal, the Rampage broke open a tie game midway through the third period with two goals to secure a 3-2 win over the Checkers in front of 13,000 fans at Pink in the Rink night on Saturday. In his first game since returning from the NHL, Zac Dalpe clawed one back to make things interesting down the stretch, while Justin Peters made 18 saves as the Checkers lost their second straight game both overall and in their season series with the Rampage. Full recap | Photos | Hyundai Highlights
Checkers 2, San Antonio 1
Michal Jordan and Zac Dalpe scored 66 seconds apart near the end of the second period to bring the Checkers back from a goal down and claim a 2-1 victory over the Rampage on Sunday. Jordan’s goal was his career-best sixth of the season, while Dalpe’s extended his point streak to a career-high and AHL-best seven games (7g, 4a). Justin Peters made 28 saves as the Checkers improved to 4-2-0 in their season series with San Antonio. Full recap | Photos | Hyundai Highlights
Against considerable odds, old acquaintances Justin Peters, Bobby Raymond and Jeremy Welsh have been reuinted in Charlotte. Read more
Checkers forward Zac Dalpe has scored a goal in each of his two games since returning from a six-game NHL stint with the Carolina Hurricanes. Those games, the first of which included a season-high seven shots on goal, extended his AHL point streak to seven games (7g, 4a). The streak ties the longest of his three professional seasons and is one short of the longest streak posted by a Checker this season, Drayson Bowman's eight-game run from Oct. 19-Nov. 4. The streak is also tied with two other players, including the Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle, for the longest active streak in the AHL.
Dalpe, who posted two assists in six NHL games with Carolina, ranks third on the Checkers in scoring with 30 points (15g, 15a) in 40 games and leads the team with a plus-15 rating (t-9th AHL) and 134 shots on goal (12th AHL). He also has the fewest penalty minutes of any Checkers skater that has played more than 10 games (six).
Jordan Gets Offensive
Michal Jordan's sixth goal of the season on Sunday extended his single-season career high of four set in each of the previous two seasons. Five of his six goals have come since he received news of his first career AHL All-Star selection on Jan. 17.
Now in his third professional season, Jordan currently ranks second among active Checkers defensemen with 15 points and a plus-11 rating.
Forward Jared Staal and defenseman Brett Bellemore, typically not known for their scoring, each tied career offensive highs last week. Staal's third goal of the season to put the Checkers up 1-0 on San Antonio on Saturday tied his career best from last season, while Bellemore's assist on Sunday allowed him to tie his career high of 10 points set in each of the last two seasons.
Other milestones met through 49 games:
Riley Nash has 21 assists, three more than his career high set two seasons ago
Chris Terry has 16 goals, tying his total from all of last season
Zac Dalpe has 15 assists, one more than all of last season
Justin Shugg as eight assists, tying his total from last season
Bobby Raymond has five points, one more than his career high from last season
Rasmus Rissanen has five assists, two more than last season's career high
Peters Shoulders the Load
Checkers goalie Justin Peters has played in 11 of the Checkers' last 13 games, marking the busiest stretch of any of the team's three goaltenders this season. It is also the most one goalie has played for the team since John Muse played 12 of 13 games from Jan. 24-Feb. 25 of last season.
For the season, Peters ranks eighth in the AHL with 32 games played and tied for fourth with 18 wins. He is also tied for second with five shutouts and is 13th with a 2.40 goals-against average.
The Checkers have compiled a record of 15-6-4 on the road, giving them a total of 34 points that is tied for second-most in the AHL. Charlotte, which plays each of its next six games away from Time Warner Cable Arena, has the best road power play of any team in the league at 24.8 percent.
Two of the AHL's top four teams, the Checkers and the Texas Stars, call the South Division home. The Stars, who have yet to make the first of four visits to Charlotte this season, currently lead the Checkers by two points.
Through the season's first 49 games, the Checkers played just 20 within their division (11-6-3), which is at least six fewer intradivisional games than any other South team has played. Charlotte makes up for that in March and April, with 12 of its last 21 games coming against teams from the South.
Zac Dalpe has points in each of his last seven games (Jan. 4-Feb. 10; 7g, 4a) and goals in each of his last three (Jan. 13-Feb. 10; 3g, 0a)
Jerome Samson has points in each of his last two games (Jan. 4-6; 1g, 1a)
David Rutherford (upper body, Feb. 5) - missed two games
A.J. Jenks (upper body, Jan. 17) - missed eight games
Jerome Samson (upper body, Jan. 6) - missed 13 games
Feb. 8 - (LW) Matt Marquardt signed to professional tryout contract
Thursday, February 14 at 8 p.m. - Checkers at Chicago