Overall record: 34-20-2-6 (Home 17-11-1-4, Away 17-9-1-2)
Last week’s record: 2-0-0-2
Previous 10: 5-2-1-2
Standings: 3rd – East Division, 4th – Eastern Conference
Last week, the Checkers finished off the toughest stretch of games this season (and arguably toughest in the AHL this season) with a 4-1-0-2 record. The seven-game trip lasted nine days in six different cities and included more than 2,700 miles of traveling.
The weekend consisted of two home wins over Connecticut on Thursday and Saturday with a sandwiched-in Friday night trip to Norfolk, where the Checkers were edged in a shootout.
Saturday’s crowd was an all-time Charlotte record as 12,933 fans turned out to watch a thrilling, fight-filled 1-0 win over the Whale.
A 8-2-1-2 record for February gives the Checkers a 12-point cushion on a playoff spot and trails Hershey by four points for second place in the East Division.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Game 59: Tuesday, Feb. 22 – at SYR (L, 4-3 Shootout)
Syracuse Sneaks By Checkers In Shootout
Rookie forward Kyle Palmieri’s power-play goal with less than six minutes left in the third period tied the game and Syracuse used three shootout goals to beat Charlotte, 4-3. The Checkers had two leads and multi-point games from Zach Boychuk and Ethan Graham but could not close out the resilient Crunch. Former Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery made 34 saves to win for Syracuse while Mike Murphy lost despite a 37-save effort.
Game 60: Thursday, Feb. 24 – vs. CT (W, 5-1)
Checkers Score Five Straight To Drown Whale
Mike Murphy continued his stellar play and Charlotte scored five straight goals to down Connecticut, 5-1, at Time Warner Cable Arena. Murphy stopped all but one of Connecticut’s 30 shots to earn the win and Chris Terry scored two second-period goals to supplement tallies by Matthew Pistilli, Drayson Bowman and Zac Dalpe. Chad Johnson allowed five goals on 16 shots as the losing goalie and was replaced by Dov Grumet-Morris late in the second period.
Game 61: Friday, Feb. 25 – at NOR (L, 4-3 Shootout)
Three-Goal Comeback Falls Just Short
Despite a three-goal third-period comeback and a 50-save performance from Justin Pogge, the Checkers fell, 4-3, in a shootout to the Admirals at Norfolk Scope. Bryan Rodney, Nicolas Blanchard and Drayson Bowman scored 9:50 apart to erase a 3-0 deficit after the Admirals scored three power-play goals in the opening 2:45 of the third period. Norfolk added two shootout tallies, while Dustin Tokarski denied four of Charlotte’s five attempts to secure the win.
Game 62: Saturday, Feb. 26 – vs. CT (W, 1-0)
Checkers Blank Whale in Front of Record Crowd
Mike Murphy recorded his second shutout of the week as the Checkers defeated the Whale, 1-0, in front of a record crowd of 12,933 at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday evening. Matthew Pistilli converted on a rebound during an early second-period power play for the game’s only goal, while Dov Grumet-Morris allowed one goal on 22 shots and took the loss.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Fri., Mar 4 at Providence Bruins, 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Mar 5 at Worcester Sharks, 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar 6 at Manchester Monarchs, 3:00 p.m.
A LOOK AHEAD
Friday at Providence Bruins, 7:05 p.m.
Watch/Listen: AHLLive.com, WBCN 1660AM
Charlotte begins a three-game road trip by concluding its season series against the Providence Bruins on Friday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Checkers have won the first three matchups of the season against the Bruins, who enter the week with a 26-30-3-2 record - eight points out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff position.
Saturday at Worcester Sharks, 7 p.m.
The Checkers make their final visit to DCU Center this season after having won the only other game in Worcester, 4-2, on Nov. 27. A season after winning the Atlantic Division with 104 points, Worcester currently holds down the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot by a point over the Connecticut Whale. The Checkers and Sharks are due to meet twice more after this weekend; a two-game series to close out the regular season on Apr. 8 and 9.
Sunday at Manchester Monarchs, 3 p.m.
Watch/Listen: AHLLive.com, WBCN 1660AM
The Checkers conclude their third consecutive three-in-three weekend by battling the first-place Manchester Monarchs at Verizon Wireless Arena in New Hampshire. Sunday’s matinee affair will be the final get-together for the Checkers and Monarchs, who have prevailed in two of the first three.
- The Checkers set an all-time Charlotte hockey record with a 12,933 crowd Saturday vs. Connecticut.
- Mike Murphy has two shutouts in his last four starts (the first home and road shutouts in Checkers AHL history), has stopped 144 of the last 150 shots against him and is 17-2-1 in his last 20 starts.
- Justin Pogge’s 23 first-period saves on Friday at Norfolk were the most by an AHL goalie this season, while his 50 saves were the most by a Charlotte goalie in a game this season.
- Zac Dalpe recorded his 10th multi-point game of the season on Thursday against Connecticut and leads all AHL rookies in scoring with 43 points (18g, 25a) in just 43 games.
- Ethan Graham has five assists on a career-long four-game point scoring streak.
- Bryan Rodney has two goals and five assists in the last five games.
- Matt Pistilli has four goals in the last six games.
Goals: Terry (25)
Assists: Boychuk (30)
Points: Terry (48)
PIM: FitzGerald (173)
Plus/Minus: Jordan (+14)
Wins: Murphy (19)
GAA: Murphy (2.65)
Save %: Murphy (.915)
For every 'like' the Checkers get on their Facebook fan page between now and April 1st, they will donate $2 to Zach Bennett and his family. If the fan page reaches 25,000 by April 1st, every follower will receive a free ticket to the Apr. 4 game against Norfolk. For more information, click here.