The team considered itself lucky to escape with a 4-3 shootout victory over Peoria in its home opener, after losing a three-goal lead in the span of just 3:08 to start the final period.
Coach Jeff Daniels considered it a lesson learned, which will have to be the case in today's rematch at Time Warner Cable Arena (3 p.m.). While the Checkers now have a victory on the season, improving their record to 1-1-1, the Rivermen, already disappointed with their start to the season, are still searching at 0-2-1.
With Charlotte taking great strides to improve its team defense - after allowing a total of 88 shots in its first two games at Norfolk last week, goaltender Justin Peters faced just 25 on Saturday - the focus now is to carry that effort for the entire game. In addition to the lost lead in the first game against Peoria, the Checkers also allowed Norfolk to come back from two separate two-goal deficits in their season-opening overtime loss last Friday. The Checkers currently hold a -5 goal differential in third periods (two goals scored, seven allowed) - the only period in which they have a negative goal differential.
Continuing a trend of alternating games, goaltender Mike Murphy is expecting to make the start in goal today.
• Center Jon Matsumoto recorded two assists on Saturday to give him eight points (2g, 6a) on the season. He enters Sunday's game in a four-way tie for the AHL's scoring lead, although he has played one fewer game. Matsumoto now has three consecutive multiple-point nights, and is the only Checkers player to have recorded points in each game this season.
• Right wing Nicolas Blanchard recorded his first goal of the season on Saturday night. The fifth-year pro, who finished last season with eight goals, did not score his first until Nov. 12 last season.
• Right wing Jerome Samson now has three goals in three games this season. The Quebec native, playing in his fifth AHL season, was the Checkers leader in points per game (54 points in 53 games) at the time of his recall to the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes last season.
• Defenseman Mathieu Roy now has points in two consecutive games (1g, 1a). With two points on the season, he is tied with rookie Justin Krueger (0g, 2a) and trails only Bobby Sanguinetti (0g, 3a) for the team lead among blue liners. The 28-year-old, playing his first season with the Checkers, scored an AHL career high 22 points in 45 games with Norfolk last season.
Peoria (Oct. 12): David Shields (D) – Reassigned by St. Louis (NHL) to Alaska (ECHL)