February 13, 2012 1:38 PM
Overall record: 29-18-4 (Home 15-8-3 | Road 14-10-1)
Last week’s record: 1-2-0 | Last 10 games: 6-4-0
Standings: 1st Midwest Division | 2nd Western Conference
Despite losing back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in nearly two months, the Checkers enter the new week with a four-point lead in the Midwest Division.
Having gone 1-2-0 in a weekend that began with a win in Milwaukee before setbacks in Peoria and at home to Norfolk, the Checkers will depart for yet another three-in-three set this weekend . All three divisional games come on the road, starting with a rematch of last week’s loss in Peoria and finishing with a crucial back-to-back set in Chicago. The Wolves are four points behind the Checkers with two games in hand.
This weekend concludes a stretch of playing seven of eight games away from home, as the Checkers host the Oklahoma City Barons for their next home games on Feb. 24 and 25.
Checkers 2, Milwaukee 1 (OT) – Recap
Zac Dalpe scored with 13 seconds left in overtime to give the Checkers their fourth consecutive win over the division rival Milwaukee Admirals on Friday. Rookie goalie John Muse made 25 saves to earn first-star honors and keep the game tied during a third-period rally by the home team, improving his record to 8-1-0 on the season. Another rookie, tryout signing Sean Dolan, opened the scoring for the Checkers early in the first period before Admirals’ Kyle Wilson tied it late in the second.
Peoria 5, Checkers 2 – Recap
Jerome Samson and Zach Boychuk scored in the third period, but it wasn’t enough as the Checkers fell into a 5-0 deficit in their first-ever visit to Peoria on Saturday. Goalie Dave Caruso, brought in on a tryout basis for the injured Mike Murphy, made 42 saves in his first AHL game of the season as the Checkers allowed a season-high 47 shots. The game, the first between the two divisional opponents since October, marked the first of four meetings in Peoria.
Norfolk 3, Checkers 1 – Recap
Though Bobby Sanguinetti scored a power-play goal with 1:43 remaining in the third period to get his team within a goal, Norfolk would add an empty netter to secure a 3-1 win in Charlotte on Sunday. The Admirals’ victory brought them within one point of the Checkers in the race for the GEICO Challenge Cup, which will be awarded to the team with the most points at the conclusion of the eight-game season series. Just two games remain on the schedule, both of which will take place in Charlotte.
Samson recalled; Bowman returns
Checkers leading goal-scorer Jerome Samson earns his second NHL stint, while Drayson Bowman returns from his third.
Shugg returns to Florida
Rookie forward recovers from injury and joins ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
Murphy to remain sidelined
Checkers bring in another tryout as starting netminder continues to recover from injury.
Muse rises to challenge
Rookie recall from ECHL making most of extended run as Charlotte’s starter.
Player Vision with Brett Sutter
Checkers captain dons helmet cam at practice
Dolan looking like he belongs
Rookie on professional tryout contract may not be going anywhere.
Hurricanes reassign Riley Nash
Center heads back to Charlotte after three-game stint with Carolina.
• RARE SLIDE: The Checkers concluded last week’s slate with losses to Peoria and Norfolk, marking the first time they’ve lost two consecutive games in regulation since the tail end of a four-game slide that concluded on Dec. 14. Those are two of just three regulation losing streaks the Checkers have experienced this season, including another two-game run from Oct. 30-Nov. 4. By comparison, the Checkers have 10 separate streaks of two or more wins this season, including a team-record five-game run in late November.
• MAJOR PLUS: Charlotte defenseman Justin Krueger has a plus-13 plus/minus rating this season, giving him a 10-point advantage over Zac Dalpe for the team lead. Though he has one year of professional experience overseas, Krueger, 25, still qualifies as a rookie under AHL rules, giving him the second-highest rating of any first-year blueliner.
• NEW STREAK?: Though his team record 11-game point streak, the longest posted by an AHL defenseman since 2008-09, came to an end on Saturday, Checkers defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti promptly scored the team’s lone goal in his next game. He now has 16 points (6g, 10) in his last 13 contests, pulling him into a five-way tie for eighth among league defenseman in scoring.
Despite missing 11 games, Sanguinetti, in his fourth AHL campaign, is on pace to set a new career high in points (45). Among league defensemen, he ranks tied for second in power-play goals (6) and is tied for third in power play points (20).
• FINDING MUSE: Starting with his professional debut with Portland at the conclusion of his college career last season and continuing through 10 Checkers games this season, rookie goaltender John Muse is now 9-2-0 with a 1.65 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in his AHL career. Though he was still 306 minutes away from officially qualifying among league leaders as of Feb. 13, he would rank first in both categories this season.
Muse, a 23-year-old undrafted free agent signed by the Checkers this offseason, began the season with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, where he posted a 7-3-2 record, 2.31 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. A winner of two NCAA national championships as a four-year starter at Boston College, Muse has started seven of the Checkers’ last eight games with Mike Murphy out due to injury.
• THREE IN THREES: This coming weekend, the Checkers will play three games in three nights for the seventh time this season. All three of those games will take place on the road, which is true of five of the team’s eight total sets of three-in-threes this season. During the current campaign, Charlotte is 9-9-0 in games that are a part of a three-in-three set, including a 2-4-0 record in Game One, a 5-1-0 record in Game Two and a 2-4-0 record in Game Three.
• HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: Though they’ve now lost back-to-back games at Time Warner Cable Arena, the Checkers’ 33 points earned at home this season are still tied with St. John’s for the most in the AHL. With a record of 15-8-3 this season, the AHL Checkers have improved to 37-21-7 all-time in Charlotte. The Checkers play just three home games in February, which marks their most road-heavy month of the season.
• Zach Boychuk has points in each of his last two games (Feb. 12-13; 1g, 1a)
|| AHL RANK
|Goals per game:
|Shots per game:
|Goals allowed per game:
|Shots allowed per game:
|Penalty minutes per game:
||Chris Terry (42), Jerome Samson (31), Zach Boychuk (29)
||Jerome Samson (18), Zach Boychuk (13), Zac Dalpe (12)
||Chris Terry (32), Bobby Sanguinetti (22), Zach Boychuk (16)
|Power play goals:
||Jerome Samson (8), Drayson Bowman, Bobby Sanguinetti (6)
||Five players tied at (1)
||Zach Boychuk, Matthew Pistilli, Jerome Samson (3)
|Shots on goal:
||Jerome Samson (171), Chris Terry (125), Drayson Bowman (110)
||Justin Soryal (129), Nicolas Blanchard (73), Chris Terry (47)
||Justin Krueger (+13), Justin Shugg (+5), Zac Dalpe (+3)
||Mike Murphy (15), John Muse (8), Justin Peters (6)
||John Muse (1.63), Justin Peters (2.49), Mike Murphy (2.71)
||John Muse (.947), Justin Peters (.920), Mike Murphy (.910)
• Feb. 13 – (G) Dave Caruso released from professional tryout contract
• Feb. 12 – (LW) Drayson Bowman reassigned to Charlotte from Carolina (NHL)
• Feb. 12 – (RW) Jerome Samson recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
• Feb. 9 – (LW) Justin Shugg reassigned to Florida (ECHL) from Charlotte
• Feb. 9 – (G) Dave Caruso signed to professional tryout contract
• Feb. 6 – (C) Riley Nash reassigned to Charlotte from Carolina (NHL)
• Friday, Feb. 17 at Peoria (8:00 p.m.)
• Saturday, Feb. 18 at Chicago (8:00 p.m.)
• Sunday, Feb. 19 at Chicago (4:00 p.m.)
Start your week off with a cup of Magnolia Coffee, the official coffee of the Checkers. For more information, visit their website, call Magnolia Coffee at 704-654-5393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.