March 26, 2012 8:06 AM
Overall record: 33-24-9 (Home: 18-12-4 | Road: 15-12-5)
Last week’s record: 1-2-1 | Last 10 games: 2-5-3
Standings: 2nd Midwest Division | 6th Western Conference
An already-competitive Western Conference playoff race got even closer over the last week.
After briefly dropping out of the top eight due to a 2-1 loss to Hershey on Saturday, a single point in the next day’s rematch was enough to vault the Checkers into a four-way tie for sixth place. Charlotte, Rochester, San Antonio and Peoria all sit level with 75 points, with Charlotte officially holding the sixth seed by way of games played and wins tiebreakers. The Checkers are also just four points behind Chicago for the division lead, which would likely give them the No. 3 seed.
Having gone 1-2-1 during a busy four-game week, the Checkers are now off until a back-to-back, two-game road trip through Grand Rapids and Peoria that begins Friday. They then return to Charlotte for a four-game home stand before concluding their regular season with four games on the road.
Peoria 5, Charlotte 2 - Recap
Despite taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission on goals by Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk, the Checkers allowed four unanswered goals in a 5-2 loss to Peoria on Tuesday that extended their losing streak to three games. Peoria goalie Jake Allen made 42 saves as his team was out-shot 44-24, with Charlotte’s Justin Peters stopping 19 at the other end.
Charlotte 6, Peoria 2 - Recap
The Checkers ended their three-game losing streak in style, scoring four times in the first 10:45 of the second period on their way to a 6-2 victory over Peoria on Wednesday. Zach Boychuk would add two more in the third to record his fifth multi-goal game of the season, while Chris Durno, Riley Nash, Chris Terry and Matthew Pistilli also found the back of the net in support of Mike Murphy, who made 26 saves in the winning effort.
Hershey 2, Charlotte 1 - Recap
The Checkers emerged from a dominant first half with just one goal to show for it, and it ended up costing them as the Bears scored twice in the third period for a come-from-behind win in Hershey on Saturday. Bobby Sanguinetti tied a career high with his 10th goal of the season on a first-period power play, while Mike Murphy turned away 25 shots in his second consecutive start.
Hershey 3, Charlotte 2 (SO) - Recap
The Bears recorded their second come-from-behind victory in as many nights on Sunday, as they erased a 2-0 second-period deficit en route to a 3-2 shootout win in Hershey. Rookie Justin Shugg, playing his first game since March 11, opened the scoring early in the second and scored again in the shootout, with Zac Dalpe also finding the back of the net for Charlotte. Justin Peters finished with 27 saves and made two more in the shootout as the Checkers finished their four-game seasons series against Hershey with a record of 0-2-2.
Player Vision with Mike Murphy: Part 2
The second installment of a practice through the eyes of the Checkers' goalie
Players meeting helps Checkers bounce back
Closed-door meeting after Tuesday loss sets stage for Wednesday's win
BlueCross BlueShield NC All Access: Officially mic'd up
Linesman Paul Carnathan wears microphone during Checkers game
Sutters reunited in North Carolina
Brody Sutter joins cousins Brett and Brandon in Hurricanes organization
Sanguinetti back with Checkers
Defensive scoring leader returns from second NHL stint of season
Checkers staying positive after tough weekend
Team looks ahead after allowing Norfolk to set AHL record
SANGUINETTI STARS: Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti recorded two power-play assists in Hershey on Sunday, giving him 10 points (2g, 8a) during an active six-game point streak. Due to a second half that has seen him score 36 points in 38 games since returning from a broken foot on Dec. 11, he now ranks second on the Checkers and fourth among AHL defensemen with 42 points, 28 of which have come on the power play (2nd AHL defensemen).
Though he has missed 12 games this season, Sanguinetti, a fourth-year pro, is on pace to set new AHL career highs in assists (39) and points (49). He already has a new career high in goals, having notched his 10th of the season in Hershey on Saturday.
BOYCHUK IN BUNCHES: Charlotte’s Zach Boychuk recorded his 18th and 19th goals of the season on Wednesday, surpassing Jerome Samson for the team lead and putting him just three goals away from his career high set last season. Boychuk, who now has five goals in his last six games, has more multi-goal games (five) than any other Checkers player this season. Prior to Boychuk’s recent run, which includes two separate two-goal games, he had not scored a goal in his previous seven contests.
SHOOTOUT SLUMP: After starting the season with a record of 5-2, the Checkers have lost four consecutive shootouts to dip below the .500 mark for the first time. For the season, the Checkers rank 11th in shooting (.333) and 21st in terms of opponents’ shooting percentage (.355). They have six players who have scored on more than half of their attempts in Drayson Bowman (3-5), A.J. Jenks (3-5), Justin Krueger (2-3), Justin Shugg (2-4), Nicolas Blanchard (1-1) and Jerome Samson (1-1). In goal, Mike Murphy, who has three of the team’s shootout wins, is the top option with a save percentage of .714.
SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS: With six goals in their last 26 power-play opportunities (23.1 percent), the Checkers have jumped into fourth place in the AHL with a season mark of 20.3 percent. Together with their No. 2 penalty kill (85.2 percent), the Checkers are one of two teams (Hershey) that have both of their special teams units rank in the top five.
TOUGH DRAW: Each of the Checkers’ last three opponents carried winning streaks of four or more games into their first of two meetings with the Checkers. First, Norfolk swept Charlotte to set an AHL record with its 18th consecutive victory before Peoria extended its streak to five games with a win in the Checkers’ next game. Later in the week, Hershey won back-to-back meetings, including one in a shootout, to put its streak to six games.
• (D) Bobby Sanguinetti has points in each of his last six games (March 16-March 25; 2g, 8a)
• (LW) Chris Terry has points in each of his last four games (March 20-25; 1g, 4a)
• (RW) Nicolas Blanchard – missed one game, last played March 24 at Hershey
• (LW) Justin Soryal – missed six games, last played March 11 vs. Chicago (out for season)
• (D) Justin Krueger - missed 13 games, last played Feb. 18 at Chicago
|| AHL RANK
|Goals per game:
|Shots per game:
|Goals allowed per game:
|Shots allowed per game:
|Penalty minutes per game:
||Chris Terry (53), Bobby Sanguinetti (42), Zach Boychuk (39)
||Zach Boychuk (19), Jerome Samson (18), Zac Dalpe (17)
||Chris Terry (40), Bobby Sanguinetti (33), Zach Boychuk (20)
|Power play goals:
||Jerome Samson (8), Bobby Sanguinetti (7)
||Zac Dalpe (2)
||Zach Boychuk, Matthew Pistilli, Jerome Samson (3)
|Shots on goal:
||Jerome Samson (186), Chris Terry (173), Zac Dalpe (164)
||Justin Soryal (164), Nicolas Blanchard (101), Chris Terry (57)
||Justin Krueger (+13), Justin Shugg (+5), Drayson Bowman (+2)
||Mike Murphy (17), John Muse (10), Justin Peters (6)
||John Muse (1.81), Mike Murphy (2.64), Justin Peters (2.75)
||John Muse (.941), Mike Murphy (.910), Justin Peters (.907)
• March 21 – (C) Brody Sutter signed to amateur tryout contract
• March 21 – (D) Ryan Donald reassigned to Florida (ECHL) from Charlotte
• March 19 – (D) Bobby Sanguinetti reassigned to Charlotte from Carolina (NHL)
• Friday, March 30 at Grand Rapids (7:00 p.m.)
• Saturday, March 31 at Peoria (7:00 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.