John Muse picked up shutouts in Grand Rapids on Friday and in Chicago on Sunday to make it a perfect start to his latest tenure with the Checkers, while Allen York allowed one goal - a controversial on at that - in a 2-1 loss at Rockford on Saturday. Both goalies were in the ECHL last week until signing professioal tryout contracts with the Checkers.
By improving their road record to 4-0-1 to start the season, the Checkers now sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with at least one game in hand on each team ahead of them. They are also second in the West Division, trailing Texas, which has played two more games, by two points.
The Checkers have three games left on their longest road trip of the season in terms of consecutive days away from home, as they enjoy two days off to start the week before starting a stretch of three games in four days in Grand Rapids, Rockford and San Antonio starting Wednesday.
Week in Review
Last week's record2-0-1
Last 10 games4-2-1
Checkers 5, Grand Rapids 0John Muse made 30 saves to record his third career shutout in his AHL season debut as the Checkers started their road trip with a convincing 5-0 win over Grand Rapids, the defending Calder Cup champion, on Friday. Five different players - Mark Flood, Chris Terry, Victor Rask, Brendan Woods and Zach Boychuk - scored for the Checkers, with Flood and Terry each scoring their team-leading fourth goals of the season. Boychuk (1g, 2a) and Michal Jordan (3a) each recorded a game-high three points, with Jordan's total representing a new career high. Charlotte finished the game with three power-play goals on four chances. Full recap
Rockford 2, Checkers 1 (SO)After scoring a controversial goal to tie the game midway through the third period, the Rockford IceHogs scored twice in five shootout chances to pick up a 2-1 victory over the visiting Checkers on Saturday. Goalie Allen York, a recent pro tryout signing playing his first game of the season at any level, made 28 saves, while Mark Flood scored the Checkers' lone goal on the power play, his team-leading fifth of the season, in the second period. Despite the loss, the Checkers improved to 3-0-1 on the road to start the season. Full recap
Checkers 5, Chicago 0John Muse made 27 saves to earn his second shutout in as many starts this season as the Checkers finished their three-in-three weekend with a record of 2-0-1, allowing just one total goal in the process. Muse became the second Checkers goalie to record shutouts in back-to-back starts, joining Justin Peters, who did so in January of last season. Like Friday's game, the Checkers again had five different goal scorers - Chris Terry, Nicolas Blanchard, Justin Shugg, Aaron Palushaj and Brody Sutter - and scored three times on the power play. Charlotte improved to 4-0-1 on the road to start the season. Full recap
- For the second time this month, the Checkers signed a well-known NHL player, this time goalie Rick DiPietro, to a professional tryout contract. Read more
Muse's Perfect StartGoalie John Muse, a former Checker who returned to the team on a professional tryout contract last week, made 57 total saves to record shutouts in each of his two starts - at Grand Rapids on Friday and at Chicago on Sunday. In doing so, he became the second Checkers goalie to record shutouts in back-to-back starts, joining Justin Peters, who made 47 total saves on Jan. 4 and Jan. 11 of last season, also both on the road in Lake Erie and Oklahoma City.
Muse's active shutout streak of 120 minutes is the third-longest in team history, trailing Peters' mark of 143:43 seconds set during that run in January and the team record of 153:14 set by Dan Ellis in October of last season. He is the first AHL goalie to post two shutouts this season, and now has four in his AHL career.
Muse, one of three goalies (Syracuse's Kristers Gudlevskis and Texas' Josh Robinson) who have a perfect 1.00 save percentage and 0.00 goals-against average among those who have played enough minutes to qualify (60), also had a fast start to his AHL season in 2011-12. Beginning with his Checkers debut against Chicago on Dec. 16, 2011, he stopped 92 of the first 93 shots he faced over a three-game period.
Floodgates OpenMark Flood scored his fifth goal in six games on Saturday, becoming the fastest Checkers defenseman to reach the five-goal mark. Justin Faulk set the previous record by scoring his fifth goal in his 23rd game last season. No Charlotte blueliner has ever scored more than 10 goals in a single season, a mark set by Bobby Sanguinetti in 2011-12.
Flood, who is tied with Chris Terry for the team lead in goals, ranks second among AHL defensemen in goals and is tied for second in power-play goals (three). He has already surpassed his total of one goal from 52 KHL games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl last season and is nearly halfway to his AHL career high of 11, set with Manitoba during the 2010-11 campaign.
Terry Takes OffWith his power-play goal against Chicago on Sunday, Chris Terry continued his record as the only Checkers player to score at least one point in all seven of the team's games this season (5g, 3a). His current streak is tied for the third longest in the AHL.
Terry, who has led the Checkers in scoring for each of the past two seasons and is also the team's current leader with eight points, has tied his longest point streak from all of last season. He is one game shy of his personal record of eight games, set twice during the 2011-12 campaign. The team record is held by Bobby Sanguinetti, who scored in 11 consecutive games, also during the 2011-12 campaign.
Special Teams SpikeAfter starting the season with one power-play goal in their first 13 opportunities (7.7 percent), the Checkers have eight goals in their last 22 chances (36.4 percent), including at least one goal in each of their last four games. That run, which includes two seperate three-goal performances in Grand Rapids and Chicago last weekend, has seen the Checkers climb into fifth place in the AHL with a percentage of 25.7.
On the other side of things, the Checkers started the season by allowing at least one power-play goal in each of their first four games (72.2 percent), but have kept teams off the board in each of their last three (14-for-14).
Musical GoaliesBy starting Allen York on Saturday, the Checkers became the first and only AHL team to use five different goaltenders this season (Justin Peters, Mike Murphy, Jesse Deckert, John Muse) - a feat that they achieved in just six games. That number, which ties the team record set last season, will again increase to six when the Checkers use Rick DiPietro, who became the third goalie to sign a professional tryout contract with the team in a four-day span between Wednesday and Saturday.
When the Carolina Hurricanes dressed Peters and Murphy at Colorado on Friday, it marked the third consecutive season in which the two goalies on Charlotte's opening night roster would go on to be reunited in the NHL during the same campaign. Peters and Murphy also dressed for Carolina at the same time during the 2011-12 season, while Peters and Dan Ellis became Hurricanes teammates in 2012-13.
Packing UpThe Checkers' current stretch of six consecutive road games is part of a single trip from Oct. 25-Nov. 2, making it the longest in team history in terms of consecutive days away from home. The Checkers are 4-0-1 on the road this season, giving them an active five-game road point streak that tied for third-longest in the AHL.
Charlotte is one of just eight AHL teams yet to suffer a regulation loss on the road, with four of those teams having played fewer road games than the Checkers' five. This marks the team's best road record to start a season, edging out last year's 3-1-1 mark.
Change of PaceAfter playing four games in the season's first 21 days, the Checkers are currently in the midst of their busiest stretch of the season by playing six in nine. All games will be played on the road, and never in consecutive locations.
Three in ThreesThe Checkers just completed the first of four three-in-three sets this season with a record of 2-0-1, tying it for the fourth-best record in team history (24 total attempts). The team won all three games on three separate occasions last season.
The Checkers have an all-time record of 41-22-9 in games that are part of a three-in-three set, including a 14-7-3 mark in game one, a 15-4-5 mark in game two and an 12-11-1 mark in game three. They do not play another three-in-three until an all-home sequence on Dec. 19-21, one of four remaining on the schedule.
- Terry and Flood both have active five-game point streaks on the road, putting them in a five-way tie for longest in the AHL this season
- The Checkers, who lost in a shootout to Rockford on Saturday, have yet to trail on the road for a single second this season.
- Despite allowing seven goals to Iowa on Oct. 20, the Checkers rank fourth in the AHL with a goals-against average of 2.29.
- Defenseman Michal Jordan had three assists on Friday, setting a new career high for most assists and points in a single game.
- In addition to his season-high three points on Friday, Zach Boychuk also tied his career high with eight shots on goal, set twice previously.
- Chris Terry has points in each of his last seven games (Oct. 4-27; 5g, 3a)
- Mark Flood has points in each of his last four games (Oct. 20-27: 3g, 2a)
- Aaron Palushaj has assists and points in each of his last two games (Oct. 26-7; 1g, 2a)
- Oct. 26 - (G) Rick DiPietro signed to professional tryout contract
- Oct. 23 - (G) John Muse signed to professional tryout contract
- Oct. 28 - (G) Allen York released from professional tryout contract
- Oct. 25 - (G) Mike Murphy recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
- Oct. 24 - (G) Jesse Decert reassigned to Florida (ECHL) from Charlotte
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|Power play||25.7%||5th||11.8% (23rd)|
|Penalty kill||84.4%||t-10th||72.2% (t-26th)|
|Goals per game||2.86||17th||2.25 (t-24th)|
|Shots per game||30.9||11th||29.8 (t-18th)|
|Goals allowed per game||2.29||4th||3.50 (t-23rd)|
|Shots allowed per game||29.3||14th||29.5 (t-12th)|
|Penalty minutes per game||16.4||11th||19.3 (t-14th)|
|Points||Chris Terry (8), Mark Flood (7), Zach Boychuk, Aaron Palushaj (6)|
|Goals||Mark Flood, Chris Terry (5), Zach Boychuk, Aaron Palushaj, Brody Sutter (2)|
|Assists||Zach Boychuk, Michal Jordan, Aaron Palushaj, Victor Rask (4)|
|Power play goals||Mark Flood, Chris Terry (3), Zach Boychuk, Justin Shugg, Brody Sutter (1)|
|Game-winning goals||Mark Flood, Aaron Palushaj, Brody Sutter, Chris Terry (1)|
|Shots on goal||Zach Boychuk (22), Chris Terry (21), Mark Flood, Victor Rask (18)|
|Penalty minutes||Manny Malhotra (17), Matt Corrente (15), Rasmus Rissanen (12)|
|Plus/minus||Rasmus Rissanen (+4), Matt Corrente, Brody Sutter (+2)|
|Wins||John Muse (2), Mike Murphy, Justin Peters (1)|
|Goals-against average||John Muse (0.00), Allen York (0.94), Justin Peters (2.00)|
|Save percentage||John Muse (1.00), Allen York (.966), Justin Peters (.941)|
Checkers in the ECHL
|Kyle Bonis||F||5||5||1||6||2||+2||t-1st on team and t-2nd ECHL in G|
|Stefan Della Rovere||F||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kellan Tochkin||F||2||0||1||1||10||+3||3rd on team in PIM|
|Jesse Deckert||3||3-0-0||3.24||.884||0||All-time record of 12-1-1|