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Weekly Report: Dec. 9, 2013

Charlotte Checkers Teddy Bear Toss
For the third time in as many weeks, the Checkers won the first of a two-game set against a visiting opponent only to lose the subsequent rematch.

After a 3-2 overtime win over Rockford on Thursday, the Checkers dropped a 5-3 decision to the IceHogs on Saturday, continuing a pattern of alternating wins and losses over their last five games. The Checkers, who have not won consecutive games since opening the season with a pair of wins in Oklahoma City in early October, are off to a 2-2-0 start in their current 10-game home stand that ties the longest in team history.

That home stand continues as the team plays two games against the San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday and Thursday, marking their first divisional game since the teams last met in San Antonio on Nov. 2. The Checkers then host regional rival Norfolk for the first time this season on Sunday.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    8-14-1
  • Home record
    3-9-0
  • Road record
    5-5-1
  • Last week's record
    1-1-0
  • Last 10 games
    3-7-0
  • Division Standings
    5th
  • Conference Standings
    14th
  • League Standings
    29th

Checkers 3, Rockford 2 (OT)

Zach Boychuk scored twice to erase a two-goal deficit and Brody Sutter netted the overtime winner as the Checkers won 3-2 against Rockford on Thursday. Boychuk's goals gave him four in his last three games, seven in his last nine and a team-leading nine for the season as the Checkers improved to 3-1-1 against Rockford in just their second overtime game of the season, tying a league-low. John Muse made 32 saves, continuing his record as the only Checkers goalie to win a game since Oct. 5. Full recap

Rockford 5, Checkers 3

Continuing a recent theme, the Checkers were unable to continue their momentum following a big win as they lost to Rockford by a 5-3 score on Saturday. That decision prevented them from winning consecutive games for the first time since the season's opening weekend on Oct. 4 and 5, when they started 2-0-0 in Oklahoma City. Brendan Woods scored in the first period to set off the team's annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion, with Mark Flood and A.J. Jenks also finding the back of the net. Mike Murphy made 22 saves in just his third game of the season and first since Oct. 20, having missed time while in the NHL and due to an injury. Full recap

Notables

Boychuk Powers Up

After starting the season with two goals in his first 13 games, forward Zach Boychuk now has seven in his last 10 to give him sole possession of the team lead. Seven of Boychuk's nine goals have come on the power play, putting him in a three-way tie for most in the AHL. He is the Checkers' all-time leader with 35 power-play goals, at least nine more than any other player.

Winning with Muse

John Muse has been in goal for each of the Checkers’ last six wins dating back to Oct. 25. The last time a Checkers goalie other than Muse won a game was on Oct. 5, when Mike Murphy took home the victory in the team’s second game of the season. Muse is 6-6-0 this season, while the other five goalies the team has used - Justin Peters, Jesse Deckert, Allen York, Rick DiPietro and Rob Madore - are a combined 2-8-1.

Since rejoining the Checkers on a professional tryout contract on Oct. 23, Muse ranks tied for 16th in the AHL with a 2.37 goals-against average, tied for 15th with a .919 save percentage and is part of a six-way tie for the league lead with two shutouts. His shutouts came as part of a team-record, 154-minute shutout streak over the course of his first three starts.

Floodgates Open

Mark Flood's eight goals rank tied for second on the team and for second among all AHL defensemen, while his five power-play goals are tied for first among league blueliners.

In just 23 games, Flood, 29, already has the third-highest single-season goal total by a Checkers defenseman behind Bobby Sanguinetti (10 in 2011-12) and Bryan Rodney (nine in 2010-11). He is also just three away from his AHL career high of 11 set with Manitoba during the 2010-11 campaign. He scored just one goal in 52 games in the Russian KHL last season.

Good Things Come in Threes

Five different Checkers have scored goals in three consecutive games this season: Mark Flood, Chris Terry, Aaron Palushaj, Victor Rask and, most recently, Zach Boychuk, who did so from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5. No Checkers player has scored goals in more than three consecutive games since Drayson Bowman set a franchise record with goals in eight consecutive games from Oct. 19-Nov. 4 of last season.

Sutter in the Clutch

Including playoffs, four of Brody Sutter's nine career AHL goals were game winners, including two of three this season that tie him with Aaron Palushaj for the team lead. Two of Sutter's career game-winning goals came in overtime, including one that came as part of a two-goal performance in his first professional playoff game on April 26 of last season.

First Comeback

Prior to erasing a 2-0 deficit to record a 3-2 overtime win over Rockford on Thursday, the Checkers were 0-6-0 when allowing the other team to score the first goal, 0-6-0 when trailing after the first period and 0-9-0 when trailing after the second period - all of which occurred during that game.

Home Again

The Checkers' current 10-game home stand ties the longest in franchise history, a record originally set from Nov. 25-Dec. 15 of last season. Dating back to Nov. 7, the Checkers are in the midst of a stretch in which they play 16 of 19 games at Time Warner Cable Arena. After starting the season 0-6-0 on home ice, the Checkers have won three of six in their own building.

Divided Division

In 23 games, the Checkers have played against their own division, the West, just three times (2-1-0), marking the fewest games that any AHL team has played within its own division. Charlotte's next two games are against San Antonio, marking its first inter-divisional games since it last faced the Rampage on Nov. 2. The West Division is the only division that the Checkers have a winning record against.

Quick Hits

  • Charlotte has scored at least one power-play goal in each of its last four games (5-for-15, 33.3 percent)
  • The Checkers' five shorthande goals allowed are tied for the fourth-most in the AHL
  • The Checkers have scored three or more goals in all eight of their victories this season
  • Matt Corrente ranks tied for fourth among all AHL defensemen with five major penalties
  • Charlotte has both scored (23) and allowed (29) more goals in the third period than in any other period
  • Charlotte is one of three teams that have yet to score a shorthanded goal

Player Streaks

  • none

Milestones

  • Chris Terry is one point away from 200 Checkers points
  • Philippe Cornet is one point away from 100 AHL points
  • Nicolas Blanchard is 2 goals away from 25 Checkers goals

Transactions

Incoming

  • Dec. 7 - (LW) Zach Boychuk reassigned from Carolina (NHL) to Charlotte
  • Dec. 5 - (LW) A.J. Jenks signed to a professional tryout contract

Outgoing

  • Dec. 6 - (LW) Zach Boychuk reassigned to Charlotte from Carolina (NHL)

Coming Up

Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. - Checkers vs. San Antonio

Bud Light
  • Wet Your Whistle Weekday - discounted Bud Lights

Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. - Checkers vs. San Antonio

Bud LightHarris Teeter
  • Thirsty Thursday - $1 Bud Light draughts
  • Harris Teeter VIC Card Thursday - show your VIC card to get $5 off any regular-price ticket

Sunday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. - Checkers vs. Norfolk

North Carolina Zoo AsheboroCoke Zero
  • NC Zoo Asheboro coupon giveaway
  • Coke Family Four Packs - four tickets, four hot dogs and four Cokes for $65

By the Numbers

Team Statistics
CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 23.0% 5th 21.7% (4th)
Penalty kill 79.4% 24th 78.7% (25th)
Goals per game 2.61 25th 2.57 (23rd)
Shots per game 30.5 10th 30.7 (10th)
Goals allowed per game 3.22 24th 3.19 (25th)
Shots allowed per game 29.8 14th 29.7 (13th)
Penalty minutes per game 16.4 12th 16.1 (11th)
Team Leaders
CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Zach Boychuk (19), Chris Terry (16), Mark Flood, Aaron Palushaj, Victor Rask (14)
Goals Zach Boychuk (9), Mark Flood, Chris Terry (8), Aaron Palushaj (6)
Assists Zach Boychuk (10), Victor Rask (9), Aaron Palushaj, Chris Terry (8)
Power play goals Zach Boychuk (7), Mark Flood (5), Chris Terry (3)
Shorthanded goals none
Game-winning goals Aaron Palushaj, Brody Sutter (2)
Shots on goal Zach Boychuk (63), Mark Flood (62), Chris Terry (56)
Penalty minutes Nicolas Blanchard (60), Matt Corrente (51), Rasmus Rissanen (43)
Plus/minus A.J. Jenks, Brendan Woods (+1), Justin Shugg, Brody Sutter (0)
Wins John Muse (6), Mike Murphy, Justin Peters (1)
Goals-against average John Muse (2.37), Mike Murphy (3.89), Rick DiPietro (5.18)
Save percentage John Muse (.919), Mike Murphy (.866), Rick DiPietro (.846)

Checkers in the NHL

Carolina Hurricanes
Player POS GP G A PTS PIM +/- NOTES
Zach Boychuk LW 1 0 1 1 0 1 Reassigned to Charlotte on 12/7
Elias Lindholm C 18 3 3 6 2 -4 Career-high 3 points (1g, 2a) on 12/6
Manny Malhotra C 18 1 3 4 10 4 3rd on team in plus/minus, 2nd in NHL faceoffs (61.3 percent)
Chris Terry LW 7 0 0 0 0 -3 Reassigned to Charlotte on 11/22
Goaltender GP RECORD GAA SV% SO NOTES
Justin Peters 14 6-7-1 2.35 .922 1 Won last two starts

Checkers in the ECHL

Florida Everblades
Player POS GP G A PTS PIM +/- NOTES
Kyle Bonis F 20 11 5 16 7 +7 t-5th ECHL goals
Austin Levi D 21 0 4 4 22 +2  
Stefan Della Rovere F - - - - - - On injured reserve
Kellan Tochkin F 16 3 7 10 18 +4  
Goaltender GP RECORD GAA SV% SO NOTES
Jesse Deckert 9 6-1-2 2.71 .891 0 Injured - out for season
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.