The individual awards keep rolling in from one of the most successful stretches in team history.
One day after Charlotte goaltender John Muse earned the AHL’s Player of the Week honor, forward Zach Boychuk took home the league’s Player of the Month award for March. During the month, in which the Checkers went 12-4-0 to set a franchise record for wins and climb back into a playoff spot, Boychuk scored 22 points (9g, 13a) in just 16 games.
Boychuk’s month marks the most prolific in team history in terms of total points and only the second in which a Checker has earned 20 or more. With exactly 20 this March, Chris Terry, recalled to Carolina earlier Tuesday, has the other.
Boychuk, whose month was highlighted by his third hat trick of the season on March 2 and a franchise-record, five-point effort (2g, 3a) in Iowa on March 26, now ranks tied for third in the AHL with 67 points in 62 games. His point total is a new club record for most in a single season, surpassing his old record of 65 set in the 2010-11 campaign. His 32 goals, nine more than his previous career high, are tied for first in the league and are two off the team record set by Terry that same season.
Now in his fifth professional season, all within the Carolina Hurricanes organization, Boychuk recorded at least one point in 12 of 16 games in March. The Checkers went 12-0-0 in those games, with coach Jeff Daniels praising Boychuk’s consistency as compared to previous seasons.
“That’s the big thing right there,” said Daniels following Tuesday’s practice. “With and without the puck, he’s done that all season long. That’s one thing he lacked earlier in his career where he’d be good for a stretch and then not as good. This year he’s been, night in and night out, one of our best players.”
A 24-year-old, first-round draft pick (14th overall) in 2008, Boychuk also earned league honors via a Player of the Week award in the 2010-11 campaign. He is the second Checker to earn a monthly award in the team’s four AHL seasons, with Justin Peters named top goaltender in November of 2011.