The Checkers continued their extended home stand with a split against the Phantoms and a sweep of the visiting Laval Rocket.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    19-9-1
  • Home record
    9-4-1
  • Road record
    10-5-0
  • Last week's record
    3-1-0
  • Last 10 games
    8-1-1
  • Division Standings
    2nd
  • Conference Standings
    4th
  • League Standings
    5th

Lehigh Valley 6, Checkers 3

The Phantoms traveled to Charlotte for the first time ever and used a strong finish to topple the Checkers. After falling in a 2-0 hole right off the bat, the Checkers responded with a trio of tallies across the span of four minutes to hold a lead after 20 minutes of play. Lehigh Valley surged back, however, notching a pair of goals in the middle frame to jump back ahead, then tallied a power-play marker early on in the third to extend their advantage. Despite firing 21 shots across the final 40 minutes of play, the Checkers couldn’t find the back of the net after the opening period, and an empty netter from Lehigh Valley sealed the lopsided Phantoms victory. Full recap

Checkers 5, Lehigh Valley 2

The Checkers flipped the script in the following night’s rematch, using a strong start to roll to a win. After notching consecutive power-play goals to end the first and start the second, the Checkers tacked on two more tallies to build up an impressive 4-0 advantage. Lehigh Valley would strike to finish the second and start the third to cut the lead in half down the stretch, but Jeremy Smith stood tall, finishing the night with 35 stops and picking up the 5-3 win thanks to an empty-net dagger from Andrew Miller. Full recap

Checkers 3, Laval 1

The Checkers welcomed another new opponent to town in the struggling Laval Rocket. The visitors proved to be a tough opponent, however, striking on the power play to respond to Charlotte’s opening goal. The Checkers broke that deadlock in the middle frame thanks to a power-play tally from leading scorer Valentin Zykov, and that would prove to be enough for the low-scoring affair. Clark Bishop’s empty netter in the final minute sealed the tight victory, giving Jeremy Smith another win between the pipes. Full recap

Checkers 7, Laval 5

While their first meeting was a low-scoring affair, the rematch was an offensive explosion. After Laval opened the scoring, the Checkers notched three consecutive power-play goals over the span of five minutes to close the period. The Rocket’s power play responded with the lone goal in the second, sending the game to the third with Charlotte holding a 3-2 advantage. Things erupted in the third, however, as Laval took the lead 90 seconds in thanks to a pair of fortunate bounces that ended up in the back of the Charlotte net. Lucas Wallmark answered with Charlotte’s fourth power-play goal on the night, but the Rocket quickly regained their lead. Trailing by one and looking for a spark, the Checkers found it in Warren Foegele down the stretch. The rookie fired a quick backhander on the rush to even the score midway through the frame, then followed that up with a slick feed to Clark Bishop, who finished his shorthanded breakway to put Charlotte back on top. As the Checkers held strong against the Rocket’s push back, Foegele deposited an empty netter for his third point of the period to nail down Charlotte’s roller-coaster win. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week

Foegele

3rd Star

Warren Foegele

2g, 3a
Carrick

2nd Star

Trevor Carrick

0g, 6a
Zykov

1st Star

Valentin Zykov

5g, 1a

Notables

LIGHTING THE LAMP

Valentin Zykov continues to be an unstoppable force in the offensive zone. He is currently on a five-game goal-scoring streak, lighting the lamp seven times over that stretch. Zykov’s streak is the longest by a Checker this season, the longest active streak in the AHL and one shy of matching the longest by any AHL player this season.

This surge has pushed Zykov into a tie with Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel for the league lead in goals overall, while the Russian forward has been especially lethal on the man advantage. Zykov has notched 11 power-play goals this season, a total good enough for the league lead. The franchise record for power-play goals in a single season is 18, set by Zach Boychuk in 2013-14.

Zykov’s 17 goals are a new career high for the forward despite only playing in 26 games so far, eclipsing his 16 goals in 66 games last season.

CARRICK LENDS A HELPING HAND

Cyber Monday
  • Janne Kuokkanen To Represent Finland At 2018 World Juniors Read More

Last Week's News

After a down-year points wise, Trevor Carrick has jumped back into the swing of things this year. The blue liner leads all team defensemen in scoring with 19 points through his first 26 games, surpassing his 57-game total from a season ago. Carrick, who ranks second among AHL defensemen in assists, has especially caught fire as of late. In fact, since Nov. 10 no one in the AHL has notched more assists than Carrick’s 15 in 17 games.

Carrick, who has helpers in each of the team’s last four games, has been a big part of Charlotte’s power-play success this season, as his 14 power-play assists lead the AHL.

MILLER TIME

The Checkers’ offense has been wildly impressive so far this season, and Andrew Miller has a lot to do with that. The forward leads the team 28 points in 29 games this season, a total that ranks him seventh in the league overall. Miller is currently in the midst of an eight-game assist streak, tied for the longest such streak in the AHL this season.

After returning from an injury midway through last season Miller turned on the jets through the end of the year, and that push has carried over into this campaign. Since Feb. 3 of last season, Miller has recorded 65 points in 66 games, with only three players across the AHL beating him over that stretch.

TOP LINE

Lucas Wallmark, Valentin Zykov and Andrew Miller have all individually proven themselves to be the cream of the crop in the AHL, and together the trio have been near unstoppable.

The trio, who make up three of Charlotte’s top four scorers this season, have appeared in 17 games together this season and at least one of them has recorded a point in 15 of those.

WINS FOR SMITH

After starting the year 3-6-0, Jeremy Smith has hit a hot streak between the pipes. The veteran netminder has wins in each of his last four appearances and has picked up at least a point in the standings in five straight. Over that five-game stretch, Smith allowed just one goal in three contests and twice made at least 35 saves, pulling his goals-against average back below three and his save percentage even with Alex Nedeljkovic.

POSITIVE PHILIP

Philip Samuelsson has become a cornerstone of the Charlotte blue line, serving as a veteran presence and handling a strong load of ice time. Samuelsson has been making the most of his increased responsibility on the scoresheet, logging a plus-20 rating that not only leads the team but is the second-best mark in the entire league.

Samuelsson has also continued his offensive surge since leaving the Montreal system last season. After logging five points in 40 games with St. John’s to start the 2016-17, Samuelsson rallied for 14 (3g, 11a) in 25 games with the Checkers post-trade. Through the first 29 games of this season, the 26-year-old has kept that rolling, ranking second among team defensemen with 10 points and leading the blue liners with three goals.

The franchise single-season record for plus-minus is +16, most recently notched by Haydn Fleury last year.

Ranks

  • Valentin Zykov is tied for the league lead in goals (17), leads the league in power-play goals (11) and ranks fourth in the AHL in shooting percentage (32.1%)
  • Andrew Miller ranks seventh in the AHL in scoring (28)
  • Warren Foegele ranks second among rookies and is tied for fifth in the AHL overall in goals (14), ranks fifth among league rookies in points (23), leads the league in shorthanded goals (4) and points (6), ranks third among league rookies in shooting percentage (25.9%) and is tied for fourth among rookies in game-winning goals (3)
  • Trevor Carrick leads the league in power-play assists (14) and is tied for fourth in power-play points (14), is tied for fourth among league defensemen in points (19) and ranks second among defensemen in assists
  • Philip Samuelsson ranks second in the AHL in plus-minus (+20)
  • Alex Nedeljkovic is tied for the league lead in wins (12)
  • Nicolas Roy is tied for second among AHL rookies in shorthanded goals (2) and points (2)
  • Roland McKeown is tied for third among league defensemen in plus-minus (+16)

INJURIES

  • Janne Kuokkanen missed one game on 12/17

Transactions

Incoming

  • None

Outgoing

  • None

Coming Up

Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 7 pm - Checkers vs. Hershey

Farm BureauBud LightHendrick AcuraPiedmont Natural Gas
  • Winning Wednesday presented by Farm Bureau - Enjoy $1 beer presented by Bud Light and get a free ticket to our next Wednesday game if we win
  • College Night presented by Hendrick Acura - Get $15 best available tickets in the Gold and Attack Zone sections when purchasing online with your valid college email address. Click the button and use promo code CHECKERS (case sensitive).
  • Teacher Appreciation Night presented by Piedmont Natural Gas - Discounted tickets for school teachers and staff. Contact our Group Experience Department at (704) 342-4423 or [email protected] for more information
  • Santa Chubby - take photos with our festive mascot on the concourse

Thursday, Dec. 21 at 7 pm - Checkers vs. Hershey

By the Numbers

CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 23.2% 2nd 6th
Penalty kill 83.1% 14th t-4th
Goals per game 3.83 2nd 2nd
Shots per game 29.55 19th 21st
Goals allowed per game 2.97 13th 8th
Shots allowed per game 28.69 9th 8th
Penalty minutes per game 13.48 16th 16th


CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Andrew Miller (28), Valentin Zykov (24), Warren Foegele (23)
Goals Valentin Zykov (17), Warren Foegele (14), Andrew Miller, Andrew Poturalski (9)
Assists Andrew Miller (19), Trevor Carrick (18), Lucas Wallmark (15)
Power play goals Valentin Zykov (11), Patrick Brown, Andrew Poturalski (4)
Shorthanded goals Warren Foegele (4), Nicolas Roy (2)
Game-winning goals Andrew Poturalski (4), Valentin Zykov, Warren Foegele (3)
Shots on goal Aleksi Saarela (56), Warren Foegele (54), Valentin Zykov, Andrew Poturalski (53)
Penalty minutes Zack Stortini (42), Trevor Carrick (38), Patrick Brown (36)
Plus/minus Philip Samuelsson (+20), Roland McKeown (+16), Clark Bishop, Warren Foegele (+12)
Wins Alex Nedeljkovic (12)
Goals-against average Alex Nedeljkovic (2.58)
Save percentage Jeremy Smith, Alex Nedeljkovic (.904)
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.

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