The Checkers kicked off their first three-in-three weekend of the season in impressive fashion, sweeping Iowa to run their win streak to match the franchise record, but would come back to Earth after a shutout loss to Rockford.

The busy month of November rolls on this week, as the team will visit Milwaukee on Tuesday before heading to San Antonio for a pair of contests this weekend.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    7-4-0
  • Home record
    4-0-0
  • Road record
    3-4-0
  • Last week's record
    2-1-0
  • Last 10 games
    7-3-0
  • Division Standings
    3rd
  • Conference Standings
    5th
  • League Standings
    11th

Checkers 5, Iowa 4

Returning to Iowa for the second time in three weeks, the Checkers got their revenge on the Wild, topping them in a back and forth battle. After Valentin Zykov kicked things off with an early power-play goal, both teams’ offenses came to life, as they traded goals until Iowa headed into the locker room with a 4-3 lead. After things settled down in a scoreless second, Kyle Hagel evened the score in the third and Patrick Brown netted what would hold as the game winner in the final five minutes of regulation. Between the pipes, Alex Nedeljkovic shook off his rough start to shutout the Wild for the final two periods, and his 20 saves were enough to earn his first AHL win. Full recap

Checkers 4, Iowa 1

The Checkers picked up another sweep in Iowa the following night, riding a Matt Tennyson hat trick to a big 4-1 victory. Tennyson opened the scoring late in the second, but the Wild quickly responded to send the game into the third tied at one. Tennyson put the visitors back on top early in the third, followed by Clark Bishop extending that lead with his first goal as a pro. The Checkers locked down the Wild from then on out, and an empty netter completed Tennyson’s first career hat trick and sealed Charlotte’s sixth straight win. Full recap

Rockford 3, Checkers 0

In the last leg of their first three-in-three of the season, the Checkers couldn’t keep their winning ways going, dropping their first game this month to Rockford. Charlotte struggled to create offense, firing just 16 shots on goal in the final two periods combined and failing to beat netminder Lars Johansson all night. Brandon Mashinter provided all the offensive production for the home team, notching a goal in each period to pick up a hat trick and send the Checkers packing with a 3-0 loss. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week

Miller

3rd Star

Andrew Miller- 0g, 2a
Wallmark

2nd Star

Lucas Wallmark- 0g, 2a
Tennyson

1st Star

Matt Tennyson- 3g, 0a

Notables

3-in-3

The Checkers completed the first of two three-in-threes this season over the weekend, emerging 2-1-0. Taking four of a possible six points makes this the team’s best three-in-three result since the 2013-14 campaign.

Charlotte is now 52-35-12 all time in three-in-threes. They’ve enjoyed the most success in the first games, going 19-10-4, while they have struggled the most in the final leg, posting a 16-14-3 record.

Lockdown

Despite a few hiccups as of late, the Checkers’ have been one of the strongest defensive teams in the AHL this season. They rank third in the league in terms of goals against per game and second in terms of shots against per game, and have allowed two or fewer goals in six of their last eight contests.

The majority of the Checkers’ success this season has stemmed from that stingy defense, as they are 5-1-0 when allowing two or fewer goals in a game.

Leights Out

A big contributing factor to the Checkers’ overall defensive prowess this season has been the play of Michael Leighton. The veteran netminder was saddled with his first loss of the year on Saturday, bringing his record to 6-1-0, but even with that blemish he has put up jaw-dropping numbers.

Leighton ranks second in the AHL in goals-against average, with his 1.44 mark leading all goalies with at least five games played (the lone player ahead of him in the league rankings is Penguins rookie Casey DeSmith, who has appeared in four games and is right at the minute cutoff to qualify).

The win over Iowa on Friday was the 227th of Leighton’s AHL career, moving him past Gord Henry and into sole possession of seventh all time. He needs two more to tie Bobby Perreault for sixth.

Matt Trick

When Matt Tennyson lit the lamp three times on Saturday in Iowa, it was not only extremely impressive, it was something the Checkers hadn’t seen in a long time.

Tennyson’s three-goal performance is the first since the 2013-14 season, ending a drought that lasted over two whole seasons. It’s the seventh hat trick in franchise history, the first ever by a defenseman and only the third by a player not named Zach Boychuk.

Missing You

The Checkers have been without their top two scorers for the last two game as Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn were recalled by the Hurricanes Friday evening.

Those two contests marked the third and fourth games over the last two seasons in which both players were out of the lineup. In those four games without McGinn and Ryan, the team scored just five goals total and were shut out twice.

Losing the captain alone from the lineup has proven to be a big hit for the Checkers’ offense as well. In the six games he missed last season, the team scored nine goals for a 1.50 goals per game average, well below their season mark of 2.82.

Freshman Phenom

Though he has cooled from his red-hot start, Andrew Poturalski has emerged as a force on the team and one of the top first-year players in the league. He is tied for fourth among league rookies in scoring and is tied for second with a plus-7 rating.

With 10 points through the first 11 games of the year, Poturalski is on pace to compete for the franchise rookie single-season scoring record, set in 2010-11 when Zac Dalpe recorded 57 points.

Ranks

  • Derek Ryan is tied for 9th in the AHL in points (13)
  • Michael Leighton ranks 2nd in the AHL in goals-against average (1.44), first among goalies with at least five games played, second in save percentage and third in shutouts (2)
  • Andrew Poturalski is tied for fourth among league rookies in scoring (10) and tied for second in plus/minus (+8)
  • Matt Tennyson is tied for fifth among league defensemen in goals (3)
  • Keegan Lowe leads all AHL defensemen in shooting percentage (23.1)
  • Trevor Carrick is tied for third among league blue liner in shots on goal (42)

Injuries

  • Brendan Woods missed five games starting Nov. 2

Transactions

Incoming

  • Nov. 12 - Josh Wesley recalled from Florida (ECHL)
  • Nov. 11 - Phil Di Giuseppe assigned to Charlotte (AHL)

Outgoing

  • Nov. 12 - Matt Tennyson recalled by Carolina (NHL)
  • Nov. 11 - Brock McGinn recalled by Carolina (NHL)
  • Nov. 11 - Derek Ryan recalled by Carolina (NHL)

Coming Up

Tuesday, November 15 at 8 p.m. - Checkers at Milwaukee

Friday, November 18 at 8:30 p.m. - Checkers at San Antonio

Saturday, November 19 at 8 p.m. - Checkers at San Antonio

By the Numbers

CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 13.7% 22nd 24th
Penalty kill 87.0% t-5th 3rd
Goals per game 3.18 13th t-13th
Shots per game 33.27 5th 5th
Goals allowed per game 2.36 3rd 2nd
Shots allowed per game 26.64 2nd 2nd
Penalty minutes per game 12.00 6th 12th


CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Derek Ryan (13), Andrew Poturalski (10), Brock McGinn (8)
Goals Derek Ryan, Brock McGinn (5), Andrew Poturalski (4)
Assists Derek Ryan (8), Andrew Poturalski (6), Six tied (4)
Power play goals Derek Ryan, Valentin Zykov (2)
Shorthanded goals Patrick Brown, Derek Ryan, Brock McGinn, Patrick Dwyer (1)
Game-winning goals Brock McGinn (2), Five tied (1)
Shots on goal Trevor Carrick (42), Brock McGinn (35), Matt Tennyson (29)
Penalty minutes Mitchell Heard, Valentin Zykov (14), Kyle Hagel (12)
Plus/minus Andrew Poturalski (+8), Matt Tennyson (+7), Trevor Carrick (+6)
Wins Michael Leighton (6)
Goals-against average Michael Leighton (1.44)
Save percentage Michael Leighton (.944)
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.