There are no breaks in sight for the Checkers, as they will have to move on quickly and head to California for a big two-week road trip.
Week in Review
Last week's record2-2-0
Last 10 games4-5-1
Checkers 4, Chicago 3Returning home following a bumpy road trip, the Checkers locked into a tight back-and-forth battle with the Chicago Wolves. After Connor Brickley opened the scoring quickly in the first, the two sides traded goals until the Wolves pulled even with an equalizer on the power play with less than two minutes to go in regulation. But the Checkers kept pushing, and on a late man advantage, Patrick Brown pounded home the game winner with under a second remaining on the clock to lift the home team to a 4-3 victory. Alex Nedeljkovic earned his first win on home ice, making 24 saves in the process. Full recap
Chicago 4, Checkers 2The next night’s rematch was a similarly close contest to start, with an Andrew Miller snipe tying the game at two less than a minute into the third frame. Unlike the night before, however, the Checkers couldn’t keep their offense rolling, and the Wolves pumped in two more tallies on Nedeljkovic to pull away and earn the series split. Full recap
Checkers 3, Iowa 2Facing familiar foe Iowa for the fifth time this season, the Checkers jumped out to a two-goal advantage early in the second thanks to strikes from rookie Clark Bishop and Valentin Zykov. The Wild persisted, however, potting a pair in the middle frame to even the score through 40 minutes. Things locked up in the third, and the game would move on to overtime. After being denied on a few prime chances right away in the extra frame, Jake Chelios jumped on a turnover and dashed out on a breakaway, sliding the puck five hole to clinch two points in the standings for Charlotte. Full recap
Iowa 5, Checkers 1The Checkers wrapped up the busy week with a quick turnaround, facing the same Iowa team for an afternoon rematch. Things spiraled out of control quickly for the Checkers, as they surrendered a trio of tallies in the first period. Iowa would tack on another early in the second to run the score to 4-0. Roland McKeown put the team on the board late in the frame with his first pro goal, a rocket of a slap shot that bounced off the crossbar and in, but it wasn’t enough to start a comeback. The Wild would add a power-play goal, there third of the night, late in regulation to cruise to a big 5-1 victory. After Nedeljkovic was pulled following the first period, Daniel Altshuller made his season debut with the Checkers, turning aside 22 of the 24 shots he was faced with. Full recap
Three Stars Of The Week
3rd StarJake Chelios- 1g, 1a
2nd StarLucas Wallmark- 0g, 3a
1st StarPhil Di Giuseppe- 1g, 2a
MISSING OFFENSEDespite two solid showings this week, the Checkers’ offensive woes continue overall. The team’s 2.72 goals per game put them in the bottom third of the AHL, and those two wins earlier this week stand as the only times they have scored more than two goals in a game in their last eight contests.
The offensive struggles have proven to be a big factor in the Checkers’ record as of late. Charlotte is 8-0-0 in games where it scores three or more goals and 1-8-1 in games where it falls below that mark.
FAST STARTSIt’s a fairly obvious observation that it tends to be easier for a team to play with a lead as opposed to playing from behind, but the Checkers have especially embodied this so far this season.
17 of the 19 points that the Checkers have earned in the standings this season are from games in which they scored first. When surrendering the first goal, the Checkers are a mere 1-5-0.
Similarly, the Checkers have just one regulation loss in games where they held a lead at either intermission.
Andrew Poturalski continues to impress in his first full season as a pro, pushing his way to the top and becoming the Checkers’ current scoring leader.
- Checkers Sign Cason Hohmann To A PTO Read More
Last Week's News
Poturalski’s 14 points tied him for fifth among AHL rookies and his nine helpers tie him for fourth.
The rookie’s production has slowed a bit recently, but his most productive stretch as of late has come on the road, something the Checkers will need him to replicate as they head out for a crucial two-week road trip. On the team’s last six-game road trip, Poturalski was able to rack up five points.
WALLMARK HEATS UPWith three points over the Checkers’ four-game homestand, Lucas Wallmark has found an offensive groove and continues to be a strong piece in Charlotte’s attack. The rookie has bumped his assist total to seven, giving him the third-highest on the team and second among the active roster.
BLUE LINE PRODUCTIONThe coaching staff has stressed the need for offensive production from the defensive corps all season, and that has started to come to fruition this week.
Saturday’s overtime game winner came courtesy of Jake Chelios, who used his high-end speed to spring out on a breakaway and convert for his first tally of the year, while Roland McKeown impressed on Sunday with his first goal as a pro, a blistering slap shot that beat the Iowa netminder bar down. In addition, Keegan Lowe’s hot start to the season has continued with helpers in each of his last two contests, putting him halfway to his season high just 17 games into the campaign.
FIGHT CLUBKyle Hagel drew in for Sunday’s afternoon contest after sitting as a healthy extra the night before and dropped the gloves twice. He know sits with four fighting majors, tied for the league lead. With the AHL’s new rules, a player’s 10th fighting major and beyond carries suspensions of increasing lengths.
SPECIAL TEAMS WOESAfter a 1-for-17 showing during this four-game homestand, the Checkers’ power play sits at 11.8%, the third lowest success rate in the AHL, just 0.2% higher than the cellar-dwelling Cleveland Monsters.
Dating back to Nov. 12, the Checkers have recorded power-play goals in just two of their last eight games, which amounts to 29 man advantages.
On the flip side, the Checkers’ penalty kill, which ranked near the top of the league early on in the season, has been in a free fall, currently sitting at 19th in the AHL.
It has been a particularly rough last four games for Charlotte’s penalty kill, allowing a power-play goal in all four and at least two in three of the contests. After Iowa pumped in three yesterday, the Checkers have allowed eight power-play goals in their last 21 opportunities.
INJURY BUGSaturday’s contest featured a scary moment when Connor Brickley was knocked unconscious during a fight in the first period. The forward was taken from the ice on a stretcher and transported to the hospital for testing, but has been released. Brickley was able to attend yesterday’s contest, but there is no word on how long he will be out.
On Sunday, the Checkers lost defenseman Haydn Fleury in the second period after he crashed into the end boards. The rookie did not return to the game, and the only update offered after the game was that he would be heading to the doctor today.
Those two join the contingent of Brendan Woods and Patrick Dwyer on the Checkers’ injury list. There was some good news last week as well. Valentin Zykov and Andrew Miller each returned after being on the mend, and Tyler Ganly returned to the ice, skating with the team draped in a yellow practice jersey for the first time since suffering an injury during NHL training camp.
- Kyle Hagel is tied for the league lead in major penalties (4)
- Despite being currently on the Hurricanes' roster, Michael Leighton ranks third in the AHL in both goals-against average (1.66) and save percentage (.937)
- Andrew Poturalski is tied for fifth among AHL rookies in points (14) and tied for fourth in assists (9)
- Trevor Carrick is tied for third among AHL defensemen in shots on goal (55)
- Brendan Woods missed 12 games starting Nov. 2
- Patrick Dwyer missed four games starting Nov. 22
- Valentin Zykov missed two games from Nov. 22-23
- Connor Brickley missed one game starting Nov. 27
- Andrew Miller missed one game, Nov. 19
- Nov. 26 - Cason Hohmann signed to PTO
- Nov. 22 - Daniel Altshuller recalled from Florida (ECHL)
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|Goals per game||2.72||21st||21st|
|Shots per game||32.28||5th||9th|
|Goals allowed per game||2.67||t-9th||t-4th|
|Shots allowed per game||28.06||10th||4th|
|Penalty minutes per game||12.39||11th||2nd|
|Points||Andrew Poturalski (14), Derek Ryan (13), Zykov (10)|
|Goals||Valentin Zykov (6), Andrew Poturalski, Brock McGinn, Derek Ryan (5)|
|Assists||Andrew Poturalski (9), Derek Ryan (8), Lucas Wallmark (7)|
|Power play goals||Derek Ryan, Valentin Zykov (2)|
|Shorthanded goals||Patrick Brown, Derek Ryan, Brock McGinn, Patrick Dwyer (1)|
|Game-winning goals||Brock McGinn, Patrick Brown (2)|
|Shots on goal||Trevor Carrick (55), Roland McKeown (40), Andrew Poturalski (37)|
|Penalty minutes||Kyle Hagel (34), Trevor Carrick (23), Mitchell Heard, Keegan Lowe (18)|
|Plus/minus||Andrew Poturalski (+8), Matt Tennyson (+7), Keegan Lowe (+6)|
|Wins||Michael Leighton (6)|
|Goals-against average||Michael Leighton (1.66)|
|Save percentage||Michael Leighton (.937)|