The Checkers stumbled through a busy week, collecting just three of a possible eight points against Cleveland and Hershey.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    32-13-7
  • Home record
    14-6-4
  • Road record
    18-7-3
  • Last week's record
    1-2-1
  • Last 10 games
    2-4-4
  • Division Standings
    1st
  • Conference Standings
    1st
  • League Standings
    1st

Checkers 3, Cleveland 1

The Checkers kicked off their week on high note, building an early lead and topping the Monsters in their first meeting this season. After Aleksi Saarela opened the scoring less than six minutes in, the Checkers added two more unanswered in the middle frame to hold a 3-0 advantage heading into the third. Cleveland would finally put one behind Alex Nedeljkovic, who finished the night with 32 stops, but that would be the extent of their comeback attempt and the Checkers came away with the victory. Full recap

Checkers 1, Cleveland 5

The next night’s rematch didn’t fare as well for the home side. The Monsters tallied two goals in the second to open the scoring, but Nick Schilkey lit the lamp to pull the Checkers within one going into the final frame. Cleveland would strike twice over a 29-second span early in the third, however, and that would prove to be a back breaker for Charlotte. Cleveland added one more before the midway point of the third and that would be enough to bury the Checkers, who fired 41 shots but saw 40 of them turned aside by Jean-Francois Berube. Scott Darling finished the night with 30 saves but was saddled with the loss. Full recap

Checkers 2, Hershey 3

The Checkers hit the road to take on the hottest team in the Eastern Conference and locked in a tight back and forth battle. Jake Bean put the Checkers on top late in the third with a power-play tally – Charlotte’s second of the night – but a low-angle strike from Riley Barber with less than two minutes left tied things up and sent the contest to overtime. The extra period saw several huge chances for both sides but no goals, so the game would proceed on to a shootout. Alex Nedeljkovic and Vitek Vanecek stood tall and denied each of the first four opportunities they faced until Nathan Walker wristed one in for Hershey in the fifth round. With the game on his stick, Janne Kuokkanen was turned aside and the Bears emerged with the two points. Full recap

Checkers 1, Hershey 2

It was another low-scoring, tightly contested game the next night in Hershey. The home side opened the scoring late in the first but a tic-tac-toe passing play finished off by Nicolas Roy evened the score midway through the second. With 91 seconds left in the middle frame, though, Riley Barber helped the Bears convert on a two-man advantage and snag the lead. Charlotte would push hard in the third, doubling up the Bears on shots, but rookie Ilya Samsonov was unbeatable and the Bears rode out the rest of the clock for a regulation win. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week

Saarela

3rd Star

Jake Bean

1g, 1a
Carrick

2nd Star

Morgan Geekie

1g, 2a
Bean

1st Star

Alex Nedeljkovic

1-1-1, 1.64 GAA, .936 SV%

Notables

POTTING POINTS

The Checkers are currently mired in their first real slump of the season. They are winless in three straight and have just two regulation wins in their last 10 games. In fact, the Checkers have the third-fewest points in the Eastern Conference standings over the last 10 games.

The positive take on Charlotte’s skid is that the team has managed to collect at least collect a point in half of those losses, giving them a point in six of their last 10 games.

Despite the recent downturn the Checkers’ early success has kept them afloat in the standings. They lead the Atlantic Division by nine points, have eight more points than any other team and boast the best points percentage in the AHL.

THOUGHT IT WAS A DROUGHT

Charlotte’s offense has had a hard time finding the back of the net as of late. The Checkers have scored more than two goals just once over the last six games, accumulating a total of eight goals over that 1-2-2-1 stretch. The one outlier – a three-goal effort against Cleveland on Tuesday night – was also the lone win for Charlotte during that run.

The Checkers have recorded at least three goals in nearly two-thirds of their games this season, but have struggled when they don’t hit that mark. In fact, Charlotte is 4-10-4 when scoring two or fewer goals this season.

Charlotte’s top six goal scorers this season – Andrew Poturalski, Aleksi Saarela, Nicolas Roy, Morgan Geekie, Julien Gauthier and Janne Kuokkanen – have a total of four goals over the last six games.

TIGHETENING UP

It’s been overshadowed by the struggles on offense, but the Checkers have had success holding their opponents in check as of late.

Following a stretch where they allowed at least four goals in four straight games, the Checkers have allowed more than two in just two of their last seven games.

That’s carried over to the penalty kill as well, as the Checkers have surrendered three goals in their last 23 penalty kills over the last seven games.

NED STANDS TALL

Despite taking his first regulation in over two months on Sunday, Alex Nedeljkovic has been lights out for the Checkers as of late. The AHL’s wins leader has pushed his way into the top 10 best goals-against averages in the league by virtue of a three-game week that saw him post a 1.64 mark with a .936 save percentage.

Nedeljkovic has held opponents to two or fewer goals through regulation in each of his last five appearances.

Ranks

  • Andrew Poturalski is tied for fifth in the AHL in scoring (48), tied for 8th in assists (30) and tied for fifth in game-winning goals (5)
  • Dan Renouf ranks second in the AHL in penalty minutes (100)
  • Alex Nedeljkovic leads the league in wins (22), ranks second in minutes played (1964:02), ranks fourth in saves (808) and is tied for eighth in goals-against average (2.54)
  • Jake Bean leads all rookie defensemen in scoring (31), is tied for the lead in goals (10) and ranks third in assists. He is also tied for 10th among all blue liners in points and tied for fifth in goals
  • Trevor Carrick ranks second among league blue liners in game-winning goals (4)

INJURIES

  • Spencer Smallman - Missed 39 games starting 11/11

Transactions

Incoming

  • Feb. 9: (D) Haydn Fleury - Assigned from Carolina (NHL)
  • Feb. 9: (C) Steven Lorentz - Recalled from Florida (ECHL)
  • Feb. 8: (G) Callum Booth - Recalled from Reading (ECHL)

Outgoing

  • Feb. 9: (RW) Cliff Pu - Assigned to Florida (ECHL)

Coming Up

Friday, February 15 at 7:05 pm - Checkers at Springfield

Saturday, February 16 at 8:05 pm - Checkers at Providence

Sunday, February 17 at 3 pm - Checkers at Bridgeport

By the Numbers

CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 17.3% t-19th 20th
Penalty kill 84.3% 4th 5th
Goals per game 3.17 17th t-6th
Shots per game 29.77 18th 18th
Goals allowed per game 2.81 7th 7th
Shots allowed per game 27.42 3rd 4th
Penalty minutes per game 13.73/td> 20th 7th


LEADERS

CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Andrew Poturalski (48), Aleksi Saarela (36), Janne Kuokkanen (32)
Goals Andrew Poturalski (18), Aleksi Saarela (16), Nicolas Roy, Morgan Geekie (14)
Assists Andrew Poturalski (30), Janne Kuokkanen, Jake Bean (21)
Power play goals Janne Kuokkanen (6), Julien Gauthier (5), Nicolas Roy, Morgan Geekie (4)
Shorthanded goals Saku Maenalanen (3), Patrick Brown, Nicolas Roy, Michal Cajkovsky (1)
Game-winning goals Andrew Poturalski, Nicolas Roy (5), Trevor Carrick, Aleksi Saarela (4)
Shots on goal Aleksi Saarela (135), Andrew Poturalski (124), Jake Bean (114)
Penalty minutes Dan Renouf (100), Trevor Carrick (64), Julien Gauthier (51)
Plus/minus Roland McKeown (+15), Martin Necas (+13), Nick Schilkey, Morgan Geekie (+11)
Wins Alex Nedeljkovic (22)
Goals-against average Callum Booth (2.53)
Save percentage Alex Nedeljkovic (.907)
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.