Week in Review
Last week's record1-2-1
Last 10 games2-4-4
Checkers 3, Cleveland 1The 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 5The 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 3The 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 2It 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
Jake Bean1g, 1a
Morgan Geekie1g, 2a
Alex Nedeljkovic1-1-1, 1.64 GAA, .936 SV%
POTTING POINTSThe 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 DROUGHTCharlotte’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 UPIt’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 TALLDespite 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.
- 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)
- Spencer Smallman - Missed 39 games starting 11/11
- 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)
- Feb. 9: (RW) Cliff Pu - Assigned to Florida (ECHL)
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|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|
|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)|