The Checkers embarked on their last big road trip of the season and came away from a busy weekend with mostly positive results.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    34-14-7
  • Home record
    14-6-4
  • Road record
    20-8-3
  • Last week's record
    2-1-0
  • Last 10 games
    4-3-3
  • Division Standings
    1st
  • Conference Standings
    1st
  • League Standings
    1st

Checkers 4, Springfield 1

The Checkers kicked off their final three-in-three of the season with a convincing win over their former head coach in Springfield. Nick Schilkey kept up his hot streak against the Thunderbirds to open the scoring, then Zach Nastasiuk and Julien Gauthier lit the lamp less than a minute apart in the middle frame to blow the game open. The home side spoiled the shutout bid for Alex Nedeljkovic with less than three minutes to play, but the netminder’s 25 saves were more than enough to pick up the win, sealed by an empty netter courtesy of Steven Lorentz to make it a 4-1 final. Full recap

Checkers 3, Providence 2

The Checkers jumped out to a similarly strong start the next night in Providence, with Nastasiuk and Gauthier scoring for the second straight game and the captain Patrick Brown netting his 11th of the season to put Charlotte ahead 3-0 after 40 minutes of play. The Bruins wouldn’t roll over, however, as a pair of quick goals within the first five minutes of the third put the home squad back within one. Charlotte’s offense wouldn’t be able to produce anything more from that point, but the visitors stepped up defensively to keep the Bruins at bay and Nedeljkovic came away with another victory thanks to a stellar 26-save performance. Full recap

Checkers 3, Bridgeport 7

The Checkers looked to be on their way to a perfect weekend as they broke out into a 3-1 lead over Bridgeport in the second period of Sunday’s afternoon finale. NHL veteran Thomas Hickey got one back for the Sound Tigers midway through that frame, however, and it would set off a scoring frenzy for the home side. Bridgeport scored twice more before the end of the second to gain their first lead of the game, then Josh Ho-Sang added a natural hat trick in the third to give the Sound Tigers six unanswered goals en route to a big 7-3 victory. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week

Nastasiuk

3rd Star

Zach Nastasiuk

2g, 1a
Schilkey

2nd Star

Nick Schilkey

2g, 2a
Nedeljkovic

1st Star

Alex Nedeljkovic

2-0-0, 1.51 GAA, .944 SV%

Notables

BUSY WEEKEND

This was the Checkers’ fourth and final three-in-three set of games this season. The 2-1-0 weekend was their second-best three-in-three series of the season and gives them a 7-5-0 record in those situations this season. That .583 points percentage stands as the fourth-best season record for three-in-threes in franchise history, trailing 2012-13 (.762), 2016-17 (.666) and 2010-11 (.604).

BACK ON TRACK?

The Checkers entered the weekend mired in their worst stretch of the season, having won just twice in their previous 10 games. They righted the ship for the first two contests, recording consecutive regulation wins for the first time since Jan. 15 and 16.

The Checkers are now back above .500 in their lasts 10 games and hold an eight-point lead on both the best record in the AHL and the first-place spot in the Atlantic Division.

SCHILKEY STAYS SCORING

Nick Schilkey had himself a weekend to further elevate his career-best numbers. The forward recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season on Friday as he continued to haunt Springfield, holding five points (3g, 2a) in two games against the Thunderbirds so far. Schilkey found the scoresheet in both Saturday and Sunday’s games as well, putting him in the midst of a career-best four-game point streak.

Schilkey now has 25 points (11g, 14a) through 43 games this season, more than doubling his 12-point output over his 48-game rookie campaign a year ago.

KUOKKANEN FINDS HIS GROOVE

Despite remaining near the top of the Checkers’ scoring leaders, Janne Kuokkanen entered the weekend in search of his scoring touch. Exacerbated by an injury absence, the forward had just three points in his previous eight games, but bounced back in a big way over the weekend. Playing alongside some new linemates, Kuokkanen picked up an assist in each of the three contests, pushing himself back into second among Checkers skaters this season.

NASTASIUK'S NOSE FOR THE NET

Since being recalled from the ECHL in late December Zach Nastasiuk has made himself a mainstay in the lineup, and this weekend he broke out in a big way offensively. The forward found the back of the net on Friday and Saturday for his third and fourth goals of the season, then added a helper on Sunday to run his point streak to three games, his longest of the season.

A second-round pick in 2013, Nastasiuk has now tied his career high for points in an AHL season, matching his 27-game output from 2015-16 with Grand Rapids.

RENOUF DOES IT ALL

Dan Renouf continues to be a crucial pillar on the Charlotte blue line, as he exemplified over the weekend. The blue liner stepped up to fight Springfield’s Bobby Farnham in Friday’s win over the Thunderbirds and now has a team-high 105 penalty minutes, making him the first Checker to eclipse 100 since the 2015-16 season.

Renouf added a pair of assists in Saturday’s win for his third multi-assist game of the season, all of which have come since Dec. 31, then lit the lamp on Sunday for his second goal of the season. That tally would set a new career high in points for the blue liner, whose 17 points through 53 games have eclipsed his 67-game total of 16 points from the 2016-17 season with Grand Rapids.

Ranks

  • Andrew Poturalski is tied for sixth in the AHL in scoring (49), tied for 10th in assists (31) and tied for fifth in game-winning goals (5)
  • Dan Renouf ranks fourth in the AHL in penalty minutes (105) and is tied for third in major penalties
  • Alex Nedeljkovic leads the AHL in wins (24), ranks second in minutes (2083), ranks fifth in saves (859) and ranks sixth in goals-against average (2.48)
  • Jake Bean ranks 10th among league defensemen, tied for 10th among all rookies, and leads all rookie defensemen in scoring (33), is tied for 10th among league defensemen, ranks seventh among league rookies and second among rookie defensemen in assists (23) and is tied for 6th among league defensemen and tied for 1st among rookie defensemen in goals (10)
  • Martin Necas is tied for 13th among league rookies in scoring (31)
  • Morgan Geekie ranks fifth among league rookies in shooting percentage
  • Trevor Carrick is tied for second among league defensemen in game-winning goals (4)

INJURIES

  • Roland McKeown - Missed one game starting 2/17
  • Clark Bishop - Missed two games starting 2/16
  • Spencer Smallman - Missed 42 games starting 11/11

Transactions

Incoming

  • Feb. 12: (C) Patrick Brown - Assigned from Carolina (NHL)

Outgoing

  • None

Coming Up

Friday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. - Checkers vs. Lehigh Valley

Independence Fund

Miracle on Ice Night Presented by The Independence Fund

  • Checkers to wear special USA-themed jerseys to be auctioned off after the game.

Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. - Checkers vs. Lehigh Valley

Fairfield Inn and Suites

Godzilla Night

  • Special Godzilla-themed t-shirts for sale!
  • Family Night presented by Fairfield Inn and Suites - save 40 percent on groups of four tickets when purchasing online
  • Slap Shot Saturday - stick around after the game to take a shot on the ice

By the Numbers

CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 17.5% 19th t-19th
Penalty kill 84.1% 4th 4th
Goals per game 3.18 t-15th 17th
Shots per game 29.93 16th 18th
Goals allowed per game 2.84 8th 7th
Shots allowed per game 27.51 3rd 3rd
Penalty minutes per game 13.65 9th 7th


LEADERS

CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Andrew Poturalski (49), Aleksi Saarela (37), Janne Kuokkanen (35)
Goals Andrew Poturalski (18), Aleksi Saarela (17), Julien Gauthier (15)
Assists Andrew Poturalski (31), Janne Kuokkanen (24), Jake Bean (23)
Power play goals Janne Kuokkanen (6), Julien Gauthier (5), Three tied (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 (141), Andrew Poturalski (128), Jake Bean (121)
Penalty minutes Dan Renouf (105), Trevor Carrick (70), Julien Gauthier (53)
Plus/minus Roland McKeown (+17), Morgan Geekie (+14), Nick Schilkey, Martin Necas (+11)
Wins Alex Nedeljkovic (24)
Goals-against average Callum Booth (2.48)
Save percentage Alex Nedeljkovic (.909)
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.