The Checkers’ first-ever visit to Toronto marked uncharted territory in more ways than one.

A 4-1 loss on Saturday afternoon was Charlotte’s sixth consecutive defeat, setting a new franchise record. Zach Boychuk had the team’s only goal for the second consecutive game while John Muse stopped 24 of 27 shots as the Checkers remained winless in the month of November.

Greg McKegg had two goals and two assists for the Marlies, who snapped a three-game losing streak in the first of two meetings between the two teams – a set that will conclude with a rematch on Tuesday night.

Prior to the current drought that began with a 5-3 loss in San Antonio on Nov. 2, the Checkers had one five-game losing streak, set from Nov. 25-Dec. 6 of last season. After losing the second and third games of their current run by just one goal, opposing teams have out-scored the Checkers by a 17-5 margin in the last three.

John MuseScore Sheet
Hoping to rebound from an 8-1 loss on Thursday that marked the most lopsided in their regular-season history, the Checkers fell behind just over three minutes into their match-up with the Marlies, a team they had not met in three previous AHL campaigns. John-Michael Liles, an NHL veteran who the Toronto Maple Leafs assigned to the Marlies one day earlier, did the honors less than 30 seconds into a power play with a shot from the point through traffic.

That man advantage was the result of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty that Charlotte had committed during an eventful sequence that contained an injury to defenseman Michal Jordan. Jordan was very slow to get up and needed assistance to leave the ice after the Marlies’ Jamie Devane shoved him into the boards, with Charlotte defenseman Matt Corrente taking on the 6-foot-4 Devane in a fight soon after.

Jordan, an AHL All-Star last season, did not return to the game.

The Marlies would continue to win the special teams battle in the first period, one that would more or less determine the outcome of the game. Charlotte had a 55-second, two-man advantage but could not score before allowing McKegg to burn them just seconds into a Marlies’ five-on-three near the end of the period, dropping the Checkers to 0-for-2 on the penalty kill for the evening.

Though the Checkers killed off the second penalty of that sequence along with two others later in the game, Saturday marked the third consecutive game in which they have allowed the opposition to score two power-play goals.

With McKegg adding a third goal for Toronto early in the third period after a scoreless second, Boychuk, who endured an eight-game goal drought before scoring Thursday, found the back of the net on the power play with 11 minutes remaining. Defenseman Mark Flood started the play when he stabbed at a loose puck in the corner, causing it to flutter on net in an awkward way that prevented goalie Drew MacIntyre from handling it cleanly. Boychuk was there waiting to net his fourth of the season.

The Checkers received a window back into the game when the Marlies took another penalty just 20 seconds after Boychuk’s goal, but they couldn’t convert. That marked their last good chance, with Jerry D’Amigo scoring into the empty net with 16 seconds remaining.

Charlotte finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play, having also come up empty during a four-minute double minor that Korbinian Holzer received for high-sticking Brett Sutter in the second period.


After a three-game drought, the Checkers scored a power-play goal for the third consecutive game … The Checkers have not yet suffered a shut out but have scored one goal in six games, including four of their last five … Charlotte out-shot Toronto 31-28, marking the third consecutive game in which it has out-shot its opponent … Elias Lindholm picked up an assist on Boychuk’s goal, giving him points in each of his last three games (1g, 2a) ... Brody Sutter returned to the lineup after missing six games due to injury ... Matt Marquardt and Beau Schmitz did not dress.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.

June 2018
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