Cam Ward Charlotte Checkers
Cam Ward gave his team a chance to win, but the team wasn’t able to provide him much help.

One game after scoring a season-high nine goals, the Checkers were shut out for the first time this season in a 1-0 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday. In his first game since the Carolina Hurricanes sent him on a conditioning stint, Ward made 35 saves as Charlotte’s winning streak ended at four games.

Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard stopped all 33 shots he faced to become the first goalie to record a shutout against the Checkers since April 6 of last season and give the Monsters back-to-back wins after suffering through an eight-game winless streak. It was a measure of family revenge as his brother, Oklahoma City Barons goalie Chet Pickard, allowed nine Checkers goals on 47 shots exactly one week earlier.

The game began the four-game season series between the two teams that continues with a rematch on Saturday.

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The game’s only goal came with five minutes left in the first period when the Monsters’ Brad Malone found Paul Carey all alone in the slot for a one-timer – one that Ward, who was playing his first AHL game since Dec. 18, 2005, would have needed to make an outstanding save to stop. The 2006 Stanley Cup champion did just that throughout the game, including a shorthanded breakaway save in the first period, a two-on-one stop in the third and a flashy glove save down the stretch that gave the Checkers more than enough time to find their first goal.

Charlotte did not look to be a serious threat to find that goal until the final frame, having not tested Pickard with regularity through a penalty-filled first two periods. The game began with three penalties in the game’s first three-and-a-half minutes, including a double-minor for high sticking to rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy, and continued in much of the same fashion throughout the night as the game never developed much flow.

The Checkers, who tied a franchise record by scoring five power-play goals in their last game and entered this contest ranked second in the AHL, finished 0-for-6 on the man advantage. They also killed all eight Lake Erie chances, a total that marked the most given up by the Checkers in a single game since Feb. 11, 2012.

The start of the third period offered some promise for Charlotte, whose 16 shots in that frame came just one shy of matching their total from the first two periods. The first line of Zach Boychuk, Brett Sutter and Chris Terry got things going with a high-pressure shift that resulted in a Lake Erie penalty and the Checkers’ best power play of the night, but Pickard responded with a string of tough saves.

After that flurry, the game evened out considerably, with the Checkers unable to find the equalizer with Ward pulled for the extra attacker late.

With the loss, Charlotte fell to 3-3-3 in their all-time series against the Monsters. They have only one victory in five games at Lake Erie’s Quicken Loans Arena.


Ward became the ninth goalie to play for the Checkers this season, marking the highest total in the AHL and extending a franchise record that previously stood at five … Charlotte’s four-game winning streak tied a season high set on one previous occasion … Mark Flood played his 500th professional game, Aaron Palushaj played his 300th and Brody Sutter played his 100th … Palushaj (seven games) and Greg Nemisz (six games) each saw long point streaks come to an end. Palushaj did not score a point for just the third time in his last 19 games … The Checkers had scored three or more goals in 10 of their previous 12 games … Ryan Murphy and Brett Sutter each had a game-high six shots.
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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