CHECKERS BLANK WHALE IN FRONT OF RECORD CROWD
Murphy earns second shutout in a week with 1-0 win
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Mike Murphy recorded his second shutout of the week as the Charlotte Checkers defeated the Connecticut Whale, 1-0, in front of a record crowd of 12,933 on Saturday evening.
With the win, the Checkers improved to 4-1-0-2 on a current seven-game span which consisted of six different cities in nine nights and more than 2,700 miles of traveling.
Murphy continued his play as one of the league’s hottest goalies turning away all 28 Connecticut shots. The two-time Ontario Hockey League Goaltender of the Year is now 8-0-1, including two shutouts, in his last nine games.
Matthew Pistilli scored the game-winning goal for Charlotte, converting a rebound during an early second-period power play.
Connecticut netminder Dov Grumet-Morris did his best to match his counterpart, stopping all but one of Charlotte’s 22 shots, but the Whale offense couldn’t find an answer for Murphy.
Tempers flared throughout a scoreless first period. Nicolas Blanchard scrapped with AHL penalty minute leader Devin DiDiomete in the opening minute of the game while Zack FitzGerald and Brett Bellemore also dropped the gloves for Charlotte in the first.
The Checkers broke the scoreless tie at 4:10 of the second period on Pistilli’s power-play tally. Ethan Graham threw a puck on net from the low slot, forced a rebound and Pistilli buried it on his second attempt.
Murphy made several key saves toward the end of the period, including a diving shoulder stop and an impressive stab with his glove on a 2-on-1.
With just over a minute remaining in the third period, Connecticut pulled Grumet-Morris for an extra attacker, but couldn’t find the equalizer as the Checkers held on for a 1-0 victory.
Charlotte (33-20-2-6) will embark on a three-game road trip beginning on Friday, Mar. 4 when they take on the Providence Bruins. The Checkers will return home on Tuesday, Mar. 8 against the Binghamton Senators. For ticket information, call 704-342-4423 or visit www.gocheckers.com.
For every ‘like’ the Checkers get on their Facebook page between now and Apr. 1, the team will donate $2 to Zach Bennett and his family, who plan to move to Charlotte for better medical care. Visit www.gocheckers.com for more information.
NOTES:The crowd of 12,933 sets a single-game attendance record for the Checkers…The Checkers are 15-4-0-2 in the second half of back-to-back game…Ethan Graham has five assists on a career-high four game point streak… Matthew Pistilli has four goals in his last six games…Charlotte is now 12-6-0-1 against Atlantic Division foes this season…Mike Murphy has two shutouts in his last four games and is 17-2-1 in his last 20 starts.
Connecticut Whale 0 at Charlotte Checkers 1 - Status: Final
Saturday, February 26, 2011 - Time Warner Cable Arena
Connecticut 0 0 0 - 0
Charlotte 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-DiDiomete Ct (fighting), 1:00; Blanchard Cha (fighting), 1:00; Bickel Ct (roughing, fighting), 5:11; FitzGerald Cha (fighting), 5:11; DiDiomete Ct (fighting, major - checking to the head, game misconduct - checking to the head, game misconduct - third major), 19:37; Bellemore Cha (roughing, fighting), 19:37.
2nd Period-1, Charlotte, Pistilli 5 (Graham, Dalpe), 4:10 (PP). Penalties-Dupont Ct (fighting), 7:29; Herauf Cha (fighting), 7:29; Redden Ct (hooking), 8:01; Boychuk Cha (interference), 8:35; Boychuk Cha (slashing), 15:10; Weise Ct (roughing), 16:04; Dalpe Cha (roughing), 16:04.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Redden Ct (high-sticking), 7:54.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 14-8-6-28. Charlotte 2-16-4-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 2; Charlotte 1 / 4.
Goalies-Connecticut, Grumet-Morris 4-2-1 (22 shots-21 saves). Charlotte, Murphy 18-9-3 (28 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Mike Sheehan (90), Alex Stagnone (7).