The Checkers couldn't be much more disappointed in how their first meeting with Houston turned out. Fortunately, they wont have to wait long for a chance to make things right.
The Aeros are back at Time Warner Cable Arena to conclude the back-to-back set with the Checkers tonight, just 24 hours after Charlotte lost a 2-0 lead in eight seconds midway throught he third period and then gave up the winning goal with four seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s a positive thing to get back and play them again tomorrow night to try to get back those two points they stole from us tonight,” said Checkers forward Jerome Samson following Friday's game.
In the season's first five games, the Checkers have already lost leads of two goals or more in three separate contests. It's a trend they were already aware of - it was even addressed in the second intermission on Friday - but they'll be even more cautious of it now. Charlote, now 2-2-1 on the season, has held leads of at least one goal in all five of its games.
Most of the damage has been done late, with the Checkers sporing a -7 goal differential in third periods this season. That ties them with Albany for the league's worst mark, with the third being the only period in which Charlotte has a negative goal differential.
Furthermore, the Checkers are one of only eight teams to have dropped points when leading after two periods, and are one of just three teams to suffer a regulation loss in that situation.
Goaltender Mike Murphy is expected to get the start tonight, taking his turn in the rotation that saw Justin Peters get the nod on Friday. Murphy did make an appearance in the first game against Houston, stopping nine of 11 shots in the third period after Peters was injured on the play that resulted in the Aeros' first goal of the evening.
Following Friday's game, Checkers coach Jeff Daniels did not have an update on Peters' condition, but he would need to make a recall in case the veteran netminder is unable to serve as the team's backup tonight.
Update: The Checkers have recalled goaltender John Muse from the ECHL's Florida Everblades. Muse, who recently completed a four-year career at Boston College, including national championship victories in 2008 and 2010, signed a two-way American Hockey League contract with the Checkers in July. He is 0-1-1 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .924 save percentage with Florida this season.
• Checkers forward Zach Boychuk recorded his fourth career AHL multi-goal game on Friday, tallying two power-play goals. He now leads the team with four, one ahead of Drayson Bowman, Jon Matsumoto and Jerome Samson. He has recorded points in three consecutive games (3g, 1a) to rank second on the team in scoring (six points).
• Jon Matsumoto did not record a point on Friday, marking the only game this season in which he has not found the score sheet. During his season-opening, four-game scoring streak, Matsumoto recorded nine points (3g, 6a), and is still the Checkers' scoring leader. He now finds himself in an eight-way tie for second in the league in scoring, trailing Manchester's Andrei Loktionov by one point.
• Jerome Samson, who led the AHL in shots on goal by a wide margin at the time of his recall to Carolina last season, currently ranks tied for second in the league in shots with 24 in five games. He recorded a personal season high of six shots in the loss against Houston on Friday night, and has recorded at least four shots on goal in each of his games.
• With Samson's help, the Checkers rank sixth in the AHL in shots per game, averaging 33.2 per contest. However, they also rank 29th in shots allowed, with an average of 36.6. Both of Charlotte's victories have come in the only two games in which they've out-shot their opponents, giving them a record of 0-2-1 when being out-shot.
• Goaltender Justin Peters recorded his second assist of the season on Friday, tying him for seventh on the team in scoring.