Checkers coach Jeff Daniels has been saying it all season. As soon as Chris Terry finally got his first goal, more would come in short order.
Daniels’ prophecy came true San Antonio on Saturday night, as the Checkers leading goal scorer from last season connected on a power-play goal in the first period before adding another in the second as Charlotte won its fourth straight game, this time by a score of 4-1.
Charlotte’s winning streak, one of the longest in the AHL this season, improves its record to 6-2-1.
|Trey Flournoy / PressPhotointl.com
Checkers captain Brett Sutter, reassigned from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes one night earlier, first got the Checkers on the board with a shorthanded goal in the first period, with Drayson Bowman netting his team-leading fifth goal to cap the scoring in the third. Goalie Mike Murphy made 35 saves to win his fifth consecutive start, a streak in which he has allowed just one goal in each contest.
Though Terry, who scored a career high 34 goals last season, had not yet found the back of the net through eight games this season, Daniels had been quick to praise the forward for his overall game, saying that the goals were bound to come. The 22-year-old finally broke through on the Checkers’ third power play, blasting a shot from the point past Rampage goalie Brian Foster.
That goal would hold up as the eventual game winner, but Terry added another in the second period for good measure, moving laterally across the crease and out-waiting a sprawling Foster before finishing from a sharp angle.
Murphy, whose recent run has vaulted him into the league leaders in goals-against average and save percentage, has thrived under a heavy workload. He has started each of the Checkers’ last four games with colleague Justin Peters out due to injury, with Saturday’s start his second in as many nights. Murphy was perfect against the Rampage save for Colby Robak’s goal in the first five minutes, a rebound finish that came after Murphy had made a breakaway save on San Antonio’s Angelo Esposito.
Sparked by Sutter’s shorthanded tally, the third of his AHL career and first goal of this season, the Checkers would go on to score four unanswered, finishing with Bowman’s finish from along the side boards that beat Foster on the far side.
The Checkers now head to Houston to conclude their three-games-in-three days set on Sunday. From there, they will return home before departing on another grueling weekend slate that will take them through Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and Rockford.
Defenseman Justin Krueger was a healthy scratch for the Checkers, continuing a rotation with Rasmus Rissanen that has been in effect over the last five games. Rissanen earned an assist on Bowman’s goal for his first professional point … Charlotte forward Jerome Samson, who entered the game tied for the AHL lead in shots on goal, took a season-low three shots but notched a season-high two assists … Checkers center Cedric McNicoll was not in the lineup after leaving Friday night’s game with an injury in the second period … Bowman took a game-high eight shots, also good for his highest total of the season … San Antonio lost its fourth straight game at home.