December 19, 2011 8:07 AM
|Overall record: 17-11-2 (Home 11-4-1 | Road 6-7-1)
Last week’s record: 2-1-0 | Last 10 games: 5-5-0
Standings: 1st Midwest Division | 2nd Western Conference
The Checkers followed up a season-long four-game losing streak by closing the week with two consecutive wins over division rival Chicago and league-leading Oklahoma City. Those games began a four-game home stand that will take the team up to a nine-day break in the schedule over the holidays with a Tuesday rematch with Oklahoma City still to come.
By taking two of the home stand’s first three contests, the Checkers improved to 11-3-1 at Time Warner Cable Arena and 17-11-2 overall. They hold a one point lead over Milwaukee in the Midwest Division, with the Admirals having played four fewer games.
Following the holiday break, the Checkers head on a two-game road trip through Rockford and Chicago before returning home for back-to-back games with San Antonio following the New Year.
Chicago 2, Checkers 1 – Recap
Despite out-shooting Chicago 41-25 in the first-ever meeting between the two divisional opponents, the Checkers dropped a 2-1 decision on Thursday to extend their losing streak to a season-high four games, tying a team record set last season. Defenseman Mathieu Roy opened the scoring with a power-play goal late in the first period, but Chicago, led by Eddie Lack’s 40 saves, scored two unanswered goals to seal the win.
Checkers 4, Chicago 2 – Recap
The Checkers rallied back from a 2-0 first-intermission deficit to score four unanswered goals and halt their losing streak at four games on Friday. Zach Boychuk, Zac Dalpe and Jon Matsumoto each had 2 points for Charlotte, which saw rookie goaltender John Muse stop all 24 shots he faced after making his first AHL appearance of the season in relief of starter Mike Murphy.
Checkers 3, Chicago 2 (SO) – Recap
The Checkers fought back from a pair of one-goal deficits against the AHL’s top team, eventually recording a 3-2 shootout victory over Oklahoma City on Sunday for their second consecutive win. Jerome Samson scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season and team-leading seventh goal on the power play, while Brett Bellemore scored his first goal of the season to tie the game with 4:03 left in regulation. Jon Matsumoto recorded the winning goal in the shootout, while Mike Murphy made 21 saves and stopped four of five shootout attempts.
• SANGUINETTI’S HELPFUL RETURN: Since returning from a 10-game absence caused by a broken foot, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti has recorded 4 assists in four games, making him the team’s highest scorer during that span. Despite playing in just two thirds of the team's games this season, the fourth-year blueliner ranks tied for fourth on the team in assists and tied with Michal Jordan for first among defensemen (10). Seven of his assists have come on the power play, which is most on the team behind Chris Terry (10).
• UNLIKELY HERO: Brett Bellemore’s goal to tie the game with 4:03 remaining in regulation against Oklahoma City on Sunday, just his fourth in 186 career AHL games, ended the longest goal drought of any player on the Checkers’ roster (58 games). When Bellemore does score his goals tend to be meaningful, as he has two game-winners to go along with his late equalizer on Sunday.
• SHOOTOUT ACE: Charlotte’s Mike Murphy ranks third in the AHL with a .900 save percentage in the shootout, having stopped nine of 10 shots against. Prior to allowing one goal on five attempts against Oklahoma City on Sunday, he was the only goaltender in the AHL to stop all comers in the shootout. The Checkers are now 3-1 in shootouts this season.
• SAMSON SHOOTS, SCORES: With goals in each of his last two games, Jerome Samson is now the Checkers’ leader in goals (12) and power-play goals (7). He is also the AHL’s leader in shots on goal with 126 – five more than Hershey’s Chris Bourque. Samson has recorded four or more shots in 19 of his 30 games this season, including a season-high nine at Houston on Oct. 30.
• MUSE’S PERFECT START: Rookie John Muse stopped all 24 shots he faced in relief of Mike Murphy in his fist AHL appearance of the season on Friday, making him one of three AHL goaltenders (Adirondack’s Johan Backlund and Portland’s Marc Cheverie) with perfect statistics this season. Though all three goaltenders have made just one appearance apiece, both Backlund (15 saves) and Cheverie (17 saves) have fewer saves than Muse. In two career AHL appearances, Muse has a 1.11 goals-against average and .966 save percentage.
• POWER SURGE: The Checkers scored three power-play goals against Chicago on Friday, tying a season high set at Norfolk on Nov. 23. The team now as at least one power-play goal in each of its last four contests, converting six of 19 chances (31.6 percent) during that span. The four-game power-play goal streak ties the Checkers’ longest of the season, set two previous times.
• HOME AND AWAY: The Checkers 23 points earned at home this season are the most of any team in the AHL. With a record of 11-4-1 this season, the AHL Checkers have improved to 33-17-5 all-time at Time Warner Cable Arena. However, the Checkers are below the .500 mark on the road with a season record of 6-7-1.
• DIVISIONAL DOMINANCE: Charlotte has earned 15 out of a possible 20 points (7-2-1) against Midwest Division opponents this season, tying Oklahoma City for the best record of any AHL team against its own division. Rounding out the four divisions they’ve faced this season, the Checkers have winning records against the East (2-1-1) and North (2-1-0), but have posted a 6-7-0 mark against the West. Charlotte currently holds a one-point lead over Milwaukee in the Midwest.
|| AHL RANK
|Goals per game:
|Shots per game:
|Goals allowed per game:
|Shots allowed per game:
|Penalty minutes per game:
||Jon Matsumoto (26), Jerome Samson (23), Chris Terry (22)
||Jerome Samson (12), Jon Matsumoto (11), Drayson Bowman (8)
||Chris Terry (17), Jon Matsumoto (15), Jerome Samson (11)
|Power play goals:
||Jerome Samson (7), Jon Matsumoto (4)
||Drayson Bowman, Mathieu Roy, Brett Sutter, Chris Terry (1)
||Zach Boychuk, Jon Matsumoto, Matthew Pistilli, Jerome Samson (2)
|Shots on goal:
||Jerome Samson (126), Jon Matsumoto, Chris Terry (72)
||Justin Soryal (70), Nicolas Blanchard (55), Chris Terry (37)
||Drayson Bowman, Justin Krueger (+6), Justin Shugg (+5)
||Mike Murphy (10), Justin Peters (6)
||Mike Murphy (2.46), Justin Peters (2.49)
||Justin Peters (.920), Mike Murphy (.919)
• Dec. 18 – (D) Chris Murray recalled to Charlotte from Florida (ECHL)
• Dec. 17 – (D) Chris Murray reassigned to Florida (ECHL) from Charlotte
• Dec. 14 – (G) Mike Murphy reassigned to Charlotte by Carolina (NHL)
• Dec. 14 – (G) Justin Peters recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
• Dec. 13 – (F) Justin Shugg recalled to Charlotte from Florida (ECHL)
Tuesday, Dec. 20 vs. Oklahoma City (7 p.m.)
• Cheesy Holiday Sweater Night
Fans who present their game ticket and wear a cheesy holiday sweater to the Brixx uptown location prior to the game will receive a free appetizer with purchase of an entree at full price.
• Wet Your Whistle Weekday
12 oz. Bud Lights for $3.50
Start your week off with a cup of Magnolia Coffee, the official coffee of the Checkers. For more information, visit their website, call Magnolia Coffee at 704-654-5393 or email email@example.com.