February 20, 2012 10:40 AM
Overall record: 30-19-5 (Home 15-8-3 | Road 15-11-2)
Last week’s record: 1-1-0 | Last 10 games: 5-4-1
Standings: 1st Midwest Division | 2nd Western Conference
Though the Checkers finished another weekend of three games in three nights with their Midwest Division lead intact, they do come away with less breathing room than they’ve had in some time.
Charlotte finished the weekend at 1-1-1, beginning with a Friday win over Peoria and continuing with a shootout loss and a regulation loss in Chicago over the following two days. By taking all four points against the Checkers, who themselves earned just one in the head-to-head match-ups, Chicago is now just a single point back with two games in hand.
The weekend concluded a stretch of playing seven of eight games on the road, with the Checkers returning home this week for back-to-back games against Oklahoma City starting Friday. Though the Barons have the AHL’s second-best record at 33-14-5, the Checkers are 4-1-1 in head-to-head meetings this season.
Charlotte 4, Peoria 2 – Recap
The Checkers scored twice in the first four minutes and never looked back in an eventual 4-2 win in Peoria on Friday. Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk, Justin Shugg and Michal Jordan scored for Charlotte, which avenged a 5-2 loss from one week earlier. John Muse made 26 saves as the Checkers built a seven-point lead over the Rivermen in the Midwest Division.
Chicago 1, Charlotte 0 (SO) – Recap
Kevin Connauton scored the shootout winner in the sixth round to break a scoreless tie and help the host Chicago Wolves get within three points of the Checkers in the Midwest Division on Saturday. John Muse made 32 saves in the losing effort, with Chicago’s Eddi Lack making 31 of his own to record the victory. With the win, Muse improved to 9-2-1 with the Checkers and tied Mike Murphy’s team record with his second shutout.
Chicago 6, Charlotte 3 – Recap
The Checkers fought back to tie the game after falling into an early 2-0 deficit but would see a second comeback attempt fall short in a 6-3 loss in Chicago on Sunday. Chicago, which still has two games in hand, pulled to within one point of the Checkers in the Midwest Division standings. Justin Shugg, A.J. Jenks and Justin Soryal scored for Charlotte, which got 20 saves from John Muse.
Hurricanes recall Mike Murphy
Goalie recovers from own injury in time to help Carolina
Checkers, Team in Training partner to help find cure
Fundraising tickets to benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society available for Friday's game
Soryal gets chance to be more than enforcer
Despite rocky history with team, Soryal happy with different role in Charlotte
Checkers add Shugg, Caruso
Due to injury questions, team adds rookie forward, veteran goalie for road trip.
Hurricanes recall Jerome Samson
Checkers forward involved in third transaction in four days
Big weekend ahead
The Checkers headed into a crucial set of division games needing a good performance to secure their lead in the Midwest
Forwards trade places again
Reversing an earlier transaction, the Hurricanes recalled Drayson Bowman and reassigned Jerome Samson.
Horizon Eye Care Eyeglass Drive is Feb. 24
Donate a pair of unwanted eyeglasses at the Checkers game on Saturday and get a free ticket to an upcoming game.
• MUSE SHUTS THE DOOR: With the second shutout of his AHL career in the Checkers’ 1-0 shootout loss in Chicago Saturday, John Muse tied Mike Murphy for the team’s all-time mark. Muse achieved the mark in just 12 games, with the next night’s loss bringing his record this season to 9-3-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.
Though he was still 248 minutes away from officially qualifying among league leaders through games of Feb. 19, he would rank first in goals-against average and save percentage. Muse and Murphy are the only Checkers goalies to record shutouts in the team’s two-year history.
• WELCOME BACK SHUGG: After suffering an injury with the Checkers on Dec. 15, rookie forward Justin Shugg recorded 3 points (2g, 1a) in his first three games back with the team following a recall from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. Shugg, a 20-year-old, fourth-round draft pick by the Hurricanes in 2010, now has 7 career AHL points, all of which have come in his last eight games following an eight-game drought to start the season.
• LATE BLOOMER: After going scoreless in his first 30 AHL games of the season with San Antonio and Charlotte, center A.J. Jenks now has 5 points (2g, 3a) in his last eight games, including his first multi-point effort in Peoria on Friday. Jenks, a fourth-round draft pick who the Carolina Hurricanes acquired from the Florida Panthers organization in January, now has 26 points (10g, 16a) in 101 career AHL games. Though it does not count against those totals, Jenks also scored a shootout goal on Saturday in Chicago, making him three-for-four this season and seven-for-14 in his AHL career.
• MORE THAN FISTS: Checkers forward Justin Soryal scored a goal on Sunday to record his 10th point of the season, tying his career high set in his rookie campaign with Hartford in 2008-09. Half of those points have come in his last nine games, a span that has also seen him record a team-high 35 penalty minutes. For the season, Soryal leads the Checkers and ranks eighth in the AHL with 143 penalty minutes.
• PENALTY KILL: The Checkers have allowed just two power play goals over their last 10 games, killing 38 out of 40 penalties during that span (95 percent). For the season, the Checkers, who are 13-for-13 over their last four contests, rank 4th in the AHL with a 85.2 percent success rate.
• SHOOTOUTS: Saturday’s loss caused the Checkers to fall to 5-3 in shootouts this season, as their eight appearances rank tied for fifth-most in the AHL. They rank sixth in terms of scoring (18-for-47; .383 shooting percentage) and 17th in terms of goaltending (15-for-47; .319 opponent shooting percentage). The Checkers have five players who have scored on more than half their attempts this season, including Chris Terry (5-for-8), A.J. Jenks (3-for-4), Drayson Bowman (3-for-5), Justin Krueger (2-for-3) and Nicolas Blanchard (1-for-1).
• THREE IN THREES: Last week, the Checkers played three games in three nights for the seventh time this season, with one final set marking the team’s last three games of the regular season in mid-April. During the current campaign, Charlotte is 10-10-1 in games that are a part of a three-in-three set, including a 3-4-0 record in Game One, a 5-1-1 record in Game Two and a 2-5-0 record in Game Three.
• John Muse has started each of the Checkers’ last four games (Feb. 12-19; 1-2-1)
• (D) Justin Krueger - missed one game, last played Feb. 18 at Chicago
• (C) Riley Nash – missed five games, last played Feb. 10 at Milwaukee
• (D) Chris Murray – missed 13 games, last played Jan. 17 vs. Grand Rapids
• (C) Chris Durno – missed 21 games, last played Dec. 31 at Chicago
|| AHL RANK
|Goals per game:
|Shots per game:
|Goals allowed per game:
|Shots allowed per game:
|Penalty minutes per game:
||Chris Terry (44), Zach Boychuk, Jerome Samson (31)
||Jerome Samson (18), Zach Boychuk (14), Zac Dalpe (13)
||Chris Terry (34), Bobby Sanguinetti (22), Zach Boychuk (17)
|Power play goals:
||Jerome Samson (8), Drayson Bowman, Bobby Sanguinetti (6)
||Five players tied at (1)
||Zach Boychuk, Matthew Pistilli, Jerome Samson (3)
|Shots on goal:
||Jerome Samson (171), Chris Terry (132), Zac Dalpe (113)
||Justin Soryal (143), Nicolas Blanchard (77), Chris Terry (47)
||Justin Krueger (+13), Justin Shugg (+7)
||Mike Murphy (15), John Muse (9), Justin Peters (6)
||John Muse (1.79), Justin Peters (2.49), Mike Murphy (2.71)
||John Muse (.941), Justin Peters (.920), Mike Murphy (.910)
• Feb. 20 – (G) Mike Murphy recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
• Feb. 20 – (G) Dave Caruso released from professional tryout contract
• Feb. 16 – (LW) Justin Shugg recalled to Charlotte from Florida (ECHL)
• Feb. 16 – (G) Dave Caruso signed to professional tryout contract
• Feb. 15 – (RW) Jerome Samson recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
• Feb. 14 – (LW) Drayson Bowman recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
• Friday, Feb. 24 vs. Oklahoma City (7:00 p.m.)
- Glasses Collection Presented by Horizon Eye Care
Bring your old prescription frames to the game to donate to the Lions Club of Charlotte and receive a complimentary ticket to an upcoming game.
- Piedmont Natural Gas Share the Warmth
Bring your Piedmont Natural Gas bill to the game and opt into the Share the Warmth ‘Round Up’ Program. This program allows customers to round up their monthly bill to the nearest dollar with all proceeds going to heat homes right here in our community. All who opt in will receive a FREE ticket to an upcoming game and a FREE Co-branded Checkers scarf, courtesy of Piedmont Natural Gas.
- Scout Night
Group discounts and the opportunity for a sleepover on the ice are availble. Click here for more information.
- Hockey Fights Cancer Night
- Black Friday Presented by Amtrak
The Checkers will wear special black jerseys, with fans encouraged to wear black themselves. Jerseys will be auctioned April 6.
• Saturday, Feb. 25 vs. Oklahoma City (7:00 p.m.)
- Pink in the Rink Presented by Presbyterian Hospital
Players to wear specialty pink jerseys to be auctioned off following the game to benefit Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Carolina Breast Friends. Click here for more information.
- Checkers Winter Hat Giveaway
The first 2,500 women through the doors will receive a free beanie hat.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.