Thursday, March 5, 2015

Game 58: San Antonio Rampage at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Thursday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (22-29-5-1), Rampage (31-19-5-1)

The Checkers are looking for their fifth-straight win at Time Warner Cable Arena tonight and they'll have the services of left wing Brock McGinn, who served his one-game suspension for charging on last night. McGinn has been on fire as of late with five goals in his last seven games.

Zach Boychuk and Trevor Carrick scored in regulation for the Checkers in last night's win before Danny Biega netted the deciding shootout goal. Drew MacIntyre stopped 40 of 42 shots on the night and was named the game's 1st Star.

Recent Transactions: none.

Notes: The Checkers improved to 2-2-2 against San Antonio this season with last night's 3-2 shootout win. Drew MacIntyre has been in net for each game, posting a 2.39 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He has now stopped 19 of 20 in the shootout this season. … Zach Boychuk has seven points (5g, 2a) in his last eight games, including three power-play goals in his last four … The Rampage's game-tying goal in the third period ended the Checkers’ streak of 20 consecutive penalties killed (seven full games) since their last power-play goal allowed on Feb. 12. It was their second-longest streak of the season. … Mike Cornell earned his 250th professional penalty minute with a second-period fight on Wednesday… For more Checkers thoughts, see today's earlier post.

Checkers lines: 

Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Patrick Brown
Brock McGinn-Brendan Woods- Justin Shugg
Phil Di Giuseppe-Ben Holmstrom-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Sean Dolan-Jared Staal

Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Beau Schmitz
Austin Levi-Mike Cornell

John Muse
Drew MacIntyre      

Healthy scratches: Carter Sandlak

Injured/out: Chad LaRose (upper body), Keegan Lowe (undisclosed) Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins (undisclosed). 

Some Checkers thoughts...

Some lingering thoughts following the Charlotte Checkers' 3-2 shootout win over the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night...

Excluding a shaky second period, a short-handed Checkers squad played some quality hockey in what was an exciting win on Wednesday. The only problem was, just about no one saw. Wednesday's paid attendance was 3,056.

The game was a perfect example of why the team moving to the Bojangles Coliseum next season should be a good thing for everyone.

As is, the Checkers share Time Warner Cable Arena with the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, who act as the arena's main tenant. As such, the Hornets get first pick when it comes prime scheduling days, leaving the Checkers with whatever's left.

This season, and especially this month, what's left has been a ticket salesman's nightmare.

The Checkers are one game into a current five-game home stand. Here's the days they're set to play on: Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Yikes.

A member of the Checkers' staff walked by the media section on Wednesday night, scanned the largely empty arena, and shrugged.

"Safe to say you won't see a home stand like this next season," he said.

And he should be right, as the main tenants of Bojangles, the Checkers should be able to secure whatever home dates they'd like and that's important for a team that's seen its average attendance drop three seasons in a row.

Charlotte currently ranks 12th in the AHL in average attendance (5,537). That's a little more than 730 tickets a game down from last year's pace, when the team drew the seventh most fans in the AHL. The team could sellout its 10 remaining home games and still not hit last year's attendance mark (241,685).

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Changing gears, it's tough not to feel for veteran forward Chad LaRose, who was injured during a collision that occurred during last Tuesday's practice. LaRose was leading the Checkers in points (31) and goals (16) and might have made a nice late-season addition for an NHL team looking for a fourth-line forward and some special teams help.

"LaRose is a leader for us," Checkers coach Jeff Daniels said on Wednesday. "He's got the experience... and he did a lot of good stuff for us. He's around and checking in on the guys to see how they're doing, but injuries happen and call-ups happen. We've just got to find a way to be ready to go."

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Both Brendan Woods and Patrick Brown have started to see time at the wing as of late. It's been something Daniels has wanted to experiment with all season, but the team's lack of depth at center had prevented, both played well in their new roles on Wednesday.

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Checkers goaltender Drew MacIntyre has stopped 19 of 20 in the shootout this season. He had lost seven of his last eight games entering Wednesday.

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Scouts love what they've seen from rookie defenseman Trevor Carrick. Carrick scored his fifth goal of the season on Wednesday and has recorded the most penalty minutes of any Checkers' rookie this season. He's a guy that will be fun to watch as he matures.

While on the topic of Checkers' rookies, I get the feeling left wing Brock McGinn -- who has been red hot as of late -- may get a look in Carolina sooner than later. McGinn, 21, ranks tied for fourth on the Checkers and first among rookies with 19 points. He is tied for third on the team with 10 goals, five of which have come in his last seven games.

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Here's an excerpt of Paul Branecky's story on Checkers broadcaster Jason Shaya moonlighting as an AHL goaltender.

On the first day of training camp during the latter part of the Checkers’ ECHL era, a New York Rangers prospect named David Urquhart heard the locker room chatter and was confused. Finally, he approached one of the team’s goalies.  
“Why do they call you the radio guy?” he asked. 
“Because I am the radio guy,” Jason Shaya recalls saying that day, aware of the apparent absurdity of the situation. “He was probably taking shots on Henrik Lundqvist three weeks earlier and now he’s down in the ECHL taking shots on me.” 

It's an interesting read that I highly recommend if you have some free time. Here's a vine of former NHL 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley beating Shaya over the right blocker.



Shaya's response to this vine was pretty great as well...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Game 57: San Antonio Rampage at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (21-29-5-1), Rampage (31-19-5-0)

The Checkers headed north of the boarder riding a season-long three-game winning streak, but were humbled by the Marlies, who outscored them 10-4 in a two-game sweep before splitting two games in Hamilton. Charlotte now returns home, where it has won its last three contests for a mid-week back-to-back with San Antonio.

Both Keegan Lowe and Chad LaRose suffered injuries during the Toronto trip that will likely keep them out for extended time. LaRose, who currently leads the Checkers in points (31) and goals (16), may be lost for the season. The Checkers aren't disclosing the veteran's injury, but it occurred during practice last Tuesday.

"There’s no timeline, but they’re both going to miss some time," Charlotte coach Jeff Daniels told the team's website. "It’s nothing day-to-day, it’s probably more week-to-week."

Checkers' rookie LW Brock McGinn will serve his one-game suspension for a charging penalty that took place during a game at Hamilton on Feb. 28. The suspension is McGinn's second this season for an illegal hit.

Recent Transactions: Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen was recalled by Carolina on March 2. ... Tuesday afternoon, the team signed center Sean Dolan to a professional tryout contract. Dolan, 27, played 142 total games for Charlotte between the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons, scoring 31 points (14g, 17a) and recording 89 penalty minutes. The center, who has missed the majority of this season due an injury suffered in training camp with his ECHL club in South Carolina, made his season debut on Feb. 21 and has scored two points, both goals, in five games with the Stingrays. ... Defenseman Austin Levi was also added to the Checkers roster on Tuesday.

Notes: Despite scoring three or more goals in five of their last seven games, the Checkers entered Tuesday tied for the worst goals-per-game average (2.20) in the AHL. … Charlotte goaltender Drew MacIntyre is 1-7 over his last eight starts and has allowed three or more goals in all seven losses. … MacIntyre’s backup, John Muse, is 5-2 over his last seven, with a 2.28 goals-against average. … The Checkers have killed 19 consecutive penalties over their last seven games. The streak is tied for the longest this season by the team. … Charlotte's penalty kill ranks ninth in the league at 85.8 percent. … After going 29 games without a goal (Nov. 30) and 20 games without a point (Dec. 29), Checkers rookie forward Brock McGinn has five goals in his last eight games (5g, 1a). … Since returning from the ECHL's Florida Everblades on Jan. 4, forward Alex Aleardi has 14 points (8g, 6a) in 19 games, including eight in his last nine (5g, 3a). … The Rampage (178), who have gone 5-4-1 over their last 10, have scored 55 more goals than Charlotte (123) this season, which is tops in the AHL.

Checkers lines: 

Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Patrick Brown
Justin Shugg-Brendan Woods-Jared Staal
Phil Di Giuseppe-Ben Holmstrom-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Sean Dolan-Carter Sandlak

Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Beau Schmitz
Austin Levi-Mike Cornell

Drew MacIntyre
John Muse

Healthy scratches: none.

Injured/out: Chad LaRose (missing his third-straight game), Keegan Lowe (missing his second in a row) Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Game 52: Iowa Wild at Charlotte Checkers


Puck Drop: Thursday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (19-26-5-1), Wild (17-35-1-1)

The Checkers will look to extend their current winning streak to a season-long three games after disposing of the Wild, 4-1, on Wednesday. Both Brock McGinn and Chad LaRose finished Wednesday night with two goals, while Drew MacIntyre snapped a personal five-game slide with 35 saves.

The loss was the sixth in a row for the Wild, who remain the sole team currently looking up at the Checkers in the Western Conference standings.

Recent Transactions: The Carolina Hurricanes reassigned Checkers captain Michal Jordan to Charlotte on Thursday morning. Following the announcement, Hurricanes' coach Bill Peters suggested that the defenseman's stay in the AHL could be a short one.


Notes: Since returning from the ECHL's Florida Everblades, Alex Aleardi has posted 10 points (6g, 4a) in 14 games, including four in his last four (3g, 1a). … With 18 points (12g, 6a) in his last 24 games, Chad LaRose has taken sole possession of the Checkers’ scoring lead with 29 points (16g, 13a). … Checkers rookie Brock McGinn snapped a 29-game goal drought – and a 20-game point drought -- with a first-period goal in Monday’s 4-3 shootout win over Norfolk and then netted two more on Wednesday. ... Thursday's game is the Checkers third of four scheduled contests this week. Following the game, the Checkers will pack up and head to Toronto to face the Marlies on Sunday. ... Tonight's game is the sixth of eight contests between the Checkers and Wild this season. The Checkers have taken three of five.

Checkers lines: 

Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Chad LaRose
Brock McGinn-Brendan Woods-Justin Shugg
Carter Sandlak-Ben Holmstrom-Alex Aleardi
Phil Di Giuseppe-Patrick Brown-Jared Staal

Beau Schmitz-Michal Jordan
Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Keegan Lowe

John Muse
Drew MacIntyre

Healthy scratches: Kyle Hagel

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins (missed 18 games starting 1/4), Rasmus Rissanen (undisclosed). 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Game 51: Iowa Wild at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (18-26-5-1), Wild (17-34-1-1)

The Checkers rebounded nicely from a season-long four-game losing streak by taking two of their three games this past week. They’ll have a prime opportunity to continue their roll when the Iowa Wild – the Western Conference’s current cellar dwellers -- travels to Charlotte for back-to-backs games beginning on Wednesday.

Recent Transactions: none.

Notes: Since returning from the ECHL's Florida Everblades, Alex Aleardi has posted 10 points (6g, 4a) in 13 games, including four in his last three (3g, 1a). … With 16 points (10g, 6a) in his last 23 games, Chad LaRose has taken sole possession of the Checkers’ scoring lead with 27 points (14g, 13a). … Checkers rookie Brock McGinn snapped a 29-game goal drought – and a 20-game point drought -- with a first-period goal in Monday’s 4-3 shootout win over Norfolk. McGinns ranks third on the Checkers with 101 shots on goal this season. … The Checkers rank last in the AHL on the power play with a season-long percentage of 10.7. The lowest recorded power-play percentage for a season in AHL history is 10.4, set by the Rochester Americans in 2001-02. … Brendan Woods returned to the Checkers lineup on Monday after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. Woods left the Checkers' Jan. 23 contest against the Barons after taking a hit that earned Travis Ewanyk a suspension from the league office. … The Wild enter town just 2-8 over their last 10 games and in the midst of a five-game losing streak. … Forward Tyler Graovac, who is in his second pro season, leads Iowa in points with 34 (16 goals, 18 assists).

Checkers lines: (projected)

Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Chad LaRose
Brock McGinn-Brendan Woods-Justin Shugg
Phil Di Giuseppe-Ben Holmstrom-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Patrick Brown-Jared Staal

Rasmus Rissanen-Beau Schmitz
Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Keegan Lowe

Drew MacIntyre
John Muse

Healthy scratches: Carter Sandlak

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins (missed 17 games starting 1/4).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Game 50: Norfolk Admirals at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Monday, 4 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (17-26-5-1), Admirals (21-24-3-2)

The Charlotte Checkers announced on Sunday that their game against the Norfolk Admirals on Monday, Feb. 16, will now be played at 4 p.m. instead of its originally scheduled time of 7 p.m. The Checkers and Admirals agreed to make the change due to inclement weather expected in the Charlotte area. 

The Checkers will look to take advantage of home ice after earning their usual split in a two-game series in Lake Erie earlier this week. The split started with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday before the Monsters answered back with a 3-2 win on Thursday.

Transactions: The Checkers have released center Jason Bast from his PTO, suggesting that fellow centerman, Brendan Woods, may be close to returning from injury. Woods left the Checkers' Jan. 23 contest against the Barons after taking a hit that earned Travis Ewanyk a suspension from the league. The second-year center has missed six games since, but has been a regular participant in practice as of late. ... Checkers captain, Michal Jordan, is currently with the Carolina Hurricanes after being recalled by Charlotte's parent club earlier this week.

Notes: Alex Aleardi's goal on Thursday gave the forward five points in his last six games. Aleardi has shined when called upon as of late. His nine points since Jan. 4 are the second most by a Checkers player during that period, trailing only Chad LaRose’s ten. ... The Checkers, who will play three games at home this week, have dropped their last three meetings with Norfolk, but their last two contests have required overtime. ... The Admirals rank 29th in the AHL in goals per game at 2.16, just a hair above Charlotte (2.10), and were able to win their last two games despite scoring just twice in each. ... Monday's game begins a stretch of three home games in four days for the Checkers, who host the Iowa Wild on Wednesday and Thursday. ... Monday marks the fifth of eight meetings between Norfolk - the only Eastern Conference team the Checkers play this season -- and Charlotte. Including a 1-2-2 record this season, the Checkers have an all-time mark of 21-15-5 against their former East Division rival and an 11-7-2 mark at home.

Checkers lines: 

Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Chad LaRose
Brock McGinn-Brendan Woods-Justin Shugg
Phil Di Giuseppe-Ben Holmstrom-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Patrick Brown-Jared Staal

Rasmus Rissanen-Beau Schmitz
Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Keegan Lowe

John Muse
Drew MacIntyre

Healthy scratches: Carter Sandlak

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins (missed 16 games starting 1/4).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Game 47: Chicago Wolves at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Saturday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (16-24-5-1), Wolves (23-18-5-1)

Morale in the Checkers' locker room hit a season-low on Friday night after the Chicago Wolves ousted Charlotte, 4-1, in a game that didn't feel as close the already lopsided score might suggest. The loss was the Checkers' third in a row. A loss in Saturday's rematch with Chicago -- which moved into the eighth and final place in the Western Conference playoff race with their win on Friday -- would mark a new season-long losing streak for the Checkers, who now sit 14 points out of a playoff spot.

Three (Lake Erie, Toronto, Hamilton) of Charlotte’s five remaining opponents in February are teams also competing for the eighth seed in the Western conference.

"It’s not going our way right now," Checkers captain Michal Jordan said following Friday's loss. "We’re not scoring many goals and we’re not winning many games, so it sucks right now. We have to battle out there as a group. Older guys have got to step up and make sure we’re going to be ready, finish strong the rest of our season, and hopefully start winning a couple of games and start pushing for that playoff spot."

Following this series, the Checkers will travel to Lake Erie for a pair of midweek contests with the Monsters.

Transactions: none.

Notes: In nine periods of play since the AHL All-Star break, the Checkers have been outscored 13-3. Their 2.13 goals-per-game average ranks last in the AHL, as well as their 9.4 power-play scoring percentage. ... If the season were to end today, both those marks would be franchise worsts. ... This weekend’s series against Chicago marks the 18th time the Checkers have faced the same opponent in two consecutive games this season. Including Friday's loss, they are a combined 3-11-4 in the first halves of those series and 10-6-1 in the second. ... Since returning from an ECHL stint on Jan. 3, Alex Aleardi has six points (3g, 3a) in nine games. ... This weekend’s contests mark the Checkers’ ninth annual “Pink in the Rink” to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancers related to women. Fans attending the games are encouraged to wear pink. Last season’s event raised approximately $45,000 for various nonprofits.

Checkers lines: 

Brock McGinn-Ben Holmstrom-Chad LaRose
Phil Di Giuseppe-Jason Bast-Justin Shugg
Carter Sandlak-Brody Sutter-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Patrick Brown-Jared Staal

Rasmus Rissanen-Michal Jordan
Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Keegan Lowe

Drew MacIntyre
John Muse

Healthy scratches: Beau Schmitz, Zach Boychuk

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins (missed 13 games starting 1/4), Brendan Woods (missed three games starting 1/30), 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Checkers streaking (in wrong direction)

After being unable to secure back-to-back wins in regulation through 46 games this season, the Charlotte Checkers can finally say that they’ve strung a few together.

The problem being, Charlotte’s current run is on the wrong side of the win-loss column.

The Checkers’ 4-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves in front of a nearly sold-out crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday extended the team’s current pointless streak to a season-worst three games.  

The Checkers, who have failed to secure a point in three consecutive games on two previous occasions this season, have now been out-scored 13-3 in the nine periods since the American Hockey League All-Star break and 8-1 in their last six periods.

With 30 games remaining in the regular season and 13 points currently standing between Charlotte and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the run of futility couldn’t be coming at a worse time.

Chicago (23-18-5-1) entered the Time Warner Cable Arena just one point behind the Texas Stars for that coveted final playoff spot in the Western Conference and played like the hungrier team from the opening puck drop.

Wolves’ goaltender Jordan Binnington (38 saves) became the third straight goaltender to record a win against the Checkers (16-24-5-1), turning away all but Brody Sutter’s one-timer with just under five minutes to play in the third.

The one-goal night dropped Charlotte’s already AHL-worst goals-per-game average to 2.13.

Chicago entered the first intermission with a 1-0 lead, before exploding for three more in the second period, the last of which spelled the end of the night for Checkers’ Goaltender Drew MacIntyre (16 saves on 20 shots on goal) with 4:45 still remaining in the period.

John Muse (11 saves) did what he could to give the Checkers a chance to get back in the game. But ultimately, Sutter’s blast during garbage time was the only puck to make its way past Binnington.

The Checkers will get another shot at the Wolves on Saturday in front of what is expected to be a sellout crowd.

Beginning with Saturday’s rematch, four (Chicago, Lake Erie, Toronto, Hamilton) of Charlotte’s six opponents in February are teams also competing for the eighth seed in the conference.


It’s now or never for the Checkers.

Game 46: Chicago Wolves at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Friday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online / TWC SportsChannel 323

Records: Checkers (16-23-5-1), Wolves (22-18-5-1)

As of Friday afternoon, the Charlotte Checkers sit 13 points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot. With the season entering the home stretch, the Checkers will need to find a way to string consecutive wins together – a feat they’ve accomplished just once this season. … The Wolves (50 points) arrive one point behind the Texas Stars (51 points) for the final playoff spot in the conference and 4-4-1-1 over their last 10 games.

Beginning with Friday’s matchup, four (Chicago, Lake Erie, Toronto, Hamilton) of Charlotte’s six opponents in February are teams also competing for the eighth seed in the conference.

Transactions: Charlotte announced Friday morning that it has signed forward Jason Bast to a professional tryout contract. Bast, 25, has spent the majority of the season with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL, racking up 44 points (25g, 19a) in 43 games. He recently earned the ECHL's Rookie of the Month award for January by scoring 17 points in 14 games.

The undrafted center is tied for second in the ECHL in goals, is tied for ninth in scoring and holds a share of the scoring lead among ECHL rookies.

Notes: At Sunday’s practice, the Checkers shelved their normal routine and instead took part in a power skating session with instructor Kim Muir. Muir has over 20 years of instruction experience and has worked with the Carolina Hurricanes in development camp and training camp. Muir split the forwards and the defensemen, having each group spend roughly 45 minutes on the ice, partaking in a variety of drills focused on skating. … The Checkers lost rookie forward Brock McGinn to an injury last Friday after he absorbed a big hit from behind that drew a game-misconduct penalty. McGinn did not play Saturday. McGinn likely will join Brendan Woods (undisclosed injury) on the sideline this weekend. Woods was hurt during the Checkers’ home win over Oklahoma City on Jan. 23. … After a season-long six-game point streak (3g, 3a) that ended Saturday night, Chad LaRose has taken sole possession of the team scoring lead with 25 points (12g, 13a). … Including a 5-for-5 performance in their last game in Texas on Jan. 31, the Checkers have killed off 25 of their opponents’ last 26 power plays (96.2 percent) over their last six games. During that time, they have climbed to ninth in the AHL with a season-long percentage of 85.8. ... This weekend’s contests mark the Checkers’ ninth annual “Pink in the Rink” to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancers related to women. Fans attending the games are encouraged to wear pink. Last season’s event raised approximately $45,000 for various nonprofits.

Checkers lines: 

Phil Di Giuseppe-Ben Holmstrom-Chad LaRose
Zach Boychuk-Jason Bast-Justin Shugg
Brock McGinn-Brody Sutter-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Patrick Brown-Jared Staal

Rasmus Rissanen-Danny Biega
Trevor Carrick-Michal Jordan
Dennis Robertson-Keegan Lowe

Drew MacIntyre
John Muse

Healthy scratches: Beau Schmitz, Carter Sandlak

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (knee), Gabriel Desjardins (undisclosed), Brendan Woods (undisclosed), Brock McGinn (undisclosed) 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Game 43: Oklahoma City Barons at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Friday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio infoAHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (15-21-5-1), Barons (28-9-2-3)

The Checkers will play their final game of a three-in-three set on Friday when they host the Oklahoma City Barons, who defeated Charlotte 3-1 on Thursday night, at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Checkers were outshot 18-4 in the second period of Thursday's game and outscored 3-0. Chad LaRose scored Charlotte's lone goal in the first period.

After Friday's game against the Barons, who currently hold the top record in the league, the Checkers (minus Ryan Murphy) will head home for the AHL's All-Star break. Murphy (0-12-12)  is Charlotte's lone representative in the AHL All-Star game.

Drew MacIntyre will be back in net for the Checkers after sitting out Thursday's loss. In Mac's last action, the veteran turned away 45 shots in a last-second 3-2 overtime loss to Norfolk.

Notes: The Barons have won 12 of their last 15 contests and currently hold the best record in the AHL. ... With one point scored in each of his last four games (2g, 2a), Chad LaRose has taken sole possession of the team scoring lead with 23 points (11g, 12a). The alternate captain has put up 12 of those points in his last 15 games (7g, 5a). ... The Checkers went 2-for-3 on the power play against Toronto on Jan. 16, snapping a 1-for-41 skid over their previous 11 games. The club did not get a chance to continue that momentum in Norfolk on Wednesday as it did not receive a power play for just the second time in team history (first since April 13, 2012 at Peoria). They finished 0-for-3 with a man advantage on Thursday. ... Drew MacIntyre has earned Charlotte at least a point in the standings in seven of his last nine starts. ... The Checkers are 1-5-1 against the Barons this season with four contests remaining after tonight. ... Kyle Hagel is unlikely to play with an undisclosed injury. Should he be unable to go, he'll be replaced in the lineup by Carter Sandlak.

Checkers lines: 

Brock McGinn-Ben Holmstrom-Justin Shugg
Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Chad LaRose
Phil Di Giuseppe-Patrick Brown-Alex Aleardi
Carter Sandlak-Brendan Woods-Jared Staal

Rasmus Rissanen-Danny Biega
Trevor Carrick-Michal Jordan
Keegan Lowe-Ryan Murphy

Drew MacIntyre
John Muse

Healthy scratches: Dennis Robertson.

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (knee), Beau Schmitz (undisclosed), Gabriel Desjardins (undisclosed), Kyle Hagel (undisclosed)