Saturday, March 8, 2014
For the third time this season, a Checkers win streak came to an end at four games. And for the second time, it was the Texas Stars that did the honor.
Texas shutout the Checkers, 3-0, on Saturday night in front of 5,469 at the Cedar Park Center thanks to a 23-save performance from 2010 first-round pick Jack Campbell and goals from Dustin Jeffrey, Colton Sceviour and Patrik Nemeth.
Campbell became the second goaltender to shutout the Checkers (28-27-3) this season, joining Lake Erie's Calvin Pickard ( 33 saves on Jan. 31). Although, Campbell's job was made considerably easier by Charlotte, who posted its lowest shots on goal total since December 1st's 18-shot performance against Milwaukee.
Texas (36-16-8), who now has a seven-game point streak and leads the Western Conference, entered the game on three days rest, while the Checkers played for the second time in two days, and it showed.
Chris Terry led the Checkers in shots on goal with five, while Zach Boychuk, both Sutters, and Victor Rask all failed to register a single shot on net. Terry (5), Boychuk (4), Aaron Palushaj (3), and Sean Dolan (3) all saw point-streaks of three or more games come to an end.
The Checkers remain in 10th place in the conference, but now sit seven points out of a playoff spot (after Milwaukee's win tonight) with 18 games still play. They'll face San Antonio tomorrow to conclude a stretch of three games in three days.
The Stars improved to 5-2-0 against the Checkers this season. The two team's will meet for the eighth -- and final -- time this season on Wednesday in Texas (the final game of Charlotte's 10-game road trip).
Notes: Forwards Greg Nemisz and Brendan Woods missed the game due to injury … Defenseman Austin Levi was a healthy extra. ... Matt Corrente returned from a one-game suspension he served on Friday. Murphy started in the net for the first time since Feb. 20. ... Texas, who boasts the top power play in the Western Conference, finished the night 1-for-4 on the man advantage against the Checkers, with Sceviour netting his AHL-leading 32nd goal of the season.
The Checkers picked up their fourth win in a row to tie their longest win-streak of the season with a 5-4 shootout victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Friday.
Despite playing without Justin Peters (recalled back to the Hurricanes from his 14-day conditioning stint with Charlotte), who had recorded the team's last three wins in net and defenseman Ryan Murphy (Recalled to the Hurricanes after Justin Faulk was placed on IR), who was in the midst of an 11-game point-streak at the time of his recall, the Checkers managed to continue their momentum.
John Muse, playing for the first time in two weeks, made 35 saves in net -- including a walk-off stop of the Rampage's Alex Petrovic during the shootout to record his 18th win of the season.
On the offensive side of the ice, Sean Dolan (2g, 1a) netted a a career-high three points in the win, with Justin Shugg and Aaron Palushaj supplying the other two goals in regulation.
Palushaj’s goal gave him 200 career professional points and six points (1g, 5a) in his last three games overall.
In the shootout, Muse stopped four of the five Rampage shooters, making the two goals from Brody Sutter and Palushaj all the Checkers needed.
Charlotte is now 4-2-1 on its franchise-record run of 10 consecutive road games. A stretch that is set to continue with a game against Texas on Saturday night. A set of three games in three nights will conclude when the Checkers return to San Antonio for a rematch on Sunday.
With both Milwaukee and Oklahoma City winning on Friday night, the Checkers remained in 10th place, five points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Notes: Chris Terry (5), Zach Boychuk (4), Michal Jordan (4) and Sean Dolan (3) each recorded points on Friday to extend their current-point streaks. ...Defenseman Matt Corrente missed the game due to a one-game suspension. Rookie Austin Levi, recalled from ECHL Florida on Thursday, played his first AHL game since Jan. 3 in his place. … Forward Brendan Woods missed the game due to injury.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 4:58 PM
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Per AHL release...
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced that Charlotte Checkers defenseman Matthew Corrente has been suspended for one (1) game as a consequence of an illegal check to the head of an opponent in a game at Norfolk on Mar. 4.
Corrente was suspended under the provisions of AHL Rule 28.1 (supplementary discipline).
Corrente will miss Charlotte’s game Friday (Mar. 7) at San Antonio.
The Checkers have also recalled defenseman Austin Levi from the ECHL's Florida Everblades.
Beau Schmitz, who had more experience in Charlotte this season, is out 4-to-6 weeks. It's likely he would have been recalled if healthy.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 2:58 PM
Per team release...
Faulk placed on injured reserve
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). In addition, the Hurricanes have placed defenseman Justin Faulk on injured reserve, retroactive to March 2.
Murphy, 20, earned 18 points (1g, 17a) in 16 games with the Checkers since being assigned to Charlotte on Jan. 24. The Aurora, Ont., native leads Charlotte defensemen in assists, and was on an 11-game assist streak at the time of his recall – the longest by an AHL player since the 2011-12 season and longest by an AHL defenseman since 2008-09. Murphy (5’11”, 185 lbs.) scored his first career AHL goal on March 2, and his 11-game point streak is the longest by an AHL defenseman this season. He has totaled two goals and nine assists (11 points) in 39 NHL games with Carolina this season and is in his first full professional season since being drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Per team release...
Goaltender was 3-1-1 during his conditioning stint with Checkers
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled goaltender Justin Peters from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Peters, 27, was assigned to Charlotte for a conditioning stint on Feb. 19. The Blyth, Ont., native was 3-1-1 during the assignment, and has a record of 4-1-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in six AHL games this season. Peters has spent the majority of the 2013-14 season with Carolina, posting a 7-9-4 record, 2.50 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 21 NHL games.
Selected by Carolina in the second round, 38th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Peters (6’1”, 210 lbs.) has a career NHL record of 22-31-8, with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage in 68 career games.
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford spoke on Wednesday and said that Carolina was considering carrying three goaltenders for the remainder of the season.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 11:46 AM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The Checkers season of peaks and valleys continued on Tuesday with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Admirals at Norfolk Scope Arena.
With the win -- which required Charlotte to score two goals in the game's final five minutes -- the Checkers (27-26-3) extended their winning streak to three games and improved their record on their current 10-game road trip to 3-2-1.
After falling behind, 2-1, with 10 minutes to play in regulation, the Checkers earned their first power-play opportunity of the night.
Philippe Cornet made sure it hurt, netting his 11th goal of the season to even things at two with 4:30 to play.
With under a minute to play in the third, Charlotte's Sean Dolan sealed the comeback with his second goal this season, thanks to a nice setup from Aaron Palushaj.
Justin Peters, likely playing in his final conditioning game with the Checkers, made 24 saves to pick up his third win in the last four days.
The Hurricanes -- who have had Peters in the AHL for 13 of the maximum 14 days allowed by the NHL's CBA -- must now either recall the 27-year-old goaltender, place him on waivers and hope he clears, or trade him.
To this point, Peters has amassed a 4-1-1 record, 2.14 goals-against average and .932 save percentage at the AHL level in six games this season.
Defenseman Ryan Murphy was also able to continue both his point and assist streaks in the win when he picked up the primary assist on a Chris Terry breakaway goal midway through the second period.
Both Murphy's point and assist streaks now sit at 11 games, which ties a Checkers franchise record and ranks as the fifth-longest in the AHL this season.
After beginning their road trip 0-2-1 and seeing their chances to make the playoffs dip below 10-percent, according to SportsClubStats.com, the Checkers can once again hold their heads high knowing they've picked up points in six of their last eight games (5-2-1).
The win also moved Charlotte into 10th place in the Western Division (its highest position since Feb. 5) and just five points out of a playoff spot with 20 games still to play.
The Checkers will now return to Charlotte for a few days of practice before heading out to San Antonio for the conclusion of their franchise-record 10 consecutive road games.
Notes: Murphy's 11-game point streak is tied for the longest by an AHL rookie this season. He now has 18 points (1g, 17a) in 16 games with Charlotte. … Terry’s goal was his 20th of the season and extended his current point streak to four games. ... The Checkers, who went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill on Tuesday, are now 15-for-15 on the PK over the last four games … Brett Sutter, who had an assist, also extended his point streak to four games. … Matt Marquardt and Keegan Lowe were healthy extras. … Brendan Woods (out three to five weeks) and John Muse missed the game due to injury.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 11:27 PM
Monday, March 3, 2014
With the NHL trade deadline looming less than 41 hours away and the Hurricanes in the midst of a five-game losing streak, here's a look at several Charlotte Checkers that might be worth an extended look in Raleigh...
We'll start with the hero of Sunday afternoon, Zach Boychuk. The 24-year-old former first round pick in 2008, netted goals 25, 26 and 27 of the season during the third period of the Checker's 6-3 win over the Bears in Hershey.
The hat trick was the third this season for Boychuk, whose previous career-high in goals had been 23. After what he terms a wake-up call last season, Boychuk no longer seems content to float around on the ice at times and it's shown in his numbers.
Over the last seven games, Boychuk has nine points (4g, 5a) and his 49 points (27g, 22a) overall are tied with Chris Terry for the most on the Checkers this season.
Almost since day one this year, Charlotte coach Jeff Daniels has praised Boychuk's focus and commitment.
Next up is another Checker who recorded three points on Sunday, in Aaron Palushaj (3 assists). With 47 points (18g, 29a) this season, the 24-year-old wing has already put together his best year since his 2010-11 campaign with Hamilton, where he finished the season with 57 points (22g, 35a).
Palushaj had the Checkers' points lead for much of the season, before turning in a five-point month of January (3g, 2a). He remains a speedy, hard-working forward with 68 career NHL games already under his belt.
On the day the Hurricanes assigned Ryan Murphy to the Checkers, a scout at the game told me that I was going to enjoy watching him play, adding also that Murphy should be a point-a-game guy in the AHL.
Safe to say that the scout has been dead on so far. With a goal and an assist on Sunday, Murphy extended his current point-streak to 10 games. He also has an assist in all 10 games, which is a franchise record for a Checkers defenseman.
You can live with Murphy's mistakes on defense when he's producing on the other end of the ice like he has. In his 15 games with Charlotte, Murphy has 17 points (1g, 16a) and is a plus-2 overall. His 1.13 points per game average is tops on the Checkers, among players who have 10 or more appearances this season.
Now for the one I get more emails and tweets about than anyone else, Victor Rask. For a guy who turned 21 this past Saturday, his season hasn't been anything to shake your head at. Despite being buried on the third and fourth lines at times, Rask -- who was drafted in the second round in 2011 -- has still managed to record 28 points (10g, 18a).
A two-month goal drought (from early October into December) seemed to set Rask back a bit, but since snapping that skid, he's produced 11 points (5g and 6a) -- including one goal and two assists in his last two games.
Many fans -- and some scouts -- would have liked to have seen him progress a bit faster, especially with the Hurricanes record of developing prospects as of late. But Rask should still figure prominently into Carolina's future plans.
He'll need to learn to take better care of the puck if he wants to succeed at the next level, but there's no doubting that the talent's there. He might have the most posts of anyone in Charlotte this season.
Last for today's list is Chris Terry. He's been a model of consistency since the Checkers came back into existence in 2010, with point totals of 64, 59 and 60. With 49 (19g, 30a) already this season and 21 games remaining, he's right about where you'd expect him to be.
Its tough to pick any one skill that the 25-year-old excels at the most, or that would best translate to the next level. As time has gone on, he's become more than just an offensive threat, often being tabbed by Daniels to put in extra time on the PK.
After a 13-game goalless streak that stretched from December into January, Terry has caught fire, netting 10 points (5g, 5a) over his last seven games. In the game Terry broke out of his scoring slump, he ripped off a season-high nine shots (two of which found the back of the net).
Justin Shugg 28 points (13g, 15a) and rookie defenseman Danny Biega are also guys to watch out for, while Brett Sutter 29 points (8g, 21a), Nicolas Blanchard, Michal Jordan and Mark Flood could all potentially fill holes on an NHL team.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 10:09 PM
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Checkers forward Zach Boychuk entered the third period of Sunday afternoon's game against the Hershey Bears scoreless.
When the final horn sounded twenty minutes later with the score 6-3 in favor of Charlotte, the 14th overall pick in 2008 skated off the ice with his third hat trick of the season and sole possession of fourth in the AHL in goals this season with 27.
The win was the second in as many days over the Bears for the Checkers (26-26-3), who again pulled back to .500 on the season.
Justin Peters, who has one game remaining on his conditioning assignment from the NHL's Hurricanes (before he would need to clear waivers to remain with the team), finished the game with 37 saves.
Peters, who started in net for the Checkers on their opening night, is now 3-1-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .933 save percentage at the AHL level this season.
Defenseman Ryan Murphy (1g, 1a), who the Hurricanes selected in the first round in 2011, extended his franchise-record assist streak to 10 games, while also netting his first AHL goal of the season.
Chris Terry got the scoring started for the Checkers late in the first when he connected on a 5-on-3 power-play goal with three seconds remaining in the period. The goal was Terry's 19th of the season.
Second period goals by Mark Flood (his 13th of the season) and Murphy (1) put the Checkers up 3-0, 10:15 into the period.
The goal gave Murphy, who picked up the second assist on Terry's goal in the first, 17 points (1g, 16a) in the 15 games he's played with the Checkers. It also led to the ejection of Hershey coach Mike Haviland, who believed Bears' goaltender David Leggio (20 saves on 26 shots) had been interfered with.
Hershey recovered momentarily to score the game's next two goals before Boychuk took over in the third.
Just 39 seconds after the Bears had pulled to within a goal, Boychuk scored his first thanks to a slick set up from Aaron Palushaj (3 assists).
At the 15:13 mark in the the third, the 24-year-old Boychuk notched his AHL-leading 13th power-play goal of the season. And, with time running out, he completed the hat trick with an empty-netter.
The Checkers will look to extend their current winning streak to three games on Tuesday when they travel to Norfolk to take on the Admirals to makeup Jan. 28's postponed game.
Notes: Checkers center Sean Dolan (2 assists) registered his first multi-point night of the season. ... Greg Nemisz, who had missed the previous eight games due to injury, recorded an assist on Murphy's goal. ... The Checkers successfully killed off four Bears power plays and went 10-for-10 in the two-game series. ... Brett Sutter played in his 500th professional game. ... Flood's 13 goals this season are a Checkers franchise-record for a defenseman. ... With back-to-back wins over the Bears this weekend, the Chckers chances of making the playoffs have climbed to 13.7-percent (a jump of 4.9-percent) with 21 games to play, according to SportsClubStats.com. ... Forwards Justin Shugg and Brendan Woods (out 4-to-6 weeks), defenseman Keegan Lowe (illness) and goalie John Muse (injury) did not play.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 8:24 PM
Victor Rask's first multi-point game since Nov. 24, coupled with 29 saves from Justin Peters helped the Checkers defeat the Bears, 4-1, on Saturday night in front of 9,784 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.
Rask (1g, 1a) helped get the scoring started for the Checkers (25-26-2) in the first period when he waited out a sprawling Hershey defender before sending a quick cross-ice feed to Zach Boychuk, that resulted in the forward's 23rd goal of the season.
Late in the second, Rask, who turned 21 on Saturday, scored the last of three Charlotte goals in the period to put his team up 4-1. The goal, which was the young center's 10th of the season wound up chasing Hershey goaltender Philipp Grebauer (15 saves) from the game.
Defenseman Ryan Murphy was credited with the assist on Rask's goal and extended his assist streak to nine games -- the longest in the AHL this season.
In 14 games since coming down from the Hurricanes in January, Murphy has already amassed the most assists by a Checkers defenseman this season and broken Michal Jordan’s team record for most assists by a rookie defenseman in a single season (15).
Peters, with Charlotte on a conditioning stint from the Hurricanes, picked up his first win of any kind since Dec. 14., while cousins Brody and Brett Sutter took care of the rest of the scoring.
The win was big for the Checkers, who saw their playoff chances dip below 10-percent (according to SportsClubStats.com) following an 0-2-1 start to their current 10-game road trip.
The Checkers will have a chance to square their season-series with the Bears at 2-2 tomorrow when they'll once again go head-to-head at 4 p.m.. Peters is expected to be back in net.
Notes: After being outshot 16-7 in the first period, the Checkers rallied to win the shots on goal battle 32-30 overall. ... With 23 goals (a career-high), Boychuk is now tied for fourth in the AHL. ... Matt Marquardt was a healthy scratch. … Peters can continue to play for the Checkers until March 5th (two more games) without the Hurricanes needing to make a move. For him to remain with the team longer, he'd need to pass through waivers. ... With the win, Charlotte (53 points) remained seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 22 games to play. ... Forwards Greg Nemisz and Brendan Woods (out 4-to-6 weeks) and goalie John Muse missed the game due to injury.
Posted by Seth Lakso at 1:12 AM
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Despite seven power-play opportunities for the Checkers (24-26-2), Fasth -- who has a career record of 17-8-3 (2.32 goals against average) in two seasons with the NHL's Anaheim Ducks -- needed just 22 saves to record the win.
Peters, who made his second start since rejoining the Checkers, stopped 21 of 24 Admirals' (29-17-7) shots.
Philippe Cornet put Charlotte on top early with his ninth goal of the season 1:35 into the first period. However, Norfolk countered with the game's next three goals, with Antoine Laganiere (8:32 into the second), John Kurtz (19:14 into the second) and Rickard Rakell (6:08 into the third while on the man advantage) doing the honors.
Rakell's goal, which was his 13th of the season, wound up being the game-winner after a Chris Terry shot deflected off Brett Sutter and into the back of Fasth's net with 3:22 remaining in regulation.
The goal came on a power play that began with 4:20 to play in regulation after Dave Steckle was hit with a double-minor for high-sticking.
With two minutes still remaining on the man advantage after Sutter's seventh goal of the season, the Checkers were unable to capitalize. They finished the game 1-for-7 on the power play.
Defenseman Ryan Murphy picked up assists on both of the Checkers goals to extend his current point streak to eight games. He now has 14 assists in 12 games since joining up with Charlotte.
With the loss, the Checkers -- who mustered just 12 shots through the first two periods on Wednesday -- saw their GEICO Challenge Cup points advantage over Norfolk drop to 8-6, with the home team winning all six games.
Three games into their franchise-record 10-game road trip things aren't looking great for the Checkers (0-2-1), who now head to Hershey to take on a Bears (29-19-3) team that currently sits just one point out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Notes: The loss kept Charlotte seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with just 23 games remaining. ... Ryan Murphy is just one game shy of tying the longest point streak posted by a Checker this season (Chris Terry holds the current mark with a nine-game stretch back in October). ... Greg Nemisz (skating during non-contact drills in practice), Brendan Woods (out 4-6 weeks) and John Muse (limited in practice) missed the game due to injury. ... Defenseman Keegan Lowe was a healthy extra.