Sunday, March 2, 2014

Checkers stop slide, defeat Hershey 4-1

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 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.