Sunday, March 23, 2014

Frustrations mounting for Mike Murphy after Checkers loss

For Mike Murphy, a frustrating season continued on Sunday.

The Checkers backup goaltender surrendered four goals in a 4-2 loss to the San Antonio Rampage, who entered the day in last place in the West Division, in front of 8,118 at Time Warner Cable Arena. 

Murphy – who started in place of an injured John Muse – finished the afternoon with 26 saves, and with the possible exception of the fourth Rampage goal, really couldn’t be held responsible for the loss, which was his fourth in a row and seventh in his last eight decisions overall.

Asked for comment following the game, Murphy declined, and, at this point, it’s tough to blame him.

Following the 25-year-old’s last start, a 40-save 3-2 loss to Lake Erie on March 16, Murphy expressed his frustrations over not being able to help a team just a few points out of the playoffs gain ground.

“I battled and I wanted to win pretty bad,” said Murphy, whose last win came on Feb. 16, following last Sunday's loss. “It’s frustrating. I’ve felt pretty good, (but) for some reason, right now, I can’t get a win. After the last one I said I was going to come out today and battle extremely hard and try to get those two points. To not get a point is unbelievable. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not very happy.”

Over his last four losses, Murphy has gotten an average of just 1.25 goals a game of support, while posting a .899 save percentage (125 saves on 139 shots).

Checkers captain Brett Sutter, who saw his six-game point streak (4g, 5a) snapped in the loss, came to his goaltender’s defense.

“We’ve got to start scoring some goals for (Murphy),” he said. “I’m not sure what our exact numbers are, but obviously we haven’t given him much support lately. We have a lot of confidence in Murphy and the last four or five games he’s played great, so we’re real confident going on the road that he’s going to be able to hold the fort for us.”

For the season, Murphy, who is the Checkers all-time leader in wins and games played, is 4-11-0, with a career-high 3.85 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage.

San Antonio’s leading scorer Bobby Butler finished the night with two goals and two assists, while Jed Ortmeyer and Wade Megan also found their way onto the scorer’s sheet.

Michal Jordan and Victor Rask each scored for the Checkers, who twice hit the post during a pivotal power play late in the third period.

“I think we did everything but score on that power play,” said Checker coach Jeff Daniels, whose squad has suddenly dropped three of its last four. “I think we were in the zone for pretty close to the full two minutes and had a lot of great looks. They did a great job of tying some sticks up there.

“This time of year, they all sting when you lose a game,” continued Daniels. “Just based on where we’re at. We’re trying to catch teams and when you’re losing you’re not catching anyone.”

The Checkers will now pack up and head to Iowa for two in a row against the Iowa Wild, who currently sit in 14th place in the Western Conference with 60 points, beginning on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m.

Jordan, who was one of the Checkers to send a shot off the post during that late power play, shed some light on how tough the loss was, as well as, the way the team is pulling for Murphy.

“Every loss, especially this time of year is very tough, especially when Murphy’s back there,” said Jordan, who has 10 points (1g, 9a) in 12 games this month. “(Murphy’s) played unbelievable in the last couple games. He’s given us all these chances to win. I feel like when we get the first one it’s going to snowball and lead to a couple more for him.”

Notes: With assists on both of the Checkers goals on Sunday, Chris Terry extended his point streak to seven games (6g, 4a). Terry now has points in 12 of his last 13 games (8g, 8a) and 61 points for the season (26g, 35a), placing him just three points shy of his career high set in 2010-11 (and four shy of the team record). … Michal Jordan (1g) extended his current point streak to three games. He now has 10 points (1g, 9a) in his last 12 games. … Victor Rask’s goal was his first since March 1. … Brendan Woods, Greg Nemisz and John Muse missed the game with injuries. Muse is “day-to-day” according to Checkers coach Jeff Daniels. … Dennis Robinson and Matthew Pistilli were the healthy scratches. ... Fan's were allowed to bring dogs to Sunday's game. Here's a photo thanks to @Checkershockey...


Anonymous said...

What about the puppies?