Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zach Boychuk captures AHL goal-scoring title in Checkers final game of the season

Having been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention the night before, the Charlotte Checkers lacked any kind of spark in Rockford on Saturday night on their way to a 7-3 loss in the final game of the regular season. 

Although he didn't score in the game, Checkers forward Zach Boychuk was able to lock up the Willie Marshall Award, given annually to the AHL's top goal-scorer. 

Boychuk captured the title with 36 goals in 69 games for Charlotte. He also finished second in the league with 74 points and was named a Second Team AHL All-Star at left wing. The 24-year old native of Airdrie, Alta., also recorded one goal and three assists in 11 NHL games with Carolina this season. 

Texas Stars Colton Sceviour and Travis Morin tied for second in the league with 32 goals each.

The 36 goals were 13 more than Boychuk had ever scored in a season and set a new franchise record for the Checkers.

Victor Rask, Ryan Murphy and Brody Sutter took care of the scoring for the Checkers on Saturday. In a reoccurring theme as of late, the Checkers had trouble staying out of the box, and ultimately allowed a franchise-record five power-play goals en route to the loss.

John Muse, who made 30 saves, dropped to 1-6-0 in the month of April.

After one period of play the game was tied, 2-2, thanks to goals by Rask and Murphy. However early in the second period, Rockford scored twice on a double minor for high sticking committed by Phil Di Giuseppe. 

Less than a minute into the third, Rockford took a three-goal lead and later added two more power-play tallies. Sutter scored with roughly seven minutes to play in the game, but its fate had long-since been decided. 

Notes: This April (1-6-0) goes down as the worst month in Checkers history in terms of percentage of possible points earned (14.3). November was the second-worst at 18.2 percent (2-9-0), while March (12-4-0) was the second-best (75.0). … Sutter’s goal was his 50th professional point. … Boychuk led the Checkers with six shots, while Murphy and Aaron Palushaj each had five. … Forward Sergey Tolchinsky (no shots, minus-1) and defenseman Dennis Robertson (three shots, even) each made their professional debuts. … Matt Marquardt, Jared Staal and Mark Flood were healthy scratches. … Philippe Cornet, Greg Nemisz and Brendan Woods missed the game due to injuries.