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.
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
Healthy scratches: Beau Schmitz, Carter Sandlak
Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (knee), Gabriel Desjardins (undisclosed), Brendan Woods (undisclosed), Brock McGinn (undisclosed)