Friday, March 27, 2015

Game 68: Lake Erie Monsters at Charlotte Checkers

Puck Drop: Friday, 7 p.m.

TV/Radio info: TWC 323 / AHL Live / Online

Records: Checkers (28-33-5-1), Monsters (28-26-6-4)

The Charlotte Checkers return home to take on Lake Erie riding a season-best three-game winning streak after a 3-2 victory over the Admirals in Norfolk, Va., on Wednesday. Brody Sutter scored twice in Wednesday’s win to extend his current goal streak to three games, putting him one shy of the longest by a Checkers player (Brock McGinn) this season. Drew MacIntyre made 34 saves to earn his 211th AHL win, tying him for ninth all-time.

Recent Transactions: The Checkers have been busy in this regard as of late...

Goaltender Rasmus Tirronen, an undrafted native of Finland, signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes last Sunday after finishing his collegiate career at Merrimack College. In his senior year with Merrimack, Tirronen set the program's single-season record for save percentage (.929) while posting a 2.30 goals-against average. He ended his career with the fourth-most all-time wins in school history. Tirronen is currently in Charlotte and participated in the Checkers morning skate.

Former University of New Hampshire defenseman Brett Pesce signed an entry-level deal with the Hurricanes on Friday and is expected to report to Charlotte later this week. A third-round pick in the 2013 draft, Pesce spent three seasons at UNH, totaling 43 points (11g, 32a) in 110 games. He finished second among the team's defenseman in scoring this past season with 16 points in 31 games.

Plymouth Whalers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic also signed an entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and has been assigned to Charlotte for the remainder of the season. A second-round pick by Carolina in the 2014 draft, Nedeljkovic has played three seasons in the OHL with Plymouth, posting 65-57-16 record with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Regardless of how well he plays, Nedeljkovic -- who is still just 19 years old -- does not meet the age-minimum for the AHL and won't be eligible to play for the Checkers next season.

News also broke on Friday that defenseman Josh Wesley, a teammate of Nedeljkovic's in Plymouth and son of former Canes' legend Glen Wesley, will also be making the trip to Charlotte. Wesley, 19, became the first North Carolina-developed NHL draft pick when the Hurricanes took him in the fourth round in 2014.

Notes: With 12 points in his last 12 games, Checkers rookie defenseman Trevor Carrick has emerged as an offensive threat. He currently leads all Charlotte blue-liners in goals (six) and assists (20), both records for a Checkers’ rookie defenseman. Of Carrick’s five multipoint games this season, four have occurred since March 1. … Friday’s game marks the first of six straight home contests for the Checkers, who are 17-13-1-1 at Time Warner Cable Arena this season. … Defenseman Keegan Lowe returned to the Charlotte lineup on Wednesday after missing 11 games with an injury. ... Chad LaRose, who turned 33 today, has one goal and one assist since making an unexpectedly early return from injury three games ago. ... The Checkers are offering an extra 10 percent off all merchandise (already 40-percent off) to fans who wear purple (to raise awareness for domestic violence prevention) to Friday’s game.

Checkers lines: 

Zach Boychuk-Brody Sutter-Chad LaRose
Brock McGinn-Brendan Woods- Justin Shugg
Phil Di Giuseppe-Ben Holmstrom-Patrick Brown
Kyle Hagel-Sean Dolan-Jared Staal

Trevor Carrick-Beau Schmitz
Dennis Robertson-Mike Cornell
Jordan Henry-Keegan Lowe

Drew MacIntyre
John Muse
Rasmus Tirronen

Healthy scratches: Austin Levi, Alex Aleardi

Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (knee)