In the good’ol days of classic Nintendo, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out was the bee’s knees. Your cartoon player was always freakishly smaller than the opponent. I suppose for the ease of viewing, but it was crazy unnatural looking. These were my memories as I watched the Charlotte Checkers fall to the stunted Syracuse Crunch Saturday night.
The Checkers have gone 5-4-0-1 in their past games, and hold the sixth seed with 84 points in the Eastern Conference standings. Although the Crunch has improved in their past ten (6-3-1-0), they can barely see Charlotte from their place in 13th with 59 points. Yet, Syracuse knocked-out the Canes AHL affiliate 6-2.
There wasn’t much difference between the shots on goal, 42-37 Charlotte. The difference also didn’t lie in the power play as Syracuse went 1-for-5 and Checkers 0-for-4. Surely a few extra-man goals would have lessen the fall, but wouldn’t have won the contest.
The difference resided in Kyle Palmieri and Justin Pogge. Palmieri played the role Godzilla-sized Mike Tyson with a hat trick and an assist, and Pogge took the TKO. The struggling goalie was pulled for the final twenty minutes. Michael Murphy swallowed the seven attempts by the Crunch and Bryan Rodney scored late in the third, but the punches had already taken effect on the wobbling Checkers.
Nick Dodge scored the only other goal for the Checkers in the second period. Crunch goalie, Timo Pielmeier made an impressive 40 stops.
Charlotte in now tied for third in the Eastern Division with Norfolk. The Checkers have an opportunity for redemption as they take on #1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins today at 3:05pm.