The Charlotte Checkers enjoyed a fruitful home opening weekend with two thrilling victories. Saturday’s contest was a nail biting, bases loaded in the ninth type of win and Matt Pistilli was the man at the plate to hit the ball out of the park. He took top star of the game after his seventh round shootout goal to seal two points for Charlotte.
The Checkers gave up their three point lead in the third to shots by McRae, Della Rovere, and Peluso of the Peoria Rivermen with Justin Peters in goal. Blanchard, Samson, and Boychuk lit the lamp in regulation for Charlotte. Chris Terry claimed the other shootout goal. Matsumoto also had two helpers during the evening.
Sunday’s game displayed a tighter team as they won 3-1 in 60 minutes. Bowman and Nash each had a power play goal. Matsumoto impressed again with a shot past goalie Ben Bishop.
On a side note, it was the first time I saw tendy Ben Bishop in person and it looked like someone put Žydrūnas Ilgauskas in front of a hair net.
Now I would be remised to mention goaltenders and not highlight Michael Murphy’s outstanding performance. In addition to
stopping 31 attempts, there were many oh-my-lord-how-did-he-save-that moments. He stacked the pads and stood on his head, as some would say.
The weekend festivities began with mascot, Chubby, bungee jumping from the TWC Arena ceiling and ended with fan favorite skate with the Checkers. There is no debating the Carolina Hurricanes host a talented AHL team, but they are also a group of respectable athletes. Each player signed autographs, posed for ridiculous pictures, and had snowball fights with the kids.
Highlight of the weekend, Zach “Bug” Bennett let his momma give him a wet one for the Kiss Cam.
After four games, Jon Matsumoto leads the Checkers with an impressive 9 points. Bowman, Boychuk, and Sanguinetti follow with four points each. Jerome Samson also has 3 goals and a +3 rating. Charlotte is finding their stride and Carolina hockey nuts are excited for a long, successful season!
Let’s Go Checkers!