Tonight’s match-up at Time Warner Cable Arena pits the Midwest Division leading Charlotte Checkers against the second place Milwaukee Admirals. The contest is the first game of a six-game homestand for the Checkers and the first of two games these teams will play this weekend. The Admirals took the first game of the eight-game season series back on 04-Nov-2011 with a 3-1 win in Milwaukee.
The Checkers are coming off an impressive 6-3 victory in Norfolk on Wednesday night where the offensive flood gates finally broke open. Charlotte had expected to receive an offensive boost from the recent re-assignments of Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk, however the duo only picked up one point between them (a late third period 5-on-3 marker from Dalpe). This is good news for the Checkers as it meant some of the other guys they depend upon for goal scoring are finally starting to step up.
Center Riley Nash picked up his first goal since 16-Oct-2011, ending a 14-game drought. Nash added two assists for a three point night. The game saw two other Checkers put in three-point efforts – Jerome Samson (2G, 1A) and Chris Terry (3A). Jon Matsumoto continued his recent hot streak, notching a goal and an assist on the evening and giving him 6 points (4G, 2A) in his last 4 games. Wednesday night’s effort also extended scoring streaks for Terry (7A in last 5 games) and Michal Jordan (1G, 3A in last 3 games).
See what the Checkers have to say about tonight’s matchup here.
Bowman – Matsumoto – Pistilli
Terry – Dalpe – Shugg
Boychuk – Durno – Samson
Soryal – Nash – Blanchard
Jordan – Bellemore
Roy – Murray
Krueger – Rissanen
Last weekend saw Milwaukee coming off consecutive 3-1 wins over Grand Rapids and San Antonio. The Admirals boast a 6-0-0-1 record on the road this season and are in the midst of an even more impressive road streak dating back to the middle of last season. Milwaukee’s last regulation loss came on 13-Jan-2011, giving them 23 consecutive road games where they have picked up at least one point. In addition to the road point streak, the Admirals have yet to give up a third period goal on the road this season.
On offense, the Admirals are led by center Kyle Wilson (4G, 9A) and right wing Juuso Puustinen (8G, 4A). On the back end, rookie Ryan Ellis is fourth on the Admirals in scoring. His 11 points (4G, 7A) have him tied for 7th overall in the AHL in points for defencemen and tied for 1st for rookie defencemen scoring.
In goal, Milwaukee has relied heavily on netminder Jeremy Smith. Having started 13 of the Admirals 15 games this season, Smith is carrying a 9-3-1 record with a 2.06 goals against average and a 0.920 save percentage. His last two starts have been especially impressive, allowing only one goal in each contest, stopping a combined 39 of 41 shots.
Look for a couple line-up changes tonight as Milwaukee will need to shuffle things around recent transactions by NHL parent club, the Nashville Predators” href=”http://predators.nhl.com/index.html” target=”_blank”>Nashville Predators. Defenceman Roman Josi was called up to the Predators on Friday. Last season Josi led the Admirals in powerplay points as a rookie (3G, 22A) and was fourth overall in team scoring (6G, 34A), but has seen limited action this year due to an injury in training camp. On Wednesday, forward Niclas Bergfors cleared waivers and was assigned to Milwaukee by the Predators. Bergfors had scored 2 points (1G, 1A) in eleven games with Nashville this season.
Milwaukee leads series 1-0-0-0
Friday, 04-Nov-2011: Admirals 3, Checkers 1
Saturday, 26-Nov-2011: Admirals at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Sunday, 27-Nov-2011: Admirals at Checkers, 2:00pm EST
Saturday, 07-Jan-2012: Checkers at Admirals, 8:00pm EST
Friday, 10-Feb-2012: Checkers at Admirals, 8:00pm EST
Tuesday, 03-Apr-2012: Admirals at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Thursday, 05-Apr-2012: Admirals at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Sunday, 14-Apr-2012: Checkers at Admirals, 4:00pm EST
|NHL Affiliate||Carolina Hurricanes||Nashville Predators|
|Record||11-6-1-1 (5-1-0-1 at home)||10-4-0-1 (6-0-0-1 on road)|
|Standing||1st in Midwest Division
3rd in Western Conference
|2nd in Midwest Division
6th in Western Conference
|Goals per Game||2.89||2.87|
|Goals Against per Game||2.58||2.47|
|Powerplay||Overall: 20 for 96 (20.8%) – 8th in AHL
Home: 6 for 34 (17.6%) – 16th in AHL
|Overall: 11 for 58 (19.0%) – 12th in AHL
Road: 3 for 24 (12.5%) – 28th in AHL
|Penalty Kill||Overall: 62 for 76 (81.6%) – 14th in AHL
Home: 20 for 24 (83.3%) – 13th in AHL
|Overall: 50 for 62 (80.6%) – 18th in AHL
Road: 23 for 27 (85.2%) – 8th in AHL
|Penalty Minutes per Game||15.32||12.07|
|Team Leaders||Points: Samson, Matsumoto (19)
Goals: Jerome Samson (9)
Assists: Chris Terry (12)
Shots: Jerome Samson (92)
+/- : Drayson Bowman (+7)
PIM: Justin Soryal (45)
Wins: Mike Murphy (6)
GAA: Mike Murphy (2.31)
SAV%: Mike Murphy (0.923)
|Points: Kyle Wilson (13)Goals: Juuso Puustinen (8)
Assists: Kyle Wilson (9)
Shots: Ryan Thang (44)
+/- : R. Thang, S. Ford (+7)
PIM: M. Latta / S. Ford (24)
Wins: Jeremy Smith (9)
GAA: Jeremy Smith (2.06)
SAV%: Jeremy Smith (0.920)
|Current Team Streak||2 wins||2 wins|
Hurricanes / Checkers fans - come on out to TWCA to support our future Canes. If you are not able to make it to Charlotte, then the game will be televised on Time Warner Cable digital channel 520 throughout the Carolinas. Both audio and video can also be found on www.AHLLive.com or you can receive game updates on twitter by following @CheckersHockey.