The Charlotte Checkers picked up their fifth consecutive win tonight with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Texas Stars. The game was the first ever meeting between the two teams who will face each other again in Charlotte on Saturday (03-Dec-2011). The Checkers’ penalty kill was a big key to their success, killing off all five of the Stars’ opportunities on the man-advantage. This was no small feat as coming into the game, the Stars were the third best powerplay team in the AHL and the second best on the road.
Zac Dalpe kicked off the scoring for the Checkers early in the first period, taking a pass from Chris Terry and flying down the left wing on a partial breakaway. Dalpe, with a Stars’ defender draped all over him, was able to fire a low shot past Tyler Beskorowany at the 4:23 mark. With the primary assist on the play, Terry extended his point streak to 8 games (2G, 9A), besting the longest streak of his career and tying the longest active streak in the AHL.
The Stars would score the next two goals of the period to take a 2-1 lead. Jordie Benn, older brother of Dallas Stars’ forward Jamie Benn, put a long rebound past Charlotte netminder Mike Murphy after Murphy made the initial save on a Travis Morin shot. Just 1:51 later, the Checkers were hemmed in their own zone when Luke Gazdic found himself alone in front of the net and was able to slide the puck under Murphy, beating him five-hole. The two quick goals were tough ones to swallow after the Checkers had the better of the play to that point in the period.
Checkers’ Captain Brett Sutter, fresh off reassignment from Carolina, tied the game at 2-2 at the 17:32 mark of the first frame. Sutter came around the back of the goal, passed the puck to himself off the side of the net, and slipped the puck past Beskorowany. The teams would head to the lockerroom tied after 20 minutes.
While the Checkers were unable to convert any of their five powerplay chances in the game, including a brief 5-on-3 opportunity, Jon Matsumoto gave Charlotte the lead just as powerplay time expired on a second period chance. Zach Boychuk and Michal Jordan picked up the helpers on Matsumoto’s goal.
The penalty kill was especially big in the third period with the Checkers taking back-to-back penalties, giving the Stars a brief 5-on-3 chance sandwiched between two 5-on-4 opportunities. As he has done all year, Mike Murphy stood tall in net when it counted most, stopping all 13 of the Stars’ shots in the final frame, securing the win for his team. For his efforts, Murphy was voted the hardest worker of the game by the fans.
See highlights and post-game comments from Mike Murphy, Jon Matsumoto, and Coach Jeff Daniels here
Game Sheet: click here
Game Photos: click here
The Checkers play the fourth game of their current six-game homestand, a re-match against the Stars, on Saturday, 03-Dec-2011 at 7pm EST at Time Warner Cable Arena. Go to www.gocheckers.com for tickets to see our future Canes in action and be sure to watch for a Game Preview here on Cardiac Cane on Saturday morning.
Topics: AHL, Brett Sutter, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Checkers, Chris Terry, Jon Matsumoto, Jordie Benn, Luke Gazdic, Michal Jordan, Mike Murphy, Texas Stars, Travis Morin, Tyler Beskorowany, Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk