The Charlotte Checkers are hoping to increase their current win streak to six games after tonight’s contest with the Texas Stars at Time Warner Cable Arena. Texas will be looking for revenge as the Checkers took the first of the two game set between the teams by a score of 3-2. Charlotte now holds a five point lead in the Midwest Division and sits three points behind first place Oklahoma City in the Western Conference with 30 points (14-6-1-1). The Stars remain at the bottom of the West Division and have fallen to 13th place in the Western Conference with 17 points (8-11-0-1).
Even though the Checkers and head coach Jeff Daniels were happy to come away with two points in the last game, they weren’t all that pleased with the effort on the ice. “I hold the bar pretty high for these guys because I’ve seen them at their best,” Daniels said after the game. “I still believe we can be better as a team.” The Checkers will be looking for a full 60-minute effort tonight in order to extend their franchise best win streak, increase their division lead, and move to within one point of first place in their conference.
One area of Wednesday’s game that Daniels was quick to praise was the penalty kill. Charlotte killed off all five of the Stars’ man-advantages, including a brief 5-on-3 chance. The Checkers kill was eighteenth in the league going into the game, facing a Stars powerplay that was third best in the league. Charlotte’s powerplay, however struggled, going 0 for 5 on the night and dropping from fifth in the league down to eleventh.
Left wing Chris Terry remains one of the hottest Checkers, grabbing an assist on Wednesday which extended his career long point streak to eight games (2G, 9A). The streak is currently the second longest active point streak in the AHL. Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk have been playing well since their reassignments from Carolina with Dalpe picking up five points (3G, 2A) in his last five games and Boychuk scoring three points (1G, 2A) in his last four.
Jon Matsumoto has been steady at center all season and has six points (3G, 3A) in his last five games. His goal on Wednesday night moved him into the team’s scoring lead with 21 points, one point over Jerome Samson. Even though Samson is scoreless in his last two, he still has 6 points (2G, 4A) in his last five games. Defenceman Michal Jordan continues to provide offense from the blueline with six points (1G, 5A) in his last six games.
Goaltender Mike Murphy put in another strong performance in his start on Wednesday. After allowing two quick goals midway through the first period, he went on to make 19 saves in the last two frames en route to the victory. Despite Murphy’s strong performance, Justin Peters will likely get the start in net tonight as he is up next in Coach Jeff Daniels’ rotation. Peters has also been playing extremely well and was rewarded for his efforts this week by being named AHL Goaltender of the Month after posting a 5-1-1-0 record with a 1.63 goals against average and a 0.949 save percentage.
The Texas Stars enter tonight’s match-up with just three wins in their last ten games. Their loss to the Checkers on Wednesday gave them two straight losses.
Tyler Beskorowany will likely get the call in net again. The Stars goaltender has a 1-5-0 record this season along with a 3.19 goals against average and 0.891 save percentage. He stopped 21 of 24 Checkers’ shots in the last game.
Even after going 0 for 5 with the man-advantage in the last game against the Checkers, the Stars still have the league’s third best powerplay.
Checkers lead season series 1-0-0
Wednesday, 30-Nov-2011: Checkers 3, Stars 2
Saturday, 03-Dec-2011: Stars at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Friday, 09-Dec-2011: Checkers at Stars, 8:30pm EST
Saturday, 04-Feb-2012: Checkers at Stars, 8:00pm EST
|NHL Affiliate||Carolina Hurricanes||Dallas Stars|
|Record||14-6-1-1 (8-1-0-1 at home)||8-11-0-1 (5-5-0-0 on road)|
|Standing||1st in Midwest Division
2nd in Western Conference
|5th in West Division
13th in Western Conference
|Goals per Game||3.00||2.95|
|Goals Against per Game||2.45||3.30|
|Powerplay||Overall: 22 for 113 (19.5%) –
11th in AHL
Home: 8 for 51 (15.7%) –
20th in AHL
|Overall: 25 for 101 (24.8%) –
3rd in AHL
Road: 11 for 43 (25.6%) –
2nd in AHL
|Penalty Kill||Overall: 75 for 91 (82.4%) –
13th in AHL
Home: 33 for 39 (84.6%) –
11th in AHL
|Overall: 70 for 86 (81.4%) –
18th in AHL
Road: 34 for 39 (87.2%) – 6th in AHL
|Penalty Minutes per Game||14.82||14.65|
|Team Leaders||Points: J. Matsumoto (21)
Goals: J. Matsumoto, J. Samson (9)
Assists: Chris Terry (14)
Shots: Jerome Samson (97)
+/- : J. Matsumoto (+9)
PIM: Justin Soryal (47)
Wins: Mike Murphy (8)
GAA: Justin Peters (2.17)
SAV%: Justin Peters (0.932)
|Points: Travis Morin (19)
Goals: Tomas Vincour (10)
Assists: Travis Morin (15)
Shots: Matt Fraser (81)
+/- : Francis Wathier (+8)
PIM: Luke Gazdic (37)
Wins: Richard Bachman (7)
GAA: Richard Bachman (3.13)
SAV%: Tyler Beskorowany (0.891)
|Current Team Streak||5 wins||2 losses|
Hurricanes / Checkers fans - come on out to TWCA to support our future Canes. If you are not able to make it to Charlotte, the game will be broadcast on Time Warner digital cable 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.