The Charlotte Checkers are back in action tonight following a nine-day break as they take on the Rockford Icehogs for the fourth time this season. The Checkers hold a 2-0-0-1 advantage over their division rival in the season series and currently sit in second place in the Midwest Division and in sixth place in the Western Conference with 37 points. The Icehogs find themselves at the bottom of the standings, sitting in last place in the Western Conference with 25 points.
The Checkers have picked up points in their last three games with a win over division rival Chicago followed by a win and a shootout loss against AHL leading Oklahoma City. In those three games, Charlotte’s scoring leaders have carried the offensive load. Jerome Samson is riding a three-game point streak in which he has tallied two goals and one assist. Jon Matsumoto (3G, 1A) and Zach Boychuk (1G, 3A) both have four points in their last three games while Chris Terry (2A) and Matt Pistilli (1G, 1A) each have two points in their last three. The Checkers will need their leaders to continue to find the scoresheet as the team will be without scoring threats Drayson Bowman and Zac Dalpe who are currently picking up big minutes with the Carolina Hurricanes. Bobby Sanguinetti has been chipping in offence from the blueline since his return from injury on 11-Dec-2011, adding four assists in his last five games.
Charlotte’s powerplay has been seeing increased success over the past five games, clicking at a rate of 29.2% during that span. The Checkers have picked up at least one powerplay goal in each of those games and will be looking to extend that streak against a Rockford penalty kill that is dead last in the AHL (29th at home). The team has also been sharp shorthanded, killing off 15 of their opponents’ 16 opportunities over the last five games.
Center Cedric McNicoll has finally recovered from a groin injury and is expected to play in his first game since late October. Rookie forward Justin Shugg will remain out of the lineup with an injury.
Rockford comes into Charlotte in the midst of a three-game losing skid, giving up a total of 16 goals against across those three games. In the previous meeting between the two teams on 20-Nov-2011, the Checkers came away with a 4-3 win.
Unlike the Checkers with their long holiday break, the Icehogs have played twice this week, dropping their most recent game last night on the road to Chicago 5-3. Leading goal scorer and point producer, Brandon Pirri, has been reassigned from the Chicago Blackhawks and should provide Rockford with some added offensive power. In his last six game with the Icehogs he has pitched in nine points (3G, 6A).
Goaltender Carter Hutton has been seeing the bulk of the action in recent games, making starts in nine of the last eleven games. Hutton, who hails from Thunder Bay, Ontario, the home of Hurricanes’ captain Eric Staal, was recalled from the ECHL Toledo Walleyes in early December when Alexander Salak suffered an injury.
Charlotte leads series 2-0-0-1
Sunday, 06-Nov-2011: Checkers 4, Icehogs 2
Friday, 18-Nov-2011: Icehogs 3, Checkers 2 (SO)
Sunday, 20-Nov-2011: Checkers 4, Icehogs 3
Friday, 30-Dec-2011: Checkers at Icehogs, 8:05pm EST
Thursday, 26-Jan-2012: Icehogs at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Friday, 27-Jan-2012: Icehogs at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Tuesday, 10-Apr-2012: Checkers at Icehogs, 8:05pm EST
Saturday, 14-Apr-2012: Checkers at Icehogs, 8:05pm EST
|NHL Affiliate||Carolina Hurricanes||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Record||17-11-2-1 (6-7-1-0 on road)||11-17-1-2 (6-11-0-0 at home)|
|Standing||2nd in Midwest Division
6th in Western Conference
|5th in Midwest Division
15th in Western Conference
|Goals per Game||2.74||3.10|
|Goals Against per Game||2.61||3.81|
|Powerplay||Overall: 30 for 154 (19.5%) – 12th in AHL
Road: 15 for 72 (20.8%) – 9th in AHL
|Overall: 27 for 155 (17.4%) – 19th in AHL
Home: 15 for 84 (17.9%) – 17th in AHL
|Penalty Kill||Overall: 107 for 128 (83.6%) – 8th in AHL
Road: 49 for 60 (81.7%) – 16th in AHL
|Overall: 106 for 141 (75.2%) – 30th in AHL
Home: 55 for 75 (73.3%) – 29th in AHL
|Penalty Minutes per Game||14.16||18.84|
|Team Leaders||Points: Jon Matsumoto (28)
Goals: Jon Matsumoto (13)
Assists: Chris Terry (17)
Shots: Jerome Samson (131)
+/- : Justin Krueger (+6)
PIM: Justin Soryal (70)
Wins: Mike Murphy (10)
GAA: Justin Peters (2.49)
SAV%: Justin Peters (0.920)
|Points: Brandon Pirri (31)
Goals: Brandon Pirri (13)
Assists: Brian Connelly (24)
Shots: B.Pirri, B.Connelly (91)
+/- : Brandon Pirri (+5)
PIM: Brandon Bollig (102)
Wins: Alec Richards (5)
GAA: Alexander Salak (3.06)
SAV%: Alexander Salak (0.893)
|Current Team Streak||2-0-1-0||0-3-0-0|
Topics: Bobby Sanguinetti, Brandon Pirri, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Checkers, Chris Terry, Drayson Bowman, Jerome Samson, Jon Matsumoto, Matt Pistilli, Mike Murphy, Rockford Icehogs, Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk