The Checkers took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission against the Chicago Wolves, but unlike the previous night in Rockford where they gave up the lead before eventually winning in a shootout, Charlotte was able to hold on for an impressive 4-1 victory. The win extends the Checkers point streak to five games, tying their season best set back in November.
Goaltender Mike Murphy’s strong play was once again key to the Checkers picking up two points. Murphy made 28 saves in the game, half of them coming in the third period when the Wolves increased their pressure. Murphy’s only blemish came midway through the third frame when Anton Rodin beat him glove side to ruin Charlotte’s first shutout bid of the season.
Nicolas Blanchard put the Checkers on the board first, scoring his third of the season just 5:45 into the game. Jerome Samson added the eventual game-winner on a second period powerplay, tallying his team-leading 14th goal of the season. The goal extends Samson’s scoring streak to five games where he has picked up four goals and one assist.
Chicago had the perfect opportunity to jump back in the game after Samson’s goal, getting a 45-second 5-on-3 man advantage while Justin Krueger and Riley Nash were in the box serving tripping penalties, however Charlotte’s penalty kill held the Wolves without a shot. Zach Boychuk would then add to the Checkers’ lead late in the second, knocking home a rebound past goaltender Matt Climie. Boychuk now has six points (2G, 4A) in his last five games. Captain Brett Sutter iced the win for his team, scoring an empty-net goal with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
Game Sheet: click here
The win over Chicago coupled with a two-game losing streak by another division rival, Milwaukee, has moved the Checkers into first place in the Midwest Division and second place in the Western Conference. The Checkers now head home for a two-game set against the San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday/Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Visit www.gocheckers.com to get your tickets and cheer on our future Hurricanes!