Last night saw a battle between the top two teams in the AHL’s Western Conference. The second place Charlotte Checkers (tops in their Midwest Division) were in Oklahoma City to take on the first place Barons. The Barons entered the contest riding an impressive seven-game win streak, but the Checkers turned in an impressive performance of their own to bring home a 3-1 victory. Charlotte now leads the season series between the clubs at 4-1-1.
AJ Jenks opened the scoring for the Checkers, picking up his first goal of the season, and first as a Checker, at the 16:33 mark of the first period. Justin Soryal found Jenks in the slot and Jenks skated around a defender, firing a shot that beat Barons’ goaltender David LeNeveu.
The Checkers however would not allow the late goal, or the hauntings of recent third period collapses, to carry any momentum into the final twenty minutes for the Barons. Bobby Sanguinetti continued his hot streak, picking up a powerplay goal early in the third period to restore his team’s two goal lead. The goal extended Sanguinetti’s point streak to a team record nine games. During that nine-game stretch, Sanguinetti has tallied 13 points (5G, 8A) with all but one of those coming on the man-advantage.
Sanguinetti’s marker also extended another streak (and set another team record) for the Checkers as their red-hot powerplay has now scored at least one goal in the last nine games. They now sit second in the AHL with a 22.0% conversion rate on the season and have been hitting at 33.3% over their nine game streak (15 for 45).
The teams exchanged chances in an intense third period which saw shots ringing off posts, a disallowed goal by Sutter (goal was ruled to be kicked in), and several key stops by both Muse and LeNeveu. Muse was especially strong in that third period, preserving the win for the Checkers and finishing the game with 27 saves.
Chris Terry, fresh off his appearance at the AHL All Star Game where he picked up two goals and an assist, saw his point streak end at eight games as he did not register a point in the contest.
The Checkers traveled to Cedar Park, Texas after the game where they will take on the Texas Stars tonight at 8:00pm EST. The game can be hear on WBCN 1660AM. Audio and video are also available on www.ahllive.com.
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