Cardiac Checker: Cinco de Murph-o


Clearly shutouts allow me to be cheesy, and shutout is exactly what Mike Murphy did Wednesday night for the Checkers against Wilkes-Barre. The rookie goalie swallowed a ridiculous 44 pucks to shutout the Penguins 1-0.

Chris Terry made the game-winning, power-play goal early in the third period. 

It only seems right to honor this win Cinco de Mayo style. Bust out your maracas and blend up a margarita, because the Charlotte Checkers are leading the series with Wilkes-Barre 3-1! {Shake your maracas here}

Before round two started with the Penguins, Twitter folks were spewing words, sweep for example, in reference to the supposed uneven match-up with Charlotte. Actually reminds me of Cinco de Murph, I mean, Mayo…

On May 5, 1862 in Puebla, Mexico an epic battle was brewing. France came to Mexico with plans of annihilating the bankrupt country for its debts unpaid. The French army had been crushing the enemy for nearly fifty years, while President Benito Juarez was struggling to keep his countrymen afloat. 

Marching into Puebla was thought to be a walk in the park. Sound familiar? Alas, Juarez rallied every willing person to fight for their freedom. From soldiers to countrymen, they stood united to defeat the French in the Battle of Puebla.

Goaltender Michael Murphy led his troops to victory in game four to extend the series lead 3-1. Murphy currently leads goalies with a 0.945 save percentage. He continues to handle high stakes games with confidence and ease…or what appears to be ease to fans. We like to imagine (ok, maybe just me) Murph’s inner monologue goes a little something like this…

“Laddie da…guess I’ll reach out and snag this little 90 mph beauty. Sorry Sterling, maybe next time. Oh..nope, I did it again.  Reflex, sorry. Wonder what MJ is cooking for dinner tonight? How did this puck get under my glove? What? The game is over already. Sweet, a shutout.”

A number of Checkermen soldiers have played at the top of their games during the Calder Cup run. Don’t worry, I will not role play all their inner thoughts. Here’s how the Charlotte troops are rank:

Zac Dalpe ties Admiral’s Gabriel Bourque with 10 points for top scoring rookie. Dalpe has generated 4 goals and 6 assists in the playoffs, including a five-point streak from April 14-17th.

Nick Dodge ranks fourth in game-winning shots. He also had a hot streak between April 19th-22nd with three goals.

Zach Boychuk and Brett Sutter round out the top twenty scorers with 8 pts (3g, 5a each) in 10 games. Sutter scored the game-winner against WBS in overtime on May 2nd.

Oskar Osala had a killer run April 20th-22nd with four points, including an extra-man goal to regain the lead in game four with Hershey and a tie inducing goal along with two helpers in the huge come-from-behind-win in game five with the Bears.

Jon Matsumoto had the game-winning assist, along with Bryan Rodney, to Chris Terry Wednesday night. However, his truly memorable moment of the playoffs was his April 28th performance. Matsumoto scored to tie the contest, and then gained another goal to take the lead in game one with Wilkes-Barre. Charlotte won that game 5-2 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Ranked #1 in the East Division, the Charlotte Checkers possess 14 points with 7 wins and 3 losses. No doubt a collective force to be feared on the ice. Friday marks game five and Charlotte’s last home game in this series. Prepare your troops and battle cries…it is going to be war.

Happy Cinco de Murph-o Caniacs! Get into all sorts of fun trouble tonight, just make sure you make it to Charlotte by 7:00pm for a stellar hockey showdown.