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Down On The Farm – Game Day Preview: Rockford Icehogs at Charlotte Checkers

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The Charlotte Checkers face off against the Rockford Icehogs tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena at 7:00pm EST. This is the first home game for Charlotte since 23-Oct-2011 when they defeated the Norfolk Admirals by a score of 3-1. So, how do the Checkers match up against their divisional foes?

CHARLOTTE

The Checkers are coming off a nine-game road trip that spanned over the course of three weeks. Despite facing injuries, call-ups, and a very tough travel schedule, they managed to bring home a 5-4-0 record.

Two Checkers are coming into tonight’s tilt riding two-game scoring streaks – Drayson Bowman (2A) and current points leader Jon Matsumoto (2G). Jerome Samson will be looking to start a new streak after having his seven-game scoring streak (4G, 6A) snapped when Charlotte was shutout in Oklahoma City last Friday. The Checkers should also receive an offensive boost with the Hurricanes assigning center Zac Dalpe to Charlotte on Thursday. Dalpe, an AHL All-Rookie selection last season, had been seeing limited minutes on the fourth line in Carolina since returning from a lower body injury earlier his month. He can expect to see some big minutes in key situations with the Checkers. Jared Staal and Scott Pitt will be the healthy extras in tonight’s contest. Center Cedric McNicoll is still out with an injury.

On the defensive side of the puck, the Checkers will be without 19-year old rookie Justin Faulk who was recalled to Carolina on Thursday. Faulk has been leading all Charlotte defensemen in ice time throughout the season, proving to be an integral part to both the penalty kill and the power play units. Faulk’s departure coupled with an injury to Bobby Sanguinetti leaves the Checkers with only 5 blueliners so a defensive call-up is expected today. This opens up a prime opportunity for prospects Justin Krueger and Rasmus Rissanen to see increased minutes with increased responsibility.

Charlotte goaltenders Mike Murphy and Justin Peters have almost identical numbers thus far on the season and Head Coach Jeff Daniels has always been one to share time between his netminders pretty equally. Peters has looked very sharp since returning from injury, allowing only 4 goals in his last three starts, stopping 84 of 88 shots in that span. Peters is expected to get the start tonight with Murphy getting the call for Sunday’s game.

ROCKFORD

Rockford comes into Charlotte in the midst of a three-game losing skid, giving up a total of 15 goals against across those three games. In the previous meeting between the two teams on 06-Nov-2011, the Checkers came away with a 4-2 win.

The Icehogs will be without their second leading goal scorer, Ben Smith, who has been recalled to the Chicago Blackhawks. They should however have the services of Rostislav Olesz who has been assigned to Rockford by the Hawks. Olesz, a seven year NHL veteran, was held scoreless in the six games he has played for Chicago this year.

SEASON SERIES:
Charlotte leads series 1-0-0
Sunday, 06-Nov-2011:      Checkers 4, Icehogs 2
Friday, 18-Nov-2011:         Icehogs at Checkers, 7:00pm EST
Sunday, 20-Nov-2011:       Icehogs at Checkers, 3:00pm EST
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

 

Charlotte

Rockford

NHL Affiliate

Carolina HurricanesChicago Blackhawks

Record

9-6-1-0  (4-1-1-0 at home)5-8-1-0  (4-2-1-0 on road)

Standing

2

nd

in Midwest Division

6

th

in Western Conference5

th

in Midwest Division

14

th

in Western Conference

Goals per Game

2.693.00

Goals Against per Game

2.503.86

Powerplay

Overall:

16 for 80 (20.0%) – 10

th

in AHL

Home:

5 for 24 (20.8%) – 7

th

in AHL

Overall:

12 for 69 (17.4%) – 17

th

in AHL

Road:

7 for 34 (20.6%) – 12

th

in AHL

Penalty Kill

Overall:

54 for 66 (81.8%) – 13

th

in AHL

Home:

13 for 15 (86.7%) – 7

th

in AHL

Overall:

52 for 70 (74.3%) – 29

th

in AHL

Road:

25 for 32 (78.1%) – 23

rd

in AHL

Penalty Minutes per Game

15.0018.21

Team Leaders

Points:

Jon Matsumoto (15)

Goals:

Jerome Samson (7)

Assists:

Jon Matsumoto (9)

Shots:

Jerome Samson (83)

+/- :

Drayson Bowman (+5)

PIM:

Chris Terry (31)

Wins:

Mike Murphy (6)

GAA:

Murphy, Peters (2.36)

SAV%:

Mike Murphy (0.926)

Points:

Brett McLean (14)

Goals:

Brandon Segal (7)

Assists:

Brian Connelly (12)

Shots:

Brian Connelly (49)

+/- :

B. Segal, P. LeBlanc (+2)

PIM:

Brandon Bollig (43)

Wins:

Alec Richards (4)

GAA:

Alexander Salak (3.54)

SAV%:

Alexander Salak (0.882)

Current Team Streak

1 loss3 losses

Hurricanes fans – come on out to TWCA to support our future Canes. If you are not able to make it to Charlotte, then both audio and video can be found on www.AHLLive.com or you can receive game updates on twitter by following @CheckersHockey.

Don’t forget to check out Cardiac Cane on Facebook and you can follow the writers on twitter: @CardiacCaneFS, @Esbee92, @caniac176, and @peacelovepuck.