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Down On The Farm – Checkers Split Weekend Series With Icehogs


The Charlotte Checkers, playing at home for the first time in almost a month, finished their weekend series against the Rockford Icehogs with three out of a possible four points after a 3-2 shootout loss on Friday night followed by a 4-3 regulation win on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, 18-Nov-2011 – Rockford Icehogs 3, Charlotte Checkers 2 (SO)

The Checkers started Friday night’s game with a dominating performance in the first period, out-shooting the Icehogs 21-7 and spending the majority of the frame with puck possession in the Icehogs zone. They could not however, find a way to beat Rockford’s netminder, Alec Richards, and entered the first intermission scoreless.

The Icehogs opened up the scoring just over a minute into the second period on a Rostislav Olesz power play goal. The goal was Olesz’s first of the season in his first AHL game in almost five years after being placed on waivers and assigned to Rockford by the Chicago Blackhawks. Charlotte blueliner Michal Jordan tied the game with his third of the season at 12:21 of the second. Olesz then picked up his second point, earning the secondary assist on Andrew Shaw’s rebound goal at 16:46. Shaw’s power play tally gave Rockford a 2-1 edge heading into the third period.

The Checkers were not able to muster much offense in the third period, managing only 8 shots on goal. Zac Dalpe, fresh off re-assignment from the Carolina Hurricanes, finally put one past Richards with just 3:37 remaining in regulation. Dalpe fired a laser from the right circle that beat Richards high blocker-side to tie the game at 2-2. He would finish the night with two points (1G, 1A) and a team-high 7 shots.

The Checkers were able to generate some chances in overtime, but Richards was able to come up with the answer for all 8 of Charlotte’s shots on goal. The Icehogs’ goaltender was able to continue his remarkable play in the shootout, stopping three of the Checkers’ four shooters. Charlotte netminder Justin Peters, who stopped 30 of 32 Rockford shots during the game, struggled in the shootout, stopping only one of four attempts.

Additional post-game comments and highlights: click here

Sunday, 20-Nov-2011 – Charlotte Checkers 4, Rockford Icehogs 3

Just as they did on Friday night, Sunday afternoon’s tilt saw the Checkers give up the first goal of the game to their opponent. Rockford’s Peter LeBlanc beat goaltender Mike Murphy at the 9:21 mark of the first period. Defenseman Chris Murray answered for the Checkers just a few minutes later, putting a power play tally past the Icehogs’ netminder, Alexander Salak at 11:40. Murray has been a pleasant surprise since being called up from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL to fill in for the injured Bobby Sanguinetti. This weekend saw Murray playing a strong defensive game and providing some decent offensive opportunities for the Checkers (1 goal, 6 shots, +1 in two games since his recall).

The two teams traded goals again late in the period with Jon Matsumoto scoring his team-leading seventh of the season for Charlotte and Jimmy Hayes countering with his third of the year with just 10 seconds remaining in the frame.

Chris Durno broke the tie, scoring the only goal in the second period and giving Charlotte a 3-2 lead heading into the third. Matt Pistilli added the eventual game-winner early in the third, grabbing the puck off an Icehogs’ neutral zone turnover and racing down the left wing, beating Rockford goaltender Alec Richards top shelf with a backhand shot. The goal (Charlotte’s fourth on 21 shots) prompted a netminder change for the Icehogs. Alexander Salak stopped the final 8 Checkers’ shots in relief of Richards.

The Icehogs would cut the Checkers’ lead to one about midway through the third period on Olesz’s second goal of the season, however a strong goaltending effort by Justin Peters secured the 4-3 win for Charlotte. Peters entered the game to start the second period in relief of Mike Murphy who sustained a minor injury in the first. Murphy stopped 9 of 11 Rockford shots in the first period while Peters saved 25 of 26 through the last two to pick up the win.

Despite grabbing three out of four points this weekend, Checkers’ Head Coach Jeff Daniels was not happy with the way the team played. “We’re not on our game right now,” Daniels said after Sunday’s win. “We did some good things throughout, but overall we’re just not where we need to be.”

Game Photos: click here

Additional post-game comments and highlights: click here

With the three points they earned this weekend, the Checkers have moved back into first place in the Midwest Division with a 10-6-1-1 record, good for 22 points. The Checkers will next travel to Norfolk for a game Wednesday then return to TWCA for a six-game homestand. Look for a Checkers Game Day Preview tomorrow and check out to purchase tickets and support our future Canes at one of their upcoming home games!

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