The Charlotte Checkers are your 2019 CALDER CUP CHAMPIONS. For the first time in franchise history, they have won the Calder Cup as they defeat the Chicago Wolves in Game 5 with a 5-3 score.
It takes hard work and determination to win such a prestigious championship. In the American Hockey League, there are 31 teams fighting every year to win this trophy. Last year, it was the Toronto Marlies, this year, the Checkers dethroned them in six games, and they go on to become your 2019 Calder Cup Champions.
The Checkers’ success reflects the success of general manager Don Waddell and the future of the Carolina Hurricanes. Tomas Jurco, who was acquired by Don Waddell at the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, has proven to be a big success as Jurco has 18 points in 18 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs, with an 8 plus-minus.
How did the Checkers pull it off? They didn’t squirm and look for excuses after the devastating comeback loss in Game 1, choking a 3-1 lead in Charlotte at home. They fought back, they won Games 2, 3, 4, and 5. They won four in a row, their momentum was too much for the Wolves.
In Game 5, the first period had Andrew Poturalski put the Checkers on the board first, with an amazing feed from Aleksi Saarela. Poturalski’s goal was the lone goal in the first period. An ideal start.
A misplay in the second period would allow the Checkers to get insurance, as Morgan Geekie would score off of what seems like a pass from the opposing team. Brooks Macek would cut the deficit back to one again for the Wolves. Shots on goal were tied at 10-10.
Trevor Carrick would give the lead back to the Checkers with a bomb from the point, a feed from Geekie in the third. Alex Nedeljkovic would stand on his head, making some saves that would matter in the final outcome of the game. The third period was wild, to say an empty-net goal was the game-winner says it all.
Gage Quinney scores for the Wolves to cut the lead back to one, Poturalski with the empty-netter, Cody Glass breaking the lead back to one with little time left. If there was any hope left for the Wolves, Zach Nastasiuk would score the empty-net dagger to basically guarantee a Calder Cup celebration.
Andrew Poturalski, who scored 70 points in 72 games in the AHL regular season and a monstrous 23 points in 18 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs won the Jack Butterfield Award, seen as the most valuable player on the Charlotte Checkers for the playoffs. Poturalski has had an amazing season with the Checkers, it’d be shocking to not see him on the Hurricanes roster in the upcoming season.
It is truly astonishing to see the team that dominated the regular season, destroying teams left and right in the American Hockey League go on and meet the exact expectations set upon them; winning in the playoffs, not just the regular season. This is a great Charlotte Checkers team, who we will remember for many years, especially as the first who brought the Calder Cup to the Charlotte Checkers for the first time in franchise history.
The Charlotte Checkers will be hosting a public Calder Cup celebration, bringing the Calder Cup back to the sweet Queen City. Admission and parking will be free. It will be hosted on Monday, June 10th at 07:00 P.M. Eastern Time, which will include opportunities to take photos with the Calder Cup and an autograph session with the players on the Checkers.
Question for Cardiac Cane Readers: Will the Charlotte Checkers do it again? Will they go back-to-back?