(Jacob MicFlikier via Gregg Forwerck)
The Checkers had only two games this week against the East Division cellar dwellers- the Adirondack Phantoms. The junior Canes played two very competitive games, and came away with four out of the four available points, sending the Phantoms to a 3-14-2 record on the year. They are the only team in the AHL to still have single digit points (8).
The Checkers were still feeling good about themsevles entering the week. After dropping a regulation game to the Hershey Bears, Charlotte took care of the Sound Tigers, and came into the week with only two games on the slate. A pair of duels with Adirondack proved to be tight games. Both games were decided by one goal, and Friday's game ended in overtime.
Wed. Nov. 17th- vs. Adirondack W 2-1 3,718
Fri. Nov. 19th- vs. Adirondack W OT 4-3 7,591
East Division Standings: (As of Sunday, November 21st, 5:38 P.M)
Who Is Hot?:
Zach Boychuk- C 1 G 3 A 2 GP
Boychuk finished with a nice looking week. He collected four points in the two games this week against Adirondack. His goal came Friday night as he streaked in on a breakaway and paralyzed Phantom goaltender Johan Backlund with a nice forehand to backhand deke. Boychuk dished the puck well and was a plus 2 to boot.
Bobby Sanguinetti- D 2 G 2 A 5 GP
Sanguinetti had a pleasant week offensively. He saw one of his point shots ricochet off a Phantom defender and into the net behind Adiorondack goalie Nick Riopel on Wednesday. That wasn't enough for Bobby, who also electrified the TWC arena with a game winning goal a little more than a minute and half into the overtime period. He also has two assits in his last 5 games dating back to last week.
Jacob MicFlikier- LW 4 G 4 A 5 GP
MicFlikier's hat trick last week against Bridgeport was the first one in Checkers history. He collected only one goal this week, a goal that got the Checkers rolling in the first period of Friday night's match with the Phantoms. In his last five games however, MicFlikier has an impressive 8 points.
(Jacob MicFlikier fights for a loose puck in the crease. This goal, like his hat trick goals, came from good positioning down low. via Gregg Forwerck)
Checkers Penalty Kill- 15 for 16 in their last 5 games (7 for 7 this week)
The Checkers PK has continued to be excellent. Charlotte surrended zero powerplay goals to the Phantoms this week, and have only surrendered one in their last 16 trips onto the ice. Dating back to last week, the Checkers are 15 for their last 16 on the kill. Impressive penalty killing included an excellent effort early in Wednesday's game as the Checkers killers dug deep and killed off 4 penalties in the last 10 minutes of the first period, including an extended 5 on 3.
Who Is Not?:
There really isn't any Checker who one would consider "cold" at this point. Jared Staal as pointed out by Bob and company earlier this week has been sent to the ECHL Florida Everblades, so if you consider a reassignment cold, then one could label him as such. Dalpe, Bowman, and Boychuk are important parts of the Canes future, their performances will be discussed in future watch.
Drayson Bowman- LW 1 G 1 A 5 GP
Bowman has only one goal and one assist but when put on a line with Dalpe, Samson, or Boychuk, he creates chances. Just because his production has dipped a bit doesn't mean he isn't a factor- he is. Bowman has some things to work on but at this point, he is very capable of holding his own against the AHL's best.
Zac Dalpe- C 4 G 0 A 5 GP
Dalpe cooled down a bit this week as he didn't register a point in two games. However, Dalpe is an exciting player to watch whenever he is on the ice. He has an explosive first step and a wicked rocket of a wrist shot.
Zach Boychuk- C 2 G 3 A 5 GP
As mentioned in the Who is hot section, Boychuk looked slick gathering 3 points in two games this week. He also scored a goal last week which runs his point total to 4 in his last 5 games. Boychuk has shown a great nack for finding opponents open, and he has shown he can score too. His breakaway move was borderline unfair to the sprawling Johan Backlund.
Jerome Samson- RW 2 G 3 A 5 GP
Samson is a great looking forward to watch on the ice for the Checkers. He is a machine of efficiency along the boards; his ability to possess the puck is excellent. He is not easily knocked off the puck and has a knack for drawing penalties with his hard work in both zones. Five points in his last five ain't half bad, but you can't help but think he's capable of much more. Look for Samson to heat up for real soon.
As mentioned before, Jared Staal has taken a trip down to Florida to play with the ECHL Everblades. He will get playing time there that he simply wasn't getting here in Charlotte. If he wasn't scratched for the Checkers, he was playing 4th line minutes and at this point, he needs trial by fire to devlop his skills. This stint could be good for his development. Not every prospect can be a prodigy, there should be no shame in this reassignment for Staal.
Defenseman Ethan Graham will join young Staal in Florida as he too has been reassigned to the Everblades.
Julien Brouillette was given a Checkers tryout this week. He appeared in Wednesday's game against the Phantoms, but not Friday. The defenseman wore number 9, but was released on Thursday.
Brett Sutter made his appearance on Friday night. Sutter wore his new number 14 sweater, and finished with no points and a minus one rating. He did, however, draw a double minor high sticking penalty along the boards. It's too early to judge how he looks, look for an update next week.
The Checkers will pick up the pace once again this week. The long homestand comes to an end as the team will play three of this week's four games on the road. We get another look at the close rival Norfolk Admirals on Monday and Wednesday (Once at home, once away), the Checkers will see the Worcester Sharks for the first time of the season on the road on Saturday and the Hershey Bears come calling again next Sunday. With Sunday's game being a 5:00 affair, look for Road To Raleigh to come later that night upon the conclusion of that contest.
Mon. Nov. 22nd- vs. Norfolk 7 P.M
Wed. Nov. 24th - @ Norfolk 7:15 P.M
Sat. Nov. 27th- @ Worcester 7 P.M
Sun. Nov. 28th- @ Hershey 5 P.M
The responses to last week's trivia question were vaired. The Clippers came in first with 46% of the votes, followed by the Schooners and Black Birds in the 20's, and the Rebels picked up 7%. As it turns out, the only Black Birds that have ever played in Baltimore are the NFL Ravens. The Halifax Schooners once existed back in the 1960's in the old Nova Scotia Senior hockey league. The Rebels wasn't right either. Apparently there is no love lost, no love found for the confederacy in Baltimore. If you said Clippers, you were correct. The Baltimore Clippers made their way to Charlotte after their arena burned down. After selling 40,000 tickets in their first few games, the team found a permanent home in North Carolina. They would be renamed the Checkers a few years later. Now what about this week?