The Road To Raleigh: Chilly Weather, Hot Hockey.

  
 
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(Zach Boychuk pressured by veteran Sheldon Souray of Hershey, via Gregg Forwerck)

The Checkers capped off a homestanding week with a rematch with the Syracuse Crunch, and two games against the bitter rival Hershey Bears. Stefan Chaput and the Crunch sunk the Checkers with a late tally last Sunday, would the Checkers respond positively? The Bears rolled in ahead of the Checkers in the standings over the past couple of weeks, would they be able to push Charlotte around and stay ahead? More after the jump.


 

The Checkers exploded for ten goals in the first game of this week on a Monday night affair against Syracuse. Nearly every Charlotte skater registered a point in the rout of the Crunch. On "As Seen on T.V. , and "Teddy Bear Toss" night, the Checkers fell to Hershey in a shootout. A hard fought goaltenders duel featured 49 saves for Justin Pogge who helped the Checkers steal a point. The Sunday afternoon matchup brought in the Bears once again. Charlotte exploded for three first period goals to take a lead into the locker room after the first. After allowing two unanswered goals, captain Bryan Rodney and Jacob MicFlikier tallied within seconds of each other to restore the three goal lead in the third- a lead they woud hold on to for the duration of the game.

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(Bryan Rodney,Jerome Samson, and Chris Terry celebrate a goal against the Bears on Friday night, via Gregg Forwerck)

Results:                                                                Attendance:

Mon. Dec. 6th- vs. Syracuse  W 10-3                       3,517

Fri. Dec. 10th- vs. Hershey  L SO 1-2                       7,403

Sun. Dec. 12th- vs. Hershey  W  5-3                        5,758

East Division Standings (As of Sun. Dec. 12th at 7:33 P.M.):

Rank East Division GP W L OTL SL PTS PCT GF GA STK P10 PIM
1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 27 21 6 0 0 42 0.778 89 65 0-2-0-0 7-3-0-0 540
2 Norfolk Admirals 28 17 6 4 1 39 0.696 113 81 5-0-1-0 7-2-1-0 640
3 Charlotte Checkers 28 15 9 1 3 34 0.607 96 83 2-0-0-1 7-2-0-1 460
4 Hershey Bears 27 16 10 0 1 33 0.611 97 71 0-1-0-0 7-3-0-0 522
5 Binghamton Senators 27 11 12 2 2 26 0.481 85 84 1-0-0-1 3-5-1-1 503
6 Albany Devils 27 11 16 0 0 22 0.407 67 92 0-3-0-0 3-7-0-0 604
7 Syracuse Crunch 27 9 14 1 3 22 0.407 67 93 0-2-0-0 3-7-0-0 537
8 Adirondack Phantoms 28 4 22 2 0 10 0.179 58 108 0-2-0-0 1-9-0-0 548

 

With the win over Hershey on Sunday, the Checkers move back into sole possession of third place. Wilkes Barre continues to roll on, while Norfolk has been on a very nice streak of late. Adirondack has resided in the doldrums for the last ten, winning only once in ten tries. Syracuse and Albany contnue to dwell near the bottom of the East.

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(Brett Carson works a puck out of his own zone against Hershey, via Gregg Forwerck)

Checking In With:

Zach Boychuk  1 G  6 A  3 GP

Boychuk continued his role as the dish-master this week as he masterfully distributed the puck to teammates. His impriessive week included a four assist explosion against Hershey on Sunday.

 

Zac Dalpe  2 G  2 A  3 GP

Dalpe looked very good this week. His four points in three games could have been more if not for masterful goaltending by Hershey's Braden Holtby on Friday night.

 

Jerome Samson  2 G  2 A  3 GP

Samson looked comfortable as always. Samson scored the only goal on Friday night's shootout thriller and helped destroy Syracuse on Monday with a goal and pair of assists.

 

 

Jon Matsumoto  1 G  3 A  3 GP

Matsumoto has settled back into his role as a Checkers forward.

 

Oskar Osala   1 G  4 A  3 GP

Osala looked motivated to perform well against his old team, the Hershey Bears. Four of Osala's five points on the week came in the rout of Syracuse, but positionally, Osala was brilliant.

 

Riley Nash picked himself up two goals against Syracuse. He has been centering a fourth line with Sutter and Herauf on his wings. A very effective, physical line that had some very nice, long shifts against Hershey on Sunday. The tough guys have been getting things done this week. Brad Herauf registered a team high 21 penalty minutes this week, followed by Michal Jordan with 10, and Zack Fitzgerald with 9.

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(Riley Nash, via Gregg Forwerck)

Justin Pogge made 48 saves in the shootout loss to Hershey on Friday. He was peppered from all directions by a hard forechecking Bears squad. Murphy picked up the two wins on the week bettering Syracuse and the Bears in round two.

 

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(Justin Pogge, via Gregg Forwerck)

Future Watch:

Let's keep it simple: Samson, Dalpe, and Boychuk are all really good. I hold out lots of hope for Nash, Matsumoto and Osala for the future. All three of them seem to gain something more every game they play. Nash plays a strong defensive game, Matsumoto plays a fantastic two-way game, and Osala seems to be getting more comfortable with throwing his big frame around.

 

Roster Moves:

Defenseman Ethan Graham was sent back down to ECHL Florida, and forward Matthew Pistilli was brought up from the Everblades. Pistilli wore Chaput's old number 15, and played in both games against Hershey registering one goal in the two contests. Bobby Sanguinetti is still nowhere to be found. No transactions have been made official, I'm still looking to dig up something on the extent of his possible injury.

Next?:

Charlotte is off until next weekend when they embark on a five game road trip. The first leg of the trip puts the Checkers behind the eight ball with a rare back to back to back set of games. Charlotte will visit the Providence Bruins on Friday night, the Binghamton Senators on Saturday night, and the Hershey Bears for the ever so familiar evening Sunday meeting between the two.

Fri. Dec. 17th  @ Providence  7:05 P.M.

Sat.  Dec.  18th  @ Binghamton  7:05  P.M.

Sun. Dec. 19th  @ Hershey   5:00 P.M

 

Checkers Trivia:

An overwhelming majority of voters answered correctly to last week's poll question. The ECHL Checkers won the Kelly Cup in the season of 1995-1996. For this week, let's look at the career leader in goals, assists, and points for the ECHL Checkers of old.

 

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