The Road to Raleigh: Checkers Salvage Two Points on the Road

 

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(Zach Boychuk skates in traffic, via Gregg Forwerck/Charlotte Checkers)

 

With the playoff race tightening up in the Eastern Division, Charlotte knew the importance of this past week's stretch of three road games. The Providence Bruins, Worcester Sharks, and Manchester Monarchs loomed on the schedule for the Checkers this week. With Brett Carson claimed on waivers, and Jerome Samson playing well in his role for the Hurricanes, would it be Boychuk who would lead the charge for Charlotte? Details after the jump.

 

 

 

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After enjoying some time off, the Checkers hit the road again to take on some quality opponents this past week. First of all, apologies for what will likely end up being a short entry this week. I've been swamped with school and other nuances in life, I'll report stats and hopefully be back at you guys next week a little deeper in depth. Thanks for the support either way. 

 

Results:                                                                       Attendance:

Fri. March 4th @ Providence L 2-4                         7,566

Sat. March 5th @ Worcester L 0-2                          4,386

Sun. March 6th @ Manchester W 3-2                    5,816

 

East Division Standings (As of Sun. March 6th @ 10:58 P.M.) :

Rank East Division GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT GF GA STK P10 S/O PIM
1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 62 45 17 0 0 90 0.726 203 141 1-0-0-0 7-3-0-0 6-0 1159
2 Hershey Bears 64 39 21 1 3 82 0.641 208 167 0-1-0-0 5-5-0-0 3-3 1253
3 Charlotte Checkers 65 35 22 2 6 78 0.600 216 200 1-0-0-0 5-3-0-2 3-6 1071
4 Norfolk Admirals 63 31 19 8 5 75 0.595 205 171 0-2-0-0 4-4-0-2 4-5 1303
5 Binghamton Senators 62 33 22 3 4 73 0.589 204 171 1-0-0-0 7-2-0-1 1-4 1016
6 Albany Devils 62 24 34 1 3 52 0.419 161 216 0-1-0-0 4-5-1-0 4-3 1422
7 Adirondack Phantoms 62 21 32 3 6 51 0.411 145 206 1-0-0-0 4-2-1-3 4-6 1092
8 Syracuse Crunch 61 21 33 3 4 49 0.402 150 196 1-0-0-0 3-6-1-0 1-4

1107

Despite losing two out of three this week, the Checkers remain in sole possession of third, and sit only four points being the Hershey Bears. Although it seems the Penguins have first place locked up, the Bears are within striking distance. The Admirals have been improving their level of play of late, and have leapfrogged the Senators to close the gap on the Checkers for third place. They sit three points behind Charlotte with two games in hand. 

 

Player Updates:

* Zach Boychuk scored twice in the three games this week. ( 2 G, 0 A)

* Riley Nash scored once and assisted on another goal on Sunday. (1 G, 1 A)

* Jacob Micflikier equaled the output of Nash this week. (1 G, 1 A)

* Mike Murphy was in net for both losses this week. Although, he was named third star of Saturday night's shutout loss, as he turned away 28 of 29 Sharks shots. One Worcester goal was an empty netter in the 2-0 loss.

* Justin Pogge picked up the win on Sunday. Pogge allowed two goals on 35 Monarch shots.

*Alternate captain Nicolas Blanchard dropped the gloves this week, and also scored in Sunday's win. The goal was his 6th of the season.

* WIth all of the news surrounding Oskar Osala's latest decision to occur after the season's end, one would wonder how it affected him on the ice. Osala picked up an assist this week. He also fired 11 shots and picked up a minor penalty in three games.

* Opponent's powerplay's went 2 for 11 this week against the Charlotte kill. The two goals allowed, however, were in one game as the Bruins went two for three en route to sinking the Checkers at home.

* On the flipside, the Charlotte powerplay mustered only one goal in ten chances this week.

 

Thoughts:

Although losing two out of three is rough, all three games were difficult road tests, with good attendance. Losing all three would have been detrimental to the Checker's slim lead on Norfolk in the division. The win over the Monarchs on Sunday was huge, as the Admirals also got defeated by the Bears. With Brett Carson not returning this season, Fitzgerald, Rodney, Jordan, and the rest of the D-corps must step up their game this time of the season. Zach Boychuk will be counted on to put pucks in the net for Charlotte, and his two points this week were two big ones. Special teams has some room to grow on both sides, and the Checkers need  a home game to pick up steam again. This week, like all the others to come, will be big from a standing's side of things. 

Next?:

Those home games I said the Checkers will need to pick up steam, will happen this week. With two home games on the slate against the Senators who sit just behind the Admirals in the division, the four points on the table in Time Warner Cable Arena are very important. Points are at a premium this time of the season, and Charlotte would love nothing more than to grab all four at home this week. 

Tuesday, March 8th vs. Binghamton 7:00 P.M.

Saturday, March 12th vs. Binghamton 7:00 P.M.

Checkers Trivia:

If you said that Mike Murphy's roommate and close buddy was Michal Jordan, you were correct. Michal and Mike spend a ton of time together, on the road and otherwise. They can also be seen working a lot of community events together, as they did at Extreme Ice Center for the special olympic event. Speaking of community involvement, let's use that for this week's trivia question, shall we?

Which Checker's player has won back to back awards for sportsmanship and community involvement over the past two years? 

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