The Charlotte Checkers’ New Year’s resolution? Have 2017 treat them much better than 2016 did. The Checkers did not have a great showing in their last four games, only registering one win.
The Checkers began their recent stretch of games by losing back to back games against the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets affiliate) who, much like their parent team, have been playing very well as of late. The Checkers only scored two goals in both games against the Monsters, losing 4-2 and 3-2, and are an eye-popping 1-16-2 this season when scoring two or fewer goals in a game. The back to back losses in Cleveland were the Checkers’ 11th and 12th straight on the road.
Having seen enough poor play in net, the Checkers swapped goaltenders last week, sending Alex Nedeljkovic to the ECHL Florida Everglades and recalling Daniel Altshuller from Florida. Apparently Nedeljkovic was a missed opportunity to help the Checkers’ offense, because in his second game with Florida he did this:
(The Gwinnett Gladiators announcer couldn't be less excited to witness history, apparently.)
Meanwhile, the Checkers were finally able to exorcise their road demons a bit as they recorded a 3-2 win over the Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets affiliate) in overtime. The Checkers came back from a 2-0 deficit with goals by Jake Chelios and Levo Koper, before Lucas Wallmark scored the overtime winner.
Wallmark has played well as of late, recording three goals in the last four games. He is now second on the team in scoring with 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists), behind Andrew Poturalski whostill leads the team with 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists). However, the Checkers reverted to form two days later, losing 4-1 to the Moose on New Year’s Day after their strong showing in the overtime win.
The month of December was not kind to the Checkers, to say the least, as they won only 3 of 12 contests. Fortunately, the team returns home for eight games from January 13th through January 28th. This stretch of games is crucial if the team wants to stay competitive and push their way into the playoff conversation. A bad showing in January will probably push the Checkers so far out of contention that it would be unrealistic for them to make it.
Since Last We Met:
- December 20: Cleveland 4, Checkers 2
- December 22: Cleveland 3, Checkers 2
- December 30: Checkers 3, Manitoba 2 (OT)
- January 1: Manitoba 4, Checkers 1
Next for the Checkers (12-18-2-0, 26 points, 8th Central Div):
- January 3: at Chicago
- January 6: at Grand Rapids
- January 7: at Chicago
- January 10: at Milwaukee
- January 13 and 14: home vs. Cleveland