New season. New players. New conference. The Charlotte Checkers roared their way into the 2017-18 season as they took on Eastern Conference opponents after switching conferences in the offseason. The Checkers wrapped up a perfect opening weekend, going 2-0 in back to back games against the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers) and the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins).
The Checkers started the season with a 5-4 win over Hartford on the road. Hartford got onto the board early into the game but rookie forward Warren Foegele tied the game up with his first professional goal later in the period. Lucas Wallmark, Aleksi Saarela and Valentin Zykov would each score to keep the game close but it was Foegele’s second of the game with just a minute left that would earn Charlotte its first victory of the season.
The fun didn’t stop there as Charlotte hit the road to Pennsylvania and topped the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins 5-2. After WBS took a 2-1 lead, the Checkers scored four unanswered goal. Foegele scored another pair of goals and Lucas Wallmark added a pair of assists. New acquisition Jeremy Smith earned his first victory as a member of the Checkers, turning aside 28 of 30 shots in his first game for the team.
Player of the Week
The inaugural Player of the Week accolade for the Checkers goes to Warren Foegele. The rookie forward netted the game winning goal against the Hartford Wolf Pack, his second goal of his first professional game. With a two goal performance the following night, Foegele is now tied for first in the league in goals through two games. His performance this weekend proves why head coach Mike Vellucci named Foegele as a potential breakout candidate for Charlotte back in July. Andrew Poturalski emerged last season as a rookie leader on the squad and it looks like Foegele is doing the same this season.
(Update: the AHL league office noticed too, naming Foegele the AHL Player of the Week Tuesday afternoon. The release from the Checkers is below.)
The Checkers will return home to Bojangles Coliseum for a pair of games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders) on Friday and Saturday. Expect Jeremy Smith and Alex Nedeljkovic to split starts again as the Checkers have previously said the two will share the net through the first month of the season with only a few games on the schedule. Canes Country will have live coverage of Saturday’s game.
- Friday 10/13 and Saturday 10/14: home vs. Bridgeport
- Friday 10/20: at Rochester
- Saturday 10/21 and Sunday 10/22: at Toronto
WARREN FOEGELE NAMED CCM/AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Rookie forward scored four goals in his first two professional games
The American Hockey League announced today that Charlotte Checkers forward Warren Foegele has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 8, 2017.
Foegele began his professional career with a pair of two-goal games, including two shorthanded tallies and the game-winning goal in each contest.
Charlotte opened its 2017-18 season in Hartford on Friday night, and Foegele netted the Checkers' first goal of the new year before scoring again with 59.8 seconds remaining in regulation to give Charlotte a 5-4 victory. Then on Saturday, Foegele broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of shorthanded goals, sending the Checkers to a 5-2 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
A third-round selection by Carolina in the 2014 NHL Draft, Foegele played 61 games last season in the Ontario Hockey League, recording 27 goals and 36 assists for 63 points between Kingston and Erie and winning an OHL championship with the Otters. The 21-year-old native of Markham, Ont., is tied for the AHL's early-season lead with four goals.