Much like their parent team, the Charlotte Checkers have seen a recent string of success come their way. The team won seven straight games, setting a franchise record, coming into Sunday’s match-up against the Chicago Wolves, but unfortunately saw their streak snapped after dropping the game 3-1.
Despite the loss, the Checkers have forced their way into the AHL playoff conversation with above average play over the past two months and currently hold on to the eighth spot (and a playoff spot) in the Western Conference standings. With 11 games remaining in the 2016-17 schedule, every point and every game remains valuable.
The Checkers continued their stretch of good play this past week when they took on the Ontario Reign at home for a pair of games. The Checkers topped the Reign in both games, including a thrilling overtime victory. Connor Brickley led the way for the Checkers, recording three goals over the two-game stretch. Goaltender Tom McCollum has hit his stride since joining the Checkers and played well against the Reign, stopping 46 of 51 shots over the pair of games.
The Checkers then turned their attention to the Iowa Wild in a crucial back to back series. Charlotte topped Iowa in both games and were able to leapfrog the Wild in the division standings in the process, propelling them into a playoff spot. Lucas Wallmark was the hero in the first game, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win. Defenseman Haydn Fleury led the way in the second game, a 3-2 victory, with two points (one goal, one assist).
The weekend set with the Wolves saw the Checkers earn a split, winning 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday and setting the franchise mark for consecutive wins before falling in the matinee on Sunday. The second game saw the return of Checkers captain Patrick Brown after an eleven-game stint with the Hurricanes, and the Checkers got an added boost yesterday when the previously injured Valentin Zykov was reassigned to Charlotte, swapping places with Wallmark who was recalled to Carolina.
The Checkers take on the Cleveland Monsters on the road this week starting tonight at 7 pm. The Monsters sit directly below the Checkers in the division standings but the Checkers have a game in hand. A series sweep of the Monsters could give the Checkers the breathing room they need to squeeze into the playoffs with only a few games remaining.
Since Last We Met:
- March 17: Checkers 5, Ontario 3
- March 18: Checkers 3, Ontario 2 (OT)
- March 21: Checkers 1, Iowa 0
- March 22: Checkers 3, Iowa 2
- March 25: Checkers 3, Chicago 2 (SO)
- March 26: Chicago 3, Checkers 1
Next up for the Checkers: (33-28-4-0, 60 points, 4th Central Div)
- March 28 and 30: at Cleveland
- March 31: at Grand Rapids
- April 2: at Chicago
- April 4 and 5: home vs. San Antonio
- April 8 and 9: home vs. Texas