(4) Charlotte Checkers at (1) Chicago Wolves
Central Division Semifinals - Game 3 - Series tied 1-1
April 23, 2017 - 3:00 p.m. ET
Allstate Arena - Rosemont, IL
Listen: ESPN 730 AM - Listen online - Checkers mobile app
Keys to the game:
- A Solid Road Game: The Checkers allowed the Wolves to dictate play on Friday night, to their detriment, and while they were able to come back twice to tie the game they never looked fully comfortable. With the Wolves headed home for the balance of the series, they will look to again establish their game early, and the Checkers need to (to borrow a phrase) weather the storm in the first ten minutes, then take over again with the formula that won Game 1 in Charlotte.
- Shutdown Defending: The pairing of Haydn Fleury and Phillip Samuelsson has done yeoman’s work in neutralizing the Wolves’ leading scorers, Kenny Agostino and Wade Megan, in the first two games of the series. In fact, Megan’s sole contribution to the scoresheet in either game was a matching roughing penalty that he was goaded into by Checkers sparkplug Brendan Woods, a trade the Checkers will take any day of the week. Trying to steal two games on the road will be made much easier if the Checkers’ defensemen can limit the Wolves’ offensive threats to depth players.
- McCollum back to basics: A couple of the goals, especially the game-winner, on Friday night saw Checkers goalie Tom McCollum look somewhat shaky. It’s understandable that everyone is due an off night, especially the way that McCollum carried the Checkers through March and right into the playoffs, but that needs to be the exception rather than the rule. The Checkers aren’t going to win two games on the road by overpowering the Wolves offensively, so they need McCollum back to form quickly.