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Checkers Corner: Back to WWWinning

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Charlotte builds momentum similar to the boys in Raleigh.

Jacob Kupferman/Cal Sport Media

Similar to their “big brother” organization three hours to the northeast, the Charlotte Checkers have now won three straight games due to an offense firing on all cylinders. The three straight wins have all come at home, where the club has gone 16-8-1 this season.

The week began with a 5-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds. Charlotte got off to a hot start in the game, scoring three quick goals in first period. Despite an answer from Springfield, the Checkers remained firmly in the driver’s seat all night. Andrew Miller led the way with a pair of goals and Clark Bishop earned three assists on the night. Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside 28 shots.

The Checkers followed up the performance with a 7-0 thrashing of the Thunderbirds. Despite being outshot, Nedeljkovic stood tall for a 29-save shutout. Miller had a goal and two assists to build on his performance from the previous night. Valentin Zykov, Andrew Poturalski and Lucas Wallmark also enjoyed multi-point nights.

On Tuesday night, the Checkers offense exploded once again for a 6-0 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack. Charlotte managed to get off 45 shots and Alex Nedeljkovic faced only 15 en route to a shutout. Janne Kuokkanen had two goals and an assist as he continues to play well.

Thought of the Week

Originally when the Hurricanes were struggling to score, I was all for the idea of calling up Valentin Zykov or Warren Foegele to bolster the offense of the big club. However, it doesn’t make sense at this point of the season. The Canes’ roster has gelled well over the last few games and seems to be building momentum as they head towards the trade deadline. A call-up from Charlotte may be futile compared to a trade for a player outside of the organization.

Bill Peters’ lack of confidence in younger players combined with the amount of time on ice Zykov or Foegele would get wouldn’t amount to much offensive production. Perhaps a longer look during training camp and the preseason of the 2018-19 season would benefit both the players and the organization.

Player of the Week

Andrew Miller is this week’s player of the week. Miller had three goals and five assists for eight points in the three games this week. His contributions as a veteran on a young Charlotte team have been much welcomed. (And you know the team is rolling when the goaltender who has back-to-back shutouts isn’t the player of the week!)

Looking Ahead

The Checkers will round out their six-game homestand this week before hitting the road for six games. Tonight, Charlotte will face off against Hartford again, hoping to rekindle their love for the net that they found in Tuesday night’s match-up. The homestand will come to a close against the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday and Sunday.