The Charlotte Checkers are staying the course and continue to put themselves in a competitive position as the American Hockey League schedule heads down the stretch. The Queen City’s team won three straight before dropping two games to the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins.
The three straight wins were each decided by one goal against division opponents, the Springfield Thunderbirds and the Wolf Pack. The Checkers created space between them and the division teams below them, but need to continue to win games as they remain in playoff purgatory in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
Charlotte had a chance to create more space and gain ground within the division but dropped a 5-2 decision to the Wolf Pack and a 5-2 decision to the Penguins in which goalie Alex Nedeljkovic began to look human again. They’ll need a stretch run reminiscent of Tom McCollum from a year ago if they want to burst to the top of the standings, but for now, a playoff spot will suffice.
The next three games are at home where the Checkers have been solid in front of the Bojangles Coliseum crowd, posting a 20-10-1 record. They’ll get another chance against the Penguins tonight and play a very beatable Binghamton Devils back to back this weekend.
Thought of the Week
Valentin Zykov finally got his shot again in the NHL...just to be sent down after participating in warm-ups. And what does he do in his first game back in a Checkers uniform? Score, of course.
My colleague, Brett Finger, has my thought of the week perfectly summed up:
The Canes shouldn’t expose any of their prospects who are actually worth a damn to this train wreck.— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) March 14, 2018
Keep all of them in Charlotte on a winning team. Do not let them step foot in PNC Arena until prospect camp when the new coaching staff is in place & things are not in shambles.
Don’t you dare touch any of the young guns now, Canes management (or whatever is left of it). Bill Peters has allowed a losing culture to fester in Carolina. It has tainted the once young and budding team and caused them to become apathetic. The fan base has become apathetic along with it.
The Hurricanes have 12 games remaining on their schedule. Do not ruin the Checkers shot at a playoff spot (and run) to prove that this organization has “grit” and “heart.” Besides, Peters would probably play any called up Checkers only four minutes and 28 seconds (see: Lucas Wallmark).
Player of the Week
Who other than Alex Nedeljkovic? While Valentin Zykov continues to hold the league lead in goals, it’s not every day that a goalie scores. Let’s look at it one more time for good measure:
GOALIE GOAL! Full video of @alexned_ lighting the lamp in tonight’s win! pic.twitter.com/AI5SqiIgmm— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) March 11, 2018