First and foremost, I hope that you all had lovely Thanksgivings and tame Black Friday festivities!
Tonight marks the first meeting of the season against the Charlotte Checkers. It has been a very difficult season to this point for them. They sit above only the Utica Comets for the worst record in the AHL with a record of 6-12-0-1 (13 pts). As a team they’ve scored one more goal than the Admirals have, 49, but have conceded 14 more goals.
The current run the Checkers have gone through is a cringe inducing one that has them 1-9-0-0 in their last 10 games including back-to-back losses. Not one of those games went past regulation. Four of the defeats were decided by one-goal. They conceded 40 goals during that span including 23 goals in six home games.
In fact, the Checkers have played eight games at home and have only won once. OUCH.
Their current top scorer is Zach Boychuk with 5 G, 9 A, and 14 pts. If he sounds familiar it is because last season he was picked up on waivers by every team under the sun… alright, put on waivers by Carolina, claimed by Pittsburgh, waived by Pittsburgh, claimed by Nashville, waived by Nashville, and claimed by Carolina again before being sent to the Checkers… so all went to Carolina’s plan. While it has been a struggle for the entire team of late, Boychuk has produced 4 points (2 G, 2 A) in his last three games at home. He could well be the igniter the Checkers desperately need in order to claw back into the win column.
The top goal scorers of the Checkers are defensemen Mark Flood and winger Chris Terry with 7 goals each. That sounds all well and dandy but both started off the season with red hot months of October and have since cooled off. Terry scored 6 goals and 4 assists in October and earned an NHL call up. He played in seven games, didn’t hit the scoresheet, and went -3. Since being sent back down he has scored 1 goal in three games. As for Flood, he scored 5 goals and 3 assists in October. In November he has cooled, 2 goals and 3 assists, but the bulk of those points came in the two-in-two at home against the Rockford IceHogs where he picked up 2 goals and 2 assists in two games.
Six. Six goalies. The Checkers have played six different goalies. One of which was Rick DiPietro – who the Checkers released from his PTO earlier in the week. The main man between the pipes has been John Muse who has started 11 games from 19 total. The numbers: 4-6-0-0 record, 2.55 GAA, 0.912 SV%, and 2 SO. He started the season with three straight wins including back-to-back shutout performances over the Griffins and Wolves. Great right? Now here’s where it gets bad. In the month of November Muse has gone 1-6-0-0 with a 0.885 SV% conceding an average of 3.2 goals per game. In his last five appearances he has allowed 19 goals. Whether he gets the net against the Ads is a mystery at this point. If you read up on the Checkers website… it sounds like we might see the seventh different goalie they’ve used in net this season.
Thoughts on the Checkers? What are your expectations for this two-in-two scenario? Will the Ads take both games this weekend or meet a Charlotte team ready to get off the floor?