The Checkers hit the road for a tough three-in-three weekend the ended on a strong note.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    17-6-1
  • Home record
    6-2-0
  • Road record
    11-4-1
  • Last week's record
    1-2-0
  • Last 10 games
    6-3-1
  • Division Standings
    1st
  • Conference Standings
    1st
  • League Standings
    1st

Checkers 1, Providence 2

The first leg of their three-in-three weekend ended in frustrating fashion for the Checkers. They got on the board first thanks to a tally from Andrew Poturalski, but that would prove to be all the offense the visitors could muster. The Bruins evened the score early on in the middle frame before finally cracking the tight-checking deadlock in the final five minutes of regulation, capitalizing on an ill-timed penalty by the Checkers to collect the victory. Full recap

Checkers 3, Hartford 5

The next night in Hartford proved to be a much higher octane brand of hockey, but the Checkers found themselves on the wrong end of a tight contest once again. The visitors emerged from a wild first period with a 3-2 advantage thanks to two goals from their fourth line and a highlight reel go-ahead marker by Julien Gauthier, but the Wolf Pack would take over from there. The home squad evened the score in the middle frame and then took advantage of an early penalty by Charlotte in the third to move ahead. The Checkers pushed back hard, launching a season-high 19 shots in the third period alone, but they couldn’t solve veteran netminder Dustin Tokarski, and a dagger from Cole Schneider would put the game away for the Wolf Pack. Full recap

Checkers 3, Providence 2 (OT)

Back in Providence looking to end the weekend on a high note, the Checkers pulled off a wild comeback to get revenge on the Bruins. After finding themselves down 2-0 nearing the midway point of the third, Janne Kuokkanen struck on the power play to kickstart the Checkers. Martin Necas followed that up inside the final six minutes of regulation, gloving down a floating puck and tapping it home to secure a point for Charlotte and force overtime. The extra frame featured several quality chances for both sides, but with just 16 seconds remaining Andrew Poturalski collected a Greg McKegg feed, carried the puck into the slot and ripped a shot past Zane McIntyre – the Checkers’ 47th of the night, a season high – that sent the Checkers back to the Queen City happy. Scott Darling picked up his first win since clearing waivers and joining the Checkers, stopping 26 of the 28 shots he saw. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week

Darling

3rd Star

Scott Darling

1-1-0, 1.98 GAA, .922 SV%
McKegg

2nd Star

Greg McKegg

0g, 2a
Poturalski

1st Star

Andrew Poturalski

2g, 1a

Notables

AT THE TOP

Twenty-one games into the season the Checkers find themselves sitting atop the AHL standings. Coming off three straight road wins, the Checkers have opened up a four-point lead over the second-place Milwaukee Admirals and a six-point lead over the next-best Eastern Conference team in Bridgeport.

Charlotte’s 16-4-1-0 start is the best record through 21 games in franchise history, surpassing their 13-6-1-1 mark from the 2011-12 campaign.

KUOKKANEN LIGHTS IT UP

Janne Kuokkanen continues to shine early on in his sophomore season. The forward is averaging over a point per game, with his 22 points tying him for third in the league in scoring. In fact, Kuokkanen sits just three behind Cory Conacher’s AHL-leading mark.

The Finnish forward has been held off the scoresheet just five times this season and only once were those games consecutive.

NECAS FINDS THE NET

After recording just two points in his first six games with Charlotte this season, Martin Necas has gone on a tear, racking up 10 in his last 11. The rookie has come through in the clutch as of late as well, recording two game-winning goals last week, one in the third period and one in overtime.

At 19-years-old, Necas is the second-highest scoring teenager in the AHL right now, trailing Chicago’s Erik Brannstrom by one point.

SAARELA'S SNIPE SHOW

Aleksi Saarela’s impressive shot was on full display last week for the Checkers. The Finnish forward lit the lamp in three of the four contests and now has 10 points in his last 10 games. In fact, from Nov. 17 to now no player in the AHL has recorded more goals than Saarela.

SOLID IN THE CREASE

Alex Nedeljkovic continues to shoulder the bulk of the workload between the pipes for Charlotte, leading the league in wins by three over the second-ranked netminder and logging more than a full game’s worth of minutes than any other goalie in the AHL.

Callum Booth made his third start of the season and first on home ice Sunday and turned in a stellar performance to improve his record to 3-1-0. The second-year pro has stopped 44 of the 47 shots he’s seen over his last three appearances.

Ranks

  • Janne Kuokkanen is tied for 7th in the AHL in scoring (23) and tied for 3rd in power-play goals (6) and power-play points (13)
  • Andrew Poturalski is tied for 10th in the AHL in scoring (22) and tied for fifth in game-winning goals (3)
  • Trevor Carrick is tied for third among AHL defensemen and tied for 10th overall in assists (15), tied for fourth in scoring among blue liners (18), tied for second in power-play assists (9) and tied for the league lead among defensemen in power-play points (11)
  • Saku Maenalanen is tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals (2) and points (3)
  • Alex Nedeljkovic leads the league in wins (12), ranks second in minutes (1021:40) and ranks fifth in saves (405)
  • Cliff Pu is tied for sixth among league rookies in plus-minus (+6)
  • Jake Bean is tied for fifth among league rookie defensemen in scoring (12) and assists (9) and ranks fifth in shots on goal (56)
  • Michal Cajkovsky is tied for the league lead among defensemen in shorthanded points (2) and goals (1)

INJURIES

  • Michal Cajkovsky - Missed two games starting 12/1
  • Josiah Didier - Missed eight games starting 11/17
  • Spencer Smallman - Missed 11 games starting 11/11

Transactions

Incoming

  • Dec. 1: (D) Jake Bean - Assigned from Carolina (NHL)
  • Nov. 30: (G) Scott Darling - Assigned from Carolina (NHL)

Outgoing

  • Dec. 1: (G) Callum Booth - Assigned to Reading (ECHL)
  • Nov. 30: (RW) Valentin Zykov - Claimed off waivers by Edmonton (NHL)
  • Nov. 29: (C) Clark Bishop - Recalled by Carolina (NHL)

Coming Up

Friday, December 7 at 7:15 pm - Checkers at Hartford

Saturday, December 8 at 7:05 pm - Checkers at Springfield

By the Numbers

CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 20.2% 10th 10th
Penalty kill 85.6% 6th t-4th
Goals per game 3.42 15th 13th
Shots per game 29.83 18th 20th
Goals allowed per game 2.71 4th 4th
Shots allowed per game 26.25 2nd 3rd
Penalty minutes per game 16.42 3rd 1st


LEADERS

CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Janne Kuokkanen (23), Andrew Poturalski (22), Trevor Carrick (18)
Goals Janne Kuokkanen (9), Andrew Poturalski (8), Three tied (7)
Assists Trevor Carrick (15), Janne Kuokkanen, Andrew Poturalski (14)
Power play goals Janne Kuokkanen (6), Aleksi Saarela (3), Five tied (2)
Shorthanded goals Saku Maenalanen (2), Patrick Brown, Nicolas Roy, Michal Cajkovsky (1)
Game-winning goals Nicolas Roy, Andrew Poturalski (3), Three tied (2)
Shots on goal Aleksi Saarela (64), Janne Kuokkanen, Andrew Poturalski (58)
Penalty minutes Dan Renouf (46), Trevor Carrick (45), Julien Gauthier (35)
Plus/minus Roland McKeown (+7), Jake Bean, Cliff Pu (+6)
Wins Alex Nedeljkovic (12)
Goals-against average Alex Nedeljkovic (2.94)
Save percentage Alex Nedeljkovic (.890)
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.