Week in Review
Last week's record4-0-0
Last 10 games7-2-1
Checkers 3, San Antonio 1To kick off their final home stand of the year, the Checkers used a late surge to down the San Antonio Rampage 3-1. Andrew Miller gave the home squad a 1-0 lead in the first that held up through the first 40 minutes of play, but a quick Brendan Ranford strike in the third evened the score late. The Checkers responded shortly after, however, with Aleksi Saarela launching a seeing-eye shot into the far-side corner, and that would prove to be enough. The Rampage would attempt to rally back, but Haydn Fleury put an end to their hopes with a point blast in the final minutes of regulation, sealing the Checkers’ victory. Full recap
Checkers 5, San Antonio 2In the next night’s rematch, the Checkers again jumped out to a lead, this time thanks to a pair of second-period strikes from Patrick Dwyer. The Rampage would cut into that deficit late in the middle frame to pull within one and battle back for the next chunk of regulation, but a power-play tally from Lucas Wallmark pushed the Checkers further ahead, followed 19 seconds later by a Connor Brickley goal to go up 4-1. The Rampage tacked on one more in the final minute of play, but that was erased immediately after by Patrick Dwyer’s third goal on the night, securing his hat trick and earning Charlotte the two-game sweep. Full recap
Checkers 9, Texas 3The Checkers welcomed the Texas Stars to town with an offensive explosion. Kickstarted by a power-play blast from Philip Samuelsson five minutes into the game, the Checkers added on three more to skate out of the first period ahead 4-0. The Stars broke through early in the second, but that didn’t slow down Charlotte’s offensive firepower, as the home club pumped in three more goals in the frame, then tacked on another pair in the third to easily collect a 9-3 win. Full recap
Checkers 3, Texas 1The next night’s home finale didn’t feature the same offensive fireworks, but the Checkers were again able to handle the Texas Stars. After a scoreless first, the Checkers jumped in front thanks to a Patrick Dwyer tally followed by a power-play snipe from Phil Di Giuseppe for a two-goal lead through 40 minutes. The Stars’ rally attempt led to them breaking through in the final two minutes of play to pull within striking distance, but Connor Brickley put the final nail in the coffin with an empty netter to pick up another weekend sweep. Full recap
Three Stars Of The Week
Jake Chelios0g, 5a
Patrick Brown1g, 5a
Patrick Dwyer5g, 1a
PLAYOFF PICTUREThe Checkers’ playoff hopes are once again coming down the very end of the regular season. As it stands now, the Checkers trail the Cleveland Monsters by one point but have played one fewer game, currently putting Charlotte in the final playoff spot in the AHL standings. The Checkers wrap up their regular season schedule with a road trip consisting of two games in Grand Rapids followed by a finale in Chicago on Saturday, while the Monsters have a two-game set against Manitoba on Thursday and Friday to end their slate.
With 36 regulation/overtime wins (ROW) on the season, the Checkers have clinched the primary tiebreaker over Cleveland should the teams finish the season with an equal amount of points.
HOME SWEET HOMEWith sweeps of San Antonio and Texas last week, the Checkers wrapped up the home portion of their schedule, finishing the year 27-10-1 at Bojangles’ Coliseum. Those 27 home wins are the most of any team in the AHL this season and the most in franchise history.
On the flip side, the Checkers are 12-19-4 on the road this season, with those 12 wins the third-lowest total in the AHL. The good news for Charlotte, who has to finish the season with three games on the road, is that the team has earned at least one point in the standings in eight of their last 10 contests away from home.
POTTING POINTSWith a goal and an assist in Saturday’s win over Texas, Andrew Poturalski became just the second Checker in the last three season to reach the 50-point mark. The first-year pro is also just the second rookie in franchise history to reach the milestone, though he still trails Zac Dalpe’s team record 57 points from 2010-11. Poturalski is one of three rookie in the AHL to reach 50 points this season.
Poturalski wasn’t the only rookie who made waves this week, as Lucas Wallmark earned himself a spot in the Checkers’ record book with his 24th goal of the season. The tally moved Wallmark past Zac Dalpe for the most goals by a rookie in franchise history, a record that has stood since Charlotte’s inaugural 2010-11 campaign.
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Last Week's News
The Swede’s 24 goals this season are the third-most by any rookie in the league and the most by any Checker since 2013-14.
HAT TRICK DWYERCharlotte forward Patrick Dwyer scored three times in the team’s 5-2 win over San Antonio on Wednesday. The feat marked just the second hat trick of his 814-game professional career and first since March 21, 2009, with AHL Albany. It was the Checkers’ first hat trick since Matt Tennyson at Iowa on Nov. 11 of this season, the team’s first at home since Zach Boychuk on Jan. 24, 2014.
Dwyer, who is playing in the AHL this season for the first time since the 2009-10 season, became the eighth Checkers skater to hit the double-digit mark in goals over the course of the evening. Of his 25 points on the season, 22 have come in his last 31 games since the calendar turned to 2017.
MILLER'S TIMEOver the course of the last few months, there have been few players in this league on more of an offensive tear than Andrew Miller. In fact, since he returned from an injury on Jan. 27, only three players in the AHL have recorded more points than Miller, who has racked up 31 points in his last 31 games. That outburst has given the forward 40 points on the year for the third consecutive season.
FLEURY TAKES OFFOver the course of his first pro season, Haydn Fleury has become one of the Checkers’ top blue liner. Fleury’s 25 points, which rank second on the team currently, are the second most by a rookie defenseman in franchise history, trailing only Trevor Carrick’s 2014-15 season. The 20-year-old has only been a minus six times over the last 34 games, with his plus-16 rating standing as the best on the team and tied with the best mark in franchise history, set in 2011-12 by Justin Krueger and matched in 2012-13 by Zac Dalpe.
- Andrew Poturalski ranks third among league rookies in scoring (50) and tied for fourth in assists (33)
- Lucas Wallmark ranks second among league rookies in goals (24), eighth in points (46) and tied for third in shorthanded points (3)
- Connor Brickley is tied for fourth in the AHL in game-winning goals (6)
- Kyle Hagel missed 29 games starting Feb. 3
- Michael Leighton missed 24 games starting Feb. 18
- Erik Karlsson missed 14 games starting Mar. 17
- Danny Kristo missed five game starting April 2
- April 10: (LW) Sergey Tolchinsky assigned by Carolina (NHL)
- April 7: (C) Andrew Poturalski assigned by Carolina (NHL)
- April 10: (C) Hudson Elynuik released from ATO
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|Goals per game||2.82||t-17th||18th|
|Shots per game||30.49||10th||11th|
|Goals allowed per game||2.73||12th||14th|
|Shots allowed per game||28.67||8th||t-8th|
|Penalty minutes per game||10.90||2nd||2nd|
|Points||Andrew Poturalski (50), Lucas Wallmark (46), Andrew Miller (40)|
|Goals||Lucas Wallmark (24), Andrew Poturalski (17), Valentin Zykov (16)|
|Assists||Andrew Poturalski (33), Andrew Miller (29), Chelios (27)|
|Power play goals||Andrew Poturalski (5)|
|Shorthanded goals||Lucas Wallmark, Patrick Dwyer (2)|
|Game-winning goals||Connor Brickley (6)|
|Shots on goal||Andrew Poturalski (147), Jake Chelios (145), Lucas Wallmark (139)|
|Penalty minutes||Connor Brickley (57), Mitchell Heard, Valentin Zykov (53)|
|Plus/minus||Haydn Fleury (+16), Lucas Wallmark, Andrew Miller (+13)|
|Wins||Tom McCollum (12)|
|Goals-against average||Tom McCollum (1.98)|
|Save percentage||Tom McCollum (.927)|