The Checkers finally returned to Bojangles’ Coliseum last week for an action-packed holiday week, taking five of a possible eight points from Belleville and Providence. Charlotte’s home stand continues this week with contests Friday and Sunday against the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
  • Home record
  • Road record
  • Last week's record
  • Last 10 games
  • Division Standings
  • Conference Standings
  • League Standings

Checkers 4, Belleville 2

Returning home after a long road trip, the Checkers shook off an early deficit to right their losing ways and top the Belleville Senators. Charlotte found itself in a hole right off the bat thanks to a pair of Senators goals within the first three minutes of play. A point blast from Brenden Kichton quickly cut that lead in half, then a snipe by Aleksi Saarela late in the second evened the score heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation. The Checkers kept their feet on the gas and completed their comeback in the third, with Saarela ripping his second of the night past Belleville netminder Chris Driedger midway through the frame and Janne Kuokkanen putting home a late empty netter to seal the deal. Alex Nedeljkovic got back into the win column between the pipes with 21 saves on the night. Full recap

Belleville 5, Checkers 2

The next night’s rematch didn’t go as well for the Checkers. The Senators once again found the back of the net early on in regulation, though Roland McKeown was able to draw the score back even with his second goal of the season late in the same frame. Belleville responded back in the second with a pair of goals in the middle frame and headed into the third with a lead despite a Mike Ferrantino tally in the waning moments. The Checkers pushed hard for the equalizer in the third, more than doubling the Senators up in shots during the frame, but they couldn’t find a way to the back of the net. Max Reinhart netted his second of the night to give the visitors a cushion in the third, then Max McCormick put the final nail in the coffin with an empty net dagger in the final minute, clinching a 5-2 win for Belleville. Full recap

Checkers 8, Providence 2

Back on the ice after a quick Thanksgiving break, the Checkers used their power play to propel them to a blowout win over the Providence Bruins. The visitors struck first early in the second, but the Checkers would respond with eight unanswered goals, three of which came on the man advantage and five of which came in a big third period. Last year’s AHL MVP Kenny Agostino found the back of the net late in regulation, but it was too little, too late and the Checkers rolled their way to a lopsided 8-2 victory. Full recap

Providence 2, Checkers 1 (SO)

The Checkers closed out a busy week with an extremely tight rematch against the Bruins that didn’t resemble the previous night’s bloodbath at all. The Checkers finally found themselves opening the scoring for a change, with Nicolas Roy throwing one in late in the first to trigger the annual Teddy Bear Toss. The Bruins answered shortly after and that would conclude the scoring in regulation. In overtime for the first time, the Checkers couldn’t create much but kept the visitors at bay and the game proceeded to a shootout. After no goals in the first three rounds pushed things to sudden death, both sides lit the lamp in round four. Warren Foegele was then denied in the fifth round, setting up Ryan Fitzgerald to pick up the two points for his team with a quick wrister to the back of the net. Despite only picking up one point in the standings, Jeremy Smith was stellar between the pipes, making 40 stops in 65 minutes of play. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week


3rd Star

Nicolas Roy

1g, 3a

2nd Star

Aleksi Saarela

3g, 0a

1st Star

Janne Kuokkanen

1g, 4a



Sunday’s game introduced a bit of a twist to the Checkers’ goalie situation. After winning the previous night’s game, Alex Nedeljkovic was unable to dress due to an illness, leaving Jeremy Smith as the only netminder on the Charlotte roster. Needing another body, head coach Mike Vellucci turned to Checkers broadcaster Jason Shaya, who plays recreationally and often fills in between the pipes for Checkers’ practices but had never suited up for an AHL game. Shaya donned a jersey and served as Smith’s backup for the game, becoming just the second emergency goaltender to dress for Charlotte during the team’s AHL tenure.


The Checkers’ biggest offensive push as of late has come from the duo of countrymen in Aleksi Saarela and Janne Kuokkanen.

Saarela’s deadly shot was first introduced during his late stint in Charlotte last season, but the forward’s play as of late has shown that was no fluke. He had three goals in four games last week, bringing his total up to seven on the year, the third-highest total on the team. Kuokkanen has operated more on the playmaking side of things during his time with the Checkers, posting eight assists and 11 points in his first 12 AHL regular season games, including five points in four games during last week’s home stand.

The two have been especially productive when playing alongside each other, as Kuokkanen picked up the primary assist on each of Saarela’s three goals last week and Saarela was on the ice for all five of Kuokkanen’s points.


After just notching four points in his first 10 games this season and serving as a healthy extra at one point, Nicolas Roy seems to have found his footing as of late. The rookie has exploded for eight points in the nine games following that slump, including a pair of multi-assist games in his last four games to give him five points over that stretch.

A fourth-round pick by Carolina in 2015, Roy now ranks fifth on the team in scoring and sits just one point behind Warren Foegele for the rookie lead.


As one of the team’s most dependable defenseman, Trevor Carrick has shouldered a heavy load of minutes lately and continues to produce on the offensive end as well.

After bouncing in and out of the lineup due to a recall and an injury early in the year, Carrick has settled into a groove on the Charlotte blue line and has notched eight assists over his last nine games. That surge not only puts Carrick as the team’s top scoring defenseman, but ties him for 10th among league blue liners with 12 points this season.

Carrick, who recently became the franchise’s all-time highest-scoring defenseman, is just four away from matching his point total from all of last year. His career high is 42 points, set during 2015-16.


  • Valentin Zykov is tied for sixth in the AHL in goals and is tied for the league lead in power-play goals
  • Warren Foegele is tied for the AHL lead in shorthanded goals and points, is tied for second among league rookies in goals and tied for ninth among rookies in scoring
  • Nicolas Roy tied for third in the AHL in shorthanded goals
  • Alex Nedeljkovic is tied for third in the AHL in wins
  • Trevor Carrick is tied for 10th among AHL defensemen in scoring, tied for sixth in assists and tied for second in power-play assists


  • Jake Chelios missed 12 games starting Nov. 3
  • Lucas Wallmark missed nine games starting Nov. 10
  • Valentin Zykov missed three games starting Nov. 22
  • Dennis Robertson missed three games from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22
  • Clark Bishop missed two games starting Nov. 25



  • None


  • None

Coming Up

Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:15 pm - Checkers vs. Springfield

World Travel MatesCountry Boy Landscaping
  • Beach Night presented by World Travel Mates - sunglasses giveaway
  • Toy Drive presented by Country Boy Landscaping - Bring a toy to receive a free ticket to a future game

Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1 pm - Checkers vs. Springfield

Country Boy Landscaping
  • Checkers Charitable Foundation Holiday Party
  • Toy Drive presented by Country Boy Landscaping - Bring a toy to receive a free ticket to a future game

By the Numbers

Power play 21.6% t-2nd t-7th
Penalty kill 84.2% 12th t-10th
Goals per game 3.62 3rd 3rd
Shots per game 28.86 20th 23rd
Goals allowed per game 3.14 18th 19th
Shots allowed per game 29.14 13th 15th
Penalty minutes per game 12.67 9th 9th

Points Andrew Miller (16), Valentin Zykov, Lucas Wallmark (15)
Goals Valentin Zykov (10), Warren Foegele (9), Aleksi Saarela (7)
Assists Lucas Wallmark, Trevor Carrick (11), Andrew Miller (10)
Power play goals Valentin Zykov (6)
Shorthanded goals Warren Foegele (3)
Game-winning goals Warren Foegele, Valentin Zykov, Andrew Poturalski (2)
Shots on goal Andrew Poturalski (40),Trevor Carrick, Warren Foegele (36)
Penalty minutes Zack Stortini (42), Trevor Carrick (27), Patrick Brown (25)
Plus/minus Philip Samuelsson (+12), Lucas Wallmark, Patrick Brown, Roland McKeown (+7)
Wins Alex Nedeljkovic (9)
Goals-against average Alex Nedeljkovic (2.56)
Save percentage Alex Nedeljkovic (.904)