The Checkers find themselves back in the playoff picture after this week. They split games with Milwaukee, winning 2-1 on Friday (Mar. 18) but the team would falter the next day on Saturday (Mar. 19) and lose 6-2. They picked up three out of a possible four points in their last two games, losing to Rockford 2-1 in a shootout on Sunday (Mar. 20) and beating Chicago 7-3 on Wednesday (Mar. 23).
Three stars of the week
Andrew Miller is proving why the Checkers made the effort to retain him for the rest of the season. He had a goal and two assists on the first line for Charlotte, and he looked comfortable playing with captain Derek Ryan. The Checkers can only hope that the chemistry between Miller and Ryan can continue and lead a charge into the postseason. Sergey Tolchinsky was only a couple of inches away from his first ever hat trick in the AHL on Wednesday night. The prospect from Russia has had an up and down season for the most part, but his offensive play the second half of the season has to be encouraging for the Hurricanes organization. Tolchinsky also notched an assist in an earlier game in the week. Derek Ryan was a monster for the Checkers. He had the teams only goals on Saturday and Sunday night and to top that off he tallied four assists on Wednesday to lead the team in scoring on a night when the team reeled off seven goals. Ryan is picking up his scoring at the right time for the Checkers. They need all the firepower they can get to get into the playoffs.
Jake Chelios had himself quite the week, as he put up three points in four games. Chelios stepped up on his game on Friday, as he scored the team’s only goal and had to pick up the slack for the team’s usual top defensemen, Trevor Carrick, because he was on call up with the Hurricanes. Ever since being sent back down to Charlotte from his call-up with Carolina Brendan Woods has been playing solid hockey. The past week Woods had three assists in four games including a two assist outing on Wednesday night against Chicago.
Valentin Zykov has yet to play a game for the Checkers this season because of an injury. That is the sole reason for him being here this week. With the Checkers in such a crucial part of their season and post-season playing hanging in the balance, they need every young prospect they have to make the push for the playoffs. He is the only player that was acquired at the trade deadline that has yet to make an appearance in a game so far for the Checkers.
Injury and roster notes
Danny Biega, Justin Shugg, Brock McGinn, Ethan Werek, Valentin Zykov, Anthony Camara, and Dane Fox all missed games due to injury. The Hurricanes sent Brody Sutter and Trevor Carrick back down to Charlotte on Saturday (Mar. 19). Derek Ryan was called up to the Hurricanes on Monday (Mar. 21) and sent back down to Charlotte on Tuesday (Mar. 22). The Checkers signed Nick Trecapelli to an amateur tryout contract on Thursday (Mar. 18).
Forward lines as of now
First line: Derek Ryan-Andrew Miller (shuffling here because of volume of injuries)
Second line: Sergey Tolchinsky-Andrew Poturalski-Erik Karlsson
Third line: Brendan Woods-Blair Jones-Brody Sutter
Fourth line: Kyle Hagel-David Wohlberg-Patrick Brown
Defensive pairings as of now
First pairing: Trevor Carrick-Dennis Robertson
Second pairing: Rasmus Rissanen-Keegan Lowe
Third pairing: Jake Chelios-Mike Cornell