The Checkers hit a little bit of a rough stretch this past week as they lost 4-3 to Grand Rapids Wednesday (Oct. 21). They picked up their play two days later as they faced off again with Grand Rapids beating the Griffins 3-1 Friday (Oct. 23), but they were blanked 3-0 Sunday (Oct. 25) by Chicago.
Three Stars for the week
David Wohlberg led the Checkers in goal scoring this week, scoring one goal each game against Grand Rapids. Derek Ryan scored the game winner for the Checkers on Friday with a nice tip shot. Ryan has been able to find the open areas of the ice in the offensive zone to create scoring chances for himself early in this season, and it has led to four goals already in seven games. He totaled two points this past week, and is currently second on the team in points. Phil Di Giuseppe is the current team leader in points. Di Giuseppe has proven so far that he is just a flat out smart hockey player. He also showed on the goal he scored on Wednesday that he is not afraid to get in front of the net and get dirty to score a goal, and that is the kind of thing the Hurricanes were expecting from him when the team picked him second round.
Jake Chelios has been outstanding for the Checkers in the five games he as played. Chelios has totaled six points in five games and has been a solid presence on the defensive end so far. If he keeps playing like he is, he won’t be a scratch for anymore of the Checkers games. Brody Sutter had two points this past week for the Checkers. Sutter had a laser of a shot Friday night that started the scoring for the game and really set the tone for the way the Checkers played that night.
Zach Boychuk has yet to tally a goal over the first seven games of the season. He has put up four assists and the effort is clearly there for Boychuk, as he had eight shots Friday night against Grand Rapids. He just has not been able to find to back of the net quite yet. The Checkers will need Boychuk to pick up his scoring if they expect to be elite.
Injury and roster notes
Justin Shugg missed all three games for the Checkers with an upper body injury. Tyler Ganly was a healthy scratch all three games and Carter Sandlak was a healthy scratch for the Sunday night game. On October 20 the Hurricanes called up Rasmus Rissanen before they started their West Coast trip. Rissanen was sent back down to Charlotte on October 22 to call up Brett Pesce for the second time. The Checkers signed former player Drayson Bowman to a tryout contract on October 23. Bowman most recently played with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL.
Forward line pairings as of now:
First line: Zach Boychuk–Derek Ryan-Sergey Tolchinsky
Second line: Drayson Bowman-T.J. Hensick–Phil Di Giuseppe
Third line: Brendan Woods-Brody Sutter-Patrick Brown
Fourth line: Kyle Hagel-David Wohlberg–Erik Karlsson
Defensive line pairings as of now:
First pairing: Jake Chelios-Danny Biega
Second pairing: Rasmus Rissanen-Keegan Lowe
Third pairing: Trevor Carrick-Jaccob Slavin
Drayson Bowman made his season debut for the Checkers Sunday night. Bowman is someone whom Checkers and Hurricanes fans are very familiar with. The Hurricanes drafted Bowman in the third round of the 2007 NHL entry draft. Bowman played five seasons for the Hurricanes organization, the last season being the 2013-2014 season, when he played all season with the Hurricanes, tallying twelve points in seventy games. Later that offseason Bowman agreed to attend Montreal Canadiens training camp for the 2014-2015 season. He was later signed by Montreal to a one-year two-way contract. Bowman was not re-signed in the offseason by Montreal, so he headed off to the ECHL to play for the Colorado Eagles. Bowman is now with the Checkers where he hopes to make the team and stay the rest of the season.