Rockford Hogs the Ice in Charlotte, defeats the Checkers 4-1.

Jeremy Welsh and the Charlotte Checkers were unable to stop the Rockford IceHogs, losing both games at home this weekend. (Photo - J. Propst)

Jeremy Welsh and the Charlotte Checkers were unable to stop the Rockford IceHogs, losing both games at home this weekend. (Photo – J. Propst)

If I was to make a list of “bad stats,” I’d probably run out of room to list them all.  The Checkers currently are in the midst of their longest winning of the season (four games).  After another weekend in the loss column, the team now has a losing record when playing at home (3-5), yet continues to have a stellar record on the road (9-2-0-2). Until Brett Sutter scored midway through the third period today, the Checkers had gone nearly five periods between yesterday and today without scoring a goal.

I’ve love to get to the bottom of WHY the Checkers are not performing well at home, but I’m pretty sure players and coaches alike are even more anxious to figure that out.

So instead of rehashing all of the bad stuff (oh wait, I just did…) let’s focus on the good.

The team seemed sharp during the first period.  They were aggressive, strong on the forecheck and were getting a lot of pucks towards the net, despite not getting any past IceHogs netminder Carter Hutton.  The second period had bursts of energy, and a fight by Justin Soryal, but overall, the spark wasn’t there, and they didn’t have nearly as many shots on goal.

The third period seemed promising, with a renewed energy level, and a goal by Checkers captain Bret Sutter, the only one for the night by the home team.

All in all, the effort from the home team was there, something both Zac Dalpe and Bobby Sanguinetti elaborated about after the game.  The team has the drive and determination to get better, they just have to make that uphill climb back to the top.  Tonight marked the Checkers 21 game, just a few past the official one-quarter mark of the season.  The AHL season is a long one, and I for one would rather see a slump like this early on than the one that plagued the Checkers late in the 2011-12 season.

Zac Dalpe, who is one of the top forwards on the Checkers with 15 points in 20 games (6g, 9a) said, “I was happy with our effort tonight.  Sometimes they just don’t go in, I guess.”

Dalpe further elaborated about the state of the Checkers at this quarter-point of the AHL season.  “There’s obviously a lot of areas we can improve on.  Special teams, our power play, we need to get better especially when we get given a 5-on-3 like that.  It’s kind of hard to pinpoint just one thing.”

Bobby Sanguinetti, and the rest of the team, seem very enthusiastic about moving forward and past the abysmal 0-4 record of the past two weekends at home.  “It’s tough.  Guys are working.  I thought today we had our legs and were skating, and guys were getting in on the forecheck. I don’t know if you can say bad bounces, bad break, but we’ve just got to get back at it and forget about these games.”

A few more photos from tonight’s loss can be found here.

Thursday and Friday night, the Checkers face the Lake Erie Monsters.  Let’s all hope for a better result!

P.S. My current goal is to have the cheesiest possible headlines.  How am I doing? Suggestions and ideas are ALWAYS welcome.

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