In a disappointing loss for the home team, the Charlotte Checkers lost to the Toronto Marlies in a game that was much closer than the 4-1 final score may allude to. Toronto had goals from Josh Leivo, Connor Brown, Carter Ashton and an empty netter by Viktor Loov, late in the final minutes of the game.
The Checkers lone goal came from Zach Boychuk, his 104th goal of his career in Charlotte, and tied the all-time lead with Chris Terry.
The Marlies have earned at least one point in each of their last ten games, including tonight’s defeat of the Checkers. Thanks to their recent play, Toronto has climbed from near the bottom of the standings to playoff contention.
Tonight’s game saw the return of Checkers veteran Zach Boychuk and Captain Michal Jordan, who both have had extensive call-ups with the Carolina Hurricanes and returned to the Checkers lineup while on the recent Midwest division roadtrip.
Coach Jeff Daniels recognized the contributions Jordan makes to his Checkers team.
“It’s huge. It takes some pressure off the other guys,” Daniels said, “[Jordan] plays in all situations against top lines. He’s a leader on this team and well-respected in that locker room and a guy who can slow things down out there and make the right play.”
Drew MacIntyre, who faced his former Marlie teammates for the first time since signing with the Carolina Hurricanes organization over the summer, reflected on what having veterans like Zach Boychuk and Michal Jordan mean to a struggling Checkers team.
“It’s a huge addition. Chucky scored tonight. It’s no secret we’ve had a lot of trouble scoring goals, to get a guy like that’s gonna help a lot,” MacIntyre said, “MJ, like I said, he’s poised. We need him.
With exactly half of the season ahead for the Checkers 38 games played, 38 remain), I’m going with a glass half-full attitude, and believe that the home team can turn things around just as the Marlies have in their past month of play.