Fifteen games remain in the inaugural Checkers season. Seven are at home, eight on the road. The matchups are as follows:
Today and Saturday, 3/12 – Binghamton at home
3/16 and 3/18 – at Bridgeport
3/19 – at Syracuse
3/20 – at Wilkes-Barre Scranton
3/22 – Adirondak at home
3/25 – at Connecticut
3/26 – at Portland
3/27 – Norfolk at home
4/1 – at Wilkes-Barre Scranton
4/2 – at Albany
4/4 – Norfolk at home
4/8 & 4/9 – Worcester at home
Four of the matchups on the road are against teams who are currenly well below .500, with a nearly impossible shot at the playoffs. (Syracuse, Albany and Bridgeport). Portland, who we meet up with at home, is a fourth club with a less than .500 record.
We have six games against division rivals Binghampton, WBS and Norfolk. The Penguins are practically locked into the first seed of the East division. Norfolk, Charlotte and Binghamton are all within five points of each other, so the remaining games between our clubs are going to be key to playoff seeds. The standing continue to look like whoever ends up fifth in the east will end up moving to the Atlantic Division, and possibly playing in the third position there, but with anywhere from 15-18 games to play per team, anything is possible.
I think, from my couch coaching position, the things the team needs to focus on offense. We have got to remember how to score goals! On this past weekend’s three game roadtrip, the Checkers only scored five goals. Three in one game, and two in the loss against Providence. Only one was a powerplay, and in Providence, we went zero for six on the powerplay, against one of the bottom five teams in the east.
No matter how good the goaltender is (And Pogge and Murphy have both been stellar in net!), we can’t win games if we can’t score. In Murphy’s two starts, he only allowed three goals, and if you exclude the empty net goal in Worchester, there was only a one goal difference between losing and tying the game. That’s a good stat to see. I’m glad we are controlling the game better and not allowing ourselves to have five and six goals scored against each game, but these one goal games need to start going in our favor. Providence scored two power play goals against us, We aren’t being outshot too horribly, but if we can’t get good scoring chances we can’t win games.