The one about moving on to the second round

I didn’t watch or listen to the game thanks to the fact I was at work without access all afternoon/evening, but it sounded like it was an amazing.  Who am I kidding, it WAS an awesome game because the Charlotte Checkers defeated the Hershey Bears and ended their playoff run.  The back-to-back Calder Cup Champions (and they’ve won three in the last five years) have never lost a series  at home in the Giant Center.  The last time they lost a series at home, it was in their old arena in 2002.

Nicolas Blanchard scored the game winning goal, only a minute and a half into the overtime period.  Mike Murphy stopped 26 of 27 shots, and had another phenomenal performance between the pipes.  If he doesn’t start every game in the second round, I will be shocked.  Zack Fitzgerald misses his second straight game with a thumb injury, but he’s hard to keep down so I would expect to see him back sooner than later.

The Checkers have a few days to rest up and recharge (and practice, practice, practice, I’m sure!) before the first playoff game of the second round.

Here are a few keys to the Checkers series win against Hershey:

  • The Checkers ROCKED the penalty kill, only allowing one goal (in 26 PK’s)
  • The Checkers were able to capitalize on four power plays (in 33 attempts)
  • Justin Faulk.  This kid is AMAZING and I love seeing him in a Checkers sweater.  He’s fit in so well already, and is getting big minutes with the top-defensemen on the team.
  • The Zac(h)’s.  Dalpe’s a rookie, and had eight points in six games… three goals, five assists.  Boychuck has seven points, with three goals and four assists.
  • Mike Murphy went 3-1 in his four starts against Hershey.  He had some rough first periods, but when Murphy starts a game, he ends it strong.  His final first-round stats were phenomenal.  He had a 2.24 GAA, and .926 SV%.

So next up, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the Penguins.  The Pens had the best record in the AHL, and the Checkers went 1-6-0-1, only beating the Pens once in regulation.  While this is a daunting stat, I still have a lot of faith in our Checkers.  They have fight and determination, and a full roster with no risk of our NHL Club needing our guys.  Game one is on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre, and game two follows on Saturday.  If I didn’t have a show this week, I can assure you I would be in Wilkes-Barre for the first two games!  I even had a brief fantasy about seeing how much it would cost to charter a bus up and back, and see if there were enough Checkers fans interested in a crazy yet epic roadtrip.

The Checkers will be at home a week from Monday.  Game three is Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m., and game four is Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m.  These games are going to be INCREDIBLE, and I will be bringing everyone I know to cheer our team on to victory.

Lets Go Checkers!


2 thoughts on “The one about moving on to the second round

  1. Good series, obviously I was hoping for a different outcome but the Checkers were the better team and earned the series win.

    Good luck against Wilkes-Barre…I will be rooting for the Checkers!

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