Gameday: Houston at Charlotte

Tonight’s matchup against Houston should be a great contest of two evenly-matched teams.  Both Houston and Charlotte have one big thing in common…. they were each swept during the Calder Cup Playoffs by the Binghamton Senators, which is not a stat either team is particularly proud of.
This weekend marks the first and only appearance by Houston in Charlotte this season.
Charlotte Notes:
  • Justin Faulk will make his debut with the Checkers tonight having been returned from the Hurricanes on Wednesday.  According to Faulk, it may just be the weekend that he spends in Charlotte, but every Checkers fan I know hopes he stays longer.  The Hurricanes wanted Faulk to get some ice time, and a three game stretch in Charlotte is the perfect opportunity for that.  Faulk was paired with Bobby Sanguinetti and spent time on the Power Play during practice Thursday.
  • Tonight’s game marks the first of eight “3 in 3” weekends of games.  Charlotte faces the Houston Aeros in the first two contests of the weekend, and the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.
  • With Brett Sutter still on-duty with the Hurricanes, Jared Staal is expected to make his first start of the season.  At practice, he was on a line with Cedric McNicoll and Justin Soryal.
  • This evening also marks the first time the Checkers black third jersey’s make an appearance.  Let’s hope they have a better winning record than last year!
Houston Notes:
  • The Aeros won their first two games of the year, then lost in an 11-round shootout last weekend to San Antonio, and then lost again on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.  They have a record of 2-1-0-1, and like Charlotte, five points in the standings.
  • Center Carson McMillan will not be playing for the Aeros this weekend.  He was “awarded” a four-game suspension by the AHL for an illegal hit to the head of a member of the San Antonio Rampage.  In his first four games with the Aeros, he had three points (0G, 3A).
  • Casey Wellman leads the Aeros with four goals, and leads the team with two Game winning goals.
  • Goaltender Matt Hackett has three starts this season.  He’s a second-year professional in the Minnesota organization. Hackett spent two and a half seasons with the OHL Plymouth Whalers where he was a teammate of Checkers Michal Jordan, Brett Bellemore and Chris Terry.

Gametime:  7:00 p.m. EST
Charlotte Radio:  WFNZ 610

Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Houston Twitter: @Houston_Aeros@3rdIntermission
Houston Blog:  The Third Intermission
Officials
Referee: Steve Patafie (#85)
Linesmen: Joe DeMizio (#0), Jean Menard (#12)
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