Editor’s Note: I approached Swamp Hockey a few weeks ago about doing a semi-regular column for Chasing Checkers that kept Charlotte fans updated on the players in the Checkers and Hurricanes organizations who are currently playing in the ECHL. This is the first, of hopefully many, great installments!
I have to admit, I struggled a great deal with how to introduce myself and somehow convince you to continue reading rather than head over to the worlds greatest time waster, Facebook. I mean, how can I compete with your annoying cousin and the two hundred pictures of her new baby (that looks like a living, breathing, troll doll)?
I can only hope, that for whatever reason people read my Everblades blog ( I’m pretty sure half of those people are only there for the cat pictures), you won’t mind suffering through my updates of the Hurricanes and Checkers players we have down here.
The Blades have played five games so far this season and currently hold a 2-2-1 record. They split a home series with the Gwinnett Gladiators. Their loss, after an 11 round shoot-out, was the first time Gwinnett had one a game against the Blades in something like nine games. The guys then left for a pretty grueling tour through the Northeast. In three days, they played in three different cities. They Lost the first two games and won the third game.
– Obviously, I have to start out the player updates with Justin Shugg.
Right now, the Shuggernaut (how amazing is that nickname?), sits tied for second place league wide in points with three goals and five assists in five games. His best night came last Saturday in an 8-5 loss to the Trenton Titans. He scored two goals and assisted on another. In honor of that effort, Shugg was named ECHL player of the week, a big accomplishment for the rookie.
– Forward Mike McKenzie, has been struggling to find that back of the net. He currently has zero goals and 2 assists in the last five games.. It’s not for lack of trying though. He leads the Blades with 20 shots. I imagine its like his scoring drought last season. It’s only a matter of time before the floodgates open.
– Forward Matt Beca has also been struggling. He currently has zero goals and two assists in his last four games.
He wins the best scruff award though.
– Defenceman Chris Murray has managed to assist on four goals in his last five games. His -3 isn’t pretty, in fact he has the worst +/- on the team, but it’s nowhere near the worst in the league. So, there’s that I guess.
– Defenceman Kyle Lawson has only appeared in two games so far this season. It appears that he has been a healthy scratch for a few games.
– The most recent arrival, defenceman Ryan Donald, managed one assist and a +3 in his only game with the Blades.
One game was lost in regulation and another in an 11 round shootout. He’s technically the Blades number one right now thanks to his .924 SV% and 2.41 GAA.
The Blades will be off for a road series against all their divisional rivals this week. They start off by playing the Greenville Road Warriors in back to back games at the Bi-Lo center, then move on to play the Gwinnett Gladiators and South Carolina Stingrays next Tuesday and Wednesday. They finish off the road week with another game against the Stingrays on Friday and the last game of the road-trip against the Road Warriors on Saturday. It’s a long week for the guys, but many of the games, especially the one against current division leader Gwinnett, are very important.