Editor’s Note: How awesome is it that Haley was able to make two of the West Division games this weekend? Not only that, but she has some great observations about the games she saw in Texas. It’s great having a first-hand account from a Checkers fan on the road. Enjoy this first (of hopefully many!) contributions!
– Lets begin with the Aeros cheerleaders, usually they wear very revealing clothing but tonight just took the cake. I’m assuming they were Halloween costumes, but they were all wearing shorts and binki-type tops with fur lining and scarves, to resemble a bomber pilot. But the message wasn’t very clear at all….possibly lost somewhere in the abyss of skin showing.
– The San Antonio Rampage have a very nice organization, but the effects and announcer were a little over the top. The fans were also very very quiet, the attendance was 6,157 but it seemed like there were only 2,000 total even at their loudest times. My friend and I were the only two Checkers fans there, and with each goal you could hear our screams literally echo around the massive arena.
– In the beginning of the Rampage game the Checkers seemed unsure of how to handle the Rampage, sitting back and letting them control the game with ease. But after the first goal they stopped playing defensive hockey and owned the game. I wasn’t nervous at any point after Brett Sutter scored that short handed goal, the team turned around and just kept going at them, wearing them down, but allowing 36 shots.
– Mike Murphy was sensational in the crease, as his last few starts have shown. If the defense can continue blocking shots, taking away lanes and helping him out more(possibly by staying out of the box?), the outcome tonight would have been much different. I’m wondering, along with probably every other Checkers fan out there, what the case is going to be once Justin Peters is healed.
– Brett Sutter and Justin Faulk look bound and determined to get called back up, those two are playing with an huge amount of emotion and it’s showing for them. Sutter surprisingly only ended up a +1 on the weekend, with a strong defensive performance and that extra push to show how bad he wants to be in Raleigh. Faulk has continued to impress me, he was so frustrated with himself after the empty net goal he broke his stick getting back to the bench. I selfishly love having him in Charlotte for now, but he’s going to be a star when he can find his groove up in the big leagues. I don’t remember the last time I saw a defenseman with the amount of skill he has at his age, it’s such a treat to watch him compete.
-The team looked much better on Saturday night versus tonight’s game, but either way we need to cut back on penalties. There was absolutely no reason to have 11 infractions. The penalty kill looked strong, spending a lot of the time outside of the defensive zone, with quite the amount of chagrin from Houston fans.
– I don’t think they called no goal on Drayson Bowman’s shot at the end of the second. I know I’m not an official or anything near one, but I’m pretty sure I saw the puck cross the line before the buzzer sounded even from my awkward vantage point.
– They need to figure out a way to crack Houston before the last game, chances are these teams are going to face each other in the playoffs and it would be better to figure them out now. At certain points during the game I saw the Checkers I knew, but at others the Aeros just broke down their positions and saw right through their defense, leaving them scrambling and chasing from behind.
– I also wanted to point out the fact of how little I like Aeros fans. I really dislike the “Hey goalie you suck” chants in general, but it’s a little much when you score an empty net goal and you’re still chastising Murphy for sucking…There were also two different groups right behind me chirping in my ear the whole time about how big of “pansies” they were. For some reason this man had a bone to pick with Chris Terry and Mike Murphy, and wouldn’t stop even after Terry had tacked on an assit to his night and I had a few words with him. And plenty of complaints about the refereeing, even when the calls were good for the Aeros. There were four other Checkers fans on the same row as us who were very kind and somehow louder than my friend and I. Even all the way in Texas, Checkers fans still feel like family to me.