It was an ugly game, but a win is a win, and two more points in the standings is always a good thing. Rod Brind’amour was in Charlotte for the game, and it’s not necessarially the kind of game I’d want Hurricanes brass scouting at!
The Checkers were down two goals early, but came back with five unanswered goals, eventually beating the Griffins by a score of 6 to 5.
Offensively, the Checkers played extremely well. The power play unit scored two goals, and turned a number of second chances into goals, which is something the team has been working on over the course of the season.
Defensively, the team made a lot of mistakes. The Checkers allowed couple of goals because they were screening their own goalie. Defensemen were parked so much in front of goaltender Mike Murphy that he didn’t even have a chance. In the second, forward Nicolas Blanchard lost his stick. Instead of staying on his guy, Blanchard turned his back to go after his own stick, and the resulting play resulted in Chris Minard’s goal, his first of the season in only his second game this year since returning from a 2009 concussion injury.
This leads me to a question. I was sitting on the glass, and very clearly saw Blanch’s word choice after the goal went in, and it was an English four-letter word. Blanchard, of course, is a native French speaker. So in the case of guys who speak English as their second language, what is the preferred language of cussing? I mean, French-Canadian bad words are much less exciting than the F-bomb, in my opinion, so maybe that’s why they are used? What about Rissanen, Krueger and Jordan? What language do they cuss in? I might have to ask them next time I see them…
Other general thoughts:
- Chris Terry was a beast tonight. Aside from two beautiful goals, he was consistently in the right place at the right time. Terry is a guy that hustles and makes great plays, no matter what line he’s on, if it’s a special team unit of even strength. His second goal of the evening, early in the second period, was made for the highlight reel. He took his own rebound off of the dasher board, shot the puck, and it made it into the crease, with the help of a defenseman’s skate. My jaw dropped when I watched the play unfold. It was incredible.
- It was great to see Sean Dolan get his first AHL goal. It was a nice goal off a rebound that was the result of the Checkers parking themselves in front of the opposition’s net. For a guy the Checkers just picked up on a PTO from the South Carolina Stingrays, he’s making quite the show as to why Charlotte should keep him. He’s got a lot of energy, and proving to be quite reliable.
- Zac Dalpe’s goal in the third was another example of the Checkers making good use of second chances. Overall, the night had a lot of great offensive rebounds, many of which resulted of goals.
- The third period could have lost the game for Charlotte. It was very up and down. Offensively, the team stayed strong, but defensively there were a lot of gaffs, almost as if the players were unaware of their surroundings, and it didn’t help that the Checkers were down to only five defenseman after Chris Murray left the ice in the second and didn’t return.
The team leaves tomorrow morning for Abbotsford, B.C. The last time I flew to Western Canada, I flew direct, and it was an almost six hour flight, and we know the Checkers NEVER fly direct. This is the team’s first game in Canada, for as long as I can remember, anyway. It’s not going to be an easy weekend of travel. They play the heat on Friday and Saturday, fly back to Charlotte (and it’s a lot of flying and airport connections!) on Sunday, then on Monday, they bus to Norfolk for a game against the Admirals. If Chris Murray can’t travel, it will be interesting to see what the Checkers do for a sixth defenseman. Fortunately, traveling from Florida (Ft. Myers, where Ryan Donald and Kyle Lawson are) to Canada is probably a bit easier, because those Canadians love to fly to warm places in the winter.