Gameday: Checkers go Canadian – Charlotte at Abbotsford

Charlotte Checkers (23-14-2-2) at Abbotsford Heat (24-13-3-0)

    • With 51 points, the Heat lead the Checkers by one point in the Western Conference, and are one game back.
    • The Heat are members of the toughest division in the AHL, with the likes of Oklahoma City and Houston, all three of whom have broken the 50-point mark.
    • Abbotsford is the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, and former team of Brett Sutter.  Many say that Abbotsford is a suburb of Vancouver.  While Vancouver is definitely the closest big city in British Columbia, Abbotsford is about as much of a suburb of Van as Hickory is to Charlotte.
    • To get to Abbotsford, the team flew to Seattle (through Dallas, of course!), then

      To get to Abbotsford from Seattle, I think the team drove through Nooksack, Washington. Probably one of my favorite small town names ever. Say it out loud. You smile, right?

      bused to Abbotsford, where there is a major border-crossing (I’ve been there!).  From what I read on Twitter, the team arrived to no power in the hotel.  Needless to say, the team gets to do all of this in reverse on Sunday (that’s 16 hours worth of travel) so they can drive six hours to Norfolk on Monday.  This is a crappy weekend of travel!

    • The only Western Conference team that has to travel more than the Checkers is the Abbotsford Heat.  They are the only AHL team in Western Canada, and are a member of the West division, which includes the three Texas teams and Oklahoma City.
    • Checkers goalie John Muse gets the award for the funniest tweet of the trip, though for what it’s worth I think Timmy’s Maple Glazed > Boston Creams:

About the Heat:

  • Center Krys Kolanos leads the Heat in goals with 18, and points with 39.
  • Guillaume Desbiens leads the team in PIMs with 71, and also has the worst +/- rating with a -11.  That’s like the total opposite of Spinal Tap’s favorite amp.
  • Leading Abbotsford in names is Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, with four, and hyphens with two.  He’s a left wing and has two assists in 18 games played.
  • Former Checker Brett Carson was put on waivers to send him back to the AHL by the Calgary Flames yesterday.  If he clears, he could face his former team tonight in Abbotsford.
  • Since being traded to Abbotsford, Goaltender Danny Taylor has started 16-straight games.  He started the season in Springfield.  In his time with the Heat, he’s 9-5-0-2.  (2.21 GAA, 0.932 SV%)
  • Abbotsford has the best penalty kill in the league.  The Checkers special teams have definitely been improving, and currently sit in 11th in that category.
  • The Heat’s power play is slightly less effective than Charlotte’s, statistically speaking, but it’s really too close to compare.

Gametime:  10:00 p.m. EST

Charlotte Radio: WFNZ 610
Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Abbotsford Twitter: @AbbotsfordHeat

Officials
Referee:  Andy Thiessen (#11)
Linesmen: Nathan Vanoosten (#96), Chris Carlson (#52)
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