For the third time in six meetings, the Checkers and IceHogs had to take it to a shootout to determine the game winner. Fortunately, Charlotte came out on top, and John Muse won his fifth game of the season.
In what has become a reoccurring theme for the home team, Charlotte went into the third period with a 3-1 advantage, and ended it with a trip to overtime, and ultimately, the shoot out. A friend commented to me that the Checkers need offense in the third period, and to not be so offensive. I couldn’t have been more eloquent myself!
It was a night of special teams in Charlotte. The Checkers, who began the night with the sixth-best power play in the league, went three for three on the evening, scoring a goal in each of their three opportunities, two by Riley Nash, and the third by Zac Dalpe.
Rockford holds the record of the 28th “best” penalty kill in the league, and it showed tonight. The IceHogs struggled. In four power play chances, they failed to score on the man advantage, however they had two even strength goals, something Charlotte was unable to get.
The IceHogs, who were on a four-game winning streak thanks in part to the exceptional play of goaltender Carter Hutton, scored three unanswered goals to tie the game by the end of regulation. The Checkers had countless breakaway chances during the game, but Hutton prevented any of the pucks from finding the back of the net.
General observations about the game:
- Nash’s power play goals in the first and second periods had identical lines, and obviously, the same goal scorer. The 25-20-27 line is fan-freaking-tastic… though technically it was more of a 15-20-27 line, with a “D” pairing of Terry and Sanguinetti.
- On that note, wow, Terry should play the point on every power play. He’s got to be one of the most versatile players the Checkers have.
- Pistilli served two minors that weren’t his during the first period. He’s a player that has flashes of greatness. He’s physical, he hustles, and has speed and scoring prowess, however he seems to consistently be one of the last guys on the Checkers depth chart. Once one of the currently injured forwards can go, he may be the one to sit.
- Rasmus Rissanen – He gains more confidence with each game. He is more physical, and using his body more effectively. With just half a season under his belt at the AHL level, he’s made huge strides, and continues to be a defensive asset each and every night.
- John Muse has been fantastic in all of his starts this season, and is a true asset to the Checkers. While he lacks the speed and technique of Mike Murphy and Justin Peters (especially when it comes to his agility,or reading the puck), the bottom line is he gets it done when it matters, and with Peters in Raleigh for the unforeseen future, it is CRUCIAL that the Checkers have a confident, reliable backup for Mike Murphy.
- Carter Hutton – In his first appearance tonight versus Charlotte was his seventh consecutive start. Like John Muse, he was signed to a one-year deal with the AHL club, and after starting the season in the ECHL, has found himself a key player at the AHL level. He has become the most reliable goaltender the IceHogs have, and recent play has made him a valuable asset.