All in all the Checkers came out and put up another good effort against the top team in the Western Conference. In the end the team came up a little short but still pulled out 3 of a possible 4 points and thanks to help from San Antonio and Rockford, extended their lead in the Midwest a little bit.
1. John Muse was once again rock solid in net, there was not too much he could have done to stop either goal. Both goals the Checkers gave up were due to break downs in the defensive zone. The first came off of a bad pass turnover and the second (with only 2 minutes left in the game) came as a result of the team not being able to clear the puck. The intitial shot on goal hit someone and went right to stick of another OKC player who had a wide open net.
2. Both teams missed some open nets but the Checkers really did not take advantage of all the gifts OKC gave them. First were the back to back 5-3 power plays the Checkers had in the first period that they were not able to convert. Next was the Penalty shot Zach Boychuck missed badly on in the third period which would have iced the game. Finally both Chris Terry and Bobby Saguinetti had breakaway’s in OT that were shut down by OKC’s goalie.
3. The 2 assists Evgenii Dadonov had were both beauties. All Dolan and Roy had to do was shot the puck as Dadonov threaded both passes in perfectly leaving the goalie no chance to make a save.
4. The Penalty Kill looked great again and did a nice job of staying in their lanes even when they could not clear the puck. I believe the Checkers only allowed one PP goal against the entire month of February, very impressive considering the amount of road games and travel they had to endure.
5. Have to give props to OKC’s goalie David LeNeveu. He bounced back well after a poor showing the night before and is the single biggest reason OKC got 2 points from this game. He stayed calm and in perfect postion everytime the Checkers came in on him on a breakaway or odd man rush.
6. Nicolas Blanchard scored his second one punch knock down of the season, this time of Philippe Cornet.
7. A bit of bad luck in the shoot-out got the Checkers as well. Matt Pistilli beat LeNeveu in the 6th round but it hit the post. This would have been the game winner as Muse stopped his man that round.
8. Great back to back crowds as the Checkers drew over 25K for the weekend. Hopefully a few thousand of these folks will be attending futre weekday evening games.
9. Stuck around to watch the post game jersey auction. The craziest part was watching a phone bid battle over Brett Sutter’s jersey. The lady there live wound up beating the phone bidder but not until the jersey went for over $1300. All in all nice to see the community contribute a ton of money to cancer research.