Peoria Rivermen (35-26-2-1) at Charlotte Checkers (32-22-3-5)
- Charlotte is 3-1 against Peoria. The Checkers only loss came in February. Dave Caruso, in his only start for the Checkers, was the losing goaltender.
- Peoria is in the midst of a four-game winning streak. They have 73 points (one more than Charlotte, who is two games back), and sit in second place in the Midwest Division. The Checkers fell to third over the weekend after a pretty abysmal pair of games against Norfolk.
- The Checkers have lost the past two games, both against the league-leading and AHL record holding 18-game win streak Norfolk Admirals. Over the course of last weekend, the Checkers were outscored by 10 goals, a slump they will look to overcome tonight and tomorrow.
- After spending the first two months of the year atop the division, and as one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Checkers have slipped to seventh in the west, and are barely holding onto a playoff berth. A LOT can change in only a month, and there is still plenty of time for the Checkers to make it back to the top spot in their division.
- The Checkers and Rivermen have nearly identical special teams records. Each rank in the top ten in both the penalty kill and power play.
About the Checkers
- Justin Peters and Mike Murphy each have one start and one win against the Rivermen. Peters will start tonight, with Murphy starting tomorrow night.
- Bobby Sanguinetti was returned (again) from the Hurricanes after a game in Winnipeg on Sunday.
- Zach Boychuk, in 4 games against Peoria, has five points (3G, 2A).
- AJ Jenks, who has faced the Rivermen only twice since becoming a Checker, has three assists.
- Brody Sutter, cousin of Brett and Brandon, arrives in Charlotte today to join the Checkers since his Western Hockey League junior team failed to make the playoffs. You can follow him on twitter: @Sutts19.
- Side note: Brody played for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the middle of Alberta, which is VERY much a land-locked province, and I would be surprised to hear that Alberta had ever experienced a Hurricane before…
- According to Paul Branecky, due to clear day roster rules and the fact the Checkers currently have so many injuries to defensemen, Justin Shugg is not eligible to play. He will be a healthy scratch.
About the Rivermen
- The Rivermen’s parent club, the St. Louis Blues, currently sits in first place in the NHL.
- Just a month ago, the Rivermen’s Calder Cup playoff future was looking bleak, especially after trading away their starting goaltender Ben Bishop. Since he was traded to Ottawa, Jake Allen has gone 5-2 for Peoria, and his team is on a roll.
- In four games against Charlotte, T.J. Hensick has four points (2G, 2A). Hensick also leads the Rivermen in points this season with 65 (20G, 45A).
- Danny Syvret leads all Rivermen defensemen with 41 points (7G, 34A), and is fourth on his team in this category. In four games against the Checkers, he has four assists.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m. EST
Charlotte Radio: WBCN 1660 AM
Peoria Blog: The Rivermen Blog
Referees: David Banfield (#44), Ian Croft (#87)
Linesmen: Joe DeMizio (#3), Jean Menard (#12)
Unrelated personal note: I promise to do better about updating! I can count on three fingers the number of days I’ve had away from work since the beginning of February, but I do believe I’m going to have time off in April… thank goodness! Go see the Hunger Games on Thursday night! I hear my name might be in the credits…