Charlotte Checkers (35-28-3-6) at Rockford IceHogs (34-31-2-6)
- The Checkers are 4-1-0-1 against the IceHogs this season, and has won both of the games in Rockford. This is the first of two games in Rockford this week.
- As with each of the four-games in this roadtrip, tonight’s game is a must-win for Charlotte. Rockford is 12th in the West, with 73 games played (one more than Charlotte), and while their playoff hopes aren’t completely eliminated, they are going to need a lot more luck to make it to the post season.
- The Checkers have a better record on the road than at home this year, and Rockford has a worse record at home than away. Hopefully these statistics are in the Checkers favor tonight and Saturday.
This is Charlotte’s third of four visits to Rockford this year. Rockford is the birthplace of Chasing Checkers favorite NASCAR crew chief, Chad Knaus, and the Rockford Peaches of the movie “A League of Their Own.”
- Michal Jordan and Riley Nash lead the Checkers with six points each against Rockford (2g, 4a).
- Chris Terry also has six points against Rockford (1g, 5a).
- Jerome Samson, in only five games against the IceHogs, has five points (3g, 2a).
- The Checkers have only won two of their past eight games at home. Their road record is moderately better, with wins in their past two starts, and points in three of their last four.
- Goaltender Carter Hutton has been recalled by the Chicago Blackhawks three times since late February. When with Rockford, he’s 5-3-1 in his last nine starts. Hutton was undrafted, and played four years in the NCAA with U-Mass, Lowell. This season, he was signed on an AHL contract with Rockford, but on February 24, signed an NHL contract with Chicago, and was recalled by the big team the next day. It’s interesting to note that Hutton, who started the 2011/12 season in the ECHL with Toledo, was able to bypass both of the Chicago prospects in Rockford (Alexander Salak and Alec Richards, who has since been reassigned to the ECHL) and have time in the NHL this year. The Checkers faced Hutton once this year, and he lost in the shootout.
- Rostislav Olesz missed the past two games due to a lower body injury. No word yet on whether he will be able to play tonight. In only four games against Charlotte, Olesz has seven points (2g, 5a).
- Brandon Pirri, who also has seven points in five games against the Checkers this season (2g, 5a) has been on a scoring slump since a knee injury sidelined him for seven games a month ago. Since returning, he has only two points (1g, 1a) in seven games.
- Rob Flick, who started the brawl against the Admirals in Milwaukee over a week ago, will miss tonight’s game. It is the third of his three-game suspension by the AHL.
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EST
Charlotte Radio: WFNZ 610
Rockford Twitter: @goIceHogs