Tonight’s game saw two Checkers take the ice with Charlotte for the first time. Brendon Nash, older brother of Riley, was paired for most of the game with fellow defenseman Justin Krueger. He’s on loan from San Antonio for the remainder of the season.
Brock McGinn also played his first game as a Checker after practicing with the team for the past week following the conclusion of his OHL season with the Guelph Storm. McGinn is a speedy forward who isn’t afraid to use his body and had no trouble finding himself down in front of the net a number of times.
“I thought he was great. He didn’t play scared and he was out there. He can skate well and was out there on the forecheck and he likes to bang bodies,” commented Coach Jeff Daniels, “He was tenacious and I think he’s only 19 years old, and that’s a very big and very good team to jump in on his first game and he played very well.”
In recent weeks, the first period of play has been slow to get started, with very little offensive effort, but tonight the first period proved to be a big one. A big check by Captain Brett Sutter led to a turnover by Mike Commodore. Matt Beca capitalized on it, and made the score 1-0.
Despite being outshot 20-7 in the second period, and two goals within the first two minutes, the Checkers were able to keep it together. Stellar play by goaltender Rob Madore played a huge part in this. He made countless saves during a Stars play and kept the Checkers in the game through a period that was quite sluggish at times, and had a slightly offensive Checkers offense.
“To his credit, I thought he really bounced back,” said Daniels on the play of Rob Madore who faced 47 shots, “I mean, we’re up 1-0, then down 2-1, and it could have been 3-1 or 4-1 without Rob making some big saves in the second period.”
A big third period saw Jeremy Welsh score to make the score 3-2, only to have Texas immediately tie it up. With less than two minutes left in the game, Zach Boychuk, with a feed from Chris Terry and Bobby Raymond, ended up scoring the game winner on the power play.
Bobby Raymond had two points on the night (1g,1a) and also a number of key defensive plays that kept the Checkers in the game.
Tomorrow’s rematch against the Texas Stars is the final home game for the Checkers this season before the team takes the road for their final four games in Chicago, Peoria and Milwaukee.
Odds & Ends
- If the playoffs started today, Charlotte would face the Houston Aeros. Following the news that the Aeros are relocating to Iowa next season, it may be the last time Charlotte faces a team from Houston for awhile.
- In Nicolas Blanchard’s first game with the Carolina Hurricanes, he had four hits and his first fighting major at the NHL level.
- Be watching the Chasing Checkers Twitter feed and website tomorrow for a pretty special Q&A with a former Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes.