Early on in tonight’s matchup, it would have been easy to count the Checkers out. They had allowed the first two shots of the game, and were down 2-0 only 1:40 into the contest. The home team rallied, again and again, and after yo-yoing between being a goal behind and tied, they finally took the lead with 6:31 to go in the game with an even strength goal by Zach Boychuk.
Coach Morris recognized the team’s ability to bounce back.
“We showed some resilience, and I thought that it looked pretty dire at the start of the game,” Morris continued, “Guys just stuck with it, so, we’ll take it. They’re not all gonna be pretty. And hopefully we learned some things along the way.”
Four power play goals led to the Checkers victory at home against Chicago.
Drew MacIntyre made his first appearance for the Checkers since December 15. He was injured over the Christmas break while playing for Team Canada at the Spengler Cup in Switzerland. Having missed the past month of Checkers play, it was no surprise he was a bit shaky on the start, but his teammates rallied around him to score six goals and win the game.
Coach Morris was complimentary of MacIntyre’s play despite the shaky start.
“He had a rough outing. That’s not the typical Mac game. He’s coming off an injury…. So we’ve got to cut him some slack. He made some big saves.” Morris continued, “It’s not an easy position to play, especially when you’ve been out so long.”
The Checkers are in a tight race for the playoffs, in a tough central division. The Wolves, who are division rivals, are lower in the standings but still a crucial matchup.
Brendan Woods, who was the game’s first star with two goals, recognized the importance of a strong showing against the Chicago Wolves.
“We have a board up in our room. Right when you walk in you see it,” Woods continued, “It’s really tight when you look at the standings. You can’t take any nights off with the division we have. It’s all really close, so any chance you have with a team coming in your building, in your division, it’s huge.”
Coach Morris also commented on the importance of a strong showing against division rival Chicago.
“They have no problem scoring goals against us. I thought we’d need a touchdown after the first two shots.”
The Checkers sit solidly in a playoff spot, but with over a third of the season to play, the team must continue to win games and pick up points in the standings. Since December 9, they’ve shown they know how to win.
After a 12 game point streak that took them through most of December and into January, and have points again in the past five starts.