Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Checkers advance

On Sunday evening, the Charlotte Checkers defeated the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears 2-1 in overtime of game six of their first round matchup.  Charlotte has won the series 4-2 and will face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins in the second round.  Games one and two will be in Scranton on Thursday and Saturday nights, respectively. 

Just 36 seconds into the game, Brett Sutter scored his second goal in as many games to give the Checkers the early lead.  Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk assisted on the goal, which stood as the game’s only goal for more than 53 minutes.  Boychuk has tallied at least one point in every playoff game this season.  He’s the only player in the East and one of only two players in the entire AHL to have a six-game points streak.

Bears defenseman Brian Fahey scored the equalising goal at 14:18 of the third, assisted by former Hurricanes prospect Keith Aucoin. 

The overtime period didn’t last long, as Nicolas Blanchard ended it at 1:30, assisted by alternate captain Nick Dodge and defenseman Casey Borer.  It was the second goal of this playoff season for Blanchard, who is also alternate captain to defenseman Bryan Rodney. 

Mike Murphy was in nets for the fourth straight game for the Checkers.  He made 26 saves, earning the victory. 

This series will have the 2-3-2 format, which I really despise.  Games one and two will be in Scranton on Thursday and Saturday respectively. Games three through five will be in Charlotte on Monday, Wednesday and (if necessary) Friday.  Games six and seven (if necessary) will be in Scranton on Saturday May 7 and Monday May 9. 

In the regular season, the Baby Pens dominated play against the Checkers.  Charlotte was just 1-6-0-1 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, including a pathetic 0-3-0-1 at the Time-Warner Cable Arena.  Justin Pogge was the goaltender of record in all but one of those games, but Mike Murphy has the hot hand heading into this series.  Hopefully, it’ll be a better series than the regular season series was.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calder+cup+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, hershey+bears, nicolas+blanchard, wilkes-barre/scranton+baby+penguins, zach+boychuk

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About Red and Black Hockey

David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science.  He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows.  Sometimes, all in the same day. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.