Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/23/10 at 04:02 PM ET
On Friday night, the Charlotte Checkers, top minor league affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, snapped a four game losing streak with a convincing 5-1 win in Glens Falls NY over the Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers).
Jon Matsumoto, Zach Boychuk and Jacob McFlikier each had his third goal of the season while goaltender Mike Murphy made 31 saves for his second win of the season. Murphy was named the first star of the game.
Charlotte is now 2-5-0 on the season.
Matsumoto was a third round draft pick by the Flyers in 2006 and played three full seasons for their top affiliate. Last season, he was the leading scorer for the Phantoms with 62 (30/32) points in 80 games played. He was acquired at this summer’s NHL entry draft in exchange for the 206th overall (seventh round) selection. On July 1, the Hurricanes signed Matusmoto to a two-year, two-way contract. It’s unlikely that he’ll see any time in Raleigh, but he’s already proving to be a beast in Charlotte. He leads the team and is fourth in the AHL with nine (3/6) points through seven games.
Boychuk lost his spot on the big team in training camp when Jeff Skinner had a better showing. He also, to be fair, was the victim of a numbers game. When Patrick O’Sullivan was signed this summer, it made the competition a lot tighter. It should have given Boychuk inspiration to work that much harder, but the consensus is that he assumed that the job was his and got complacent.
Jeff Skinner is in a spot were he isn’t eligible age-wise to play in the AHL, so he knew that he would either be sent back to his junior team or he would impress the coaches enough to earn a spot on the big team. It speaks volumes about him that he earned the spot. He also knows that he could be sent back down at any point up until the ninth game played. So far, it looks like there’s no way that’s going to happen. He’s here to stay.
Because of his skill level and his experience last season, Zach Boychuk will be one of the first names called when the Hurricanes need reinforcements. And now he knows that next summer he will have to earn his spot on the big roster.
Carolina is back in action tonight against former Canes Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney in Phoenix. Puck drop is at 9:00.
The Checkers will play tomorrow night in Manchester, New Hampshire to play the Monarchs (LA Kings).
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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.