Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/20/10 at 03:45 PM ET
On Friday night, the Charlotte Checkers continued their hot play with a 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Adirondack Phantoms (Flyers). They’ve gotten standings points in nine of their last ten games, going 7-1-0-2 in that stretch.
It seems like it’s been a different hero every night for the Checkers, and on Friday, it was Zach Boychuk. He had one goal and two assists to lead the way. Jacob Micflikier had one goal and Bryan Rodney scored his first of the season. Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti notched the game winner in overtime, making up for a big mistake earlier in the game.
It wasn’t exactly pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly. However, the Checkers will gladly take the two standings points.
I was in Charlotte watching the Checkers and didn’t get to see the Canes on teevee, so I’ll rehash the Checkers game.
Micflikier scored the first goal of the game at 14:36, while Charlotte was enjoying a five-on-three advantage. They took a little too much time to put the puck on net, but with just a few seconds remaining on the first penalty, Oscar Osala put a good shot on Phantoms netminder Johan Backlund from the high slot. The goalie made a good stop, but there was a mess of players in front of the net. Included in that mess was Micflikier, who banged the rebound. Chris Terry got the secondary helper. This was the only goal of the period. Unlike Wednesday’s game and every game between the River Rats and Phantoms, there were no fisticuffs.
The Checkers increased their lead at 1:34 of the second on a really nice move by Zach Boychuk. He broke in alone on the goaltender. only to be stopped. Later during the same shift, he had another breakaway chance that he converted. The goalie came out early and committed to a backhand shot. Boychuk moved it to his forehand and lifted over the defenseless goalie for the easy marker. Brett Carson had the lone assist.
Things got bizarre at 6:43 of the middle frame when Matt Clackson of the Phantoms dumped the puck into the Checkers zone from well beyond the blue line. The airborne puck must have been spinning end-over-end because it took about seven crazy bounces and Mike Murphy misplayed it badly enough that it ended up in the back of the net.
Eric Wellwood got the equilising goal at 12:54 of the second. His shot from the left circle was helped out by some poor defensive play by Bobby Sanguinetti. My beef with him in every game I’ve attended is that he wanders around a lot and doesn’t keep the play in front of him. This was an example of that. He was completely lost for a second, floating around the slot with his back to the play. Wellwood had already earned the ice, but the shooting lane was given to him for free.
Checkers captain Bryan Rodney scored his first goal of the season, a power play marker at 16:25, giving the big home crowd something to cheer about. He cleaned up a rebound of a Jerome Samson point shot to restore a one goal lead. Boychuk had the secondary assist.
There was only one goal in the third period, a leveling goal by Ben Holmstrom from the left circle. It looked almost like Murphy didn’t even see it coming, and the score was suddenly tied at 2:20 of the third.
Overtime didn’t take long. Bobby Sanguinetti, who I have been very critical of, potted the game winner at 1:37 with a shot from the left circle. It trickled through the pads of the netminder, but there were plenty of Checkers on the spot to tidy it up if there had been a juicy rebound.
Brett Sutter was in the lineup, and he didn’t do anything wrong. He looked just fine out there.
While this game was going on, the Hurricanes were in Pittsburgh, and they ended up on the short end of a 5-4 shootout decision. Justin Peters started and went the distance, leaving Cam Ward to start the back end of the back-to-back tonight in Raleigh. I’ll be back on the job, minding that game.
Some sources are saying “The Hurricanes have lost three of their last four games”. That might be true, but I prefer to put a brighter spin on it. They’ve earned at least one standings point in two straight and four of the last six games. Seven points were gained out of the last 12 available points. Compound that over a season, and you’ve got 96 points. That’s good enough for the playoffs.
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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.