The Charlotte Checkers are shaking off their 6-0 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals as they prepare for Game 2 tomorrow.
Charlotte was trailing 1-0 late in the second half before the game went out of reach.
“We didn’t play properly,” said head coach Checkers Georgy Kinnear said via the team’s Twitter account. “But give Springfield full marks, I thought they played a great game.”
After finishing fourth in the AHL during the regular season with 2.74 goals per game, the Checkers have conceded 17 goals (3.40) to Springfield and Bridgeport in five playoff games.
With two full days between games, the Checkers have time to regroup.
“We’re going to watch the video and keep going and getting better,” Kinnear said. “Nothing changes for us. A loss is a loss.”
During the Calder Cup Playoffs and fullback, it has become the norm for the Laval Rocket to play in front of packed crowds at Place Bell Louie Belpedio appreciates this post-season boost.
Belpedio’s second-half goal was the Rocket’s decisive victory, helping them defeat the Rochester Americans 3-1 in Game 2 of the North Division Finals last night. The Rocket are 3-1 at Place Bell in the postseason and will lead 2-0 in the best-of-five series against Rochester for Game 3 on Wednesday night.
“Nobody likes hockey like the people of Quebec. I learned that this year,” said Belpedio, who spent parts of the first four seasons in another strong American Hockey League market with the Iowa Wild before signing with the Montreal Canadiens last summer. “It’s an honor to play in front of them.
“It’s something I don’t take for granted,” Belpedio said of the fan support. “You feel good when you drive out of that tunnel to the puck drop and see everyone cheering and waving their towels. I know it’s not easy for other teams to come and play here and we’ve been able to capitalize on that in the last two games.”
Rocket Head Coach JF Houle has paired Belpedio with Captain Xavier Ouellet. The pair were Laval’s two best attacking defenders during the regular season, but Belpedio says he won’t change his game.
“I try not to change my game no matter what,” Belpedio said. “Some nights you get bounces, some nights you don’t. I think it’s important to stay true to yourself. I think everyone just plays with their identity, their role and you see that all over the scorers list. Different people contribute and that’s what you need at this time of year.
“Nothing has to be beautiful. You just have to get it right.”
The Amerks still have at least one chance to figure out Rocket’s goalie Cayden Primeau.
Primeau, the first star in Game 2 after stopping 31 of 32 shots, has brought Rochester to just two goals in the first two games of the series. Rochester will look to stave off Wednesday’s elimination at home.
“We need to get more traffic on Primeau because he’s in a rhythm right now,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert called. “When a goalkeeper is in rhythm, you have to blame him. You have to outwit him. You have to get him to play deep in his crease. You have to sit on top of the net. Things that we’re generally good at, we weren’t that good at the first two nights.”
note forward Markus Jankowski managed to untie Primeau once and break the keeper’s shutout bid with 2:44 in the game.
“I think that’s how you get a goalkeeper in a groove, you make him uncomfortable,” said Jankowski. “You stand on top of the crease, make sure he doesn’t come out, make sure he can’t see any pucks, and just pepper him as much as you can and get the second or third hit at it.”
Despite a 5-0 loss in Game 1 of the Pacific Division Finals to the Stockton Heat, the Colorado Eagles had some good news yesterday.
Forward Dylan Sikura was back in the Colorado lineup after missing all three games of the team’s Pacific Division semifinal series against Ontario Reign. During the regular season, Sikura helped hit the second most prolific offense in the AHL and finished sixth in the league with 73 points (33 goals, 40 assists) in just 60 games.
Colorado head coach Gregory Cronin started using Sikura on a line Mikhail Maltsev and top scorer of the regular season Pine Sherwood against the heat.
― Patrick Williams