WWW.AEROS.COM - SEASON PREVIEW
Prior to the beginning of the Aeros 2012-13 season, Josh Fisher and Joe O’Donnell break down the Aeros South Division foes.
Charlotte Checkers – South Division
2011-12 Record: 38-29-3-6, 85 pts.
Playoffs: Missed Playoffs
Aeros All-time Record vs CHA: 3-0-0-1
2011-12 Season Series = Aeros 3-0-0-1
After a disappointing (to say the least) finish to last season, the Checkers look to bounce back and return to the Calder Cup Playoffs. On January 1, the Checkers were leading the Midwest Division. On March 1, they were leading the Midwest Division. On April 1, they were second in their division and 5th in the conference. Seeing a trend here…? The Checkers were sitting pretty most of the year, but a 5-5-0-0 stretch in their last 10 games kept them from securing a playoff berth. Really, it came down to one game…on the last day of the regular season, the Checkers got smoked 6-1 in Milwaukee. That loss, coupled with an Aeros win, kept the Checkers out and gave the Aeros their ninth playoff appearance in 11 AHL seasons. Now in the South Division (the old wild, wild, West), can the Checkers become a “final four” team again?
Guys you may know already:
Justin Faulk (D) – Not to be confused with the former Aero Justin Falk, this diminutive blue-liner is one of the quickest at his position in the league. His puck moving skills are off the charts, a big reason why he skated in 66 NHL games with Carolina last season.
Jerome Samson (RW) – Samson netted 20 goals in 57 games last season, which actually was his lowest total since the 08-09 season. He provides a constant scoring threat from the wing and is a big part of the Checkers power play. Over the last few years, he has ranked in the top ten of the AHL in shots on goal.
Player(s) to Watch:
Dan Ellis (G) – A veteran goaltender from Saskatoon, SK, Ellis hasn’t played in the AHL since the 2007-2008 campaign with the Iowa Stars. He’s won 72 career NHL games, another 61 in the AHL, and in his first pro season, he lifted the ECHL’s Kelly Cup with the Idaho Steelheads in 2004. Last season, due to injury, he played in just 10 games with the Anaheim Ducks, going 1-5-0 with a 2.72 GAA. His health and ability to have a bounce back year may go a long way in determining the Checkers long-term success in 2012-2013.
“Team Take”: (I asked Jason Shaya “Voice Of The Checkers” to give you his take on the biggest strength of this year’s squad):
All you need to do is look at the roster of the Checkers and see names like Faulk, Sanguinetti, Boychuk and Dalpe to realize there is very special talent amassed in this year's team. The men on the roster from top to bottom have all the necessary attributes to dominate in every scoring category. In a league that begins chock-filled with talent, Charlotte is no exception. They have excellent puck moving defenseman and experienced goaltending to handle the workload should the offense not click to start the year. Look for a new high-tempo game from Charlotte this season in order to adapt to the style that Hurricanes bench boss, Kirk Muller implemented as he took over the reins in Carolina mid-season.
The Season Series:
The Aeros and Checkers play eight times, beginning with the Aeros opening tilt on Saturday, October 13th.
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