With 11 goals in his last 14 games, Charlotte forward Zach Boychuk has become a regular contributor in Checkers postgame media conferences.
After netting goals 12 and 13 of the season in the Checkers’ 5-4 win against the Norfolk Admirals at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday night, the 24-year-old former 14th pick overall was back in front of the microphones.
“It feels like we’ve got a good relationship going,” joked Boychuk, who has at least one goal in three straight. “Hopefully, I can keep coming out here. I didn’t come last game, even though I scored. Maybe you guys forgot that I scored that goal or something? I like to get the tap (on the shoulder) to come out here and talk.”
Boychuk’s first strike, which was set up by a cross-ice pass from Chris Terry, put the Checkers up 2-0 at 5:58 in the second period.
His second, however, required a bit of luck.
With the Checkers (12-14-1) on their fourth power play of the night, Terry again found Boychuk. This time he was waiting just inside the right faceoff circle.
Boychuk one-timed the pass just under the pads of the Admirals’ 20-year-old rookie goalie John Gibson.
The power-play goal was Boychuk’s AHL-leading ninth this season and extended the Checkers’ current streak of games with at least one goal on the man-advantage to eight – one away from tying the franchise record (set in 2012).
“That’s been a good spot for me,” Boychuk said. “I think with Terry working the other side, he comes down and he’s always looking to pass it over to me and I just try to get open. He finds a way to get it to me quite a bit.”
After opening the season 0-6-0 at home, the Checkers have now won seven of their past 10 at Time Warner and also tied the franchise’s record for most consecutive wins at home with four. The Admirals fell to 13-10-5.
The Checkers will cap their current 10-game home stand with games against the North Division-leading Toronto Marlies (14-9-1) on Friday and Saturday.
“(Winning four straight is) huge for us,” Boychuk said.
1st Period-1, Charlotte, Blanchard 3 (Bro. Sutter, Marquardt), 6:20. Penalties-Etem Nor (elbowing), 3:28; Bre. Sutter Cha (tripping), 11:00; served by Sarault Nor (bench minor - too many men), 13:22.
2nd Period-2, Charlotte, Boychuk 12 (Terry), 5:58. 3, Charlotte, Cornet 2 (Corrente, Rask), 7:21. 4, Norfolk, Friberg 5 (Rakell, Exelby), 12:30. 5, Norfolk, Laganiere 4 (Whitney), 12:59. 6, Norfolk, Laganiere 5 (Steckel), 16:11. Penalties-Wagner Nor (holding), 7:52; Bre. Sutter Cha (slashing), 8:13.
3rd Period-7, Norfolk, Smith-Pelly 7 (Yonkman, Blacker), 8:40. 8, Charlotte, Boychuk 13 (Terry), 12:30 (PP). 9, Charlotte, Marquardt 3 (Blanchard, Bro. Sutter), 13:03. Penalties-Terry Cha (double minor - high-sticking), 4:02; Wagner Nor (hooking), 12:05.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 10-12-10-32. Charlotte 12-10-9-31. Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 0 / 4; Charlotte 1 / 4. Goalies-Norfolk, Gibson 9-7-3 (31 shots-26 saves). Charlotte, Muse 10-6-0 (32 shots-28 saves). A-6,248. Referees-Trevor Hanson (47), Geno Binda (22). Linesmen-Jesse Pletsch (51), Terry Wicklum (58).
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