Charlotte Checkers coach Jeff Daniels has been a creature of habit all season.
One of those habits is a bit strange.
After nearly every Charlotte loss, as he answers questions from reporters about the game, Daniels plays with change in his left pocket.
If you turn up the volume on any postgame audio, you can – with remarkable accuracy – tell if it was a win or loss simply by the sound of quarters, nickels and dimes bouncing off one and other.
Following Charlotte’s 7-1 loss to the Western Division-leading Texas Stars in front of a sellout crowd of 8,102 at Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday, Daniels had change rattling in both his pockets.
“I thought we came out and had a couple of good chances,” said Daniels, whose team dropped to 17-19-1 on the season. “Their goalie made some big saves. Then we gave up the one, then the two. Then, we showed them too much respect. We stopped moving, and when you stop skating against a team like that it is bad news.”
The Stars (25-10-5) entered Friday night as the top scoring team in the American Hockey League, averaging 3.64 goals a game. It didn’t take too long for them to show why, handing the Checkers their second-most-lopsided home defeat of the season.
Texas center Travis Morin, who entered the game leading the league with 50 points (23g, 27a), added five more points to his season total with a goal and four assists.
Morin’s teammate, Colton Sceviour, who entered the game tied with him for the team lead in goals (23), netted two more to go along with an assist.
Aaron Palushaj scored the lone goal for the Checkers in the second period to make the score 4-1.
Mike Murphy got the call in net for the Checkers and probably went home wishing he hadn’t after allowing six goals on 22 shots. John Muse entered late in the second period and stopped four of the five shots he faced.
After outshooting the Stars 14-6 through 10 minutes of play, things began to go against the Checkers.
After the Stars pulled ahead 1-0, an A.J. Jenks interference call led to a Sceviour power play goal and a little over two minutes later, Morin made the score 3-0.
Clearly frustrated with his team’s play, Matt Corrente tried to pick a fight with a minute remaining in the first, but was instead hit with two minutes for roughing and two more for a cross-check.
The resulting time in the box killed any chance of a Checkers comeback.
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