CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte Checkers will start a 6 game home stand on Friday and thanks to a red hot January, the defending Calder Cup champs are right in the thick of things when it comes to the playoffs.
A far cry from the start of the season where Charlotte was 8-12 heading into December and 7th in the Atlantic Division.
A red hot January has the Checkers back in running for a playoff spot as they have won 12 of their last 16 games and are currently 3 points out of 4th in the Atlantic Division. Top 4 teams in the division make the Calder Cup playoffs.
The biggest reason for the turn around is this team finally found their identity under new head coach Ryan Warsofsky.
“We’re a team that comes at you in waves and is hard to play against,” said coach. “Teams leave our building understanding how hard it was. Whether we win or lose, it has to be a challenge. That’s something we really talked about and stressed on.”
Even though Warsofsky was an assistant coach on last year’s championship team, the adjustment period to him being the head coach took a little time. To the credit of the the young coach and his team, the one thing no one did was panicked.
“We knew the results were going to come by looking at the scoring chances and what the numbers would say,” said coach. “We knew it was a matter of time because we still have a really good team. Last year was last year and we had a really skilled group but this team is a little bit different and that’s OK. Teams win in all different types of situations and we are a little bit different than last year. We like our team and we like our players. We have some high hopes for some of these young players to make it to the National Hockey League and that’s the ultimate goal."
This home stand will start with 2 games (Friday and Saturday) against Hartford who is in first place in the Atlantic Division. They are 10 points ahead of the Checkers so a golden opportunity to make up some ground on the first place team for the Charlotte Checkers.
Puck drops Friday night at 7 at Bojangles’ Coliseum.