While the National Hockey League is still waiting to begin due to the NHL owners and NHL Players' Association still working on establishing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the American Hockey League (AHL) has begun its season. The Carolina Hurricanes American Hockey League affiliate the Charlotte Checkers begun their season by naming four returning veteran players as team Captain and home/away Alternate Captains and defeating the Houston Aeros 3-1, in Houston, to begin their season. Due to the current National Hockey League work stoppage, the Charlotte Checkers roster features current Carolina Hurricanes' stars Jeff Skinner (Center) and Justin Faulk (Defender) because they are still in their initial entry-level contracts in the NHL.
The Charlotte Checkers named returning veteran forward Brett Sutter team Captain for the 2012-2013 season; Sutter served as team captain last season and scored 13 goals and added 16 assists (29 total points) in 63 games played. The team also named forward Nicholas Blanchard as an Alternate Captain for the fifth consecutive season; Blanchard scored nine goals and tallied 12 assists (21 total points) in 68 games played for the team in the 2011-2012 season. The final Alternate Captain position will be shared by forward Chris Terry, who led the team in scoring with 16 goals and 43 assists (59 total points) last season, and defender Bobby Sanguinetti who was second on the team in scoring with 2011-2012 with 10 goals and 40 assists (50 total points). Terry will serve as Alternate Captain during road games and Sanguinetti will assume the role during home games.
All four recently named team captains helped lead the Checkers to a 3-1 victory in Houston against the Houston Aeros. Justin Peters started in net for the Checkers and made 27 saves on 28 shots faced, while Wallace and Terry scored a mere 1:23 apart in the third period. Carolina Hurricanes all-star rookie defender Justin Faulk had two assists in the game and also led the team with seven shots on goal during the game. Jerome Sampson, who split time between the NHL and AHL last season, scored an empty-net goal late in the third period to secure the victory. The Checkers looked to seal the season-opening away series against the Houston Aeros Sunday at 8 p.m. in Houston.
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