ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Last weekend John Muse was in the ECHL just to get some playing time. After earning his first American Hockey League shutout, he may be getting the call more often.
Muse made 26 saves in the Charlotte Checkers? 5-0 win over the Abbotsford Heat on Friday.
It was the first AHL shutout for Muse, who began the month with the ECHL?s Florida Everblades and was making just his second AHL start.
?Being the backup is a tough role,? said Charlotte head coach Jeff Daniels. ?You never know when you?re going to get the call. Muse is very focused. We had a chance to put him in Florida last week to get him a couple games, keep him game-sharp.
"Every time I?ve called his name he?s stepped up and played well for us.?
His stats through three games ? 0.37 goals-against average and a 0.989 save percentage ? is also a case for more playing time.
Riley Nash and Bobby Sanguinetti each recorded a goal and an assist, while Nicolas Blanchard, Justin Krueger and Drayson Bowman added single tallies. Chris Terry had four assists, extending his scoring streak to nine games.
Daniels got offence from his defencemen, including Krueger???s first AHL tally and Sanguinetti???s second of the year.
???Our backend is more stay-at-home guys,??? said Daniels. ???When guys like Krueger chip in with goals it???s good to see. It gives the team a big boost because they appreciate what he does for the team all year.???
Charlotte (24-14-4) has now won three straight to increase its lead in the Midwest Division standings.
Abbotsford (23-14-3) lost its third straight game, losing a chance to move into second-place in the West Division.
???They are what we thought they would be,??? said Abbotsford head coach Troy Ward of the Checkers. ???We have to play with some more emotion and play with higher energy.???
Danny Taylor made 25 saves for Abbotsford in his 17th consecutive start for the Heat.
The Checkers opened the scoring on an early power play as Bobby Sanguinetti???s wrist shot from the point deflected off Nash???s stick and over the shoulder of Taylor. It was Nash???s fourth of the season in just his second game back from injury.
Charlotte doubled its lead at 12:34 of the second period when Nash, Terry and Blanchard converted on a 3-on-2 rush. Nash chipped the puck to Terry, who centred it to Blanchard, who wristed a shot past Taylor.
Krueger increased the lead in the final minute of the third period. Defenceman Clay Wilson???s attempted clearing attempt went right onto Krueger???s tape at the point and his hard shot found the top corner of the net. It was the German-born blue-liner???s first AHL goal.
Wilson said that his team wasn???t sharp and was making bad reads.
???It seemed like from the beginning we didn???t have it,??? said Wilson.
Sanguinetti added to the scoring with his second of the season, on the power play, at 12:12 of the third.
Bowman???s 10th of the year at 17:06 gave the Checkers a 5-0 lead. Terry took a shot from the point and rebound came to Bowman.
???That was a pretty solid 60 minutes for us,??? said Daniels. ???We were moving the puck well. We got some timely goals from our power play. Nothing really fancy, just pucks at the net and got the deflections.???
Charlotte ended the night 3-for-6 on the power play.