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Checkers prepare, and rest, for playoff push

Charlotte will begin its defense of the Calder Cup next week.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Checkers are trying to make the most of their downtime.

By way of their regular-season finish, the team has a first-round playoff bye.

The Checkers did not play during the one-week extension of the AHL's regular-season to make up for COVID postponements and closed its campaign on April 23.

Now they won't play until early next week.

But they haven't exactly been relaxing.

"I can tell you practice has been more intense," coach Geordie Kinnear said. "More competitive with each and every day as it gets closer and closer."

Charlotte will play the lowest remaining Atlantic Division seed (Hershey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or Bridgeport) early next week.

The playoff format has Charlotte starting the best-of-five series on the road for two games, then coming home for three if necessary.

Their first home playoff game is guaranteed to be Saturday, May 14 at 4 p.m. and tickets are available.

Charlotte, the division champions, has now qualified for the playoffs for the fourth-straight season.

And they're still the defending Calder Cup champions, as the last team to hoist the trophy back in 2019.

But right now, there's no rest for the well-rested.

"Today was a test. You would've thought we were playing tomorrow with how intense it was," goalie Joey Daccord said. "I think that's great. It shows how much we care and how excited we are."

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