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CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #38 Utica Comets At Cleveland Monsters

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #38

At Cleveland Monsters

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific

The 13th ranked team in the AHL will roll into Cleveland this morning at 10:00 am Pacific as the Comets play a road game against the 12th ranked Monsters, (Columbus affiliate) for game number 38 of the season. The Monsters are showing a record of 17-11-4-1 on the season, giving them 39 points, while the Comets have gone 18-16-2-1 this year, giving them 39 points as well.

The Comets are led in scoring by Reid Boucher, who has 17 goals and 14 helpers, giving him 31 points in 25 games this year. Zack MacEwen sits second with 13 goals and 15 assists to give himself 28 points in 36 games. Tanner Kero rounds out the top three in Utica with 10 goals and 18 assists to give himself 28 points in 37 games.

Former Canucks forward, Zac Dalpe is the big cheese in Cleveland with 14 goals and 13 helpers, giving him 27 points in 28 games. Nathan Gerbe sits second with seven goals and 20 assists, good for 27 points in 33 games. Mark Letestu rounds out the Cleveland top three with 10 goals and 11 helpers in 29 games, giving him 21 points on the year.

Jonathan Dahlen is the rookie leader in Utica with eight goals and 10 assists, giving him 18 points in 33 games this year. Vitaly Abramov wears the rookie crown amongst active players in Cleveland with five goals and six assists in 31 games to give himself 11 points on the season.

The Comets will go into today’s contest with the league’s 12th ranked power play after going 35/172 with the man advantage for a 20.3% success rate. Their penalty kill is ranked 11th in the AHL after giving up 28 goals while down a man 155 times for an 81.9% success rate.

Cleveland, for their part, have the league’s 20th ranked power play after scoring 23 markers while up a man 127 times this season for a success rate of 18.1%. Their penalty kill is the league’s 12th ranked unit after giving up 27 goals while shorthanded 148 times for a success rate of 81.8%.

The Comets have a record of 6-3-1-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Monsters have gone 5-3-1-1 over that same span. Utica is coming off of a 4-3 win over Syracuse, while Cleveland last played to a 4-3 shootout loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Comets have been outscored by a 130/113 margin this year, while the Monsters have been outscored 105/100 on the season.

The two clubs have squared off once this year with the Monsters coming away with a 4-3 win on October 19th. That game saw the Comets hold the special-teams advantage after going 2/7 on the power play and shutting the Monsters down on both of their man-up situations.

Eight different players picked up points in that game for Cleveland with Gabriel Carlsson grabbing three helpers and Mark Letestu picking up a pair of goals. Seven different Comets picked up points in that game with none earning more than one.

Reid Boucher is currently sitting 16th in scoring amongst AHL players with his 31 points, while five of Jonathan Dahlen’s eight goals have come on the man advantage, which has him ranked fifth amongst AHL rookies in that category.

There have been some roster moves for the Comets since last game as well, as the club lost newly acquired goaltender Mike McKenna to the Philadelphia Flyers via the waiver wire on Friday while trying to get him to Utica to take on the starter’s role.

The reason why McKenna was on waivers in the first place was that the Canucks wanted to graduate Thatcher Demko to the NHL, which also happened Friday.

With Demko in Vancouver and McKenna headed to Philly, the Comets had to find a stop gap back up for Ivan Kulbakov for this weekend’s round of games. To that end, the club has signed Alex Sakellaropoulos to a PTO, (professional tryout offer). Sakellaropoulos has played in 18 games this season for the Adirondack Thunder, posting a record of 10-3-2-1 along with a pair of shutouts.

I expect the Sakellaropoulos move to be a temporary one as the Canucks will need to have a goaltender with an NHL deal who can be summoned from Utica in the event of a Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko injury.

In other Comets news, Reid Boucher has been named as the club’s representative for the AHL All Satr game for the second straight year. Congrats, Reid.

The Comets and Monsters will get underway today at 1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific in Cleveland for the first of back-to-back early games between the two clubs as they will be right back at it tomorrow at noon Pacific. Stay tuned for the CanucksArmy post-game report following the game.



  • Sakellaropoulus 10 – 3 – 2 – 1 in 18 games. Not sure I understand that, but it looks like he can play.

    McKenna getting claimed I think is temporary. Philly has to shed a goalie and he could be back on waivers in no time. Easy for me to say, as the Canucks goalie situation looks good, but is a bit uncertain in Utica.