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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #42, Utica Comets vs Syracuse Crunch

 Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #42

Vs Syracuse Crunch

Saturday, January, 12th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

The eighth overall Syracuse Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) will roll into Utica today to get after it with the AHL’s 11th ranked Comets for game number 42 of the season. The Crunch will bring a record of 21-11-2-1 into today’s contest, giving them 45 points for their season’s efforts. The Comets, for their part, have gone 20-17-3-1 this year, giving them 44 points.

If you would like to view today’s game but do not currently subscribe to AHLTV, you can whip on over to AHL.com and log in for free as the league is showing all 12 games today, on the house.

The Comets have been outscored by their competition by a 143-130 margin this season, while Syracuse has had more success in that department, scoring 131 goals while giving up just 97 so far this season.

The Crunch will bring a road record of 10-6-2-0 into today’s action, while the Comets are showing a record of 9-9-1-0 at home this year. Syracuse last played to a 4-3 shootout loss to Cleveland, while the Comets are coming off of a 4-3 overtime loss to Bridgeport. Utica has gone 5-4-1-0 over their previous 10 games, while Syracuse has a record of 6-3-1-0 over that same span.

Syracuse is led in scoring by Carter Verhaeghe’s 16 goals and 26 helpers giving him 42 points in 35 games. Former Comets forward, Cory Conacher sits second with 14 goals and 24 assists to give himself 38 points in 31 games this year. Alex Barre-Boulet rounds out the Syracuse top three with 18 goals and 17 helpers to give him 35 points in 35 games.

Barre-Boulet also leads the Syracuse rookie crew with his 35 points, while the Comets rookies are led by Jonathan Dahlen and his 19 points in 37 games.

The Comets scoring leader is still Reid Boucher with 17 goals and 17 assists in 29 games played this season. Tanner Kero is hot on his heels with 15 goals and 18 helpers, sitting him one point behind Boucher with 33 points in 41 games. Zack MacEwen isn’t far behind with 15 goals and 15 assists to give himself 30 points in 40 games this season.

Syracuse has the better special teams so far this season as well with their power play sitting third in the AHL after scoring 40 goals while up a man 163 times this year for a 24.5% success rate. Their penalty kill is ranked 10th in the league after giving up 30 goals while down a man 171 times for an 82.5% success rate.

The Comets power play is ranked 14th in the league after scoring 37 goals while up a man 188 times for a 19.7% success rate. Their penalty kill sits 11th after giving up 31 goals while shorthanded 172 times this year for an 82.0% success rate.

In other Comets news, the team announced today that they have sent defenceman Jagger Dirk back to the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. Dirk has suited up in nine games for the Comets this season, showing a steady, calm game. He also showed the ability to find and jump into scoring lanes when the opportunity arose but has been unable to translate that ability into many points, picking up just the one assist in his nine appearances. I like Dirk’s game and hope to see him get another look again this season.

Season Series

The two clubs have squared off four times this year with each team coming away with a pair of wins. Syracuse has had better results in those two wins, outscoring the Comets 19-9 in the process. They have also had the better special teams in the series as their power play has gone 5/22, good enough for a 22.7% success rate in the series, while their penalty kill has gone 3/17 for a success rate of 82.4%. The Comets PP and PK have run at 17.6% and 77.3% respectively for the series.

Cory Conacher leads the series with four goals and four helpers through four games, while Taylor Raddysh sits second with six points, all assists. Alex Barre-Boulet sits third with four points, while Reid Boucher leads all Comets players with three points in the series.

Ivan Kulbakov has played in three of the four contests between the two clubs and was yanked in two of them, giving up 14 goals for a save percentage of 0.831% for his work in the series, along with a goals-against average of 6.59. Thatcher Demko appeared in two games, one in relief, and posted a 3.14 goals-against average and a save percentage of 0.905%. Connor LaCouvee also made a relief appearance for the Comets.

Eddie Pasquale and Connor Ingram have both seen two games of action in the crease for the Crunch over the four-game series. Each man has a record of 1-1 and both have similar numbers as well.

Pasquale allowed four goals and put up a goals-against average of 2.03 and a save percentage of 0.937%, while Ingram also allowed four goals, posting a save percentage of 0.938% and a goals-against average of 2.05.

The following Comets didn’t play yesterday due to injury:

Richard Bachman, (Out for season, Achilles’ injury) Olli Juolevi, (out for regular season, knee surgery) Jalen Chatfield, (month-to-month, lower body) Ashton Sautner, (month-to-month, facial fractures) Brendan Woods, (indefinite, lower body) Vincent Arseneau, (injured, day-to-day).

The following players were healthy scratches for the Comets yesterday:

Tanner MacMaster, Jagger Dirk, and Jesse Graham.

The Comets will be looking to bounce back from their overtime loss yesterday and the games between these two clubs are usually pretty solid in terms of action. Stay tuned for the CanucksArmy post-game report following the game.