Utica Comets Pre-Game
Vs Syracuse Crunch
Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
The 10th overall Syracuse Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) are back in town today to take on the 9th ranked Utica Comets for game number 43 of the season. Syracuse brings a record of 21-12-2-1 into today’s action, giving them 45 points on the season. The Comets, for their part, have gone 21-17-3-1 so far this year, giving them 46 points for their efforts.
Both clubs have scored 133 goals this season, while the Comets have given up 145 and the Crunch, 100.
The Syracuse power play is the league’s third-ranked unit after scoring 40 goals while up a man 167 times this season, giving them a 24.0% success rate in that category. Their penalty kill sits 10th in the AHL, having given up 31 goals while down a man 176 times for an 82.4% success rate.
The Comets power play is ranked 12th overall after scoring 38 times on 193 chances, for a success rate of 19.7%. Their penalty kill sits 11th after giving up 31 goals while down a man 176 times for an 82.4% success rate, just like Syracuse.
Syracuse has gone 5-4-0-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Comets are showing an identical record over that same span. The Crunch have a road record of 10-7-2-0, while the Comets have gone 10-9-1-0 at home this season. As we know, the two clubs played against each other last Saturday with the Comets coming away with a 3-2 victory in that contest.
Carter Verhaeghe sits atop the Syracuse scoring heap with 16 goals and 26 helpers to give himself 42 points in 36 games this season. Cory Conacher sits second with 15 goals and 24 assists, giving him 39 points in 32 games. Alex Barre-Boulet rounds out their top three with 18 goals and 17 assists to give himself 35 points in 36 games.
Barre-Boulet’s 35 points also lead all rookies in Syracuse, while Jonathan Dahlen holds those honours for the Comets with nine goals and 11 helpers to bring his totals to 20 points in 38 games played. Reid Boucher is the big cheese in Utica with 17 goals and 18 helpers, giving him 35 points in 30 games. Tanner Kero sits second with the same number of points but in 12 more games this year. Zack MacEwen rounds out Utica’s top three with 15 goals and 16 assists to give himself 31 points in 41 games.
The Comets lead the season series by a count of three games to two, however, the Crunch have outscored them 21-12 over those 5 games.
Syracuse also leads the battle of the special teams in the series with their power play operating at 19.2% over the first five games while the Comets PP was clicking along at 18.2%. The Crunch penalty kill was also looking better, having gone 81.8% to the Comets 80.8% during the series.
Cory Conacher leads all point getters in the series with nine in five games, while Cameron Gaunce and Taylor Raddysh are tied with six apiece. Reid Boucher, Alex Barre-Boulet, Boris Katchouk, and Andy Andreoff have each put up four points in the series as well.
Ivan Kulbakov has now gone 2-2 against the Crunch this season, sporting a sketchy looking 5.12 goals-against average and an equally disturbing 0.858% save percentage in the series. Connor Ingram and Connor Pasquale have fared better with Ingram showing a 1-1 record and goals-against average of 2.05 with a save percentage of 0.938% in his two starts, while Pasquale has gone 1-2 with a goals-against average of 2.37 and a save percentage of 0.921%.
In other Comets news, the club announced this week that they have signed veteran goaltender Michael Leighton to a PTO, (professional tryout offer).
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) January 15, 2019
With the Leighton signing came the release of Alex Sakellaropoulos from his tryout deal with the club. Leighton will give the Comets some veteran support while the parent Canucks continue to search for a netminder on an NHL deal who can be called up should one of Jacob Markstrom or Thatcher Demko get injured.
Comets injured scratches from last game: Richard Bachman, (out for season, Achilles’ injury) Olli Juolevi, (out for regular season, knee surgery) Jalen Chatfield, (month-to-month, lower body injury) Ashton Sautner, (month-to-month, facial fractures) Brendan Woods, (indefinite, lower body injury) and Vincent Arseneau, (day-to-day).
Comets healthy scratches from last game: Tanner MacMaster and Lukas Jasek.
The two clubs will get after it today for a 4:00 pm Pacific start. As always, stay tuned for the CanucksAmry post-game report following the game.