Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #47, Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #47

At Syracuse Crunch

Friday, February 1st, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

It will be a North Division battle today as the division’s third-ranked Comets will hit the ice in Syracuse to take on the second-ranked Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) for game number 47 of the season. The Comets will bring a record of 28-18-3-2 into today’s contest, giving them 51 points on the season, while Syracuse is showing a record of 25-13-2-1 to give themselves 53 points so far this year.

The Comets special teams were a big part of any success that they had last season, but so far this year, the club has had a tougher time where that is concerned.

Currently, Utica has the league’s 16th ranked power play after scoring 40 goals while up a man 210 times to give themselves a success rate of 19.0%. Their penalty kill was a little bit better, sitting 12th after giving up 34 goals while down a man 190 times for an 82.1% success rate. Syracuse, for their part, has the AHL’s third-best power play, scoring 44 goals on 191 man-up opportunities for a 23.0% success rate. Their penalty kill sits 11th after giving up 36 goals while down a man 202 times for a success rate of 82.2%.

Reid Boucher is the Comets points leader with 19 goals and 22 helpers to give himself 41 points in 34 games. Tanner Kero sits second with 16 goals and 23 assists, giving him 39 points in 44 games. Zack MacEwen rounds out their top three with 16 goals and 20 assists, giving him 36 points in 45 games. Jonathan Dahlen leads all Comets rookies with 11 goals and 11 helpers, giving him 22 points in 42 games this year.

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Carter Verhaeghe sits atop the Syracuse scoring heap with 20 goals and 28 assists, giving him 48 points in 41 games. Cory Conacher sits second with 15 goals and 29 helpers to give himself 44 points in 37 games. Alex Barre-Boulet rounds out their top three, as well as leading their rookie crew with 21 goals and 18 assists, giving him 39 points in 41 contests this year.

The Comets have gone 6-2-1-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Crunch shows a record of 5-4-0-1 over that same span. Utica and Syracuse are both coming off of games against the Rochester Americans with the Crunch coming away with a 4-3 overtime win and the Comets dropping a 3-2 shootout decision.

Utica has gone 11-8-2-2 on the road this season, while Syracuse has a record of 15-5-0-1 at home this year. Syracuse has outscored their competition by a 154-113 margin this season, while the Comets have scored 147 goals and given up 160.

Scratched For Utica Last Game

  1. Richard Bachman: G, (Achilles’ injury, out for season).
  2. Olli Juolevi: LD, (knee surgery, out for season).
  3. Ashton Sautner: LD, (facial fractures, practicing, day-to-day).
  4. Jesse Graham: RD, (upper Body injury, week-to-week).
  5. Jaime Sifers: RD, (veteran scratch).
  6. Colton Saucerman: RD, (healthy).
  7. Tanner MacMaster: LW, RW, (healthy).
  8. Brendan Woods: C, (healthy).
  9. Cam Darcy: C, (healthy).
  10. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW, (healthy).

Comets/Crunch Season Series

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The two clubs have squared off in six games so far this season, with the Comets showing a four-games-to-two advantage while having been outscored by a 25-17 margin.

The Crunch have the edge in special teams, having gone 6/33 on the power play, for an 18.2% success rate over the six games, and 5/29 on the penalty kill, giving them an 82.8% success rate while down a man. The Comets have operated at 17.2% with the man advantage in the series and 81.8% while down a man.

Cory Conacher leads all players with five goals and four helpers, giving him nine points, while Taylor Raddysh has eight points, all assists, to sit second. Cameron Gaunce and Reid Boucher have each tallied six points in the series, while Tanner Kero and Zack MacEwen have each put up five.

The brothers Gaunce lead the series in penalty minutes with little brother Brendan spending 12 minutes in the box, while big bro Cameron sits second with nine minutes spent feeling shame.

Each club has used three goaltenders in the series, though the Comets Connor LaCouvee only played 34:31 in relief, while Martin Ouellette spent 18:16 in a similar role.

Thatcher Demko has a record of 1-0 in the series, posting a goals-against average of 3.14 and a save percentage of 0.905% for his efforts. Demko is currently plying his trade with the Vancouver Canucks after graduating to the NHL a couple of weeks ago. Ivan Kulbakov has played in five of the games in this series, going 3-2 while posting a goals-against average of 4.85 and a save percentage of 0.864%.

For the Crunch, Connor Ingram has gone 1-1 with a goals-against average of 2.05 and a 0.938% save percentage. Eddie Pasquale has also played in the series, putting up a 1-3 record while posting a goals-against average of 3.31 and a 0.897% save percentage.

These games are usually full-value as the division rivals battle for playoff position. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm Eastern in Syracuse. As always, stay tuned for the CanucksArmy Post-Game report following today’s action.