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CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #49, Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Utica Comets

Utica Comets Pre-Game Report

Game #49

Vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Friday, February 8th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

It will be a battle of fourth place clubs today as the Atlantic division’s fourth-ranked Lehigh Valley Phantoms, (Philadelphia affiliate) will roll into Utica today for a 7:00 pm Eastern start against the North division’s fourth-ranked Comets for game number 49 of the season.

The Phantoms enter today’s contest showing a record of 25-17-3-2 for their season, giving them 55 points. The Comets, for their part, bring a record of 24-19-3-2, giving them 53 points so far this year.

Greg Carey is the top points producer in Lehigh Valley with 21 goals and 23 helpers to give himself 44 points in 46 games. Chris Connor sits second with 12 goals and 22 assists, giving him 34 points in 46 games, while TJ Brennan rounds out their top three with seven goals and 27 assists, good for 34 points in 39 games.

Connor Bunnaman is the rookie points leader for the Phantoms with 12 goals and six helpers to give himself 18 points in 33 games. Jonathan Dahlen wears the rookie crown in Utica with 12 goals and 11 assists, giving him 23 points in 44 games.

Reid Boucher is still the big cheese in Utica with 19 goals and 23 assists, giving him 42 points in 36 games played. Tanner Kero sits second with 17 goals and 24 helpers to give himself 41 points in 46 games. Zack MacEwen rounds out Utica’s top three with 16 goals and 20 assists, good for 36 points in 44 games this year.

The Comets have gone 5-3-1-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Phantoms show a record of 5-3-2-0 over that same span. Lehigh Valley last played to a 2-1 loss to Hershey, while the Comets are coming off of a 4-3 win over Springfield.

The Phantoms have gone 12-8-3-1 on the road this season, while the Comets show a home record of 12-10-1-0.

The Comets have been outscored by a 167-151 margin this season, while the Phantoms have outscored their competition by a count of 158-147.

The Phantoms’ power play is the AHL’s top-ranked unit after scoring 60 goals on 238 man-up opportunities for a success rate of 25.2%. Their penalty kill sits 28th, allowing 47 goals while down a man 215 times for a 78.1% success rate.

The Comets power play is sitting 16th overall after scoring 40 goals on 214 opportunities for a success rate of 18.7%. Their penalty kill sits 11th after giving up 34 goals while shorthanded 192 times for an 82.3% success rate.

Season Series

The two clubs have yet to square off this season but did get into two games against each other last year with each team coming away with a win. Over the last five seasons, the Comets show a record of 4-6-0-0 against the Phantoms and have gone 1-4-0-0 at home against them over that span.

Scratched Last Game For The Comets

  1. Richard Bachman: G, out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
  2. Olli Juolevi: LD, out for the regular season, knee surgery.
  3. Ashton Sautner: LD, day-to-day, facial fractures.
  4. Jesse Graham: RD, week-to-week, upper body injury.
  5. Dylan Blujus: RD, week-to-week, hand injury.
  6. Adam Gaudette: C, day-to-day, illness.
  7. Wacey Hamilton: F, veteran scratch.
  8. Cliff Watson: LD, healthy scratch.
  9. Vincent Arseneau: W, healthy scratch.
  10. Tanner MacMaster: W, healthy scratch.

The Comets are expected to have Ashton Sautner and Adam Gaudette available to them for today’s game.

Roster Moves

We have seen some player movement for the Comets since their last game as defenceman Cliff Watson was released from his PTO, (professional tryout offer) with the club and returned to the ECHL. Watson played in 14 games with the Comets this season, picking up three helpers along the way.

The parent Vancouver Canucks have also summoned Guillaume Brisebois from Utica as they lost Alex Edler to a concussion. Brisebois has been eating minutes for the Comets this season and has been rounding out his game nicely. He currently has two goals and seven helpers in 45 games for Utica this year.

Last, but not least, the Comets pulled off an AHL trade this week, sending forward Tanner MacMaster to the Toronto Marlies for left side defender Stefan LeBlanc. MacMaster put up 11 points in 29 games this year for the Comets but had a tough time getting into the lineup on a regular basis with so many fellow rookies on the roster who are the property of the Vancouver Canucks. I liked what MacMaster brought to the table last season and was hoping to see him take another step this year with the team. I wish him all the best going forward.

The Comets and Phantoms will get underway today in Utica at 7:00 pm Eastren/4:00 pm Pacific. As always, stay tuned for the CancuksArmy post-game report following today’s action.