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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #61, Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #61

At Syracuse Crunch

Friday, March 8th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

They are back at it again today as the North Division’s first-ranked Syracuse Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) will host the division’s fourth-ranked, (currently tied in points with Belleville, but lead them in winning percentage) Comets for game number 61 of the season. The Crunch brings a record of 36-17-3-2 into today’s contest, giving them 77 points on the season. The Comets, for their part, have gone 30-23-5-2 this season, giving them 67 points for their efforts.

The two clubs last played each other on Wednesday with Syracuse coming away with a 5-3 win. The Crunch show a record of 6-2-1-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Comets have gone 4-4-2-0 over that same span. The Comets have gone 13-11-3-2 on the road this year, while Syracuse has gone 20-6-1-2 at home. Yeah…they’ve been pretty good at home this season.

It’s been a tale of two teams as far as special teams go. Syracuse’s power play is the league’s fifth-ranked unit after scoring 53 goals on 247 man-up opportunities, giving them a success rate of 21.5%. Their penalty kill sits third after giving up 41 goals while down a man 275 times for a success rate of 85.1%.

The Comets, for their part, have seen their penalty kill drop to 21st in the AHL after giving up 47 goals while down a man 238 times to give themselves a success rate of 80.3%. Their power play sits 12th after scoring 52 goals on 254 man-up opportunities to give themselves a success rate of 19.7%.

Carter Verhaeghe leads all Syracuse scorers with 27 goals and 39 helpers to give himself 66 points in 58 games. Cory Conacher sits second with 19 goals and 35 assists, giving him 54 points in 54 games. Alex Barre-Boulet rounds out their top three with 27 goals and 25 assists, giving him 52 points in 57 games this year.

Those same totals have Barre-Boulet sitting atop the Syracuse rookie heap, while Lukas Jasek leads all Comets rookies with eight goals and 12 assists to give himself 20 points in 47 games. Jasek, however, has been held pointless over his last eight games.

Reid Boucher is the top dog in Utica with 27 goals and 28 assists to give himself 55 points in 48 games. Tanner Kero sits second with 21 goals and 28 helpers, giving him 49 points in 48 games. Zack MacEwen rounds out their top three with 20 goals and 27 assists, giving him 47 points in 53 games this year.

Goal differential is another area where the Crunch stand out over the Comets as Syracuse have outscored their competition by a margin of 205-146. The Comets have been outscored by a 204-189 count this year.

Scratched Last Game For Utica

  1. Richard Bachman: G. Out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
  2. Olli Juolevi: LD. Out for the season. Knee surgery.
  3. Dylan Blujus: RD. Week-to-week, hand injury.
  4. Stefan LeBlanc: LD. Day-to-day, injured.
  5. Reid Gardiner: F. Healthy scratch.
  6. Vincent Arseneau: W. Healthy scratch.
  7. Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.
  8. Matt Petgrave: LD. Healthy scratch.

Season Series

The two clubs have faced off in eight games already this year and they have each come away with four wins. The Crunch have outscored the Comets by a count of 34-20 in the series.

Special Teams

The Syracuse special teams have also been better than Utica’s in the series after scoring six goals on 36 man-up opportunities for a success rate of 16.7%. Their power play has given up five goals while down a man 40 times in the series to give them a success rate of 87.5%. The Comets power play has a success rate of 12.5% in the series, while their penalty kill shows an 83.3% success rate over the eight games.

Head-to-Head

Cory Conacher has put up 10 points in the series, as has Taylor Raddysh. Carter Verhaeghe is right behind them with nine points, while Andy Andreoff and Reid Boucher have managed seven. Zack MacEwen. Tanner Kero, Gabriel Dumont, Alex Barre-Boulet, Nolan Valleau, and Cameron Gaunce have each put up six points in the series. Brendan Gaunce and Boris Katchouk have both grabbed five points for their efforts as well.

Goaltenders

The Comets have used Thatcher Demko, (1-0, 3.14 goals-against average, 0.905% save percentage) Ivan Kulbakov, (3-3, 4.50 GAA, 0.865% save percentage) and Michael Leighton, (0-1, 4.13 GAA, 0.789% save percentage) in the series. Connor LaCouvee also saw some minutes in a game after Kulbakov was yanked.

The Crunch have used Connor Ingram, (2-1, 1.35 goals-against average, 0.953% save percentage) and Eddie Pasquale, (2-3, 3.25 GAA, 0.899% save percentage). Martin Ouelette also saw time in relief in one game.

The two clubs will get underway in Syracuse today at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific. Stay tuned for the CanucksArmy post-game report following today’s contest.