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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #62, Utica Comets At Laval Rocket

Utica Comets Pre-Game Report

Game #62

At Laval Rocket

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

It will be yet another battle of North Division foes today as the division’s fourth-ranked, (tied in points with Belleville, but slightly ahead of them in winning percentage) Comets are in Laval to take on the seventh-ranked Rocket, (Montreal affiliate) for game number 62 of the season.

The Comets are showing a record of 30-24-5-2 to give themselves 67 points on the season, while Laval has gone 24-26-6-4 this year to give themselves 58 points.

The Comets have an edge in special teams between the two clubs, which is saying something because the Comets special teams are nothing to write home about at the moment.

The Utica power play sits 13th in the league after scoring 52 goals on 268 man-up opportunities, giving them a success rate of 19.4%. Their penalty kill sits 21st overall after giving up 48 goals while down a man 243 times for an 80.2% success rate.

The Rocket, for their part, have the AHL’s 24th ranked power play after scoring 39 goals while up a man 241 times for a success rate of 16.2%. Their penalty kill is worse off, sitting 29th in the league after giving up 53 goals while shorthanded 244 times for a success rate of 78.3%.

Reid Boucher still leads all Comets scorers with 27 goals and 28 helpers to give himself 55 points in 48 games. Tanner Kero sits second with 21 goals and 28 assists, giving him 49 points in 55 games. Zack MacEwen rounds out their top three with 20 goals and 27 helpers to give himself 47 points in 54 games this year.

Lukas Jasek is the Comets rookie leader with eight goals and 12 assists, giving him 20 points in 48 games this year. Jake Evans wears the rookie crown in Laval with 12 goals and 22 assists to give himself 34 points in 56 games.

Alex Belzile is the top dog in Laval with 13 goals and 31 assists, giving him 44 points in 59 games this year. Evans sits second with his 34 points, while Daniel Audette rounds out their top three with 12 goals and 20 helpers, giving him 32 points in 56 games.

Both clubs are coming off of a loss as the Comets last came out on the wrong side of a 4-0 score against Syracuse, while Laval last played to a 3-0 loss to the Marlies. The Comets have gone 13-12-3-2 on the road this season, while the Rocket shows a home record of 15-9-3-4.

Laval has gone 5-3-2-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Comets show a record of 4-5-1-0 over that same span. Both clubs have been outscored by their competition this year with the Comets scoring 189 goals and giving up 208, while Laval has scored 157 goals and have given up 178.

Comets Scratched Last Game

  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. Evan McEneny: LD. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
  5. Stefan LeBlanc: LD. Day-to-day, injured.
  6. Reid Boucher: W. Day-to-day, injured.
  7. Kyle Thomas: W. Healthy scratch.
  8. Wacey Hamilton: F. Healthy scratch.

Season Series

The two clubs have squared off in six games already this year with the Comets holding a four-games-to-two advantage while outscoring Laval by a count of 19-14 along the way.

Special Teams

The Comets hold the edge on both the power play and the penalty kill in the series after scoring eight times on 31 man-up opportunities to give themselves a success rate of 25.8%. Their penalty kill has given up five goals while down a man 28 times for a success rate of 82.1%. Laval, for their part, shows a success rate of 17.9% on the power play in the series, while their penalty kill has operated at 72.4% over those six games.

Head-to-Head

Former Comets forward Michael Carcone has put up the most points in the series with seven points, while Tanner Kero is right behind him with six. Evan McEneny and Alex Belzile have each managed five points in the series, while Alex Alain, Michael McCarron and former Comet Jonathan Dahlen have each grabbed four.

Goaltenders

The Comets have used Michael Leighton, (1-0, 1.00 goals-against average, 0.952% save percentage) Thatcher Demko, (1-0, 2.00 GAA, 0.905% save percentage) Ivan Kulbakov, (1-1-1, 2.33 GAA, 0.921% save percentage) and Richard Bachman, (1-0, 4.00 GAA, 0.879% save percentage) in the series.

Laval has gone with Michael McNiven, (1-0, 2.14 goals-against average, 0.917% save percentage) and Charlie Lindgren, (1-4, 3.74 GAA, 0.861% save percentage).

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