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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #67, Utica Comets Vs Laval Rocket

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #67

Vs Laval Rocket

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

The Battle of the North continues today as the division’s seventh-ranked Laval Rocket, (Montreal affiliate) are in town today to take on the division’s sixth-ranked Comets for game number 67 of the season. The Rocket are showing a record of 27-27-6-5 coming into today’s action, giving them 65 points on the season. The Comets, for their part, have gone 30-28-6-2 this year to give themselves 68 points.

Alex Belzile leads all Rocket scorers with 15 goals and 33 helpers, giving him 48 points in 63 games this year. Jake Evans sits second with 13 goals and 28 assists to give himself 41 points in 61 games. Daniel Audette rounds out their top three with 13 goals and 21 helpers, giving him 34 points in 60 games.

Evans’ point totals are good enough to lead the Laval rookie crew, while Lukas Jasek is leading the rookie pack in Utica with eight goals and 13 assists to give himself 21 points in 53 games.

Tanner Kero leads the Comets active players in scoring with 22 goals and 29 helpers, giving him 51 points in 60 games. Zack MacEwen sits second with 20 goals and 28 assists, giving him 48 points in 59 games, while Brendan Gaunce rounds out their top three with 16 goals and 19 assists, giving him 35 points in 50 games this year.

Laval’s power play is currently sitting 18th in the AHL after scoring 49 goals on 268 man-up opportunities, giving them a success rate of 18.3%. Their penalty kill sits 29th after giving up 58 goals while down a man 263 times to give themselves a success rate of 77.9%.

The Comets power play is sitting 15th in the league after scoring 53 goals on 283 chances to give themselves a success rate of 18.7% with the extra man. Their penalty kill sits 22nd after giving up 52 goals while shorthanded 268 times for an 80.6% success rate.

The Comets are showing a record of 1-8-1-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Rocket have gone 5-3-1-1 over that same span. The Comets last played to a 3-1 loss to Belleville, while the Rocket are coming off of a 3-2 shootout win over Providence. Laval is showing a road record of 10-17-3-1 this year, while the Comets have gone 17-13-3-0 at home this season.

Both clubs have been outscored by their competition this year as the Rocket have scored 175 goals while giving up 195 and the Comets have been outscored by a count of 226-197.

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. Evan McEneny: LD. Out for the season, lower-body injury.
  4. Wacey Hamilton: F. Week-to-week, neck injury.
  5. Reid Boucher: LW/RW. Week-to-week, hand injury.
  6. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW. Week-to-week, upper body injury.
  7. Matt Petgrave: LD. Healthy scratch.
  8. Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.
  9. Dyson Stevenson: F. Healthy scratch.
  10. Brandon Anselmini: LD. Healthy scratch.

Season Series

The two clubs have squared off seven times this season with the Comets holding a four-games-to-three advantage and outscoring Laval 22-19 in the process.

Special Teams

The Comets special teams have been slightly better than Laval’s over the first seven games of the series as they have gone 8/35 on the power play, giving them a 22.9% success rate with the extra man. Their penalty kill has given up seven goals on 31 Laval power plays for a 77.4% success rate. Laval’s power play success rate for the series sits at 22.6%, while their PK success rate is 77.1% against Utica this year. Those are some pretty close numbers.

Head-to-Head

Former Comets forward Michael Carcone is still the team’s points leader in this series with seven to his credit, while Alexandre Alain leads the Rocket with six to tie him with Tanner Kero. Alex Belzile, Alex Grenier, Cale Fleury, and Evan McEneny have each put up five points in the series, while Lukas Vejdemo, Michael McCarron, and former Comets forward Jonathan Dahlen have each grabbed four. Zack MacEwen, Brendan Gaunce, and former Rocket, Byron Froese have each put up three points in the series.

Goaltenders

Laval has used just two goaltenders over the first seven games of this series as Michael McNiven, (1-0, 2.14 goals-against average, 0.911% save percentage) and Charlie Lindgren, (2-4, 3.59 GAA, 0.873% save percentage) have each seen time between the pipes for the Rocket.

The Comets, for their part, have used four goaltenders against Laval this year. Thatcher Demko has gone 1-0 while putting up a goals-against average of 2.00 and a 0.905% save percentage. Ivan Kulbakov has gone 1-1-1 while putting up a 2.33 GAA and a 0.921% save percentage. Michael Leighton has gone 1-1 with a 2.53 GAA and a 0.900% save percentage, while Richard Bachman rounds out the Comets goalie carousel with a record of 1-0 while posting a GAA of 4.00 and a 0.879% save percentage.

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