Utica Comets Pre-Game
At Syracuse Crunch
Saturday, March 23rd, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
It won’t be an easy one today for the Utica Comets as the North Division’s sixth-ranked team hits the road to Syracuse to take on the Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) who are the top-ranked team in the division for game number 68 of the season. The Comets have gone 31-28-6-2 this season, giving them 70 points for their efforts. The Crunch, for their part, show a record of 41-18-4-2 to give themselves 88 points on the season.
The two clubs are on opposite ends of the special teams spectrum as the Crunch have the league’s sixth-ranked power play after scoring 57 goals while up a man 276 times for a success rate of 20.7%. Their penalty kill sits fifth after giving up 49 goals while down a man 310 times for an 84.2% success rate.
The Comets, for their part, have the AHL’s 16th ranked power play after scoring 53 times on 289 man-up opportunities for a success rate of 18.3%. Their penalty kill is sitting 20th overall after giving up 52 goals while shorthanded 270 times for a success rate of 80.7%.
Carter Verhaeghe leads the Crunch in scoring with 29 goals and 41 helpers, giving him 70 points in 65 games this year. Alex Barre-Boulet sits second with 30 goals and 28 assists to give himself 58 points in 64 games. Cory Conacher rounds out their top three with 19 goals and 37 assists, giving him 56 points in 60 games.
Barre-Boulet also leads all Syracuse rookies with his 58 points, while Lukas Jasek is the rookie leader in Utica with eight goals and 13 helpers, giving him 21 points in 54 games.
Tanner Kero leads all active players for the Comets with 23 goals and 29 assists, giving him 52 points in 61 games this year. Zack MacEwen sits second with 20 goals and 28 helpers to give himself 48 points in 60 games this season. Brendan Gaunce rounds out their top three with 16 goals and 19 assists, giving him 35 points in 51 games played.
The Comets are showing a record of 2-7-1-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Crunch have gone 7-2-1-0 over that same span. Syracuse last played to a 4-2 loss to the Charlotte Checkers, while the Comets are coming off of a 2-1 shootout win over Laval. The Crunch have a pretty legitimate home record, currently sitting at 23-6-1-2, while the Comets have gone 13-15-3-2 on the road this season.
Only three teams have allowed more goals than the Comets have this year…that isn’t ideal. The Comets have been outscored by a count of 227-199, while the Crunch have scored 227 goals and have given up just 160. Only one team has allowed fewer.
Scratched Last Game For Utica
- Richard Bachman: G. Out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
- Olli Juolevi: LD. Out for the season, knee surgery.
- Evan McEneny: LD. Out for the season, lower-body injury.
- Wacey Hamilton: F. Week-to-week, neck injury.
- Reid Boucher: LW/RW. Week-to-week, hand injury.
- Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
- Brandon Anselmini: LD. Healthy scratch.
- Colton Saucerman: RD. Healthy scratch.
- Dyson Stevenson: F. Healthy scratch.
- Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.
The two clubs have faced off nine times already this season with the Crunch holding a five-games-to-four advantage while handily outscoring the Comets by a 38-20 margin.
The Crunch have the better special teams between the two, league-wide as well as in the season series. Syracuse has gone 7/41 with the extra man in the series to give themselves a 17.1% success rate while killing off 39 of 44 penalties for a success rate of 88.6% while down a man. The Comets, meanwhile, show a success rate of 11.4% on the power play in the series and an 82.9% success rate on the penalty kill.
There have been a few points put up in this series and Taylor Raddysh leads all players in that category with 11, while Cory Conacher and Carter Verhaeghe have each grabbed 10. Gabriel Dumont, Andy Andreoff, and Nolan Valleau each have eight points in the series, while Reid Boucher and Alex Barre-Boulet have put up seven. Cameron Gaunce, Zack MacEwen, and Tanner Kero have all managed six points in the series, while Brendan Gaunce, Alex Volkov, Cal Foote, and Boris Katchouk all have five.
The Comets have used ALL of the goalies in this series as five different men have seen time across the nine games so far.
Thatcher Demko shows a record of 1-0 with a goals-against average of 3.14 and a 0.905% save percentage. Marek Mazanec has gone 0-2 while putting up a GAA of 3.57 and a 0.860% save percentage. Michael Leighton shows a record of 0-1 with a 4.13 GAA and a 0.789% save percentage, while Ivan Kulbakov has gone 3-3 with a GAA of 4.50 and a 0.865% save percentage. Connor LaCouvee also saw a little over 34 minutes in the series and did not allow a goal.
The Crunch have used fewer targets as Connor Ingram has gone 2-1 with a 1.35 goals-against average and a 0.953% save percentage and Eddie Pasquale shows a record of 3-3 with a 2.67 GAA and 0.914% save percentage against the Comets this year. Martin Ouellette also saw a little over 18 minutes and held the Comets scoreless.
The two clubs will get underway in Syracuse today at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific. As always, stay tuned for the CanucksArmy post-game report following today’s action.