Utica Comets Pre-Game
At Syracuse Crunch
Saturday, March 30th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
Once again the Utica Comets will be taking on a North Division foe as they hit the road to Syracuse for game number 70 against the Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) today at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific.
The Comets will bring a record of 31-30-6-2 into today’s action, giving them 70 points on the season and leaving them on the outside looking in for a playoff spot and sitting in sixth place in the North. The Crunch, for their part, are the North Division’s first-ranked club with a record of 42-20-4-3, giving them 91 points on the season.
The two clubs are at opposite ends of the special teams spectrum as the Comets have the league’s 17th ranked power play after scoring 54 goals on 298 man-up opportunities, giving them a success rate of 18.1% with the extra man. They have also allowed a league-worst 18 shorthanded goals against. Their penalty kill is even worse after giving up 55 goals while down a man 280 times for an 80.4% success rate, placing them 21st in the AHL in that category.
The Crunch have the league’s sixth-ranked power play after scoring 59 times on 287 power play opportunities, giving them a 20.6% success rate. They are also tied for the league lead with 16 shorthanded goals scored. Their penalty kill sits fifth-overall after giving up 51 goals while down a man 332 times for an 84.6% success rate.
The Comets should probably try to get their work done during five-on-five play today.
Reid Boucher leads all Comets scorers with 28 goals and 29 assists, giving him 57 points in 50 games this season. Tanner Kero sits second with 24 goals and 30 helpers to give himself 54 points in 63 games, while Zack MacEwen rounds out their top three with 20 goals and 28 assists, giving him 48 points in 62 games this year.
Lukas Jasek is the Comets rookie leader with eight goals and 14 assists to give himself 22 points in 56 games this year. Alex Barre-Boulet leads the Crunch, and all other rookies, not named Tyler Benson, in the AHL with 32 goals and 28 helpers, giving him 60 points in 68 games this season.
Carter Verhaeghe is the top dog in Syracuse with 29 goals and 42 helpers, giving him 71 points in 69 games this season. Barre-Boulet’s 60 points have him sitting second, while Cory Conacher also has 60 points off of 22 goals and 38 helpers in 64 games to round out their top three.
The Comets have gone 1-8-1-0 over their previous 10 contests, while the Crunch show a record of 5-3-1-1 over that same span. Utica last played to a 5-2 loss to Toronto, while Syracuse is coming off of a 3-2 loss to Providence. Syracuse boasts a home record of 24-7-1-2 this season, while the Comets have gone 13-16-3-2 on the road.
Once again, it is a tale of two teams as far as goal differential is concerned. The Comets have been outscored by a count of 238-203, while the Crunch have outscored their competition by a margin of 237-171.
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.
- Jalen Chatfield: RD. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
- Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
- Kole Lind: RW. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
- Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
- Wacey Hamilton: F. Day-to-day, neck injury.
- Kyle Thomas: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
- Brandon Amnselmini: LD. Healthy scratch.
The two clubs have squared off in 10 games already this season with the Crunch holding a six-games-to-four advantage while doubling up the Comets by a score of 44-22.
The Syracuse special teams have been the better of the two in the series as well. Syracuse has gone 9/44 on the power play against Utica this year for a success rate of 20.5%. Their penalty kill has given up 5 goals to Utica on 49 opportunities, giving them an 89.8% success rate while down a man to the Comets. The Comets, for their part, show a success rate of 10.2% on the power play against Syracuse this year, while their penalty kill shows a 79.5% success rate against the Crunch.
The Crunch have scored a lot of goal in this series as Cory Conacher leads everyone with 13 points, while Taylor Raddysh is close behind with 12. Gabriel Dumont and Carter Verhaeghe have each picked up 10 points, while Andy Andreoff and Reid Boucher have grabbed nine apiece. Alex Barre-Boulet, Alex Volkov, Nolan Valleau, and Tanner Kero have each picked up eight points over the series as well.
The Crunch have used Connor Ingram and Eddie Pasquale in this series, with Pasquale getting the bulk of the work and Ingram having been banished to the ECHL. Ingram has gone 2-1 against Utica this year while putting up a sparkling goals-against average of 1.35 and 0.953% save percentage. Pasquale, for his part, has gone 4-3 while posting a GAA of 2.59 and a 0.918% save percentage.
The Comets have used four goaltenders against Syracuse this year with Ivan Kulbakov seeing the most work. Kulbakov has gone 3-3 against the Crunch while putting up a 4.50 goals-against average and a 0.865% save percentage. Michael Leighton has gone 0-2 while posting a 5.69 GAA and a 0.742% save percentage. Marek Mazanec has suited up for one start against Syracuse while with the Comets, going 0-1 and putting up a GAA of 3.24 and a 0.839% save percentage. Last, but not least, Thatcher Demko shows a record of 1-0 against the Crunch this year, posting a GAA of 3.14 and a 0.905% save percentage.
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 action.