Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #74, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins At Utica Comets

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #74

Vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Friday, April 12th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

The Utica Comets will take to the ice today for the first of three games in three days this weekend to end their 2018/19 season. It will be the battle of sixth place teams as the Atlantic Division’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, (Pittsburgh affiliate) are in town to take on the Comets for game number 74 of the season.

The Pens are showing a record of 35-28-7-3 coming into today’s action, giving them 80 points on the season. The Comets, for their part, have gone 32-33-6-2 this year to give themselves 72 points.

The Comets have the better power play of the two clubs, but the Penguins penalty kill has shown better than Utica’s so far this year. Utica’s power play is currently sitting 19th in the AHL after scoring 56 goals while up a man 318 times, giving them a success rate of 17.6%. Their penalty kill sits 24th after giving up 60 goals while down a man 298 times for a 79.9% success rate.

The Pens power is the league’s 27th ranked unit after scoring 47 times on 287 chances, giving them a success rate of 16.4%. Their penalty kill sits 20th after giving up 61 goals while down a man 310 times for an 80.3% success rate.

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Ethan Prow leads all Penguins scorers with 18 goals and 31 helpers, giving him 49 points in 72 games this year. Ryan Haggerty sits second with 23 goals and 21 assists to give himself 44 points in 67 games this season. Sam Lafferty rounds out their top three with 12 goals and 32 helpers, giving him 44 points in 67 games as well.

Lafferty’s totals are good enough to lead all Pens rookies, while Lukas Jasek wears the rookie crown in Utica with eight goals and 16 helpers, giving him 24 points in 60 games this year.

Reid Boucher is the top dog in Utica with 28 goals and 30 helpers, giving him 58 points in 54 games. Tanner Kero sits second with 24 goals and 30 assists to give himself 54 points in 64 games, while Zack MacEwen rounds out their top three with 21 goals and 29 helpers, giving him 50 points in 66 games this year.

Last year, in his rookie season, MacEwen put up 10 goals and 23 helpers to give himself 33 points in 66 games. That marks an 11 goal/six assist/17 point jump over the same number of games this season.

The Pens have gone 5-4-1-0 over their previous 10 games and are coming off of a 10-6 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, while the Comets have gone 2-7-1-0 over that same span and last played to a 3-1 loss to the Providence Bruins. The Pens show a road record of 19-11-5-2, while the Comets have gone 18-15-3-0 at home this year.

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The Comets have been outscored by a 249-211 margin, while the Pens have outscored their foes by a count of 224-213 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. Evan McEneny: LD. Out for the season, lower-body injury.
  4. Michael Leighton: G. Out for the season, lower body injury.
  5. Jalen Chatfield: RD. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
  6. Kole Lind: RW. Week-to-week, lower-body injury.
  7. Tanner Kero: C. Week-to-week, concussion protocol.
  8. Colton Saucerman: RD. Healthy scratch.
  9. Mitch Eliot: RD. Healthy scratch.
  10. Brandon Anselmini: LD. Healthy scratch.
  11. Dyson Stevenson: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
  12. Kyle Thomas: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
  13. Mitchell Vanderlaan. LW/RW. Healthy scratch.

Season Series

The two clubs have squared off just once this season with the Comets coming away with a 3-2 overtime win on the road in the Pens building.

Special Teams

The Pens have done better on both the power play and penalty kill in the season series, going 1/3 on the power play to give themselves a success rate of 80.1%, while they managed to kill off all three penalties that they gave up to give themselves a sparkling 100% success rate while down a man to Utica. The Comets power play success rate in the first game was obviously 0.00%, while their penalty kill shows a success rate of 66.7% against the Pens this year.


Wacey Hamilton leads all scorers in the series…yes, you read that correctly. Hamilton has put up two points, while Vincent Arseneau, Cam Darcy, Brendan Woods, Stefan LeBlanc, Evan McEneny, and former Comets forward Jonathan Dahlen have managed one point for the Comets. Ryan Haggerty, Samuel Miletic, Jarrett Burton, JS Dea, and Sam Lafferty also picked up a single point in the first game of the series.


Tristan Jarry was the man between the pipes for the Pens in game-one and shows a record of 0-1 while putting up a goals-against average of 2.89 along with a 0.870% save percentage.

Michael Leighton was the goaltender of record for the Comets in the first game of this series, going 1-0 while posting a GAA of 1.90 and a 0.946% save percentage for his efforts.

Roster Moves

The Comets were busy again this week, making a handful of moves ahead of this weekend. Defencemen Colton Saucerman and Matt Petgrave were released from their PTOs, (professional tryout offers) with the team in order for them to get into playoff action with their ECHL clubs. With just three games remaining for the Comets and the ECHL playoff set to begin, this is all about the Comets doing right by the players and by the teams who loaned them to the club.

Forwards Reid Gardiner and Kyle Thomas, along with goaltender Ivan Kulbakov have also been sent to the ECHL in order to see playoff action with the Comets affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings.

To go along with the above moves, the team has also signed a trio of players to PTO deals to finish the season.

Connor Doherty is a 26-year-old, left shot defenceman from Holden Massachusetts who stands 6’2″ and tips the scales at 194lbs, (according to Elite Prospects). Doherty has spent the past two seasons with the Worcester Railers in the ECHL where he has put up two goals and 12 helpers to give himself 14 points in 92 games to go along with 135 minutes spent in the penalty box.

Derek Pratt is also a left shot defender and hails from Mount Hermon Massachusetts. The 25-year-old stands 6’2″ and weighs in at 194lbs…sounds eerily similar to Doherty. Pratt has spent time over the past two seasons plying his trade in the ECHL split between the South Carolina Stingrays, Manchester Monarchs, and Maine Mariners where he has put up two goals and 16 assists to give himself 18 points to go along with 83 penalty minutes in 68 games.

Finally, the Comets needed to add someone to take the place of Kulbakov and landed on Ty Reichenbach as their man for the job. Reichenbach is a 25-year-old native of Billings Montana who stands 6’2″ and weighs in at 176lbs. The left catching netminder has spent the past two seasons in the ECHL with the Norfolk Admirals where he has gone 41-48-2 in 96 games.

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


  • Goon

    Thanks for the in-depth article Cory – good stuff!

    It worries me that the Comets were so ineffective this year, and they’re on pace to finish around 25th in the league and well out of the playoffs. Yes, they’ve had their share of injury troubles, but good teams remain competitive despite their injuries, and have the depth to absorb the losses that invariably happen throughout the year.

    I remember coming out of the 2005 lockout through around 2009, just before the Canucks became truly elite, watching players like Kesler, Burrows, Bieksa, Schneider, and Hansen absolutely tear it up for the Manitoba Moose and the Moose being perennial Calder contenders. They made the playoffs every year, were first in their division in 2007, and first in the league in 2009. Many of the players who were leaders on the Moose went on to be major impact players for the Canucks on those elite 2010-2013 teams.

    The Comets have some good prospects, but not one you can look at and say “wow, that guy’s going to be a star in the NHL”, and it’s reflected in their terrible performance this year. Having both the major and the minor clubs wallowing in the basement is not a good look.

    • Bud Poile

      Hughes,Pettersson,Boeser,Brisebois,Sautner, and Schenn could all have been Comets had the six year black hole of drafting and development left the parent club devoid of roster spots these last few seasons.
      Shinkaruk,Friesen,Jensen,Schroeder,Cassels,Corrado,Sauve,Tommernes,Ellington and Cannata didn’t exactly lead the Comets to glory.

    • ClassOF2011

      Always the first to pick posters apart with his snark… Goon the hypocrite for ya folks…

      “All the rookies should remain in Utica for the full season. The Comets are headed for the top of the AHL standings. Isn’t the justification for these terrible FA signings that the young players need to develop in a “winning environment”? The Comets are that.” – Goon

      Embarrassing. I believe the term used is “hasn’t aged well” *chuckle*

      • Goon

        I *almost* posted an “in before this goober posts this out-of-context quote”. I guess I missed my chance.

        I said management should load the Comets up with their talented prospects, rather than calling them up to Vancouver or overplaying veterans.

        Management called up their most promising players to Vancouver and overplayed veterans while alienating several of their other most talented prospects.

        Yeah, I was sure wrong about that one. Boy do I have egg on my face.