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Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #45, Belleville Senators at Utica Comets

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #45

Belleville Senators at Utica Comets

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Friday, January 24th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

The 25-15-2-2 Utica Comets will welcome the 25-14-3-1 Belleville Senators, (Ottawa affiliate) to town today at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific for game number 45 of the season. The two clubs are about as closely matched as they come in the North Division as both teams have accumulated 54 points this season.

The Sens are currently sitting in first place in the North with a winning percentage of 0.628% to Utica’s 0.614%. Belleville shows a record of 6-2-2-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Comets have gone 5-5-0-0 over that same span.

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Both clubs are coming off of a loss as the Comets last played to a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Binghamton Devils and the Sens are coming off of a 2-1 loss to Milwaukee.

Belleville has been better on the road than they’ve been at home this year, showing a record of 16-4-2-0 away from their home barn. The Comets, for their part, show a home record of 13-9-2-1 this season.

Both clubs have outscored their competition and have similar goal differentials this season with Belleville scoring 156 goals and allowing 132 for a goal differential of plus-24. The Comets, meanwhile, have scored 158 goals this year while allowing 137, giving them a goal differential of plus-21 for their efforts.

One area where the Comets show an edge is in special teams. Utica has gone 40/180 on the power play, giving them a success rate of 22.2% with the extra man. Their penalty kill has allowed 34 goals while down a man 194 times to give them a success rate of 82.5% on the season.

The Sens show a record of 35/188 on the power play, giving them a success rate of 18.6%, while their penalty kill has allowed 42 goals while down a man 202 times, giving them a success rate of 79.2%. That seems like a lot of time spent being down a man for Belleville.

Drake Batherson leads all Belleville scorers with 13 goals and 30 assists, giving him 43 points in 35 games this year. Rookie Josh Norris sits second with 22 goals and 18 assists to give himself 40 points in 42 games, while fellow rookie Alex Formenton rounds out the Belleville top three with his 21 goals and 12 assists, giving him 33 points in 41 games.

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As mentioned above, the Sens’ rookie crew is led by Norris with his impressive 40 points in 42 games. With Brogan Rafferty and his 37 points in 40 games currently on the shelf with soreness, Olli Juoevi has jumped to the top of the Comets current rookie group with his two goals and 20 assists, giving him 22 points in 35 games this year.

Reid Boucher leads the AHL with his 24 goals and 26 assists, giving him 50 points in 39 games this year, while Nikolay Goldobin sits second on the Comets with 15 goals and 26 assists to give himself 41 points in 38 games. Kole Lind rounds out Utica’s top three with 12 goals and 26 helpers, giving him 38 points in 44 games.

Season Series

The two clubs have squared off three times already this year with the Comets holding a two-games-to-one edge, however, the Sens have outscored the Comets by a margin of 9-7 over that span. A 4-0 shutout win the last time the two teams played helped that goal differential for the Bellevillians.

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The Comets might have the better special teams overall between the two clubs, but Belleville has held a decided edge on that side of things in the series. The Sens have gone 5/15 on the power play against the Comets this year while shutting down 14 of 16 Comets power plays. Utica will want to stay out of the box today, if possible.

Nikolay Goldobin and Brogan Rafferty are tied for the series lead with four points each, while Kole Lind, Alex Formenton, Michael Carcone, Joseph LaBate, Josh Norris, and Jordan Murray have each picked up three. Carter Camper has a pair of points over the first three games of the series, as do Morgan Klimchuk and Logan Brown.

Both clubs have used just one goaltender in the series with Zane McIntyre showing a record of 2-1-0 against the Sens while posting a 2.68 goals-against-average along with a 0.896% save percentage. Joey Daccord, for his part, has gone 1-2-0 against Utica this year while posting a 2.40 GAA along with a 0.913% save percentage. As mentioned above, Daccord’s one win was of the shutout variety.

Roster Moves

The Comets got Sven Baertschi and Francis Perron back from injury for their last game and with Zack MacEwen back with the team at the moment as well, the club had an extra body around. As such, forward Tanner Sorenson has been returned to Kalamazoo of the ECHL where he has put up 13 points in 13 games with the Wings this season. Sorenson has suited up in 10 games for the Comets this year and has one assist for his efforts.

Scratched Last Game For Utica

  1. Wacey Hamilton: C – Lower-body injury, (broken foot) 6-8 weeks. AHL deal.
  2. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, (ankle) week-to-week. AHL deal.
  3. Dylan Blujus: RD – Upper-body injury, (chest) day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Brogan Rafferty: RD – Undisclosed soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  5. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (concussion protocol) AHL deal.
  6. Guillaume Brisebois: LD – Upper-body injury, (broken fingertip) day-to-day. NHL deal.
  7. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Matt Petgrave: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  9. Tanner Sorenson: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  10. David Pope: LW/RW – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  11. Seamus Malone: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  12. Joe Roberts: PxP – Healthy scratch, (just became a father for the first time. Welcome Norah).

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