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Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Pre-Game: Game #59, Utica Comets at Charlotte Checkers

Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #59

Utica Comets at Charlotte Checkers

Friday, March 6th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

The 32-21-3-2 Utica Comets hit the road to Charlotte to take on the 32-21-4-0 Checkers, (Carolina affiliate) for game number 59 today at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific. The Comets currently hold down the third spot in the North Division with 69 points on the season, while the Checkers are the Atlantic Division’s fourth-place squad with 68 points to their credit. As you can see, these teams are pretty closely matched as far as points go.

Utica shows a record of 6-3-1-0 over their previous 10 contests with their last outing resulting in a 3-1 win over Rochester. The Checkers, for their part, went 5-4-1-0 over that same span with their last game ending in a 6-3 win over Hershey.

It is kind of eerie when we look at how these clubs have fared at home and on the road with the Comets going 16-11-2-1 at home and 16-10-1-1 on the road. The Checkers, meanwhile, show a home record of 16-10-2-0 while going 16-11-2-0 on the road this year. Once again, the teams seem like a good matchup.

Both clubs have outscored their competition this year, although the Checkers have been more stingy in terms of goals allowed. Charlotte has scored 194 goals while giving up just 164 for a goal differential of plus-30… PLUS-30!!! The Comets, for their part, have scored 204 goals while giving up 180, giving them a goal differential of plus-24… not bad, but it’s no plus-30.

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Once again, there are some similarities with special teams, although those are mostly to do with the power play. The Comets have an overall record of 51/232 on the power play, giving them a success rate of 22.0% with the man advantage this season. The Checkers power play has gone 49/214 overall, giving them a success rate of 22.9%. The teams also sit first and second in the AHL for shorthanded goals allowed, combining for 29 between them.

Things are not so similar when we look at the penalty kill as the Comets have allowed 48 goals while down a man 243 times, giving them an 80.2% success rate on the kill. The Checkers, however, have allowed 29 goals while down a man 229 times, giving them an 87.3% success rate. It’s kind of looking like the Comets will want to make sure to do some damage at five-on-five today as the Checkers’ penalty kill is pretty strong.

Jake Bean leads all Charlotte scorers with nine goals and 37 assists, giving him 46 points in 55 games this season, while Morgan Geekie sits second with 22 goals and 21 assists to give himself 43 points in 54 games. Steven Lorentz rounds out their top three with his 21 goals and 22 assists to give himself 43 points as well.

Joey Keane is the rookie-leader in Charlotte, although the bulk of his points came before the trade deadline when he was with Hartford. He has a total of nine goals and 25 assists, giving him 34 points in 54 games this season. Brogan Rafferty is the rookie kingpin in Utica with seven goals and 35 assists, giving him 42 points in 54 games this year.

Reid Boucher is Utica’s top dog with 31 goals and 32 helpers, giving him 63 points in 50 games played. Nikolay Goldobin was the team’s veteran scratch last game after some indifferent play the game before, but he sits second on the team in scoring with 19 goals and 30 assists to give himself 49 points in 50 games. Justin Bailey grabbed his career-high 46th point last game and now has 27 goals and 19 assists in 50 games this season.

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Season Series

The two clubs have squared off once this year with the Comets coming away with an impressive 8-2 win back in October when the team was the toast of the AHL with an 8-0 start.

Nikolay Goldobin and Zack MacEwen are tied for the lead in the series with three points each. MacEwen has since spent the bulk of his time at the NHL level, while Goldy is trying to find his way back into the good books of his coaching staff. Justin Bailey, Francis Perron, Kole Lind, and Sven Baertschi have each earned two points in the series as well.

Mikey DiPietro took the win in the first game while posting a goals-against-average of 2.00 and a 0.923% save percentage.

The Checkers ended up using a pair of goaltenders in the first game as Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic both saw action. The latter took the loss after allowing three goals in 14:54 of ice time and finished with a GAA of 12.08 and a save percentage of 0.400%. Forsberg finished the game, allowing five more goals en route to a 6.65 GAA and 0.737% save percentage. Neither goaltender will be available to the team today.

Scratched Last Game For Utica

  1. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, (hip surgery) out for the season. AHL deal.
  2. David Pope: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (concussion symptoms) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  3. Carter Bancks: W/C – Various ailments, day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Olli Juolevi: LD – Hip soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  5. Lukas Jasek: C/W – Lower-body soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  6. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Illness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  7. Nikolay Goldobin: LW/RW – Veteran scratch. NHL deal.

Roster Moves

The Comets saw Jalen Chatfield and Guillaume Brisebois returned from their emergency loans to Vancouver, but Brisebois was immediately summoned back to Vancouver under emergency conditions. That is the way emergency conditions work… if the player doesn’t play, he has to be returned. The Canucks still have a defender who will be a game-time decision for their next game, so Brisebois was needed once again.

The two clubs will get after it in Charlotte today at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific. As always, stay tuned for your CanucksArmy Post-Game report following today’s action.