Utica Comets Pre-Game
Utica Comets at Charlotte Checkers
Saturday, March 7th, 2020
6:00 pm Eastern/3:00 pm Pacific
The 33-21-3-2 Utica Comets and 32-22-4-0 Charlotte Checkers, (Carolina affiliate) are right back at it today for game number 60 of the season in Charlotte at 6:00 pm Eastern/3:00 pm Pacific. The Comets won yesterday’s contest after gutting out a 2-1 victory. It was a stark contrast from their first game in October when the Comets ran roughshod over the league and tuned the Checkers up in an 8-2 game.
As the teams just played yesterday, today’s pre-game will be a little bit different and somewhat condensed. The Comets have now outscored the Checkers 10-3 in the series thanks to some strong netminding from rookie stopper Mikey DiPietro. DiPietro has stopped 59 of 62 shots that he has faced in the series.
Will we see DiPietro make his 12th consecutive start and third start of the week today, or will Jake Kielly be getting his first AHL start? Time will tell, but I would imagine that we will see Kielly get a start at some point as the Comets have three games a week the rest of the way.
It was kind of a strange set of circumstances that saw two teams who have been good on the power play this year-end up going 0/4 between them yesterday, but the fact that the Comets shut down the AHL’s third-best power play yesterday is a good sign. That will need to continue today.
Reid Boucher continues to rewrite the Comets’ record books as he became the team’s single-season leader for goals in a season… again. He put up 31 last year to set a new mark and scored his 32nd yesterday. He is now just two points back of Alex Grenier for the team’s all-time lead for points. Grenier put up 175 over 273 games with the Comets. Reid has played 152 games for Utica and has piled up 173 points in the process. Seems good, no?
Boucher is already the team’s all-time leader for goals with 88 in 152 games and is just two points back for the all-time points lead. The all-time assist lead might take a little longer though as he is sitting with 85 to Grenier’s 108. If Reid is back in Utica next season, I don’t see how he doesn’t pick up another 24 assists between now and then to take that crown as well.
The Comets’ top line of Sven Baertschi, Carter Camper, and Boucher was money against the Checkers yesterday, combining for six points between them on the two Comets goals. They will have to be big again today if the team wants to come out of Charlotte with another two points.
Tyler Graovac has looked a little bit more comfortable with each game and near the end of yesterday’s match, we saw him end up between Justin Bailey and Kole Lind. I would like to see that continue today if possible.
Something else to keep an eye on today is whether or not players like Lukas Jasek, Jonah Gadjovich, or Olli Juolevi get back into the lineup today or if they will still be out with their injuries/illnesses. Will Nikolay Goldobin find his way back into the coach’s good graces and get back in, or will he be the veteran scratch again?
Matt Petgrave wasn’t able to finish yesterday’s contest but did stay on the bench rather than heading off to the room when he was injured near the end of the game. Will he be able to go today, or will Mitch Eliot get back into the rotation?
This would be a big win today if the Comets can pull it out. Rochester remains two points ahead of the Comets for second place in the North, while Binghamton and Laval are hot on Utica’s heels just five points behind. It will be a battle to the bitter end and it will be an exciting finish to the regular season.
Scratched Last Game For Utica
- Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, (hip surgery) out for the season. AHL deal.
- David Pope: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (concussion symptoms) week-to-week. AHL deal.
- Carter Bancks: W/C – Various ailments, day-to-day. AHL deal.
- Olli Juolevi: LD – Lower-body injury, (hip soreness) day-to-day. NHL deal.
- Lukas Jasek: C/W – Lower-body soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
- Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Illness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
- Nikolay Goldobin: LW/RW – Veteran scratch. NHL deal.
- Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
The two teams will get after it in Charlotte today at 6:00 pm Eastern/3:00 pm Pacific. As always, CanucksArmy will have your post-game report following today’s action.