Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #37

Utica Comets at Belleville Senators

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

The 20-12-2-2 Utica Comets will be looking to get back into the win column today against the 20-12-2-1 Belleville Senators in game 37 of the season. The two clubs look pretty evenly matched and will get their game underway in Belleville at 7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific.

The Comets have started out 2020 with back-to-back losses and show a record of 5-4-1-0 over their previous 10 contests. The Sens, for their part, have gone 5-3-1-1 over that same span. Utica last played to a 3-1 loss to Hartford, while the Sens are coming off of a 5-3 win over Lehigh Valley.

Not unlike the Comets, The Sens have been better on the road than they’ve been at home this year, which could work into Utica’s favour today. The Sens have gone 9-9-1-1 at home, while the Comets show a record of 11-5-0-1 away from the Adirondack Bank Center.

Only three teams have scored more than Utica’s 127 goals this year and Belleville is at the top of the heap with 130 to their credit. The Comets have allowed 110 goals to their competition, while the Sens have given up 117, so the Comets goal differential is slightly better at plus-17.

Another area that might favour the Comets today is special teams. Utica shows the better record on both sides of the ledger, going 34/146 on the power play for a success rate of 23.3% with the extra man, while they have allowed 26 goals while down a man 158 times for a success rate of 83.5%.

The Sens, for their part, show a record of 29/155 on the power play, giving them a success rate of 18.7% while up a man, while their penalty kill has allowed 38 goals while down a man 168 times for a success rate of 77.4%.

Drake Batherson has been neck-and-neck with Reid Boucher this year as they’ve swapped the league scoring crown back-and-forth a few times over the last couple of weeks. Batherson leads all Sens scorers with 13 goals and 28 helpers, giving him 41 points in 33 games this year. Josh Norris sits second with 19 goals and 13 assists, giving him 32 points in 34 games, while Vitaly Abramov rounds out their top three with 14 goals and 13 assists to give himself 27 points in 24 games.

Norris also happens to lead all Belleville rookies with his 32 points, while Brogan Rafferty is the rookie kingpin in Utica with his five goals and 25 helpers, giving him 30 points in 36 games.

Reid Boucher is the Comets leader with his 21 goals and 20 assists, giving him 41 points in 31 games this year. Sven Baertschi sits second with eight goals and 23 helpers to give himself 31 points in 24 games played. Rafferty’s 30 points have him in the third spot for Utica.

Season Series

This will be the second of eight games played between the two clubs this season and the first of four this month. The Comets took game one by a 4-3 score as the teams proved to match up well against each other.

The Comets special teams proved better in the first game, going 2/6 on the power play and allowing one goal while down a man five times.

Zane McIntyre got the win for Utica, allowing three goals while posting a 3.00 goals-against average along with a save percentage of 0.909%. Joey Daccord was the goaltender of record for Belleville, allowing four goals while posting a GAA of 4.21 along with a save percentage of 0.852%.

There are six players in the two-point club after game one of the series as Nikolay Goldobin, Kole Lind, Carter Camper, Brogan Rafferty, Alex Formenton, and former Comets forward Michael Carcone all grabbed a pair. Reid Boucher and Zack MacEwen each picked up a goal in that first game as well.

Roster News

The Comets announced yesterday that they’ve summoned winger David Pope from Kalamazoo… again. Pope has yo-yoed back and forth a couple of times now without seeing any action with the Comets. That will likely change today as the team is thin on healthy bodies who don’t put them over the veteran limit.

One of the reasons why the team is so thin at forward for today’s game is that they’ve recently lost Seamus Malone, Dyson Stevenson, and Francis Perron to injuries, while Vinny Arseneau has been suspended for today’s game as a result of his actions in the Comets’ loss to Hartford on Saturday.

The Comets might be in tough today in their game against Belleville. They will be working a new body into the lineup against a team that has more than it’s share of offensive weapons. It will be a good test for Utica.

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