Utica Comets Pre-Game

Game #43

Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch

Monday, January 20th, 2020

1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific

The 25-13-2-2 Utica Comets hit the road to Syracuse today to take on the Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) for game number 43 of the season. Today will also be the 200th consecutive Comets game that I’ve covered, which makes it Trent Cull’s 200th pro game as a head coach in the AHL, (playoff games included). Congrats to Trent and thanks to any of you who have been reading from the beginning and to those who are more recent readers.

The Comets have been on a solid run of late, going 7-3-0-0 over their previous 10 games while the Crunch show a record of 3-6-0-1 over that same span. Both teams are coming off of wins, however, as Utica beat Cleveland 6-3 in their most recent contest and Syracuse took a 6-5 win over Binghamton.

After Saturday’s win, the Comets actually have one more win at home than on the road this year, so they’ve turned things around in their home barn of late, but they still show a solid record of 12-5-0-1 on the road. The Crunch, for their part, have gone 11-7-1-1 at home this year.

Syracuse has allowed 149 goals this year while scoring 141 times, giving them a goal differential of minus-8. The Comets, for their part, have outscored their competition by a count of 153-128 for a goal differential of plus-25.

The teams are very evenly matched on special teams as the slimmest of margins separate them. The Comets have gone 38/169 on the power play, giving them a success rate of 22.5% with the extra man. Their penalty kill has allowed 32 goals while down a man 185 times for a success rate of 82.7%.

The Crunch have scored 40 goals on 177 power plays to give themselves a success rate of 22.6% with the extra man. See what I mean by close? Their PK is also nearly a mirror image as Syracuse has allowed 31 goals while down a man 177 times for an 82.5% success rate. It’s interesting that the Crunch have the same number of power plays as they have penalty kills this year.

Alex Barre-Boulet leads all Syracuse scorers with 16 goals and 19 assists, giving him 35 points in 39 games this year. Cory Conacher sits second with 14 goals and 21 assists to give himself 35 points in 37 games, while Gemel Smith rounds out their top three with his 14 goals and 14 assists, giving him 28 points in 33 games.

You have to go waaaay down the Syracuse roster to find a rookie as their current points leader is plying his trade in the ECHL. That makes Jimmy Huntington their active rookie leader with a whopping two assists in 22 games. With Brogan Rafferty out, Olli Juolevi is the Comets active rookie leader with two goals and 18 assists, giving him 20 points in 33 games this season.

Reid Boucher leads everyone in the AHL with 23 goals and 25 assists to give himself 48 points in 37 games. Nikolay Goldobin has jumped into second place with 14 goals and 26 assists, giving him 40 points in 36 games, while Kole Lind sits third with 12 goals and 25 assists to give himself 37 points in 42 games.

As an aside, I believe that I had predicted somewhere around a 37-point season for Kole when I was asked in the summer… looks like he will clearly best those numbers and I am thrilled to be wrong.

Season Series

The two clubs have played each other four times this season with the Comets taking three wins and outscoring the Crunch by a count of 16-8.

The Comets special teams have been better than Syracuse’s with their power play going 5/24, giving them a 20.8% success rate in the series, while giving up four goals while down a man 25 times to the Crunch for a success rate of 84% on the kill.

Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin have each only played three games in the series but they share the points lead with six apiece. Chris Mueller has five, but he won’t be available today. Sven Baertschi, Zack MacEwen, Francis Perron, Kole Lind and Brogan Rafferty each collected three for the Comets but only Lind will be on hand today… unless MacEwen shows up from Vancouver. Boris Katchouk also has three points over the first four games.

Spencer Martin and Scott Wedgewood have both seen action against the Comets this year with Martin showing a record of 1-1 while posting a goals-against-average of 3.02 along with a 0.886% save percentage. Wedgewood, for his part, has gone 0-2 while posting a 3.89 GAA and a 0.886% save percentage. What are the chances of both goaltenders having the same save percentage?

The Comets have used Mikey DiPietro and Zane McIntyre against the Crunch. DiPietro shows a record of 2-1 while posting a 1.68 GAA… that seems good, along with a 0.923% save percentage. McIntyre, for his part, has gone 1-0 while putting up a 2.00 GAA and a 0.913% save percentage.

Scratched Last Game For Utica

  1. Francis Perron: W/C – Upper-body injury, (eye) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  2. Wacey Hamilton: C – Lower-body injury, (broken foot) 6-8 weeks. AHL deal.
  3. Sven Baertschi: LW – Lower-body injury, (high ankle sprain) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  4. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, (ankle) week-to-week. AHL deal.
  5. Dylan Blujus: RD – Upper-body injury, (chest) day-to-day. AHL deal.
  6. Brogan Rafferty: RD – Undisclosed soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  7. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – AHL suspension, (one game)/undisclosed injury. AHL deal.
  8. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  9. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  10. Matt Petgrave: LD – Healthy scratch, AHL deal.

The two clubs will get after it today in Syracuse at 1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific. As always, stay tuned for your CanucksArmy post-game report following today’s action.





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