Mar 28, 2018

UTICA COMETS (33-24-10) vs. ROCHESTER AMERICANS (31-20-16)

Blue Cross Arena, 7:05 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #UTIvsRCH

Tonight's Game: The Utica Comets faceoff against the Rochester Americans for the final time this season. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. 

Last Game: The Utica Comets defeated the Binghamton Devils by a score of 4-3 Sunday night at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Zac Lynch put the Comets up 1-0 with 3:04 remaining in the first period, ripping a wrist shot past Devils goaltender Eddie Lack. Adam Comrie tallied the lone assist. Frankie Simonelli extended the lead to 2-0 three minutes into the second period with a power play goal. Michael Chaput and Patrick Wiercioch picked up the assists. The goal was Simonelli’s first as a Comet. Four minutes later, Andrew Cherniwchan made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal after a Devils’ defensive zone turnover. Nathan Bastian put a rebound past Richard Bachman to cut the lead to 3-1 just 1:35 into the third period. Matt Leitner regained Utica’s three-goal lead five minutes later to notch his first AHL goal. Jacob MacDonald responded with a goal two minutes later to make it 4-2 Comets. Blake Speers brought the Devils to within one with 3:09 left in regulation.  Bachman finished with 38 saves to improve his record to 11-12-4. 

Head-to-Head: This is the tenth and final meeting of the North Division rivals this season. The Comets lead the season series 6-1-2 and won the most recent matchup 3-2 in a shootout back on January 17. Utica is outscoring Rochester 23-17 through nine games.

Scouting the Americans: Rochester comes in with a record of 31-20-16 and sits in third place in the North Division. They most recently beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-2 on Saturday. C.J. Smith leads the way offensively with 43 points, followed by Zach Redmond with 42 points. Adam Wilcox is the leading active netminder with a record of 11-7-6, a 2.82 goals-against average, and .904 save percentage. 

Pure Domination: Thatcher Demko has been dominant against the Americans this season. In seven starts against Rochester, Demko has posted a 5-1-1 record with a 1.53 goals-against average and .953 save percentage and one shutout. Overall, the second year netminder is 22-12-6 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

Wier-cashing In: Patrick Wiercioch continues his career season. Wiercioch has racked up seven points (1-6-7) in his last eight games.  In addition, he has achieved career highs in all three scoring categories. The veteran defenseman has collected 33 points (9-24-33) in 51 games with the Comets this season.

Killing Them Softly: The Comets penalty kill is good, and it’s even better on the road. Utica boasts the second best penalty kill on the road, killing off 89.1% of their penalties. In addition, they have killed off 19 of their last 20 penalties away from home. Overall, the Comets kill ranks second in the AHL at 86.3%.

Striking First: The Comets are a tough team to beat when they start fast. Utica is outscoring its opponents 58-49 in the first period and is 22-7-4 when they score the first goal of the game. In addition, they are 18-3-1 when leading after the first period and 24-1-4 when ahead after two periods.

Next Game: The Comets are back in action Friday night as they host the Hershey Bears. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to use the ticket exchange site, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.    

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