UTICA COMETS (25-23-9) vs. BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS (35-18-3)
The Utica Memorial Auditorium, 3:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s game: The Utica Comets faceoff against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the second time this season. Faceoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Last game: Thatcher Demko turned aside 38 shots for his first professional shutout last night. Jake Virtanen scored his sixth of the year to tally the game winning goal eight minutes into the second period. The second-year forward snapped a 16-game goalless drought.
Pascal Pelletier and Borna Rendulic scored the other two goals for in the win. Pelletier tallied an assist on the Rendulic goal for a two-point night.
Head-to-head: The Comets won the only meeting of the season series on January 14 at Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers took a 1-0 lead but the Comets struck with three unanswered goals from Darren Archibald, Alexandre Grenier and Evan McEneny. All three goals came in the third period. The Comets are 2-2-1 all-time against the Sound Tigers.
Scouting the Sound Tigers: Since Jaroslav Halak began playing on January 4, the Sound Tigers hold a record of 18-4-3. Bridgeport have moved themselves into a playoff spot in the illustrious Atlantic Division because of the surge. The team is fourth in the division with a points percentage of .652. Bracken Kearns leads the team with 19 goals and 41 points. Rookie All-Star Devon Toews leads the team with 27 assists and 124 shots on goal. Halak has a record of 14-2-3 with a 2.02 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
Playoff Picture: With last night’s win, the Comets hold the final playoff spot in the North Division with a points percentage of .518. The IceCaps were beaten yesterday in regulation by a score of 3-1 to the Toronto Marlies. The IceCaps hold a points percentage of .517 and are back in action today against the Marlies.
First of many: Thatcher Demko stole the show last night with a 38-save shutout against the Albany Devils. The rookie netminder last registered a shutout with Boston College on March 11, 2016 against Vermont by making 36 saves. In his final colligate season, Demko posted 10 shutouts.
Still streaking: The Comets have won four straight games, including three on home ice. Over the past six games, the Comets have totaled 11 of 12 possible points. The lone missing point came on February 22 in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rochester Americans.
Return to .500: Last night marked the third straight win on home ice and returned the team to a .500 points percentage at The AUD. The Comets have only been above .500 at The AUD for nine-days this season from December 7 – December 16.
Next game: The Comets faceoff against the Sound Tigers next Friday at The AUD for a 7 p.m. faceoff. The game will conclude a four-game home stand.