UTICA COMETS (29-16-10) vs. SPRINGFIELD THUNDERBIRDS (24-28-3)
Adirondack Bank Center, 7:30 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #SPRvsUTI
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Springfield Thunderbirds for the first time this season. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets fell to the Laval Rocket 5-2 Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center. Chris Terry scored the game’s first goal three minutes into the second period. Jordan Boucher extended the lead to 2-0 four and a half minutes later. Terry made it 3-0 with 5:44 remaining in the middle frame. Guillaume Brisebois got the Comets on the board three minutes into the third period with a blast from the point. Patrick Wiercioch and Tony Cameranesi tallied the assists. Cole Cassels brought the Comets to within one with 3:33 to go in the third period. Dylan Blujus collected the assist. Boucher regained Laval’s two-goal lead 11 seconds later. Seconds after that, Daniel Audette scored the empty-net goal to secure the win. Thatcher Demko finished with 23 saves and his record falls to 19-9-6.
Head-to-Head: This is the first meeting of the Comets and Thunderbirds this season. Utica and Springfield split last year’s season series, with each team winning two games. The Comets are 2-1-1 all-time against the Thunderbirds.
Scouting the Thunderbirds: Springfield comes in with a record of 24-28-3 and sits in last place in the Atlantic Division. They most recently beat the Charlotte Checkers 4-0 last night. Former Comet Curtis Valk leads the way offensively with 40 points, followed by Anthony Greco with 37 points. Samuel Montembeault is the leading netminder with a 12-17-2 record, a 3.19 goals-against average, and a.898 save percentage.
Wier-Cashing In: Patrick Wiercioch continues to stay hot on home ice. Wiercioch is riding a five-game home point streak coming into tonight. The veteran defenseman has collected six points (2-4-6) during the streak and has racked up 25 points (8-17-25) in 39 total games this season.
Red Hot: Cole Cassels continues his red-hot tear over the last couple of weeks. Cassels carries a six-game point streak into tonight’s contest. The streak is a career-high for Cassels, who has registered six points (2-4-6) during the streak. The third-year forward has 22 points (6-16-22) in 49 games this year.
Back On Track: The Comets penalty kill took a step in the right direction after last night’s game. After giving up a least one goal on the man-advantage in the last three games, the Comets turned in a 3-3 performance against the Rocket. The Comets penalty kill ranks sixth in the league at 85.2%.
Bach It Up: Richard Bachman has been a brick wall over the last month. Bachman is currently on a six-game winning streak and has not lost in regulation in 10 consecutive starts. Bachman has not lost in regulation since December 29 against Providence. The veteran netminder is 8-0-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .934% save percentage.
Next Game: The Comets return to the ice Friday, March 2 when they take on the Belleville Senators. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to utilize the ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.