COMETS AND THUNDERBIRDS OPEN UP WEEKEND HOME AND HOME SERIESMar 9, 2018
UTICA COMETS (29-20-10) vs. SPRINGFIELD THUNDERBIRDS (27-28-4)
Adirondack Bank Center, 7 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. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets fell to the Binghamton Devils by a score of 7-2 Sunday night. Blake Pietila struck four and a half minutes into the game. Andrew Cherniwchan tied the game at one five minutes later. Comrie and Zac Lynch picked up the assists. Ben Thomson regained the lead for Binghamton a minute later with an unassisted goal. Nick Lappin extended the lead to 3-1 a minute and a half into the second period. Pietila netted his second of the night on the power play with 9:01 to go in the middle frame. Reid Boucher got the Comets within two at the 17:33 mark of the second period with a shorthanded goal. Michael Chaput tallied the assist. Lappin’s second of the game pushed the Devils’ lead to 5-2 three minutes into the third period. Lappin scored the hat trick goal with 13:54 remaining in the third. Brian Strait made it 7-2 with under nine minutes to go in the game. Bachman made 25 saves before being replaced by Demko. His record falls to 10-10-4. Demko stopped seven of 10 shots in relief.
Head-to-Head: This is the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. Springfield won the first matchup 3-2 on February 24. The Comets are 2-2-1 all-time and 1-1-1 at home against the Thunderbirds.
Scouting the Thunderbirds: Springfield comes in with a record of 27-28-4 and sits in seventh place in the Atlantic Division. They most recently topped the Providence Bruins 2-0 Sunday afternoon. Curtis Valk leads the offense with 45 points, followed by Anthony Greco with 41 points. Samuel Montembeault leads the goaltending tandem with a 12-17-3 record, a 3.18 goals-against average, and .898% save percentage.
Dominant: Utica’s penalty kill continues to be a strong point for the team as of late. The Comets have only allowed one power play goal in the last five games and have killed off 27 of their last 28 penalties. The Comets’ penalty kill ranks third in the league at 86.2%.
Keeping It Close: The Comets and Thunderbirds sure know how to put on entertaining games. Four of the last five contests between the two have been decided by one goal, including the Comets’ thrilling come from behind overtime victory last season on November 18, 2016. Expect another low-scoring, tight-checking matchup at the Adirondack Bank Center tonight.
Power Outage: The Comets power play has dropped out of the top 10 in the league. Utica has not scored a goal on the man advantage in eight straight games and is 0-28 during that span. The Comets power play ranks 12th in the AHL at 18.7%.
Magic Number: Despite the Comets losing their last six games, the magic number to clinch a playoff spot has dropped. The magic number is down to 19 because of Laval losing four games in a row. It is the fifth lowest in the league behind Lehigh Valley, Rochester, Syracuse, and Toronto.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action tomorrow night as they hit the road for a rematch with the Thunderbirds. Puck drop at the MassMutual Center is at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.