UTICA COMETS (18-14-7) vs. ROCHESTER AMERICANS (23-9-8)
Adirondack Bank Center, 7 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
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Today’s Game: The Utica Comets faceoff against the Rochester Americans for the final time at home this season and second time this week. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets defeated the Rochester Americans by a score of 2-1 in a shootout Monday afternoon at Blue Cross Arena. Zack MacEwen gave the Comets a 1-0 lead with a power play marker two minutes into the game. Nikolay Goldobin and Reid Boucher picked up the assists. Seth Griffith tied the game at one with a power play strike of his own with 5:41 to go in the second period. Brendan Guhle and Zach Redmond were credited with the assists. Thatcher Demko and Linus Ullmark were spotless in the third period to send the game to overtime. Demko stopped all three shots he faced and Darren Archibald scored the only goal in the shootout to earn the win. Demko finished with 27 saves to improve his record to 14-7-5.
Head-to-Head: This is the ninth meeting between the Comets and Amerks this season. Utica leads the season series 5-1-1-1 and won the most recent contest 2-1 in a shootout Monday afternoon. The Comets are outscoring the Amerks 20-15 through eight games this year.
Scouting the Americans: Rochester comes in with a record of 23-9-8 and sits in second place in the North Division, most recently falling to the Comets 2-1 in a shootout on Monday. C.J. Smith leads the offense with 33 points, followed by Sahir Gill with 25 points. Linus Ullmark is the leading netminder with a record of 17-6-4, and 2.28 goals-against average, and .928% save percentage.
Neck And Neck: Despite the Comets dominating the season series, the first eight games have been very tightly contested. Only three of the eight games have been decided by two or more goals. In addition, five of those eight games have required overtime or a shootout to determine a winner.
Milestone Watch: Reid Boucher is closing in on a Comets’ team record. Boucher is chasing the record of most goals scored in a single season, 23, set by Darren Archibald in the 2016-17 season. The forward currently sits at 17 goals this year.
Heating Up: Zack MacEwen has been picking up steam offensively. MacEwen is riding a three-game point streak into tonight and has tallied at least one point in seven of the last nine games. The rookie forward has registered 20 points (4-16-20) in 34 games this year.
Dual Threat: The Comets’ special team units have given their opponents fits over the last month. Both special team units rank in the top 10 in the AHL, with the power play sitting eighth at 19.3% and the penalty kill at 85.9%, good for seventh in the league. Utica’s penalty kill has allowed a total of four power play goals against in the last 12 games and the power play has tallied a goal on the man advantage in five of the last six. Three of those six games saw the Comets net two or more power play goals.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action Friday night as they hit the road to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack. Puck drops at 7:15 p.m. at the XL Center. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic will be hosted at the newly renovated Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The two-day event includes the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28, followed by the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony on Monday, January 29 and the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge later that evening. The Skills Competition and the All-Star Challenge will take place in downtown Utica; all other events during the All-Star Classic will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. For tickets to the two-day event, visit empirestatetix.com.