COMETS BEGIN 2020 AGAINST THUNDERBIRDSJan 3, 2020
UTICA COMETS (20-10-2-2) vs. SPRINGFIELD THUNDERBIRDS (18-16-2-0)
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets faceoff against the Springfield Thunderbirds for the first time this season. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets fell behind 1-0 early but would score two power play goals to help them to a 3-2 victory over the Rochester Americans and move into a tie for first place in the North Division Tuesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center. Brogan Rafferty, Wacey Hamilton, and Justin Bailey were the goal scorers for Utica. Zane McIntyre made 33 saves in the win.
Bird Hunters: This is the first matchup between the Comets and Thunderbirds this season. Utica claimed last year’s season series, going 3-0-1-0 against Springfield. The Comets are 3-1-2-0 at home and 7-3-2-0 overall in the last five seasons against the Thunderbirds.
Scouting the Thunderbirds: Springfield comes in with a record of 18-16-2-0 and sits in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. They most recently topped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5-4 in a shootout Tuesday night. Owen Tippett leads the offense with 25 points, followed by Daniel Audette with 21 points. Philippe Desrosiers is the top netminder with a record of 10-4-1, a 2.95 goals-against average, and a .922 save percentage.
Streaking: The Comets have been on a roll lately. Tuesday’s win put Utica in a tie for first place in the North Division. They have picked up points in four straight home games and six consecutive games overall. The Comets have also scored at least four goals in all five of the six games during the streak.
White Hot: Reid Boucher keeps finding ways to put up points. Boucher kept his point streak alive with an assist on Tuesday, bringing his streak to a career and league high 16 games. He has racked up 22 points (7-15-22) during his streak. Overall, the forward is second in the league with 39 points (20-20-40) in 29 games this year.
Big Impact: Wacey Hamilton has made a big impact since returning to the lineup from an injury. Hamilton has scored goals in back-to-back games and has been a key cog in the Comets’ penalty kill. The veteran forward has six points (3-3-6) in 17 games this season.
The DiPiet-Show: Michael DiPietro is having a stellar rookie season. DiPietro has won five of his last seven starts and has allowed three goals or less five of those seven games as well. The rookie goaltender is 9-4-1 with a 2.70 goals-against average and .905 save percentage this season.
Next Game: The Comets go right back at it tomorrow night when they hit the road to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack. Puck drop at the XL Center is at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHLTV.