UTICA COMETS (4-6-0-0) vs. LAVAL ROCKET (3-6-1-0)
Place Bell, 7:30 p.m.
Watch Live: AHLTV | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #UTIvsLAV
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Laval Rocket for the first time this year. Puck drop is a 7:30 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets were unable to muster up any offense as they fell 4-0 to the Rochester Americans Friday night at Blue Cross Arena. Richard Bachman stopped 20 shots, including a diving stop that landed on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, and his record fell to 1-4-0 on the year.
Head-to-Head: This is the first matchup between the Comets and Rocket this year. Utica claimed last year’s series 5-3-0-0. Additionally, the Comets went 3-1-0 on the road against Laval last season.
Scouting the Rocket: Laval comes in with a record of 3-6-1-0 and sits in seventh place in the North Division. They most recently fell to the Belleville Senators 2-1 Wednesday night. Kenny Agostino leads the way offensively with nine points, followed by Alex Belzile with seven points. Charlie Lindgren is the leading netminder with a 3-4-1 record, a 2.52 goals-against average, and .880 save percentage.
Ice Cold: The Comets offense has struggled over the past two games. Utica has only scored one goal in the last two games and was shutout in their last outing against Rochester. The Comets will look to get back on track against a team averaging 2.78 goals-against per game.
Friendly Neighbors: The Comets have fared well against Canadian teams so far this season. In four games, Utica went 3-1-0-0 overall against teams from Canada. Additionally, the Comets are 2-0-0-0 this season when playing north of the border.
Kool and the Gang: With Richard Bachman’s recall to Vancouver, look for Ivan Kulbakov to play a big role in this weekend series. The second-year netminder has played well in his five starts and has not lost consecutive starts this season. Kulbakov is 3-2-0 so far this year with a 3.47 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage.
Special Teams Battle: Special teams will likely be a big factor this weekend. Utica’s power play is eighth in the league at 25%, while Laval’s penalty kill is second in the AHL at 92.9%. On the flip side, the Rocket’s power play is 30th in the league, operating at 10.6%, while the Comets penalty kill is 14th in the AHL, killing off 81% of their penalties.
Next Game: The Comets are right back at it tomorrow afternoon for a rematch with the Rocket. Puck drop at Place Bell is at 3 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.