UTICA COMETS (25-17-2-2) vs. CLEVELAND MONSTERS (20-20-2-2)
Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, 7 p.m.
Watch Live: AHLTV | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #UTIvsCLE
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets hit the road and begin a weekend series against the Cleveland Monsters. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets surrendered two power play goals and a shorthanded goal in a 4-1 loss to the Belleville Senators Saturday night at CAA Arena. Justin Bailey and Ashton Sautner were the goal scorers for Utica. Michael DiPietro made 27 saves in the loss.
Head-to-Head: This is the second of four contests between the Comets and Monsters this season. Utica won the first matchup 6-2 back on January 18. The Comets are 4-1-0-0 in the last five seasons against Cleveland.
Scouting the Monsters: Cleveland comes in with a record of 20-20-2-2 and sits in last place in the North Division. The most recently beat the Toronto Marlies 5-4 in overtime back on January 25. Adam Clendening leads the offense with 30 points, followed by Stefan Matteau with 23 points. Veini Vehvilainen is the top netminder with a record of 9-11-2, a 2.55 goals-against average, and a .908 save percentage.
Heating Up: Carter Camper is starting to heat up on offense. Camper has five points (2-3-5) in his last six games, including a two-point night the last time the Comets and Monsters squared off. Camper has 26 points (6-20-26) in 33 games this year.
Finding A Groove: John Stevens is starting to settle in nicely with the Comets. Stevens has three points in his last two games and has excelled in the faceoff circle as well as on the penalty kill. The forward has eight points (4-4-8) in 25 games split between the Comets and Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season.
Power Outage: After getting off to a white-hot start, the Comets power play has struggled mightily. Utica is 0-9 on the man advantage in the last two games and 2-18 in their last five. Despite this, the Comets have the seventh ranked power play on the road (20.7%) and will look to turn things around starting tonight. Overall, Utica’s man advantage ranks seventh in the AHL at 21.2%.
Mr. Consistent: Brogan Rafferty has been one of the Comets’ most consistent point-scorers this season. Rafferty has eight points (1-7-8) in his last six games and has not gone more than two games without a point this season. The rookie leads all defensemen and ranks third among rookies with 38 points (6-32-38) in 42 games.
Next Game: The Comets are back at it tomorrow afternoon in a rematch against the Monsters. Puck drop is at 1 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHLTV.