UTICA COMETS (30-23-5-2) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (36-17-3-2)
Onondaga County War Memorial Arena, 7 p.m.
Watch Live: AHLTV | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #UTIvsSYR
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Syracuse Crunch in Game Nine of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets almost clawed their way out of an early 3-0 deficit but ultimately fell to the Syracuse Crunch 5-3 Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center. Reid Boucher, Zack MacEwen and Brandon Anselmini scored for Utica. Michael Leighton made 15 saves in the loss.
Head-to-Head: This is the ninth meeting between the North Division rivals this season. The Comets and Crunch have split the season series so far, with each team winning four games. Syracuse won the most recent contest 5-3 Wednesday night. The Crunch have outscored the Comets 34-20 through seven games.
Scouting the Crunch: Syracuse comes in with a record of 36-17-3-2 and sits in first place in the North Division. They most recently topped the Crunch 5-3 on Wednesday. Carter Verhaeghe leads the offense with 66 points, followed by Cory Conacher with 54 points. Eddie Pasquale is the leading netminder with a record of 20-10-5, a 2.52 goals-against average, and .911 save percentage.
Three’s Company: For the first time in team history, the Comets have more than one player with 20 goals or more on the roster. In fact, they now have three. Reid Boucher, Tanner Kero, and Zack MacEwen have all hit the 20 goal mark this season. Boucher leads the way with 27 goals, followed by Kero with 21 and MacEwen with 20.
Taking Kero Business: Speaking of Kero, he picked up right where he left off after missing four games with an injury. He is riding a three-game point streak and has six points in his last six games. He also has not gone more than three games without a point this season. Kero is having a career season, tallying 49 points (21-28-49) in 54 games this season
First Of Many: Brandon Anselmini will look to build on a strong outing Wednesday night. Anselmini tallied his first AHL goal in his second appearance with the Comets this season. The defenseman was having a strong season in Kalamazoo before being recalled to Utica, picking up 24 points (3-21-24) in 42 games with the Wings. Anselmini has four points (1-3-4) in 19 career AHL games.
Milestone Corner: Several Comets players hit career milestones or are close to hitting one. Jesse Graham played in his 200th AHL game, Wacey Hamilton skated in his 400th professional game, and Carter Bancks played in his 300th game as a Comet Wednesday. Additionally, Michael Leighton is one game away from becoming the eighth goaltender in AHL history to play in 500 games.
Next Game: The Comets go right back at it tomorrow night against the Laval Rocket. Puck drop at Place Bell is at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.