COMETS HEAD WEST FOR WEEKEND SET AGAINST CLEVELANDJan 5, 2019
UTICA COMETS (18-16-2-1) vs. CLEVELAND MONSTERS (17-11-4-1)
Today’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Cleveland Monsters. Puck drop at Quicken Loans Arena is at 1 p.m.
Last Game: Reid Boucher tallied a goal and an assist and Thatcher Demko stopped 31 shots en route to a 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center. Jesse Graham, Evan McEneny, and Brendan Gaunce also scored for Utica.
Head-to-Head: This is only the second meeting between the Comets and Monsters this season. Cleveland won the only matchup 4-3 back on October 19. The Comets are 7-3-0-1 all-time against the Monsters.
Scouting the Monsters: Cleveland comes in with a record of 17-11-4-1 and sits in third place in the North Division. They most recently fell to the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3 in a shootout last Saturday. Zac Dalpe and Nathan Gerbe lead the offense with 28 points, followed by Mark Letestu with 27 points. Jean-Francois Berube is the top netminder with an 11-8-3 record, a 2.79 goals-against average, and .906 save percentage.
Playing Ahead: Both teams boast very good records when leading after the first and second periods. The Comets are 14-2-0-0 when leading after one and 13-1-0-0 when up after two, while the Monsters are 7-2-0-0 when up after one and 12-1-1-0 when ahead after two. Whoever scores first will likely come away with a victory.
Hey Now, You’re An All-Star: For the second straight season, Reid Boucher has been selected to represent the Comets at AHL All-Star Classic. The forward has recorded nine multi-point games and is tied for second in the league with 17 goals. The forward leads the Comets and sits 12th in the AHL with 31 points (17-14-31) in 25 games this season.
Career Year: Evan McEneny is having a fantastic year on the blue line. McEneny has points in two straight games and is closing in on new career highs. He needs four more goals and three assists to tie his career-best in those categories. Those seven points will also tie his career-best in points. McEneny has 16 points (4-12-16) in 35 games this year.
Breakthrough: Brendan Gaunce has broken through his slump in emphatic fashion. After going without a point in three straight games, Gaunce has three points (2-1-3) in his last two games, including a two-point night last week against Syracuse. He also has five multi-point games this season. The forward has 18 points (10-8-18) in 21 games with the Comets this season.
Next Game: The Comets are back at it tomorrow against the Cleveland Monsters. Puck drop at Quicken Loans Arena is at 3 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.