UTICA COMETS (13-13-7) vs. LAVAL ROCKET (14-15-7)
Adirondack Bank Center, 7 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #LAVvsUTI
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Laval Rocket. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets fell to the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 in an 11-round shootout Saturday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena. Alexander Volkov netted the game’s first goal halfway through the opening period. Michael Carcone tied the game at one at the 15:41 mark of the first period. Darren Archibald and Guillaume Brisebois tallied the assists. Marco Roy put the Comets up 2-1 with 5:45 to go in the second period. Jalen Chatfield had the assist. Volkov tied the game at two with 14:32 to go in the third period. Ben Thomas scored the winning goal in the 11th round of the shootout. Thatcher Demko made 39 saves and his record fell to 11-6-5.
Head-to-Head: This is the fourth meeting between the Comets and Rocket this season. Laval won the first meeting 5-4 on November 15, but the Comets picked up back-to-back 3-2 victories on November 24 and 25. Utica is 7-6-6 all time against Montreal’s AHL affiliate.
Scouting the Rocket: Laval comes in with a record of 14-15-7 and sits in fifth place in the North Division. Chris Terry is the leading scorer with 38 points, followed by Matt Taormina with 28 points. Charlie Lindgren is the leading netminder with a record of 6-8-6, a 3.01 goals-against average, and .900% save percentage.
Early Playoff Implications: It’s only halfway through the season, but tonight’s contest can prove vital to playoff positions down the stretch. The Comets currently hold fourth place in the North Division with Laval trailing close behind. A win would give the Comets a firm grip on the final spot, as well as the season series with the Rocket.
Spotless: The Comets’ penalty kill puts their hot streak on the line again tonight. Utica has not allowed a power play goal in six consecutive games and has killed off 24 straight penalties. The Comets’ kill ranks seventh in the AHL at 85.7%.
Rolling Along: AHL All-Star Thatcher Demko continues to shine in his second pro season. Demko has not lost in regulation in five straight games. During that time, he has only allowed more than two goals once and holds a 3-0-2 record, a 1.94 goals-against average, and .938% save percentage. Overall this season, Demko is 11-6-5 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .924% save percentage.
Immediate Impact: Since signing a PTO on December 14, Dylan Blujus has made already his mark. Blujus has tallied a goal and three assists in eight games with the Comets this year. The fourth year defenseman has also become a stalwart on the back end of Utica’s power play and penalty kill.
Next Game: The Comets return to action Sunday night against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Puck drop at the XL Center is 5 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.