COMETS KICK OFF HOME-AND-HOME SERIES AGAINST MARLIESApr 5, 2018
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Toronto Marlies. Puck drop at Ricoh Coliseum is at 11 a.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds by a score of 6-5 Saturday night at the MassMutual Center. Alexandre Grenier struck first with a power play goal with 11:54 to go in the first period. Frankie Simonelli tied the game two minutes later with a power play goal. Jalen Chatfield gave the Comets a 2-1 lead at the 13:43 mark of the first period. Dryden Hunt tied the game at two 1:42 into the second period. Joel Lowry put the Thunderbirds back on top six minutes later. Thomas Schemitsch extended the lead to 4-2 six minutes later. Michael Carcone brought the Comets within one just 16 seconds later. Carter Bancks tied the game at four with 4:08 to go in the middle frame. Valk put Springfield up 5-4 five minutes into the third period. Lukas Jasek tied the game at five with 2:11 remaining in the final frame. Bancks scored the game-winning goal with 39 seconds to go in regulation. Richard Bachman finished with 30 saves to improve his record to 13-12-4.
Head-to-Head: This is the seventh meeting between the North Division rivals this season. The Marlies lead the season series 4-2-0, but the Comets won the last matchup 3-1 on March 18. Toronto is outscoring Utica 19-17 through six games this year.
Scouting the Marlies: Toronto comes in with a record of 50-18-2 and sits atop the North Division. They most recently beat the Manitoba Moose 5-4 last Saturday. Ben Smith leads the active roster with 57 points, followed by Chris Mueller with 46 points. Garret Sparks is the leading netminder with a record of 29-9-2, a 1.81 goals-against average, and .936 save percentage.
Red Hot: The Comets are getting hot at the right time. Utica has won three straight road games, four straight overall, and six of their last seven games. In addition, the Comets have scored three or more goals in each of the six wins.
Luk-ashing In: Lukas Jasek sure knows how to make a first impression. In his first AHL game Saturday, the rookie forward scored the game-tying goal with 2:11 to play in regulation. He also chipped in with two assists. Jasek tallied 18 points (8-10-18) 48 games with Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech Elite League this season.
Power Up: The Comets power play has played a big factor into their recent success. Utica has tallied at least one goal on the man advantage over their last four games, going 6-20 (30%) during that timespan. Overall the Comets power play ranks ninth in the league at 18.6%.
Road Block: Thatcher Demko has been stellar on the road this season. Demko holds a record of 14-5-2 with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage away from home. In addition, he has allowed two goals or less in three straight road starts.
Next Game: The Comets return to action tomorrow night for a rematch with the Marlies. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to use the ticket exchange site, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.