UTICA COMETS (22-14-9) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (26-15-4)
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: #SYRvsUTI
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Syracuse Crunch in game seven of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 3-2 in overtime Saturday, January 27 at the PPL Center. Mike Vecchione netted the game’s first goal with 5:46 remaining in the first period. Wacey Hamilton tied the game at one three minutes into the second period. Alexis D’Aoust picked up the lone assist. Oskar Lindblom regained the lead for the Phantoms at the 16:36 mark of the second period with a shorthanded goal. Philip Holm tied the game with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. Michael Chaput and Reid Boucher registered the assists. Hamilton notched the game-winning goal 1:11 into overtime. Patrick Wiercioch tallied the assist. Demko finished with 25 saves to improve his record to 17-7-5.
Head-to-Head: This is the seventh meeting of the North Division rivals this season. The Comets lead the season series 3-2-1 and won the most recent contest 4-2 on Save of the Day Night back on January 20. The Crunch are outscoring the Comets 17-14 through seven games this year.
Scouting the Crunch: Syracuse comes in with a record of 26-15-4 and sits in third place in the North Division. They most recently fell 4-2 to the Toronto Marlies on January 27. Mathieu Joseph leads the active roster with 31 points, followed by Anthony Cirelli with 29 points. Connor Ingram leads the goaltending tandem with a 12-7-2 record, a 2.60 goals-against average, and a .902% save percentage.
Batten Down the Thatch: Thatcher Demko has been hard to beat over his last few starts. Demko was won four consecutive starts and is 9-1-2 in his last 12 starts and has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 12 games. The second-year netminder is 17-7-5 on the year with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.
Red Hot: The Comets will look to carry over their torrid run through January into February. Utica is currently on an eight-game point streak and went 9-1-2 overall in January, which is the second best month in team history. The best month in team history was December 2014 when the Comets went 7-0-3.
Streaking: Reid Boucher has been on an absolute tear since returning from his stint in Vancouver a month ago. Boucher has notched points in four of the last five games and has amassed 14 points (9-5-14) in the 11 games since his return and named CCM/AHL Player of the Month for January. The forward leads the Comets with 40 points (22-17-39) in 36 games this season.
Cut the Power: The Comets penalty kill has gotten back on track after surrendering a power play goal in four consecutive games. Utica has now gone three straight games without giving up a goal while a man down. The Comets penalty kill ranks fifth in the AHL at 85.9%.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action tomorrow night for a rematch with the Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena. Puck drop for game eight of the Galaxy Cup series at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.