COMETS LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST LAVALMar 9, 2019
UTICA COMETS (30-24-5-2) vs. LAVAL ROCKET (24-26-6-4)
Today’s Game: The Utica Comets do battle with the Laval Rocket for the seventh time this season. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets created a multitude of chances, but they were eventually shutout in a 4-0 fashion by the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at the War Memorial Arena. Marek Mazanec made 17 saves in the loss.
Head-to-Head: This is the seventh meeting between the Comets and Rocket this season. Utica leads the season series 4-1-1-0 and won the most recent matchup 4-1 on February 13. The Comets have outscored the Rocket 19-14 through five games. Utica is 5-1-1-1 all-time when playing in Laval.
Scouting the Rocket: Laval comes in with a record of 24-26-6-4 and sits in seventh place in the North Division. They most recently fell to the Toronto Marlies when they were also shutout 3-0 last night. Alex Belzile leads the offense with 44 points, followed by Jake Evans with 34 points. Charlie Lindgren is the top goaltender with a record of 10-14-6, a 2.93 goals-against average, and .883 save percentage.
Slow Start: The Comets have struggled to find the net early over the last few weeks. Utica has not scored in the first period in nine straight games. They are 22-5-3-1 when scoring first, but 8-19-2-1 when allowing the first goal. Overall this season, Utica is 2-14-2-1 when trailing after one and 5-20-1-1 when trailing after two.
Grounding The Rocket: Tanner Kero has performed exceptionally well against Laval this season. Kero has six points (4-2-6) in six games against the Rocket. He also has points in two straight against Laval. Kero has 49 points (21-28-49) in 55 games this season.
Special Teams Battle: Special teams will likely be a big factor in tonight’s game. Utica’s man advantage is operating at 25.8% against Laval and has only allowed five power play goals against in six games. The Comets need to take advantage as Laval’s power play and penalty kill rank in the bottom third of the AHL.
Keeping It Close: Despite having different records, the Comets and Rocket have played some tight games this year. Four of their six games have been one-goal games, one game was a two-goal deficit, and the most recent contest was a three-goal decision. Surprisingly, the North Division rivals have only gone to overtime once this season.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action Wednesday night when they hit the road to take on the Rochester Americans. Puck drop at Blue Cross Arena is at 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.