UTICA COMETS (29-15-10) vs. LAVAL ROCKET (19-28-8)
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 Lehigh Valley Phantoms 6-4 Wednesday night. Phil Varone put the Phantoms up 1-0 four and half minutes into the game. David Dziurzynski tied the game at one with 7:38 remaining in the opening frame. Varone struck again with 8:36 to go in the second to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead. Michael Carcone tied the game at two a minute later. Carcone struck again five minutes later. Greg Carey tied the game at three a minute and a half into the third period. Brennan gave the Phantoms a 4-3 lead five minutes later. Patrick Wiercioch tied it at four with 7:34 to go in regulation. Varone netted the hat-trick goal with 5:06 to go in the game. Cole Bardreau scored the empty net goal with 44 seconds. Demko finished with 19 saves on 24 shots and his record falls to 17-8-6.
Head-to-Head: This is the seventh meeting of the Comets and Rocket this year. The Comets lead the season series 5-1-0 and won the most recent matchup 2-1 in overtime on February 9. Utica is outscoring Laval 22-13 through six games this season.
Scouting the Rocket: Laval comes in with a record of 19-26-8 and sits in fifth place in the North Division. They most recently fell 4-2 to Toronto this past Saturday. Chris Terry leads the offense with 43 points, followed by Matt Taormina with 40 points. Michael McNiven is the leading active goaltender with a 5-9-1 record, a 3.38 goals-against average, and .889% save percentage.
Going Streaking: The Comets have six players on point streaks coming into tonight. Cole Cassels is on a five-game point streak, Reid Boucher, Michael Chaput, and Zack MacEwen all have four-game point streaks, and Michael Carcone and David Dziurzynski carry three-game point streaks into tonight. Cassels (1-4-5), Boucher (1-4-5), and MacEwen (2-3-5) have registered five points, Chaput (2-2-4) and Carcone (2-2-4) four points, and Dziurzynski three points (2-1-3) during their respective streaks.
Money At the Bank: Patrick Wiercioch has been on fire on home ice over the last few weeks. Wiercioch has a four-game point streak on home ice, collecting 5 points (2-3-5) in the process. The veteran defenseman has racked up 24 points (8-16-24) in 38 games this season.
Power Up: Look for the Comets power play to bounce back tonight. Utica’s man advantage is 0-7 in their last three games combined, but have been successful against the Rocket, operating at a 27.3% conversion rate. Overall, the Comets power play ranks fourth in the league at 20.5%.
Magic Number: Heading into March, games become more meaningful as the playoff picture starts to form. The Comets sit in second place in the North Division and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 25. It is the second lowest in the league behind Toronto, whose magic number is 16.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action tomorrow night as they host the Springfield Thunderbirds. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 7:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to utilize the ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.