UTICA COMETS (35-24-10) vs. SPRINGFIELD THUNDERBIRDS (29-33-7)
MassMutual Center, 7:05 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #UTIvsSPR
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Springfield Thunderbirds for the final time this season. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets topped the Hershey Bears by a score of 3-1 Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center. Alexis D’Aoust put the Comets up 1-0 with 11:31 to go in the first period, tipping a shot past Bears netminder Adam Carlson. Guillaume Brisebois and Adam Comrie tallied the assists. Chris Bourque tied the game at one just over a minute into the second period, capitalizing on a turnover and firing a wrist shot past Richard Bachman. D’Aoust regained the Comets’ lead with 5:45 remaining in the middle frame. Brisebois and Cole Cassels picked up the assists. Andrew Cherniwchan sealed the win with an empty net goal with 0.3 seconds remaining. Wacey Hamilton registered the assist. Bachman finished with 25 saves to improve his record to 12-12-4.
Head-to-Head: This is the fourth and final meeting between the Comets and Thunderbirds this season. The Thunderbirds lead the season series 2-1-0 and won the most recent matchup 4-0 on March 10. Utica is 3-3-1 all-time against Springfield and has been outscored 9-5 through three games.
Scouting the Thunderbirds: Springfield comes in with a record of 29-33-7 and sits in seventh place in the Atlantic Division. They most recently topped the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-0 last night. Curtis Valk leads the way offensively with 50 points, followed by Anthony Greco with 47 points. Samuel Montembeault is the leading netminder with a record of 13-21-3, a 3.10 goals-against average, and .901 save percentage.
Rolling Along: The Comets are starting to pick up steam as the playoffs approach. Utica has won three games in a row and five of their last six games. They have outscored opponents 18-13 during those six games and now sit one point back of Rochester for third place in the North Division.
Breaking Through: Alexis D’Aoust finally broke his scoreless skid. D’Aoust scored two goals last night to end his 20-game goalless draught. In addition it was his first point since February 16. The rookie forward has tallied 21 points (10-11-21) in 54 games this season.
Career High: Andrew Cherniwchan achieved a new career high last night. With his empty-net goal, Cherniwchan scored his eighth goal of the season, the most he has scored in a single season in his AHL career. The forward is eight back of tying his career for points in the AHL (16). Cherniwchan has registered eight points (8-0-8) in 33 games this year.
Heating Up: The Comets power play is starting to catch fire. Utica has netted at least one goal on the man advantage in three straight games and 4-14 (28.6%) during that timespan. The Comets power play is ranked 11th in the league at 18.3%.
Next Game: The Comets return to the ice Thursday, April 5 as they battle the Toronto Marlies. Puck drop at Ricoh Coliseum is at 11 a.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.