Jan 6, 2017

UTICA COMETS (10-15-6) vs. ALBANY DEVILS (20-13-1)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Radio: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #WePlayForU

Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets do battle with the Albany Devils. Puck drop for the fifth meeting between the North Division rivals is at 7 o’clock.

Last Game: The Comets suffered a 6-3 setback to the Rochester Americans. Alexandre Grenier opened the scoring for the Comets, but Evan Rodrigues would respond with two goals of his own to close the opening frame. Darren Archibald would tie the game five minutes into the second period, but Nick Baptiste and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda would score 30 seconds apart to extend Rochester’s lead to 4-2. Cole Schneider would make it 5-2 just under halfway through the final period. Colby Robak responded with his first goal as a Comet with four minutes remaining in the game, but Schneider’s empty net goal would be the nail in the coffin to give the Americans a road victory.

Head-to-Head: The Comets and Devils have split the first four games between each other this season. Most recently, Albany came away with a 3-2 overtime win in their last meeting on December 14. The Comets have outscored the Devils 9-8 this season.

Scouting the Devils: Albany has been hot recently, winning their last four games. Currently the Devils sit in second place in the North Division with 41 points. John Quenneville and Blake Pietila lead the Devils offensively with 27 points and 24 points, respectively. Goaltenders Ken Appleby and Mackenzie Blackwood have split time in net. Appleby has collected a 8-4-0 record with a 1.84 GAA and .928% save percentage, while Blackwood is 7-6-1 with a 3.24 GAA and .889% save percentage.

Welcome Back: The Comets will get a boost on the blueline as Andrey Pedan returns from his stint with Vancouver. The defenseman has tallied three points in 19 games with the Comets this season.

The Streak Continues: The Comets’ historic sellout streak continues to climb. The streak, which dates back to April 10, 2014, will hit 73 with tonight’s game.

Great Chemistry: Good things happen when Curtis Valk and Darren Archibald are on the ice together. Of Valk’s 10 goals, Archibald has been credited with an assist on four of those goals. On the flip side, Valk has registered an assist on four of Archibald’s nine goals. Valk is currently third on the Comets with 19 points. Archibald is right behind him at 17 points.

Showing Improvement: The Comets penalty kill is beginning to show signs of progress. The unit has killed 52 of a possible 57 penalties in the month of December and now sits at 81% for the season, good for 18th in the league.

Three-in-Three: This weekend marks the first occasion the Comets will play three games in three nights. The team will not play another set until February 10. Beginning March 3, the Comets will play six consecutive three-in-three’s.

Next Game: The Comets return to action tomorrow night as they hit the road to take on the Hershey Bears. Puck drop from the Giant Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.

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