UTICA COMETS (31-25-9) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (32-22-11)
OnCenter War Memorial Arena, 7:00 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Syracuse Crunch in game 10 of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drop between the North Division rivals is at 7 o’clock.
Last Game: The Comets defeated the Albany Devils 2-1 in a shootout last night. The first two periods went scoreless thanks to stellar efforts from Thatcher Demko and Mackenzie Blackwood. Carter Bancks broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the final frame. A goal via a penalty shot was Bancks’ ninth of the year. Jacob MacDonald tied the game at one with a power play strike with 24.4 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Neither team could find the net in overtime and the North Division rivals would need a shootout to decide a winner. Chad Billins and Darren Archibald scored and Demko stopped both shots faced to earn the victory. Demko finished the night with 33 saves to improve his record to 19-12-4 on the year.
Head-to-Head: The Comets lead the season series 5-2-0-2. The Comets won the most recent meeting by a score of 4-3 on March 17. Alexandre Grenier leads all scorers with 10 points in the series. The Comets have outscored the Crunch 26-20 through nine games.
Scouting the Crunch: The Crunch hold the top spot of the North Division with a .577 point percentage and are coming off a 5-1 defeat to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last night. The Crunch have slipped as of late and hold a 4-5-1 record over their last 10 games. Offensively, the Crunch are led by Matt Taormina and Cory Conacher with 53 points apiece. Kristers Gudlevskis leads the goaltenders with a 13-10-6 record, a 2.72 GAA, and a .895 save percentage.
Still Going: The Comets continue their excellent play over the past month. The Comets have won 11 of their last 14 matchups and are outscoring their opponents 40-26 over that time span. The hot streak has also vaulted the Comets into the fourth and final playoff spot for the time being.
Heavy Lifting: Thatcher Demko has started in 11 of the last 12 games, but the heavy workload hasn’t phased the rookie netminder. Demko holds a 10-1-0 record with a 1.45 GAA and a .951 save percentage in that timespan.
Restoring Power: The Comets power play has struggled after going 4-12 through three games last weekend. The unit has not converted their last six attempts and have not scored on the man advantage in two straight games. The Comets will look to jolt the power play against the Crunch, a team in which the Comets have converted on 23.7% of their opportunities through nine games.
Milestone Watch: Darren Archibald is on the verge of tying a Comets all-time record. Archibald needs two more goals to tie the franchise record for goals in a single season set by Pascal Pelletier in the 2013-14 season. The forward leads the team in goals (20) and is third in points (41) this season.
Next Game: The Comets will be back in action tomorrow afternoon at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Faceoff from Mohegan Sun Arena is at 3:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.