COMETS MEET PENGUINS FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASONJan 26, 2017
UTICA COMETS (18-16-7) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (31-9-3)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the first time this year. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets suffered a 2-1 overtime defeat at the hands of the Springfield Thunderbirds Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Shane Harper opened the scoring with two minutes remaining in the first period. Harper’s sixth of the year was assisted by Dryden Hunt and Graham Black. Pascal Pelletier tied the game with less than five minutes remaining in the second. He deflected a puck off his skate for his sixth tally of season. Colby Robak and Mike Zalewski picked up the assists. The third period went scoreless and the teams headed to overtime. Jayce Hawryluk netted the game-winning goal just 1:22 into the extra period after creating a turnover deep in the Comet’s zone. Matt Mackenzie and Kyle Rau were credited with the assists. Richard Bachman stopped 21 shots and his record falls to 9-7-2 on the year.
Head-to-Head: This is the first meeting between the Comets and Penguins this season. The Comets are 3-3-1 all time against the Penguins, with all three Comets’ wins coming during the 2013-2014 season.
Scouting the Penguins: The Penguins sit atop the Atlantic Division with 65 points and are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night. Since leading scorer Jake Guentzel is with Pittsburgh, Oskar Sundqvist leads the Penguins active roster with 33 points, followed by Tom Kostopoulos with 32 points. Tristan Jarry leads the goaltending tandem with an 18-7-1 record along with a 2.22 GAA and a .920% save percentage
Tough Test: The Comets have their work cut out for them as the top team in the league comes to town. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton comes in with the highest points percentage in the league and have won eight of their last ten games. The Penguins also rank second in goals scored and third in goals against in the AHL.
Atlantic Success: The Comets have racked up points in four of their last five games against the Atlantic Division heading into tonight’s contest. Overall, the Comets are 6-5-1 against the Atlantic this year.
Stepping Up: Pascal Pelletier is beginning to pick up steam offensively. After shaking a four-game pointless skid, Pelletier has notched three goals and three assists over the last six games. The forward has totaled six goals and eight assists in 25 games this season.
Power Outage: Despite a seven-game point streak, the Comets have gotten the majority of their scoring during five-on-five. The Comets are 1-26 on the power play over the last seven games. The unit has dropped to 23rd in the league with a 15.9% conversion rate.
Next Game: The Comets will be back in action tomorrow night as they host the Syracuse Crunch. Puck drop from Utica Memorial Auditorium is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.