UTICA COMETS (26-23-9) vs. BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS (36-19-3)
The Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the second consecutive game and third meeting of the season. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Comets defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by a score of 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Carter Bancks opened the scoring eight minutes into the first period, firing a wrist shot past Jaroslav Halak. Joseph LaBate and Wacey Hamilton picked up the assists. Ryan Pulock tied the game up halfway through the second period with a slap shot from the point. LaBate retook the lead for the Comets with 41 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Cole Cassels and Colby Robak tallied the assists. Thatcher Demko shut the door on the Sound Tigers in the third period to secure the win. Demko finished with 24 saves to improve his record to 14-11-4.
Head-to-Head: The Comets have won both matchups against the Sound Tigers this season, most recently winning 2-1 this past Sunday. The Comets are 3-2-1 against Bridgeport all-time.
Scouting the Sound Tigers: Bridgeport comes in with a .647 point percentage, good for fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Bracken Kearns leads the Sound Tigers offensively with 41 points, followed by Tanner Fritz with 36 points. Jaroslav Halak leads the goaltending tandem with a 15-3-3 record, a 2.07 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Picking Up Steam: The Comets come into tonight’s contest having won five straight games and have picked up at least one point in seven straight games. The win and point streak has put the Comets in the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division with a .526 point percentage.
Battening Down the Thatch: Thatcher Demko has been red hot lately. Demko has won five consecutive starts and has posted a 1.21 goals against average and a .961 save percentage during that stretch. The rookie goaltender also has not given up more than two goals in any game during his win streak.
Back on Track: After five consecutive games without a point, Wacey Hamilton and Joseph LaBate have been at the center of the Comets’ offense. Hamilton enters tonight with a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists) and LaBate has four points (two goals and two assists) in his last three games.
Doing Their Part: The Comets five-game win streak can be attributed in part to the play of the penalty killers. During the in win streak, the Comets have killed off 17 of the last 19 penalties. The unit its 14th overall in the AHL at 82.1%.
Next Game: The Comets return to action tomorrow night as they hit the road to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop from the PPL Center is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.