COMETS OPEN UP 2019 AGAINST SYRACUSEJan 2, 2019
UTICA COMETS (17-16-2-1) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (20-8-2-0)
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Syracuse Crunch in Game Four of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: On a landmark evening where Utica announced an affiliation extension with Vancouver, the Comets toppled the North Division leading Rochester Americans 4-3 at the Adirondack Bank Center. Vincent Arseneau, Jonathan Dahlen, Brendan Gaunce, and Darren Archibald scored for Utica. Thatcher Demko made 33 saves in the win.
Head-to-Head: This is the fourth meeting between the North Division rivals this season. Syracuse leads the season series 2-1-0-0 and won the most recent contest 10-1 last Friday. The Crunch have outscored the Comets 17-5 through three games.
Scouting the Crunch: Syracuse comes in with a record of 20-8-2-0 and sits in first place in the North Division. They most recently beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-3 Saturday night. Carter Verhaeghe leads the offense with 35 points, followed by Cory Conacher with 34 points. Eddie Pasquale the leading goaltender with an 11-3-0 record, a 2.66 goals-against average, and .909 save percentage.
Bounce Back: Zack MacEwen and Brendan Gaunce were able to breakout of their scoreless skids. The forwards hooked up for Utica’s third goal against Rochester last Saturday, ending a two-game pointless streak for MacEwen and a three-game skid for Gaunce. Gaunce has 16 (9-7-16) in 20 games and MacEwen has 27 points (13-11-27) in 35 games this year.
Dominant: Darren Archibald has been a force over the last month. Archibald has five points (4-1-5) in his last six games and 10 points (7-3-10) in 13 games in December. The veteran forward has 16 points (11-5-16) in 23 games with the Comets this season.
No Place Like Home: The Comets offense has performed well at home recently. Utica has scored three or more goals in five of their last six home games, winning four of those six. The Comets are 8-9-0-0 at home this season.
Test Time: Defensively, the Comets have a tough task ahead of them tonight. Syracuse brings in three of the league’s top 15 scorers in Carter Verhaeghe (35 points), Cory Conacher (34 points), and rookie Alex Barre-Boulet (30 points). Utica will need to shut them down in order to come away with a win.
Next Game: The Comets return to the ice Saturday afternoon against the Cleveland Monsters. Puck drop at Quicken Loans Arena is at 1 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.