COMETS RENEW RIVALRY WITH SENATORSDec 18, 2019
UTICA COMETS (15-10-1-2) vs. BELLEVILLE SENATORS (16-9-1-0)
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Belleville Senators for the first time this year. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets fell behind early and were plagued by the efficient scoring of the Binghamton Devils as they fell by a 5-1 margin on Saturday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Seamus Malone scored the lone goal for Utica. Richard Bachman made 36 saves in the loss.
Head-to-Head: This is the first contest between the Comets and Senators this season. Belleville claimed last year’s season series, going 4-2-0-0 against Utica. The Comets are 1-4-1-0 all time on the road against Belleville.
Scouting the Senators: Belleville comes in with a record of 16-9-1-0 and sits in third place in the North Division. They most recently beat the Toronto Marlies 4-1 this past Saturday. Drake Batherson leads the offense with 34 points, followed by Josh Norris with 21 points. Filip Gustavsson is the top active goaltender with a record of 7-3-1, a 3.64 goals-against average, and a .881 save percentage.
Close Quarters: Expect a close contest between these two North Division rivals. All six games last year and 11 straight matchups dating back to the 2017-18 season were decided by three goals or less. The Comets are 11-8-1-2 in games decided by three goals or less this season.
On Fire: Reid Boucher continues to rack up points. Boucher is riding a 10-game point streak into tonight’s game, picking up 15 points (6-9-15). He is also tied with Darren Archibald for the Comets’ team record for career goals. The forward has 33 points (19-14-33) in 23 games this year.
Sophomore Surge: Jonah Gadjovich’s second pro season is off to a much better start than his first. Despite an injury early in the season, Gadjovich hasn’t let that slow him down, as he has already topped his goal total from last season and is only three points back of tying his point total from last year. Gadjovich has seven points (6-1-7) in 14 games this season.
Special Teams Battle: The Comets have a favorable advantage on special teams coming into tonight’s game. Utica’s power play ranks fourth in the AHL and has scored at least one power play goal in 14 of their last 15 games, while Belleville’s penalty kill ranks 22nd in the AHL. On the flip side, Belleville is operating at 18.3% this season while Utica’s penalty kill is ninth in the AHL at 83.9%.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action Friday night at home against the Laval Rocket. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Box Office, over the phone by calling (315) 790-9070, or online at www.empirestatetix.com. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHLTV. Fans can start their holiday celebrations early as the Comets have a night full of fun events planned. A pregame Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl will begin at 72 Tavern at 5 p.m. Fans can stop by 1959 during the game for photos with Santa Claus, presented by Babe's at Harbor Point and don't forget to bring your skates! There will be a special postgame holiday skate with Christmas Carols and everyone's favorite green alien!