UTICA COMETS (5-1-0-1) at Rochester Americans (4-3)
Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY
Watch Live: AHLTV | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK
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Tonight’s Game: The Comets make their way to Blue Cross Arena to take on the Rochester Americans for the fourth time tonight. Rochester, the team the Comets beat at home on February 26, defeated the Comets while at Blue Cross Arena in the team’s last visit. That game ended in a 4-3 loss shootout loss.
Last Game: The Comets last stepped onto the ice in Syracuse where they skated away with a 4-2 win. Vincent Arseneau potted two goals that evening and scored goals in back-to-back games. Goaltender Jake Kielly registered his second victory of the season making 28 saves on 30 shots. Sven Baertschi’s goal in the empty net put him at two goals scored in as many games.
For the Americans, a rare Monday game two nights ago in Syracuse didn’t go their way after being defeated by the Crunch, 4-3. Rochester gave up the game winning goal with just over five minutes left in regulation. Rochester netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 21 of 24 shots in the loss. Michael Mersch, Ryan Scarfo and Andrew Oglevie each had a goal in the contest.
Head-to-Head: This season, the Comets and Americans have battled each other three times with the lone victory by the Amerks coming on February 18. The Comets wins came on February 5 on the road and the 26th at home.
Scouting the Americans: Jean Sebastien Dea leads Rochester in scoring with eight points (3G, 5A) in six games played. Steven Fogarty, team captain, leads the team in goals scored with four in seven games. Forward CJ Smith and defenseman Oskari Laaksonen are tied for second in points with six with Laaksonen’s points coming solely from assists. Luukkonen started in five games this season with a 3-2 record. One of those three wins was against the Comets back on February 18.
Lineup Shakeup: With injuries to John Stevens and Hugh McGing, the Comets are running thin on roster depth. The most recent callups by St. Louis include Sam Anas, Nathan Walker, Dakota Joshua and Steve Santini. The positive for Utica is that with only one game on the schedule this week, they have time on their side to reinforce their lineup if possible.
Trent Cull On Lineup Changes: “It’s a little bit different. You’re always up and down in the American Hockey League. We want to make sure we are doing things up to speed during practice. It’s a bit of a different time where calling a guy up isn’t as simple as it used to be. We’re happy that we have everyone that’s been in the fold. It’s nice to have everyone have some skin in the game and be part of our organization.”
Trent Cull on Will Lockwood: “I like Will. He’s got some moxie. I think the game he played at home here against Rochester was the best game he’s played for us. I thought he had some really good puck control moments. He’s a tough kid to play against. He’s physical and he’s plays the game fearless. He’s got great speed. I thought he had a real positive weekend.”
Trent Cull on Practice and Being Ready: “It’s been fine. I like what we’ve done so far. We’ve tried different things over the past few weeks. We can’t control what it is but we can control what we do everyday. We’ve been trying to keep on them on the edge of being fresh and being ready to go…Practice has taken on a bit of a different dynamic. We are not in a rush. We’re taking our time and making sure when we do go it’s the repetition we want and how we’re doing it the right way.”
Next Game: The Comets will be back at home against Rochester on March 10 at the Adirondack Bank Center. The game will be broadcast on WPNY, AHL TV and KROCK 94.9 FM. The Comets schedule begins to pick up in the month of March with three games next week total. Two of those games are against Rochester