UTICA COMETS (32-28-9) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (47-19-3)
Mohegan Sun Arena, 3:05 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It is the fourth and final meeting of the teams this year. Puck drops at 3:05 p.m.
Last Game: Kyle Bonis opened the scoring 4:13 into the game on a two-on-one, beating Thatcher Demko low glove side. Joseph LaBate tied it up two and a half minutes later with a long drive from behind the blue line that squeaked through the arm of Jonas Johnsson for his fifth of the year. Jake Virtanen gave the Comets a 2-1 lead with 2:20 to go in the second period. Carter Bancks extended the lead to 3-1 just 17 seconds into the third period. A minute later, Virtanen struck again to make it 4-1. Bonis notched his second of the game and Cole Schneider scored shorthanded to make it 4-3 with under a minute to go. Darren Archibald sealed the win with an empty netter with 35 seconds to go. Demko finished with 20 saves to improve his record to 20-14-4.
Head-to-Head: The Penguins lead the season series 2-1-0 and won the most recent matchup by a score of 2-1 last Sunday. Several players are tied for the series lead with two points. The Comets are 4-5-1 all time against the Penguins
Scouting the Penguins: The Penguins sit atop the Atlantic Division with a .703 points percentage are coming off a 3-0 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last night. The Penguins are 8-2-0 in their past 10 games. Tom Kostopoulos leads the active roster with 51 points, followed by Kevin Porter, David Warsofsky, and Dominik Simon all with 45 points. Tristan Jarry leads the goaltenders with a 27-15-1 record, a 2.21 GAA, and a .924 save percentage.
By A Hair: Each of the three contests between the Comets and Penguins have been decided by one goal. The two teams split the two games at The AUD, with the Penguins winning 3-2 on January 27 and the Comets taking a 2-1 victory on February 24. The Penguins won by a score of 2-1 at Mohegan Sun Arena last Sunday.
Making History: With a goal last night, Darren Archibald tied the Comets record for goals in a single season. Pascal Pelletier set the record in 2013-14 with 22 goals. Archibald leads the team in goals (22) and is tied for the team lead in points (43), both are career highs.
Shouldering the Load: Thatcher Demko has started 14 of the last 16 games, but the heavy workload hasn’t affected the rookie netminder. In those 14 starts, Demko holds a 11-3-0 record, a 2.24 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
Playoff Update: The Comets victory last night kept them within striking distance of Albany and St. John’s who are tied for third in the North Division. The Comets hold a .529 point percentage as well as a game in hand on St. John’s. The Comets do battle with the IceCaps next Sunday.
Next Game: The Comets will be back in action Friday night against the Toronto Marlies. Puck drop from AUD is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.