UTICA COMETS (31-28-9) vs. ROCHESTER AMERICANS (28-37-2)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Rochester Americans in the second half of a home-and-home series. Puck drop for the seventh meeting and final game of the regular season between the North Division rivals is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The teams battled through a scoreless first period. Casey Nelson put the Amerks up 1-0 just three minutes into the second period. Nick Baptiste extended the lead later in the frame, tipping a shot past Thatcher Demko. Bapiste struck again 6:30 into the third to make it 3-0 Less than a minute later, Justin Bailey gave the Amerks a 4-0 lead. The goal chased Demko, who finished the night with 16 saves. Pascal Pelletier ended Linus Ullmark’s shutout bid a minute later, burying a no-look pass from Michael Carcone. Brady Austin scored an empty netter to make it 5-1 with four minutes to go. Jordan Subban added a goal with 14 second remaining to make it a 5-2 score. Demko’s record falls to 19-14-4. Garteig stopped the only shot he faced in relief of Demko.
Head-to-Head: The Amerks lead the season series 4-2-0-0 and won the most recent contest by a score of 5-2 last night. Cole Schneider leads all scorers in the season series with seven points (three goals, four assists). The Amerks have outscored the Comets 19-15 through seven games.
Scouting the Americans: The Americans come in with a .433 points percentage and sit in sixith place in the North Division. The Amerks are riding a four-game winning streak into tonight’s matchup, but are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games. Cole Schneider leads the team offensively with 55 points, tied for 10th most in the AHL. Linus Ullmark leads the goaltenders with a 25-26-2 record, a 2.86 GAA, and a .909 save percentage.
No Place Like Home: Pascal Pelletier has been lighting it up on home ice over the last month. Pelletier carries a seven-game point streak at home into tonight’s contest and has tallied nine points (three goals, six assists) during that timespan.
Good To Be Back: The end of the Comets’ six-game road trip could not have come at a better time. The Comets have lost three straight games, but come into tonight’s bout with a seven-game winning streak on home ice and have outscored opponents 23-8 during the streak.
Bombs Away: The Comets set a new all-time high for shots in a single period. The team fired 26 shots in the third period of last night’s game, breaking the previous record of 22 which was obtained on February 10, 2017 vs. Toronto. The Comets also set s season-high for shots in shots a game, sending 53 pucks on net. This missed the record in a regulation game by one shot (54 on January 30, 2015 vs Toronto). Over the last two games, the Comets have combined for 99 shots on goal.
Playoff Race: Despite the loss last night, the Comets are still in striking distance. Both Albany and St. John’s suffered losses last night to keep the race tight. The Comets trail the IceCaps by .014 percentage points for the fourth playoff spot in the North Division.
Next Game: The Comets are back in action tomorrow afternoon at the Mohegan Sun Arena against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Puck drops at 3:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.