UTICA COMETS (34-30-9) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (35-24-14)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Syracuse Crunch in game 11 of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drop between the North Division rivals is at 7 o’clock.
Last Game: The Comets suffered a 1-0 defeat to the St. John’s IceCaps this past Sunday. Josiah Didier scored the lone goal of the game with two minutes left in the middle frame. Charlie Lindgren shut the door on the Comets to secure the win with 25 saves. Thatcher Demko stopped 25 shots but his record fell to 22-15-4.
Head-to-Head: The series is tied with each team winning five games. Alexandre Grenier leads all scorers with 10 points in the season series. The Comets have outscored the Crunch 27-25.
Scouting the Crunch: The Crunch come into tonight’s contest in second place in the North Division with a .575 points percentage. The Crunch are fresh off a 3-2 win over the Albany Devils on Saturday night, but are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games. Cory Conacher and Matt Taormina are tied for the team lead with 56 points apiece. Kristers Gudlevskis leads the goaltending tandem with a 14-10-7 record, 2.66 goals against average, and a .897 save percentage.
Goose Egg: The Comets will be looking for their first goal in two games tonight against the Crunch after falling 5-0 to the Rochester Americans and 1-0 to the St. John’s IceCaps this past weekend. It is the first time in team history the Comets have been shutout in back-to-back games.
Roster Moves: The Comets have made a number of roster moves this week. Utica signed forward Zack MacEwan (Gatineau Olympiques) to an ATO and recalled Marco Roy from Alaska (ECHL). The Canucks also reassigned Richard Bachman, Yan-Pavel Laplante, and Nikolay Goldobin to the Comets.
Special Teams Matchup: The Comets penalty kill will look to stay dominant on home ice. The Comets have killed off 14 of the last 15 penalties at home and are 84.7% overall at The AUD this year. Tonight they faceoff against a Syracuse power play that struggles on the road, coming in with a 13.9% road conversion rate.
High Stakes: The Comets need a win tonight in order to keep pace in the North Division. The Comets trail the St. John’s IceCaps by .034 percentage points for the fourth and final playoff spot but the Comets do hold a game in hand on the IceCaps coming into tonight’s tilt.
Next Game: The Comets return to action Friday night against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Puck drop at the Utica Memorial Auditorium is at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to utilize the ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.