UTICA COMETS (26-14-9) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (28-17-5)
Adirondack Bank Center, 7 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #SYRvsUTI
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Syracuse Crunch in a special Valentine’s Day edition of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets defeated the Belleville Senators 4-3 Saturday night at the Adirondack Bank Canter. Andrew Cherniwchan struck first for the Comets 6:30 into the first period. Patrick Wiercioch and Guillaume Brisebois picked up the assists. Cam Darcy extended the lead to 2-0 two minutes later. Michael Chaput and Zack MacEwen tallied the assists. Nick Paul cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal of his own. Jim O’Brien tied the game at two seven minutes into the middle frame. Justin Taylor regained the lead for the Comets halfway through the second period. Wacey Hamilton and Philip Holm registered the assists. Max McCormick tied the game at three two minutes later. MacEwen made it 4-3 Comets at the 14:23 mark of the middle frame with helpers from Holm and Chaput. Thatcher Demko stopped all five shots he faced in the third period and finished with 24 saves to improve his record to 18-7-5.
Head-to-Head: This is the ninth meeting of the North Division rivals this year. The Comets lead the season series 5-2-1 and won the most recent contest 4-2 on February 3. Utica is outscoring Syracuse 21-20 through their first eight games.
Scouting the Crunch: Syracuse comes in with a record of 28-17-5 and sits in fourth place the North Division. Offensively, the Crunch are led by Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph with 33 points apiece. Connor Ingram is the leading active goaltender with a 12-9-2 record, a 2.68 goals-against average, and a .901% save percentage.
For All the Marbles: Tonight’s Galaxy Cup contest has huge implications. A win in any fashion by the Comets will clinch the Galaxy Cup for the fourth time in five seasons. Utica has claimed three straight victories over the Crunch coming into tonight’s game and is 21-13-6 all-time against their North Division rivals.
Dark Horse: Don’t look now, but the Comets are making the North Division race an interesting one. Utica is currently riding a six-game winning streak as well as a team record 12-game point streak. In addition, the Comets are 13-2-4 since Christmas, which is the third best record in the league during that timespan.
Streaking: Michael Chaput continues his stellar play over the last couple weeks. Chaput carries a three-game point streak into tonight and has notched seven points (1-6-7) in his last seven games. Chaput is the second active leading scorer on the Comets with 23 points (10-13-23) in 30 games this season.
Power Surge: The Comets power play continues to climb the league rankings. Utica has scored at least one goal on the man advantage in four straight games and is 6-16 on the power play over those four games. The Comets power play ranks third in the AHL at a 21.1% conversion rate.
Next Game: The Comets return to the ice Friday night as they host the Binghamton Devils. Puck drop 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.