UTICA COMETS (34-29-9) vs. ST. JOHN'S ICECAPS (34-29-10)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 3:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the St. John’s IceCaps in the eighth and final meeting (potentially ever) between the two teams. Puck drops at The AUD at 3 p.m.
Last Game: The Comets fell to the Rochester Americans by a score of 5-0 last night. Cole Schneider got the Amerks on the board four minutes into the game on the power play. Justin Bailey extended the lead to 2-0 with four minutes to go in the first. Derek Grant gave the Amerks a 3-0 lead with another power play goal with 35 seconds to go in the opening frame. Justin Danforth made it 4-0 less than five minutes into the second period. Brady Austin netted the lone goal of the third period. Michael Garteig finished with 21 saves and his record falls to 0-4-2.
Head-to-Head: St. John’s leads the season series 5-2-0, however the Comets won the last meeting by a score of 3-1 back on January 18. Nikita Scherbak and Chris Terry lead the season series with six points. The Comets have been outscored 22-18 through seven games.
Scouting the Ice Caps: St. John’s currently sits in fifth place in the North Division with a .534 points percentage and are coming off a 5-0 victory over the Binghamton Senators last night. Chris Terry leads the IceCaps offensively with 65 points, which is second most in the AHL. With Charlies Lindgren not on the active roster, Yann Denis leads the goaltenders with a 11-9-4 record, a 2.99 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
Sunday Showdown: It’s been nearly three months since the Comets battled the IceCaps and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Tonight’s matchup has huge playoff implications as the two teams jockey for the final spot in the North Division. The Comets currently hold the final spot and a game in hand on the IceCaps.
Home Ice Advantage: Utica comes in having won nine consecutive home games. In addidtion, the Comets have outscored opponents 31-12 during the last nine games at home. The streak is the longest active streak in the league and Comets history.
On the Brink: Darren Archibald is on the verge of setting an all-time Comets record. The forward needs one more goal to become the all-time single season leader for goals scored. Archibald is currently tied with Pascal Pelletier for the record with 22 goals.
Heavyweight Matchup: This afternoon’s contest also features a mtchup of the league’s second best point scorer and one of the hottest goaltenders in the league. IceCaps forward Chris Terry comes in with 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists) and is riding a six-game point streak. Thatcher Demko counters with a 13-3-0 record in his last 16 starts with a 1.35 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
Next Game: The Comets return to action Wednesday night against the Syracuse Crunch in game 11 of the Galaxy Cup series. Puck drop from the Utica Memorial Auditorium is scheduled for 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.