UTICA COMETS (33-28-9) vs. TORONTO MARLIES (40-26-5)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets take on the Toronto Marlies. It is the eighth and final meeting between the two teams. Puck drops at 7 o’clock.
Last Game: The Comets defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a score of 3-2 in a shootout this past Sunday. Cody Kunyk began the scoring 2:28 into the game with a deflection goal from Jordan Subban and Curtis Valk. The Penguins tied the game early in the second period with a power play strike. Subban regained the lead with a power play goal at 12:58 of the second frame. With 59 seconds left, the game was tied once again with a power play strike from Oskar Sundqvist. After a four-save overtime for Thatcher Demko, he stopped all three in a shootout. Valk tallied the lone goal in the shootout to secure the win. Demko finished with 43 saves to improve his record to 21-14-4.
Head-to-Head: Toronto leads the season series 5-2-0 but the Comets won the most recent matchup by a score of 5-2 on February 15. Andreas Johnsson leads all players with 12 points in the series. The Comets have been outscored 28-19 through seven games.
Scouting the Marlies: Toronto currently sits in first place in the North Division with a .599 points percentage and are riding a seven-game winning streak into tonight’s contest. Kirby Rychel leads the team with 50 points, followed by Cal O’Reilly with 49 points. Garret Sparks leads the goaltenders with a 20-7-0 record, a 2.07 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
Home Sweet Home: The Comets have been unbeatable at home over the last month. The Comets have won eight consecutive games at The AUD and have outscored opponents 28-11 during that timespan. The streak is the longest active streak in the league and in Comets history.
Record Chasing: With a power play goal this past Sunday, Jordan Subban is now one goal shy of the Comets’ all-time record for power play goals in a season. Pascal Pelletier and Alexandre Grenier share the record with 11 goals.
Back On Track: The Comets power play is slowing starting to come back around. After going three straight games without a power play goal, the Comets have tallied at least one goal on the man advantage in three of the last four games. The power play is 4-18 (22%) during the last four games and converting 15.9% overall this season.
North Division Race: Things are getting interesting as the Comets, Albany Devils and St. John’s IceCaps battle for the last two playoff spots. The Devils sit in third followed by the Comets and the IceCaps, but Utica holds a game in hand on both teams. The Comets do not play the Devils again this season, but will faceoff with the IceCaps this Sunday.
Next Game: The Comets will be back in action Friday night as they hit the road to take on the Rochester Americans. Puck drop from Blue Cross Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.