UTICA READY FOR HOME OPENER ON WPNY AND 94.9 KROCKFeb 17, 2021
UTICA COMETS (2-1) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (1-1-1)
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Syracuse Crunch for the second time this season after dropping their first of 14 games against them back on February 6 in Syracuse by a 6-1 decision. The lone goal that night for the Comets was scored shorthanded by Curtis McKenzie while goaltender Jake Kielly took the loss. Syracuse victory against Utica that night is their only one of the season as they head into Utica for tonight’s home opener.
Last Game: In a wild game in Newark, New Jersey, the Comets soared to victory on the strength of two Kole Lind goals while goaltender Jake Kielly made 29 saves. The Stevens brothers each had a goal with John scoring his first as a Comet shorthanded during the second period while younger brother Nolan put the Comets up 5-4 midway through the final period of regulation. Sam Anas and Mitch Reinke both scored in the shootout
Head-to-Head: Tonight’s game against Syracuse is the second of the season with Utica losing the first game on the road 6-1 back on February 6. Last season, the Comets split the eight games 4-4 with Syracuse. In the last five seasons, the Crunch hold a 26-16-1-2 advantage over the Comets.
Scouting the Crunch: Since defeating the Comets on February 6, the Crunch dropped their subsequent two games taking losses against the Rochester Americans and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The latter of those loses came in overtime while at home on February 13.
Kole Lind Impresses: With four goals in his first three games, the third year forward, Kole Lind sits amidst the top goal scorers early in the 2020-21 AHL campaign. Lind opened the season in Rochester with two goals including the game winner on February 5. Lind would pot two goals once again this past Saturday on the road against the Binghamton Devils helping the team in a 6-5 shootout victory.
Gillies Stands Tall: Utica goaltender Jon Gillies was not named one of opening night’s stars of the game but certainly deserved to be in the conversation after 27 saves on 29 shots against Rochester. Gillies, originally drafted by the Calgary Flames and now a member of the St. Louis organization, made several dazzling saves throughout the night including game saving stops late in the third period with his team up by a goal to preserve the victory.
Next Game: The Comets will go right back at it when they travel to Rochester to take on the Americans tomorrow night. The Comets skated away with a victory on opening night in Rochester by a 3-2 score. Since then, Rochester won their next two games including a seven goal outburst against the Cleveland Monsters last Friday while in Cleveland