Last Time Out: The Utica Comets stepped into Rochester trying to tie a record set by the Americans 37 years ago when they won their 11th straight game during the 1984-1985 season. The Comets did just that with a 3-2 victory on the road.
In the first period, it was the Comets who started the scoring when Arne Talvitie beat Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen with a perfect wrist shot high blocker side at 4:46. After the opening stanza, the Comets skated into the intermission with a 1-0 advantage.
The Americans tied the game in the middle frame when defenseman Ethan Prow’s shot beat Comets’ goalie Akira Schmid at 7:14. Later, Rochester gained the lead on the man-advantage when Brett Murray deflected a Sean Malone pass into the back of the net at 10:46. The power-play goal gave Rochester a 2-1 lead until Utica struck for a power-play goal of their own. Reilly Walsh perfectly placed shot on the blueline deflected past Luukkonen at 14:09 bringing the game to a 2-2. In the final 46.6 seconds of the period, Comets’ defenseman Robbie Russo shocked Luukkonen with a goal by shooting the puck off the netminder from the corner below the goal-line. The puck bounced off the goalie and in and Utica left the middle period up 3-2.
In the final period of regulation, neither team was able to add to their goal total which was fine with the Comets who tied the league record for best start in AHL history.
Charlotte, the Defending Champs: The last time the Calder Cup was awarded, it went to the Charlotte Checkers who won for the first time in franchise history. At the time, the Checkers were the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes but since the start of this season, they are now the AHL team for the Florida Panthers and Seattle Kraken. Former Utica Comet Zac Dalpe is the team’s captain, and they are led in scoring by forward Alexander True with six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 13 games. Behind him is rookie Logan Hutsko who tallied four goals and six assists for 10 points in 13 games. The Checkers have used three goalies this season but their current tandem includes Joey Daccord and Christopher Gibson. Heading into tonight’s contest, the Checkers are winners of their last three games.
History Awaits: If the Comets find a way to win on Friday night against Charlotte, they will be the first team in AHL history to win their first 12 games of the season. The Rochester Americans, back in 1984-1985 won their first 11 games just like the current Comets squad. In 1984, it was the Americans who defeated the Nova Scotia Oilers. No member of the Comets team was born during that game.
Gambardella, The Goal Scorer: The Staten Island, New York native, Joe Gambardella continues to put up points for the Comets this season. Six goals scored in his last six games played with an additional assist picked up against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday night, Gambardella along with his line mates, Nolan Foote and the team captain, Ryan Schmelzer continue to be a great trio for head coach Kevin Dineen.
Rockin’ the Rink: This Saturday the Utica Comets will hold their first ever “Rockin’ the Rink” as we take on the Rochester Americans. Throughout our building you will find live performances from the Showtime Trio, Ryan Quinn, Jess Novak, and Josh Breen! Doors will open at 5 PM for an extra half-hour of music pregame. The live music throughout the Adirondack Bank Center will be a feature of the night while the team takes on their I-90 and North Division Rivals at 7:00PM.