Mar 8, 2022

The Last Time Out: The Comets took on their I-90 rival in the 10th addition of the Empire Recycling Cup against the Syracuse Crunch coming off a victory against them last night. To end the back-to-back games in Syracuse, the Comets came away with the victory by a 5-2 score led by Chase DeLeo and Alex Holtz. In the first period, the Comets started the scoring on the power-play when Nolan Foote launched a shot on goal which created a rebound on the save my Hugo Alnefelt. It was Utica forward Graeme Clarke who drove the net with his stick on the ice and lifted the puck into the net at 12:37 for his eighth goal of the year putting the Comets up 1-0.

In the middle frame, Comets forward Chase DeLeo along with Alex Holtz during a four-on-four segment made the Crunch pay. Holtz sent the puck to the streaking DeLeo who sliced a backhander over the right shoulder of Alnefelt and in the net at 1:36. It was DeLeo’s 11th goal of the season. DeLeo and Holtz weren’t done just yet when they manuevered in on a 2-on-1 rush. Holtz moved into the zone with speed and sent a perfect pass to DeLeo who wristed into the cage at 4:16. DeLeo’s tallied his 12th goal and his team leading 41st point of the season putting his team up 3-0. The Comets weren’t done yet and it was a power-play goal by rookie Alex Holtz for a team leading 20th goal of the season at 13:22. The shot from just inside the left circle was assisted by AJ Greer and Ryan Schmelzer. In the third period, it was Fabian Zetterlund who struck for his 20thgoal of the season as he tallied an empty netter at 15:24 and the game ended with the Comets getting their 32nd victory of the season. 

Comets Leading Scorers: The team’s leading scorers heading into the weekend is Chase DeLeo, scoring 12 goals and 29 assists for 41 points in 36 games played. Forward Fabian Zetterlund has registered 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in 45 games played. Reilly Walsh leads all d-men in scoring with six goals and 28 assists for 34 points in 48 games. Alex Holtz is the team’s leading rookie scorer with 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points in 33 games. Defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon leads the team in plus/minus with a +22 rating

Chase Gets to 400 Games: Last Friday night, against the Syracuse Crunch, the Comets leading scoreer, Chase DeLeo skated in his 400th AHL Game. In the evening's victory for Utica, DeLeo skated away with an assist. It wasn't until the following night's 401st AHL game that DeLeo's offense popped for two goals with both tallies assisted by rookie sensation, Alexander Holtz. In his AHL career, Deleo has totaled 102 goals and 161 assists for 263 points.

Special Teams Ranking: Heading into the week, the Comets begin with the 5th ranked power play operating at 22.9%. At home, their power play ranks 4th in the league with a 23.8% average. On the penalty kill, Utica ranks 20th in the league at 80% while at home they are 4th at 86.3% 

The Road Ahead: With a busy week at home, the Comets host three different teams over the four nights including Syracuse, the Toronto Marlies and Rochester Americans. All three opponents are within the Comets' division with the Marlies and Americans currently holding a playoff spot. Next brings two road games for the team when they travel to Belleville to play on Wednesday night and then to Wilkes-Barre Scranton for the first and only time in the regular season to take on the Atlantic Division's Penguins on Saturday night.

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