UTICA COMETS (35-31-9) vs. SYRACUSE CRUNCH (37-24-14)
Oncenter War Memorial Arena, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight's Outlook: The Comets still have an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot tonight. A win over the Crunch and any form of a St. John’s loss to Toronto puts the Comets in the fourth and final playoff spot. If The IceCaps lose in regulation, the Comets would only need a point to clinch a playoff position.
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets battle the Syracuse Crunch in game 12 of the Galaxy Cup series and the final regular season game. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Last Game: The Utica Comets beat the Hartford Wolf Pack by a score of 5-4 last night. Michael Carcone struck just four minutes into the game. Alexandre Grenier and Mike Zalewski picked up the assists. A minute later, Nikolay Goldobin extended the lead the 2-0 with assists from Curtis Valk and Darren Archibald. Dan Catenacci cut the lead to 2-1 with a penalty shot goal. Ty Ronning tied the game at two, banking a pass off of Richard Bachman’s skate and in. Goldobin gave the Comets a 3-2 lead four minutes into the second period. Valk and Archibald tallied the assists. Archibald made it 4-2 just 2:30 into the third period. Nicklas Jensen answered with a power play goal two minutes later to make it 4-3. Andrey Pedan netted a shorthanded goal to make it 5-3 with 13 minutes to go in the third. Jensen added a second power play goal with three minutes remaining in regulation. The Comets quelled the late Hartford flurry to secure the win. Bachman finished with 39 saves and his record improved to 13-11-3.
Head-to-Head: The Crunch lead the season series 6-4-1 and won the most recent matchup by a score of 7-2 Wednesday night. Cory Conacher leads all scorers with 11 points in nine games. The Crunch have outscored the Comets 32-29 through 11 games.
Scouting the Crunch: The Crunch comes into tonight’s contest in second place in the North Division with a .581 points percentage. The Crunch are fresh off a 4-1 win over the Binghamton Senators last night and have picked up at least a point in four straight games. Cory Conacher and Matt Taormina are tied for the team lead with 60 points. Kristers Gudlevskis leads the goaltenders with a 14-10-7 record, 2.67 goals against average, and a .897 save percentage.
All The Marbles: Tonight’s matchup will determine the winner of the Galaxy Cup Series. Syracuse comes in with 13 points in the series while the Comets only trail by one point heading into tonight’s tilt.
Dependable Darren: Darren Archibald has accomplished a feat few are lucky to achieve. Including tonight’s game, Archibald will have suited up for all 76 games this season. He is the only Comets player to play in every game this season and the fourth Comets player all time to do so. Archibald also set the Comets record for goals in a single season with his 23rd of the year last night against Hartford.
Immediate Impact: Since being reassigned to the Comets, Nikolay Goldobin has made a huge difference offensively. Goldobin has scored two goals in two games since arriving in Utica. The forward has 43 points in 48 total AHL games this season.