By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The Utica Comets visit Salt City on Monday afternoon for a matinee game against the Syracuse Crunch. This is the third of fourteen regular-season meetings between the teams with the Crunch winning both games that have been already played. The teams will get plenty used to (or irritated) each other this week, as they will play one another on Friday and Saturday as well.
The Comets and the Crunch are among the most bitter rivals in the American Hockey League, driven by close proximity to each other geographically and usually in the standings as well. As of Monday’s game, the Comets are in second place in the North Division and have been playing very well since the start of December. Although their twelve-game points streak was snapped on Friday against Providence, they rebounded with a 5-1 thrashing of the Bridgeport Islanders on Saturday night. Utica is 7-1-2 in their last ten games, and are still missing their second-leading goal scorer, Nolan Foote, who is with the New Jersey Devils.
315 Hockey’s recap of the #2 Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Team victory on Saturday night: #2 Utica Pioneers Dominate Neumann on Saturday Night, Three Observations.
The Crunch trail the Comets in the North Division standings by nine points, but have two games in hand on their rival from Utica. Syracuse has an explosive offense that is fourth overall in the league in goals scored per game. That offense is led by defenseman Darren Raddysh and forward Alex Barré-Boulet. Raddysh has been having an incredible season, as he is fourth in the AHL in points and is tied with Barré-Boulet for second in the league in assists. He leads all defensemen in goals and points, is second in assists, and is tied for second in shots among players at that position.
Both the Crunch and the Comets do a lot of damage in the third period. Syracuse leads the league in third-period goals scored with fifty, while Utica is outscoring their opponents by a 40-23 margin in the third frame.
With an intense rivalry renewing on Monday afternoon, let’s take a look at how the teams match up against each other.
Utica Comets Records
- Overall Record: 19-10-5-1, 44 points – 2nd place in the North Division.
- Away Record: 9-6-3-0, 21 points.
- Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.
Syracuse Crunch Records
- Overall Record: 15-13-2-3, 35 points – 4th place in the North Division.
- Home Record: 9-5-2-1, 21 points.
- Head Coach: Ben Groulx.
Utica Comets Team Offense
- Goals For: 116 (13th in the AHL).
- Goals Per Game: 3.31 (12th in the AHL).
- Shots: 1,035.
- Shots Per Game: 29.57 (22nd in the AHL).
- Power Play: 19.6% (21 for 107 – 16th in the AHL).
Syracuse Crunch Team Offense
- Goals For: 123 (9th in the AHL).
- Goals Per Game: 3.73 (4th in the AHL).
- Shots: 1,066.
- Shots Per Game: 32.30 (6th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 19.3% (22 for 114 – 18th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders
1.) Graeme Clarke: 14 goals + 16 assists = 30 points.
2.) Nolan Stevens: 10 goals + 14 assists = 24 points.
3.) Andreas Johnsson: 7 goals + 14 assists = 21 points.
4.) Reilly Walsh: 3 goals + 16 assists = 19 points.
- Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 96.
- Game Winning Goals Leader: five are tied with two each.
- +/- Leader: Simon Nemec at +13.
- PIM Leader: Mason Geertsen with 79. Geertsen is 4th in the AHL in PIM.
Syracuse Crunch Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders
1.) Darren Raddysh: 10 goals + 31 assists = 41 points. Raddysh is tied for 2nd in the AHL in assists, 4th in points, and 14th in shots.
2.) Alex Barré-Boulet: 9 goals + 31 assists = 40 points. Barré-Boulet is 5th in the AHL in points and tied for 2nd in assists.
3.) Simon Ryfors: 14 goals + 17 assists = 31 points.
4.) Gemel Smith: 12 goals + 19 assists = 31 points.
5.) Gage Goncalves: 6 goals + 19 assists = 25 points. Goncalves is 16th in the AHL in +/- at +15.
- Shots Leader: Alex Barré-Boulet with 103. Barré-Boulet is 11th in the AHL in shots.
- Game Winning Goals Leader: three tied with two each.
- +/- Leader: Darren Raddysh at +18. Raddysh is 5th in the AHL in +/-.
- PIM Leader: Shawn Element with 62. Element is 12th in the AHL in PIM.
Utica Comets Team Defense
- Goals Against: 105 (10th in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.00 (12th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 1,018.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 29.09 (8th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 78.3% (83 for 106 – 23rd in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 4 (14th in the AHL).
Syracuse Crunch Team Defense
- Goals Against: 117 (23rd in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.55 (24th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 1,006.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 30.48 (17th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 78.5% (106 for 135 – 22nd in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 2 (27th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Goaltending
- Nico Daws: Record: 10-7-1 / GAA: 2.69 / Save Percentage: 0.906 / Shutouts: 0. Daws is 13th in the AHL.
- Akira Schmid: Record: 7-1-3 / GAA: 2.35 / Save Percentage: 0.912 / Shutouts: 0. Schmid has now played enough games to qualify for top twenty statistics and is 7th in the AHL in GAA and 17th in save percentage.
Syracuse Crunch Goaltending
Max Legace: Record: 6-7-4 / GAA: 3.86 / Save Percentage: 0.875 / Shutouts: 0.
Jack LaFontaine: Record: 1-2-0 / GAA: 2.43 / Save Percentage: 0.919 / Shutouts: 0.
Hugo Alnefelt: Record: 8-4-1 / GAA: 2.58 / Save Percentage: 0.912 / Shutouts: 1. Alnefelt is 16th in the AHL in save percentage and 17th in GAA.
Monday afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1 pm EST. Radio coverage will be on K-Rock and the television broadcast will be on AHLTV. For more information about the Utica Comets visit https://uticacomets.com and for more about the Crunch visit https://syracusecrunch.com.
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