The Utica Comets (8-7-3-1, 20 pts, 6th place in the North Division) will meet the Syracuse Crunch (9-9-2-2, 22 pts, 5th place in the North Division) for the second of fourteen regular-season meetings on Saturday night at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, NY. The Comets will be looking for some revenge, as the Crunch dominated them in the first meeting by a score of 8-3 three weeks ago on November 12th.
The Comets enter Saturday night’s game on a two-game winning streak, defeating the Belleville Senators last Saturday night, then upending the Rochester Americans on Friday night by a score of 5-2. They have averaged four goals per game in their previous five contests, which is a goal more than their average per game for the season. Brian Pinho leads the team in scoring with fifteen points, but the offense has been by committee for Utica this season – as they have no one in the top twenty in the AHL in points, but have nine players with at least ten points.
Scoring has not been a problem this season for the Crunch, as they have the two top point-getters in the AHL and are represented in the league’s top twenty for goals and assists by others as well. Defenseman Darren Raddysh, in particular, has been a pleasant surprise for Syracuse. In his seventh season in the American Hockey League, he has already posted the best season offensively in his career, has the third most points in the AHL, and leads the league in points among defensemen. Syracuse also has eight players with at least ten points thus far this season.
Fifth place in the North Division is on the line Saturday night, let’s take a look at how the Utica Comets and Syracuse Crunch match up against each other.
Utica Comets Team Offense
Goals For: 58 (28th in the AHL).
Goals For Per Game: 3.1.
Power Play: 22.6% (14 for 62 – 10th in the AHL).
Syracuse Crunch Team Offense
Goals For: 84 (2nd in the AHL).
Goals For Per Game: 3.8.
Power Play: 20.0% (15 for 75 – 18th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Top Five Scorers
1.) Brian Pinho: 8 goals + 7 assists = 15 points.
2.) Graeme Clarke: 5 goals + 6 assists = 11 points.
3.) Reilly Walsh: 2 goals + 9 assists = 11 points.
4/5.) Nolan Foote (6 goals + 4 assists), Tyce Thompson (4 goals + 6 assists), Jack Dugan (3 goals + 7 assists), Simon Nemec (3 goals + 7 assists), and Ryan Schmelzer (0 goals + 10 assists) have 10 points each.
Graeme Clarke leads the Comets in shots with 51. Clarke and Tyce Thompson lead the team in game-winning goals with two each.
*Andreas Johnsson (3 goals + 10 assists) is listed as the Comet’s second-leading scorer, but he is currently with the New Jersey Devils.
Syracuse Crunch Top Five Scorers
1.) Darren Raddysh: 8 goals + 22 assists = 30 points. Raddysh is second in the AHL in points and assists, is eleventh in shots, and leads all defensemen in points.
2.) Alex Barré-Boulet: 6 goals + 23 assists = 29 points. Barré-Boulet is third in the AHL in points, first in assists, and tenth in shots.
3.) Simon Ryfors: 11 goals + 11 assists = 22 points. Ryfors is eleventh in the AHL in goals.
4.) Gemel Smith: 8 goals + 14 assists = 22 points. Smith is nineteenth in the AHL in assists.
5.) Felix Robert: 10 goals + 7 assists = 17 points.
Alex Barré-Boulet leads the Crunch in shots with 71. Daniel Walcott leads the team in game-winning goals with two.
Utica Comets Team Defense
Goals Against: 58 (8th in the AHL).
Goals Against Per Game: 3.1.
Penalty Kill: 74.6% (44 for 59 – 26th in the AHL).
Syracuse Crunch Team Defense
Goals Against: 83 (29th in the AHL).
Goals Against Per Game: 3.8.
Penalty Kill: 76.7% (69 for 90 – 23rd in the AHL).
Utica Comets Goaltending
Nico Daws has a record of 5-5-1 with a GAA of 2.52, a 0.910 save percentage, and no shutouts. He is thirteenth in the AHL in GAA.
Issac Poulter has a record of 1-1-2 with a GAA of 4.35, a 0.865 save percentage, and no shutouts.
Syracuse Crunch Goaltending
Max Lagace has a record of 5-5-3 with a GAA of 3.77, a 0.880 save percentage, and no shutouts.
Hugo Alnefelt has a record of 4-4-1 with a GAA of 2.86, a 0.904 save percentage, and one shutout.
Jack LaFontaine has no record so far this season.
Saturday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm EST. Radio coverage will be on K-Rock as well as ESPN Radio Syracuse, and the television broadcast will be on AHLTV. For more information about the Utica Comets, visit https://uticacomets.com. For more information about the Syracuse Crunch, visit https://syracusecrunch.com.