By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey
The Utica Comets visit the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday for a “School Day Game” with a special start time of 11 am EST. This is the fourth of six regular-season meetings between the teams, the Marlies have won all three previous games. The teams last played on January 3rd in Toronto, with the Marlies winning 5-4 in overtime.
The Comets are currently in second place in the North Division but trail the Marlies for first by fourteen points. They have struggled to find consistency in their game for over a month, and that trend continued this past weekend when they returned from the All-Star break. In their first game back on Friday night, they blanked their second-place counterparts the Hershey Bears at the Adirondack Bank Center 3-0. The Comets looked reinvigorated and played one of their best overall games since the start of January. The next night they traveled to Laval where they were beaten by the Rocket 6-2 and gave up three shorthanded goals in the process.
A recap of the past week’s action and looking ahead to this weekend: 315 Hockey’s One-Timers 02/05/2023 – 02/11/2023.
Adding to the Comet’s woes is that the offense is really struggling as of late. The last time they scored more than three goals in a game was on January 3rd in that 5-4 overtime loss against Toronto. Second leading scorer Nolan Stevens has been out of the lineup since February 1st, and defenseman Reilly Walsh is mired in a slump – he has two points in his last nineteen games and none in his last eight. Walsh is Utica’s offensive catalyst from the blue line, and when he struggles to put up the points, the team usually does as well.
On a good note, Akira Schmid has been outstanding in goal for the Comets – he currently ranks fourth in the league in GAA and fifth in shutouts. Joe Gambardella is on a four-game points streak and we found out he has one heck of a poker face.
Toronto has separated itself from the pack in the North Division and is tied with the Providence Bruins for the most points in the Eastern Conference. They are led by forward Logan Shaw, who in his ninth AHL season is having a career year. He is fourth in the American Hockey League in points, leads the number one power-play unit in the AHL in power-play goals with nine, and has already surpassed his single-season career bests in points and assists. Shaw has six points (one goal and five assists) in his last five games.
Other Marlies enjoying successful individual seasons include former Comet Adam Gaudette, whose twenty goals have him ranked fifteenth in the league in that category. Defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer has combined physicality and offense in his third AHL season. He is seventh among defensemen in points with thirty-one and his 97 PIM are ranked sixth in the entire league.
With the opening faceoff scheduled to coincide with lunchtime, let’s take a look at how the Utica Comets and Toronto Marlies match up against each other.
Utica Comets Team Records
- Overall Record: 23-17-5-2, 53 points – 2nd in the North Division.
- Goal Differential: -4.
- Away Record: 11-9-3-0, 25 points.
- Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.
Toronto Marlies Team Records
- Overall Record: 32-12-2-1, 67 points – 1st in the North Division.
- Goal Differential: +20.
- Home Record: 13-7-0-1, 27 points.
- Head Coach: Greg Moore.
Utica Comets Team Offense
- Goals For: 137 (24th in the AHL).
- Goals Per Game: 2.91 (25th in the AHL).
- Shots: 1,355.
- Shots Per Game: 28.83 (26th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 17.8% (26 for 146 – 21st in the AHL).
Toronto Marlies Team Offense
- Goals For: 167 (4th in the AHL).
- Goals Per Game: 3.55 (5th in the AHL).
- Shots: 1,428.
- Shots Per Game: 30.38 (15th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 26.8% (49 for 183 – 1st in the AHL).
Utica Comets Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders
1.) Graeme Clarke: 16 goals +20 assists = 36 points.
2.) Nolan Stevens: 12 goals + 15 assists = 27 points.
3.) Andreas Johnsson: 8 goals + 17 assists = 25 points.
4.) Brian Pinho: 8 goals + 15 assists = 23 points.
5.) Ryan Schmelzer: 4 goals + 19 assists = 23 points.
- Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 136. Clarke is 12th in the AHL in shots.
- Power Play Goals leader: Nolan Foote with four.
- Game Winning Goals Leader: Nolan Foote with five. Foote is 4th in the AHL in game-winning goals.
- +/- Leader: Jeremy Groleau at +11.
- PIM Leader: Mason Geertsen with 102. Geertsen is 5th in the AHL in PIM.
Toronto Marlies Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders
1.) Logan Shaw: 17 goals + 37 assists = 54 points. Shaw is 4th in the AHL in points and 5th in assists.
2.) Nick Abruzzese: 15 goals + 20 assists = 35 points.
3.) Adam Gaudette: 20 goals + 13 assists = 33 points. Gaudette is 15th in the AHL in goals.
4.) Semyon Der-Arguchintsev: 9 goals + 24 assists = 33 points.
5.) Noel Hoefenmayer: 10 goals + 21 assists = 31 points. Hoefenmayer is 7th amongst defensemen in points.
- Shots Leader: Logan Shaw with 150. Shaw is 5th in the AHL in shots.
- Power Play Goals Leader: Logan Shaw with nine. Shaw is 7th in the AHL in power-play goals.
- Game Winning Goals Leader: four are tied with three each.
- +/- Leader: William Villeneuve and Noel Hoefenmayer at +7 each.
- PIM Leader: Noel Hoefenmayer with 97. Hoefenmayer is 6th in the AHL in PIM.
Utica Comets Team Defense
- Goals Against: 141 (16th in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.00 (15th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 1,345.
- Shots Allowed per Game: 28.62 (6th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 77.3% (109 for 141 – 28th in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 5 (16th in the AHL).
Toronto Marlies Team Defense
- Goals Against: 147 (19th in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.13 (18th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 1,431.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 30.45 (17th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 81.7% (156 for 191 – 13th in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Socred: 6 (10th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Goaltending
- Akira Schmid: Record: 10-4-3 / GAA: 2.24 / Save Percentage: 0.917 / Saves: 430 / Shutouts: 2. Schmid is 4th in the AHL in GAA, 5th in shutouts, and 11th in save percentage.
- Nico Daws: Record: 11-11-2 / GAA: 2.97 / Save Percentage: 0.897 / Saves: 610 / Shutouts: 0.
Toronto Marlies Goaltending
- Erik Källgren: Record: 5-4-2 / GAA: 3.29 / Save Percentage: 0.878 / Shutouts: 0.
- Keith Petruzzelli: Record: 10-5-0 / GAA: 3.21 / Save Percentage: 0.894 / Shutouts: 0.
- Dylan Ferguson: Record: 2-2-0 / GAA: 3.12 / Save Percentage: 0.888 / Shutouts: 0.
Wednesday’s game is scheduled to start at 11 am EST. Radio coverage will be on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL) and the television broadcast will be on AHLTV. For more information on the Utica Comets, including schedules and ticketing, visit https://uticacomets.com.
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