By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The red-hot Utica Comets close out 2022 by hosting North Division rival the Belleville Senators on Saturday night at the Adirondack Bank Center. The Comets enter the game having won five of their last seven games and have vaulted into third place in the North Division in that time frame.
The recent success of the Comets can be attributed to several players getting hot at the same time as well. Despite the recent roster upheaval that saw the team lose defensemen Simon Nemec, Nikita Okhotiuk, Tyler Wotherspoon, and forward Tyce Thompson to either international play or recall to the New Jersey Devils, others have stepped up to take their place. Forward Graeme Clarke is on a six-game points streak which has seen him amass seven goals and seven assists during that time. Defenseman Reilly Walsh has taken center stage in the Comet’s defense corps in light of the recent departures, as he has points in four straight games. Team-leading goal scorer Nolan Foote has three goals in his past two games, and Nolan Stevens has seven points (two goals and five assists) over his past five games.
Like the Comets, the Belleville Senators have been hit hard by recent recalls to their NHL parent club. Over the past few weeks, the Ottawa Senators have recalled their second-leading scorer Jake Lucchini and now third-leading scorer Rourke Chartier – who was leading the team at the time of his recall. Unlike the Comets, the Senators have not weathered the recalls very well as they have lost six of their last seven games entering Saturday night’s game against Utica.
With what should be a festive New Year’s Eve crowd at the Adirondack Bank Center on Saturday night, let’s take a look at how the two teams matchup against each other.
Utica Comets Records
- Overall: 13-9-4-1, 31 points – 3rd place in the North Division.
- Home: 7-4-2-1, 17 points.
- Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.
Belleville Senators Records
- Overall: 12-16-2-0, 26 points.
- Away: 4-9-2-0, 10 points.
- Head Coach: Troy Mann.
Utica Comets Team Offense
- Goals For: 91 (15th in the AHL).
- Goals For Per Game: 3.37 (14th in the AHL).
- Shots: 784.
- Shots Per Game: 29.04 (27th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 23.5% (20 for 85 – 8th in the AHL).
Belleville Senators Team Offense
- Goals For: 99 (13th in the AHL).
- Goals For Per Game: 3.30 (15th in the AHL).
- Shots: 921.
- Shots For Per Game: 30.70 (13th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 23.7% (33 for 139 – 7th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Top Five Scorers
1.) Graeme Clarke: 10 goals + 15 assists = 25 points.
2.) Nolan Stevens: 9 goals + 11 assists = 20 points.
3.) Brian Pinho: 8 goals + 10 assists = 18 points.
4.) Reilly Walsh: 3 goals + 15 assists = 18 points. Walsh 13th among defensemen in the AHL in points.
5.) Nolan Foote: 12 goals + 4 assists = 16 points.
Other Offensive Leaders
Shots: Graeme Clarke with 70.
Power Play Goals: Nolan Foote with 4.
Belleville Senators Top Five Scorers
1.) Egor Sokolov: 8 goals + 20 assists = 28 points. Sokolov is 15th in the AHL in assists and 18th in power-play points.
2.) Angus Crookshank: 9 goals + 9 assists = 18 points. Crookshank is 18th among rookies in the AHL in points.
3.) Maxence Guenette: 2 goals + 15 assists = 17 points. Guenette is 19th among defensemen in the AHL in points.
4.) Ridley Greig: 7 goals + 8 assists = 15 points.
5.) Scott Sabourin (8 goals + 6 assists) and Cole Reinhardt (5 goals + 9 assists) = 14 points. Sabourin leads the AHL in PIM with 146.
Other Offensive Leaders
Shots: Angus Crookshank with 92. Crookshank is 10th in the AHL in shots.
Power Play Goals: Angus Crookshank with 5.
Game Winning Goals: Angus Crookshank with 2.
Utica Comets Team Defense
- Goals Against: 87 (11th in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.22 (17th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 766.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 28.37 (5th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 75.0% (63 for 84 – 26th in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 4 (14th in the AHL).
Belleville Senators Team Defense
- Goals Against: 117 (31st in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.90 (28th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 961.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 32.03 (27th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 76.7% (102 for 133 – 23rd in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 5 (10th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Goaltending
- Nico Daws has a record of 7-6-1 with a 2.83 GAA, 410 saves, a 0.900 save percentage, and no shutouts.
- Akira Schmid has a record of 4-1-2 with a 2.40 GAA, 146 saves, a 0.896 save percentage, and no shutouts.
Belleville Senators Goaltending
Antoine Bibeau has a record of 6-6-0 with a 3.32 GAA, 383 saves, a 0.901 save percentage, and no shutouts.
Mads Sogaard has a record of 3-6-1 with a 3.32 GAA, 351 saves, a 0.900 save percentage, and no shutouts. That’s not a typo – Bibeau and Sogaard have the same GAA.
Saturday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm EST. Radio coverage will be on 94.9 K-Rock and the television broadcast will be on AHLTV. For more information about the Utica Comets including tickets and schedules, visit https://uticacomets.com.