By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The NHL Trade Deadline passed on Friday afternoon, and it appears the Utica Comets will not lose any further personnel via a New Jersey Devils trade. That’s fine with the Comets and their fans as Utica’s roster was rocked earlier in the week by the loss of defensemen Nikita Okhotiuk and forward Andreas Johnsson, who was traded to the San Jose Sharks as part of the Timo Meier deal. Although the threat of an NHL trade has passed, the AHL trade deadline still looms, which this season is march 10th, 2023.
Despite the roster turmoil, the Comets are currently on a three-game winning streak – with all three victories coming on the road. Last week they won a pair of games in Cleveland against the Monsters and on Wednesday night they traveled to Belleville, Ontario, and defeated the Senators 4-1. Today, the team received more good news as the Devils they have announced that Comet’s leading scorer, Graeme Clarke, is back in Utica after spending about a week with New Jersey.
The Comets will have a new familiar face in their locker room on Friday night. Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Assistant Coach Adam Dekker was signed by the team to a PTO and will serve as the team’s backup goaltender tonight.
As far as the game against Charlotte goes, it will be the fourth of four regular-season meetings between the teams. The Checkers have won two of the three games already played, including a 4-0 shutout of the Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center the last time they played each other on January 25th.
The Checkers are in a bit of a slump, as they have lost three of their last five games.
Friday night’s game will be a battle of two third-place teams, let’s see how the Utica Comets and Charlotte Checkers match up against each other.
Utica Comets Team Records
- Overall Record: 26-20-5-2, 59 points – 3rd place in the North Division.
- Home Record: 12-9-2-2, 28 points.
- Goal Differential: 0.
- Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.
Charlotte Checkers Team Records
- Overall Record: 30-18-3-2, 65 points – 3rd place in the Atlantic Division.
- Away Record: 14-8-2-1, 31 points.
- Goal Differential: +8.
- Head Coach: Geordie Kinnear.
Utica Comets Team Offense
- Goals For: 159 (21st in the AHL).
- Goals Per Game: 3.0 (23rd in the AHL).
- Shots: 1,559.
- Shots Per Game: 29.42 (25th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 17.9% (30 for 168 – 22nd in the AHL).
Charlotte Checkers Team Offense
- Goals For: 168 (14th in the AHL).
- Goals Per Game: 3.17 (13th in the AHL).
- Shots: 1,670.
- Shots Per Game: 31.51 (5th in the AHL).
- Power Play: 17.5% (36 for 206 – 26th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders
1.) Graeme Clarke: 20 goals + 24 assists = 44 points. Clarke is 19th in the AHL in goals.
2.) Joe Gambardella: 8 goals + 21 assists = 29 points.
3.) Nolan Stevens: 12 goals + 15 assists = 27 points.
4.) Jack Dugan: 10 goals + 15 assists = 25 points.
5.) Reilly Walsh: 4 goals + 21 assists = 25 points.
- Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 157. Clarke is 12th in the AHL in shots.
- Power Play Goals Leader: Nolan Foote and Brian Halonen with four each.
- Game Winning Goals Leader: Nolan Foote and Graeme Clarke with five each. They are tied for 8th in the AHL in game-winning goals.
- +/- Leader: Jeremy Groleau and Simon Nemec at +12 each.
- PIM Leader: Mason Geertsen with 110. Geertsen is 5th in the AHL in PIM.
Charlotte Checkers Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders
1.) Riley Nash: 18 goals + 24 assists = 42 points.
2.) Aleksi Heponiemi: 9 goals + 25 assists = 34 points.
3.) Lucas Carlsson: 14 goals + 17 assists = 31 points.
4.) Gerry Mayhew; 17 goals + 13 assists = 30 points.
5.) Logan Hutsko: 9 goals + 17 assists = 26 points.
- Shots Leader: Lucas Carlsson with 129.
- Power Play Goals Leader: Zac Dalpe and Gerry Mayhew with five each.
- Game Winning Goals Leader: Five with three each.
- +/- Leader: Lucas Carlsson at +17. Carlsson is 18th in the AHL in +/-.
- PIM Leader: Riley Bezeau with 62.
Utica Comets Team Defense
- Goals Against: 159 (12th in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.0 (13th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 1,518.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 28.64 (6th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 76.7% (125 for 163 – 28th in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 5 (18th in the AHL).
Charlotte Checkers Team Defense
- Goals Against: 160 (13th in the AHL).
- Goals Against Per Game: 3.02 (16th in the AHL).
- Shots Allowed: 1,525.
- Shots Allowed Per Game: 28.77 (7th in the AHL).
- Penalty Kill: 83.4% (181 for 217 – 6th in the AHL).
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 8 (7th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Goaltending
- Nico Daws: Record: 14-12-2 / GAA: 2.83 / Save Percentage: 0.901 / Saves: 711 / Shutouts: 0. Daws is 16th in the AHL in wins.
- Issac Poulter: record: 1-1-2 / GAA: 4.35 / Save Percentage: 0.865 / Saves: 115 / Shutouts: 0.
- Adam Dekker: No Statistics.
Charlotte Checkers Goaltending
- Mark Guzda: Record: 13-6-3 / GAA: 2.88 / Save Percentage: 0.901 / Saves: 567 / Shutouts: 1. Guzda is 19th in the AHL in wins.
- Jean-Francois Berube: Record: 4-2-1 / GAA: 2.84 / Save Percentage: 0.901 / Saves: 200 / Shutouts: 0.
Friday nights ga,e is scheduled to begin at 7 pm EST. Radio coverage will be on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL) and the television broadcast will be on AHLTV. For more information about the Utica Comets, visit https://uticacomets.com.
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