By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The Utica Comets (6-6-2-1, 15 pts, 6th in the North Division) will host the Laval Rocket (6-11-3-0, 15 pts, 7th in the North Division), on Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center for the second of six regular-season meetings. The teams last met on November 11th in Utica, with the Rocket skating away with a 5-4 overtime victory.
The Comets last played on Saturday when they enjoyed some southern hospitality in defeating the Charlotte Checkers in the Queen City by a score of 3-2 in overtime. They got thirty-two saves from Issac Poulter, and Alexander Holtz scored the game-winning goal. Saturday’s win leapfrogged Utica over Laval into sixth place in the North Division standings and was their third victory in their past five games.
Poulter will most likely get the nod in goal again for Utica on Wednesday night, as Nico Daws, Alexander Holtz, and Kevin Bahl were all recalled to the New Jersey Devils on Monday. To presumably back Poulter up, the Comets have signed goaltender Jake Theut to a PTO contract. Theut has no AHL record this season but has a record of 4-3-2 with a GAA of 3.04 and 0.901 save percentage for the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. In the process of recalling Daws, Holtz, and Bahl, the Devils reassigned defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon to the Comets.
The Rocket enters Wednesday night’s game having lost three of their last five games. Scoring goals has not been a problem for Laval, as the sixty-four goals they have scored puts them in the top ten in the American Hockey League in that category. Keeping the puck out of the net has been the demise of the top farm team for the Montreal Canadiens thus far this season, as they have allowed the most goals to be scored in the league.
The winner of Wednesday night’s contest will skate away with sole possession of sixth place in the North Division. Let’s take a look at how the Utica Comets and Laval Rocket match up against each other.
Utica Comets Team Offense
Goals For: 41 (31st in the AHL).
Goals For Per Game: 2.7.
Power Play: 21.2% (11 for 52, 16th in the AHL).
Laval Rocket Team Offense
Goals For: 64 (9th in the AHL).
Goals For Per Game: 3.2.
Power Play: 22.4% (17 for 76, 13th in the AHL).
Utica Comets Top Five Scorers
1.) Andreas Johnsson: 3 goals + 10 assists = 13 points.
2.) Brian Pinho: 8 goals + 4 assists = 12 points.
3.) Nolan Foote: 6 goals + 4 assists = 10 points.
Graeme Clarke leads the Comets in shots with 42.
Laval Rocket Top Five Scorers
1.) Anthony Richard: 12 goals + 6 assists = 18 points. Richard is second in the AHL in goals and 16th in points.
2.) Xavier Simoneau: 4 goals + 12 assists = 16 points.
3.) Jesse Ylönen: 4 goals + 11 assists = 15 points.
4.) Justin Barron: 6 goals + 6 assists = 12 points.
5.) Peter Abbandonato: 4 goals + 8 assists = 12 points.
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard leads the Rocket in shots with 60.
Utica Comets Team Defense
Goals Against: 46 (5th in AHL).
Goals Against Per Game: 3.1.
Penalty Kill: 76.1% (35 for 46, 20th in the AHL).
Laval Rocket Team Defense
Goals Against: 79 (32nd in the AHL).
Goals Against Per Game: 4.0.
Penalty Kill: 66.7% (54 for 81, 32nd in the AHL).
Utica Comets Goaltending
Issac Poulter has a record of 1-1-1, with a 4.88 GAA and a 0.862 save percentage.
Jake Theut has no AHL record this season.
Laval Rocket Goaltending
Cayden Primeau has a record of 4-6-2 with a 3.53 GAA and a 0.893 save percentage.
Kevin Poulin has a record of 2-5-1 with a 3.57 GAA and a 0.876 save percentage.
Joseph Vrbetic has no AHL record this season.
Wednesday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 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, visit https://uticacomets.com.