Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Preview

Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

The battle between chicken riggies and garbage plates is set to start all over again as the Utica Comets (2-3-0-1, 5 points – fifth place in the North Division) take on the Rochester Americans (5-3-0-0, 10 points – second place in the North Division) face each other in a home in home series on Friday and Saturday nights. Game one is set to take place in Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena starting at 7:05 pm EDT, and they’ll finish the series Saturday night in Utica at the Adirondack Bank Center starting at 7 pm.

There is bound to be some bad blood left between the teams, as the Americans eliminated the Comets from the playoffs in five games of their first-round best-of-five series. It was a hotly contested series on and off the ice, as the fans of both teams engaged in a culinary war between their two cities as well – chicken riggies representing Utica while the garbage plate picked up the mantle for the city of Rochester. The playoff loss was especially bitter for the Comets, as they had finished the regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

This season, both teams have been dealt huge losses to their lineups from last season. Utica is missing its top four scorers from last season: Chase DeLeo, AJ Greer, Fabian Zetterlund, and Alexander Holtz, while the Americans are without the services of leading scorers Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka, as well as highly touted prospect Peyton Krebs.

The Comets are coming off of a heartbreaking loss on Wednesday night which resulted in an eleven-round shootout loss to the Providence Bruins. On that same night, the Americans drubbed the Syracuse Crunch by a score of 7-2 to run their current winning streak to three games. With the Comets looking to rebound from a tough loss, and the Americans aiming to keep their winning streak alive, let’s take a look at how the two teams match up against each other.

Utica Comets Team Offense

Goals For: 16 (32nd in the AHL).

Goals Per Game (average): 2.6.

Power Play: 17.4% (4 for 23).

Rochester Americans Team Offense

Goals For: 28 (6th in the AHL).

Goals Per Game (average): 3.5.

Power Play: 24.2% (8 for 33).

Utica Comets Top Five Scorers

1.) Brian Pinho: 4 goals and 2 assists = 6 points.

2.) Jack Dugan: 1 goal and 5 assists = 6 points.

3.) Tyce Thompson: 2 goals and 2 assists = 4 points.

4.) Nolan Foote: 2 goals and 2 assists = 4 points.

5.) Reilly Walsh: 1 goal and 3 assists = 4 points.

Andreas Johnsson is listed as the Comet’s second-leading scorer, but he is currently with the New Jersey Devils. Graeme Clarke leads the Comets in shots with eighteen.

Rochester Americans Top Five Scorers

1.) Linus Weissbach: 5 goals and 4 assists = 9 points. Weissbach is fourteenth in the American Hockey League in goals.

2.) Brandon Biro: 3 goals and 6 assists = 9 points.

3.) Lukas Rousek: 2 goals and 6 assists = 8 points.

4.) Jiri Kulich: 2 goals and 5 assists = 7 points.

5.) Isak Rosen: 2 goals and 5 assists = 7 points.

Jiri Kulich leads the Americans in shots with twenty-one.

Utica Comets Team Defense

Goals Against: 15 (third in the AHL).

Goals Against Per Game (average): 2.5.

Penalty Kill: 68.4% (13 for 19 – 31st in the AHL).

Rochester Americans Team Defense

Goals Against: 28 (24th in the AHL).

Goals Against Per Game: 3.5.

Penalty Kill: 70.4% (19 for 27 – 29th in the AHL).

Utica Comets Goaltending

Akira Schmid has a record of 2-1-1, with a GAA of 1.97, and a save percentage of 0.918. He is eighth in the AHL in GAA and nineteenth in save percentage.

Nico Daws has a record of 0-2-0, with a GAA of 1.94, and a save percentage of 0.934. He is sixth in the AHL in GAA and tenth in save percentage.

Rochester Americans Goaltending

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has a record of 4-3-0, with a GAA of 3.39, and a 0.879 save percentage. He is seventh in the AHL in wins.

Michael Houser has a record of 1-0-0, with a GAA of 2.48, and a save percentage of 0.929. He is twentieth in the AHL in GAA and eleventh in save percentage.

Radio coverage for both games will be on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL), and the television broadcast will be on AHLTV. For more information about the Utica Comets, including scheduling and tickets, visit https://uticacomets.com.

This episode of 315 Hockey Live features Utica Jr. Comets NCDC Head Coach Louis Educate! We’ll talk about the overall Jr Comets program, the USPHL, Louie’s hockey background, his decision to become a coach, discussions with referees, and much more!

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