The Utica Comets are off to the best start in team history.
For the Utica Comets and their fans, this season has been a dream come true so far. An AHL record-tying win streak to start the season is not something many expected, but will certainly take. New Comets head coach Kevin Dineen seems to have pushed all the right buttons for a team that was just last season mired in last place in another city.
To put together a start as impressive as the one the Utica Comets have had, a lot needs to go right. Certainly, the numbers for the Comets have been above average so far, but just how good have they been? Herein, is a breakdown of the numbers for the Comets as available on https://theahl.com.
Win Streak: The Comets have won eleven straight games. Of those eleven games, six were played at home and the remaining five were of course on the road. So far, the Comets have played five AHL North divisional. rivals and two teams from the AHL Atlantic Division.
Goals For vs Goals Against: The Utica Comets have scored forty-five goals this season while giving up just twenty. The forty-five goals scored ranks them tied for fifth-best in the AHL, despite not having anyone in the top fifteen overall in the AHL scoring race (Chase DeLeo is tied for twentieth with twelve points). DeLeo is of course Utica’s leading scorer with those twelve points, having posted that number in only seven games played. Joe Gambardella leads the Comets in goals scored with sixth, which ties him with several others for the thirteenth most in the American Hockey League.
The twenty goals the Utica Comets have given up this season rank as the best in the AHL this season. The astounding part about this stat is the Comets have been outshot by their opponent in seven of their games so far, which leads us to the next category…
Goaltending: The Utica Comets goaltending has been the foundation of the team’s undefeated start. Nico Daws and Akira Schmid have just about evenly split the goaltending duties, and have been the most formidable duo in the AHL. In his six games played, Daws has made 189 saves on 202 shots faced. This has equated to a GAA of 2.17 and a save percentage of .936. Daws is currently eighth in the AHL in goals-against average and third in the league in save percentage.
Daws numbers alone would put him in early consideration for AHL goaltender of the year, now look at the season Akira Schmid is putting together. In his five games played he has allowed only seven goals on 143 shots. This gives him a GAA of 1.38 and a .951 save percentage, which ranks him first in the league in both categories.
Special Teams: Special teams’ play has been another important component of the Comets record-tying start. Utica has converted six of its thirty power play opportunities for a 20% conversion rate – which ranks thirteenth in the league. The penalty kill has been superb so far this season. The Comets have allowed only five goals in the thirty-eight times they have been shorthanded. This 86.8% success rate ranks sixth in the American Hockey League. The Utica Comets have had the least amount of power-play opportunities in the AHL and only the Rockford Icehogs have been shorthanded less.
Callups and Transactions: Four Comets have been recalled to New Jersey so far this season, they are Fabian Zetterlund, Jesper Boqvist, Tyce Thompson, and Alexander Holtz. Defenseman Colton White was sent to Utica for one game but was then recalled back to New Jersey so that really doesn’t count.
The Devils have reassigned two other players outside of White to Utica this season, and they are Frederik Gauthier and Marian Studenic. Studenic has recorded at least one point in every game he has played for the team so far. The Comets have also recalled forward Samuel Laberge from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL and he has played in the past three games.