After having first game of their two game set against the Cleveland Monsters postponed, game two is a go for the Utica Comets.
The Utica Comets have just dodged a proverbial bullet.
Originally scheduled for a back-to-back set of games against the Cleveland Monsters on Thursday and Friday nights in Cleveland, the teams received some bad news on Thursday afternoon. Per AHL Communications, Thursday night’s game was postponed due to “league COVID-19 protocols affecting the Utica Comets”. At that particular time, no one knew what the status of Friday night’s game was, and the Comets remained in Utica awaiting the league’s decision on whether the game would be played or not.
The wait is over, as the Comets have traveled to Cleveland and Friday night’s game will happen as scheduled. The Comets have cleared the COVID protocols and will indeed take the ice, although we had an idea that was going to happen on Thursday night, thanks to Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast co-host Dom Reille spotting the team’s buses being loaded up outside of the Adirondack Bank Center for an obvious road trip (see his tweet at the bottom of this article). The Utica Comets confirmed via their Twitter account today that tonight’s game is happening.
For our preview of the series versus the Monsters, please click on this link: Utica Comets at Cleveland Monsters series preview. It might be only one game now, but the stats are still the same and relevant.
With the scheduling puzzle solved, only one question remained – who would be the Comet’s second goaltender? Most believed when the New Jersey Devils acquired goaltender Jon Gillies from the St. Louis Blues (The New Jersey Devils acquire former Utica Comets goaltender), it would be either him or Akira Schmid that would join Marek Mitens as the goaltending tandem in Utica while Nico Daws recovers from a lower-body injury. The Devils, however, appear to have other plans for now.
As of this writing (December 17th at 1:30 pm), both Schmid and Gillies are still with New Jersey, prompting the Comets to go the PTO route to have a backup goaltender in place for their Friday night (and possibly more) game. According to the AHL Transactions section on https://theahl.com, the team has signed goaltender Bailey Brkin to a professional tryout contract. Per https://hockeydb.com, Brkin is twenty-two years old and has played in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), and the ECHL this season. With the Quad City Storm of the SPHL, he has played ten games, posting a record of 8-1-1 with a 1.79 GAA and .937 save percentage. He played one game for the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL in which he let in only two goals but took the loss. It remains unclear how long Brkin will be with the Comets.
Tonight’s game in Cleveland starts at 7:00 pm EST. Radio coverage begins at 6:30 with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:00 on AHLTV.