The Utica Comets head north of the border looking to rebound from a stunning loss on New Year’s Eve.
The 2021 part of the 2021-22 season was pretty darn good for the Utica Comets.
Through twenty-two games played, the Comets have the best winning percentage in the American Hockey League at .886 via an 18-1-3-0 record. They have achieved this despite enduring several callups and injuries – a “team first” mentality has carried them to a start not many predicted would happen at the beginning of the season.
The Comets will kick off 2022 on Thursday at 1:00 pm EST with a visit to the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario to play the Toronto Marlies – who are of course the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Marlies are an AHL North Division rival of the Comets, and they are currently in fourth place in the division with a 12-10-1-1 record for a winning percentage of .542.
Utica and Tornoto have met once this season on November 6th, which resulted in a 5-2 win for the Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center. In that game, Nolan Foote scored the game winner goal and Akira Schmid picked up the victory in goal. Utica will have neither player for this game as both are now with the New Jersey Devils.
The Utica Comets goaltending situation has been in flux since the team lost both Nico Daws to injury and Akira Schmid to callup in early december. Marek Mitens has been the unrivaled starter since being brought up from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL – in three games for Utica he has a record of 2-0-1-0 with a 2.93 GAA and .888 save percentage. The backup goaltender, however, has been a revolving door of PTO’s. Currently, David Tomeo is the backup, as the team signed him to a PTO just prior to their New Year’s Eve game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Tomeo has yet to see any game time for Utica.
In that first game between the Marlies and Comets, Michael Hutchinson was in the Toronto net. He too is gone, as he is now on the Maple Leafs Taxi Squad. Erik Kallgren and Joseph Woll are now handling the goaltending duties for the Marlies. Kallgren has a record of 5-4-0-0 with 2.57 GAA and .923 save percentage while Woll is 4-2-0-0 and has a 3.19 GAA and a save percentage of .910.
On offense, the two teams are close to each other in overall goals scored. Utica is fourteenth in the league with eighty while Toronto is eighteenth with seventhy-four. The Comets leading scorer is Chase DeLeo, who has eighteen points in fourteen games played (five goals and thirteen assists). Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in goals scored with eight.
Toronto’s leading scorer is center Brett Seney with nineteen points (eleven goals and eight assists) in twenty-two games played. Seney is also the team’s leading goal scorer.
On the power play, the Comets are thirteenth in the AHL with a 19.4% success rate, and they by far have had the least amount of opportunities with the man advantage in the league with only sixty-two. The Marlies are currently twenty-fifth in the American Hockey League on the power play with a success rste of 16.5%.
Both the Comets and the Marlies are in the top half of the AHL in penalty killing success. Utica is fifth best overall with a success rate of 86.5%, while Toronto is eleventh best overall at 82.8%.
Radio coverage for the game begins at 12:30pm EST with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL), and the television broadcast begins at 1:00 pm on AHLTV.