Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Game Preview 02-18-2022

The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans renew their North Division rivalry on Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The Utica Comets will see a very familiar face on Friday night, as for the eighth time this season they will face the Rochester Americans. It has been a hard-fought series between the team this season, as Utica won the first three games, Rochester winning the next three, and then Utica winning their last matchup in Rochester on January 29th by a score of 4-2.

The Comets enter Friday night’s game in first place in the North Division with a record of 28-9-5-0, 61 points, and a point percentage of .726 – Utica’s record is also the second-best in the American Hockey League. The Americans are in third place in the North Division with a record of 24-15-3-2, 53 points, and a points percentage of .602.

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Both the Comets and Americans are the beneficiaries of high-powered offenses. Utica currently ranks third in the AHL in goals scored with 153. Fabian Zetterlund has been a dynamo on offense for the Comets, leading the team in points (thirty-seven) and goals (eighteen). Right behind him in points is Chase DeLeo with thirty-six points (ten goals and twenty-six assists) in only twenty-nine games. Rounding out the Comet’s leading scorers are Alexander Holtz, who has thirty-three points (seventeen goals and sixteen assists) in only twenty-eight games and is also riding an eight-game point streak. Defenseman Reilly Walsh is the fourth member of Utica’s “thirty points” club, as he has six goals and twenty-six assists for thirty-two points so far this season.

Only the Ontario Reign have scored more goals than the 154 the Americans have scored this season – putting them second in the AHL. Even with Jack Quinn and Peyton Krebs with the Americans NHL parent club the Buffalo Sabres, Rochester is still a very dangerous team on offense. They are led by Michael Mersch and JJ Peterka who are tied for fourteenth on the AHL scoring list with thirty-nine points each. Mersch leads the team in goals scored with nineteen and leading the team in assists is Brandon Biro with twenty-seven. Biro is also third on the team overall in scoring with thirty-five points.

Utica Comets Do Not Have a Good Night Against the Toronto Marlies

The Comets and Americans are also welcoming back familiar faces to their goaltending corps. The New Jersey Devils announced on Thursday that they have recalled Akira Schmid and reassigned Nico Daws to Utica. Like Schmid, Daws has been spectacular in his time with the Comets this season. Daws has an AHL record of 11-3-2 with a 2.44 GAA and .917 save percentage. Mareks Mitens has seen the bulk of the backup duty for Utica and has a record of 5-4-1 to go with a GAA of 3.49 and .880 save percentage. As a team, the Comets have allowed 112, which ranks as fourth-best in the American Hockey League.

The Americans have also welcomed back a goaltender that started the season. Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen is back in an Amerks uniform after having spent several weeks with the Sabres. He sports an AHL record of 7-6-1 with a 3.17 GAA and .894 save percentage. The other half of the Americans goaltending tandem is Aaron Dell, who has a record of 7-1-1 with a 2.42 GAA and .919 save percentage in nine games for Rochester this season. Overall the Americans have allowed 154 goals, which ranks twenty-ninth in the AHL.

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Much like their overall offensive statistics, the Comets and Americans both have top three powerplay units as well. Rochester ranks second in the league at 24.8%, converting 37 of 149 powerplay opportunities. Utica is right behind them with the third-best powerplay in the AHL. They have converted 31 of 130 powerplay chances for a 23.8% success rate. Utica has had the least amount of powerplay opportunities of any team in the American Hockey League.

Utica and Rochester are both in the bottom half of the league on the penalty kill. The Americans are ranked seventeenth at 80.9%, allowing 29 goals on 152 times shorthanded. The Comets rank twenty-first, allowing 28 goals on 140 times shorthanded for a success rate of 80%.

Friday night’s game starts at 7:00 pm EST. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:00 and will be carried on WPNY and AHLTV.

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