Utica Comets vs Syracuse Crunch Game Preview 02-26-2022

The Utica Comets play the second game of their three games in three nights stretch when they visit the Salt City on Saturday night to take on the Crunch.

It’s a “0 to 60” situation for the Utica Comets this weekend as after five days without a game, they find themselves playing three in three nights, with the last two on the road away from the friendly confines of the Adirondack Bank Center.

After being stunned on Friday night by the Hershey Bears by a score of 4-0 in those friendly confines, the Comets will face their arch-rival the Syracuse Crunch on their home ice at the Upstate Medical University Arena. Entering the game, the Comets are first overall in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-10-5-0 record good for 65 points and a .722 points percentage. The Crunch currently sits in sixth place in the North Division sporting a record of 20-19-5-1 which gives them 46 points and a .511 points percentage.

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On offense, Utica and Syracuse are on opposite ends of the spectrum, as the Comets are fourth overall in the AHL with 160 goals scored and Syracuse is twenty-fifth with 127 goals. Chase DeLeo leads the Comets in points scored with thirty-eight points in just thirty-one games played, with the “Swedish Supermen” duo of Fabian Zetterlund and Alexander Holtz pacing the team in goals scored with eighteen each.

Utica Comets Have a Bear of a Time Against Hershey

Driving the Syracuse offense is center Gabriel Dumont, who leads the team in points (forty) and goals scored with twenty-three. Alex Barre-Boulet only has three goals on the season but leads the team in assists with twenty-one.

“The Voice of the Comets” Jason Shaya is interviewed on Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast in this clip from Episode #65. For the entire episode as well as Comets and Pioneers videos and clips, check out Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast Youtube channel.

Like on offense, the Comets are fourth overall in the American Hockey League in total defense as well, having allowed 120 goals. The team’s goaltending duo consists of Akira Schmid and Mareks Mitens. Schmid has a record of 13-3-2 with a GAA of 2.19 and a save percentage of .926. His GAA and save percentage both rank second in the AHL. Mitens has a record of 5-4-1 with a GAA of 3.49 and a .880 save percentage. With the Comets playing three games in three nights, it can be expected that Mitens will get at least one start in that stretch.

The Crunch is nineteenth overall in the league in team defense, surrendering 142 goals. The Crunch have a trio of goaltenders guarding their net in Max Legace, Hugo Alnefelt, and Amir Miftakhov all seeing playing time as of late. Legace has a record of 5-6-0 with a 3.32 GAA and .869 save percentage. Alnefelt is 8-4-3 and has a 2.79 GAA to go with a .889 save percentage. Miftakhov sports a record of 6-8-3 to go along with a 2.92 GAA and a .895 save percentage. Like the Comets, the Crunch is in the middle of three games in three nights stretch, who gets the starts in the net remains to be seen.

Right Now is a Great Time if You’re a Fan of Utica Hockey

The Comets and Crunch both have power-play units that are in the top half of the AHL. The Comets are fifth overall, having scored 32 goals on 142 power-play opportunities good for a conversion rate of 22.5%. The Crunch are currently thirteenth in the league, scoring 31 power-play goals on 156 opportunities for a conversion rate of 19.9%.

On the penalty kill, the Comets have the fifteenth-most efficient unit in the AHL. They have surrendered 29 goals in the 152 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 80.9%. The Crunch have struggled in this department, as they are twenty-ninth overall in the league. They have allowed 38 goals in the 152 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 75.0%.

Saturday night’s game between the Comets and the Crunch is scheduled to begin 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 pm on AHLTV.

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