The Utica Comets travel north of the border on Tuesday to take on the Belleville Senators in a game that is being made up from December 21st.
The Utica Comets (34-12-6-0, 74 points, 0.712 pts.%) and Belleville Senators (27-22-1-0, 55 points, 0.550 pts.%) will meet for the third time this season on Tuesday night. The Comets lead the Eastern Conference, while the Senators are in third place in the North Division and locked in a very tight battle for a playoff spot. Utica won both games that have been played between the two teams thus far this season.
As a team, the Comets have scored 186 goals this season, which is the fourth most in the American Hockey League. Eighty-seven of those goals have come away from the Adirondack Bank Center, which ranks as the fifth most goals scored on the road league-wide. There is a three-way tie atop the team’s point list, with Alexander Holtz (twenty-one goals and twenty assists), Fabian Zetterlund, (twenty goals and twenty-one assists), and Chase DeLeo (twelve goals and twenty-nine assists) all having forty-one points each. AJ Greer (seventeen goals and twenty-two assists) is next on the list with thirty-nine points, followed by Reilly Walsh (six goals and twenty-eight assists) with thirty-four points. Walsh has been in a bit of a slump as of late, as he has not recorded a point in his last five games.
Holtz and Zetterlund lead the team in goals scored with twenty-one and twenty respectively, with AJ Greer a close third with seventeen. Zetterlund leads the club in game-winning goals with five, and shots with 137. Chase DeLeo (twenty-nine) and Reilly Walsh (twenty-eight) lead the Comets in assists.
The Belleville Senators rank nineteenth in the AHL in goals scored with 157. Seventy-nine of their goals have been scored at home, which ranks twenty-second in the league. Jake Lucchini (sixteen goals and nineteen assists) leads the team in points with thirty-five, followed closely by Egor Sokolov (fourteen goals and twenty assists) with thirty-four and Andrew Agozzino (sixteen goals and fourteen assists) with thirty points. NHL veteran Michael Del Zotto (ten goals and seventeen assists) leads all Senator’s defensemen in points with twenty-seven.
Lucchini and Agozzino lead Belleville in goals scored with sixteen, followed by Sokolov with fourteen. Lucchini and Sokolov lead the Senators in game-winning goals with four, and Agozzino leads the team in shots with 118. Sokolov (twenty) and Lucchini (nineteen) lead the club in assists followed by three others with seventeen.
The Utica Comets have allowed 142 goals this season which is the fifth-best in the league. Seventy-two of those goals have been on the road, which is the fourth-best total in the AHL. In goal, Akira Schmid has appeared in ten straight games for Utica and is the team’s undisputed starter. He has a record of 17-4-3 with a 2.29 GAA and a save percentage of 0.922% and two shutouts. His GAA ranks fifth in the AHL, while his save percentage is fourth-best. Mareks Mitens is back from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL to serve as Schmid’s backup. he has an AHL record of 5-5-1 with a 3.66 GAA and 0.874 save percentage.
The Belleville Senators have allowed 156 goals this season, which ranks thirteenth overall in the AHL. Seventy-eight of the goals they have allowed has been at home, which is sixteenth in the league. The Senators currently have a trio of goaltenders, with Mats Sogard as the primary starter. Sogard has a record of 13-12-0 with a 3.01 GAA and a save percentage of 0.900. He is joined by Kevin Mandolese, who sports a record of 9-5-0 to go with a GAA of 3.12 and 0.901 save percentage. They are joined by recent PTO signee Logan Flodell, who has appeared in one game and has a GAA of 4.21 to go with a save percentage of 0.889.
With a 21.2% success rate overall on the power play, the Comets rank ninth in the AHL. They have the eighth-best power play on the road, as they have scored sixteen goals out of seventy-three opportunities with the man advantage which is good for a success rate of 21.9%. Fabian Zetterlund leads the Comets in power-play goals with seven, followed by Alexander Holtz with five. Despite the lofty numbers, Utica has not scored a power-play goal in their past three games.
Belleville has the nineteenth best overall power play in the AHL, as they have scored 38 goals on 194 opportunities for a success rate of 19.6%. At home, they are slightly better on the power play as they have a success rate of 20.4% – which ranks seventeenth in the league. Lassi Thomson and Mark Kastelic lead the team in power-play goals with five, followed by Andrew Agozzino and Jake Lucchini with four each.
The Comets and Senators are on the opposite ends of the spectrum on the penalty kill. Utica ranks sixteenth overall in the AHL with a success rate of 80.8%, allowing 32 goals on 167 times shorthanded. On the road, they rank twenty-eighth in the league as they have allowed twenty-one goals out of the eighty times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 73.8%. Despite the overall struggles on the penalty kill, the Comets have not allowed a power-play goal in their last four games. AJ Greer leads the team in shorthanded goals with three, and as a whole, they have scored eight on the season.
Overall, the Senators are fifth in the AHL on the penalty kill, as they have allowed 37 goals out of the 220 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 83.2%. At home, they are ninth in the league on the penalty kill – allowing 17 goals out of the 105 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 83.8%. Belleville has been especially stingy as of late, as they have not allowed a power-play goal in their last three games. The Senators have scored eight shorthanded goals this season, with Cole Reinhardt leading the way with three followed by Logan Shaw with two.
Tuesday night’s game from the CAA Arena in Belleville is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:00 on AHLTV.