The Cleveland Monsters visit the Adirondack Bank Center on Monday night to take on the Utica Comets in a North Division battle.
The Utica Comets (35-13-6-0, 76 points, 0.704 points percentage, first place North Division) will be playing a rare Monday night game when they host the Cleveland Monsters 21-24-8-4, 54 points, 0.474 points percentage, last-place North Division). At home, the Comets are 19-6-3-0 for 41 points and a 0.732 points percentage, while the Monsters are 12-11-4-3 for 31 points and 0.507 points percentage on the road. Although the Comets have won four of the previous five meetings between the two teams this season, the Monsters did defeat the Comets the last time they played by a score of 2-1 on February 12th in Utica.
The Comets have scored 191 overall goals this season, which is the fifth most in the American Hockey League. At home, they have scored 99 goals which are the sixth most in the league. The top five scorers for the Comets are as follows:
- Fabian Zetterlund: 20 goals and 23 assists = 43 points
- Alexander Holtz: 21 goals and 21 assists = 42 points (leads the team in goals)
- Chase DeLeo: 12 goals and 29 assists = 41 points (leads the team in assists)
- AJ Greer: 17 goals and 23 assists = 40 points
- Reilly Walsh: 7 goals and 28 assists = 35 points
Zetterlund also leads the team in shots with 146 and game-winning goals with five.
The Monsters have scored 162 goals overall which put them at twenty-third in the AHL. On the road, Cleveland has scored 89 goals which rank eighth in the AHL. The top five scorers for the Monsters are as follows:
- Jake Christiansen: 9 goals and 28 assists = 37 points
- Tyler Angle: 8 goals and 22 assists = 30 points
- Justin Scott: 13 goals and 14 assists = 27 points
- Tyler Sikura: 11 goals and 15 assists = 26 points
- Kevin Stenlund: 8 goals and 17 assists = 25 points
Former Utica Comet Brendan Gaunce has 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points which would rank him third on the team, but he is currently playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL. Christiansen leads the Monsters in shots with 131 and Sikura leads the team in game-winning goals with four.
The Utica Comets ranked third in the AHL in overall team defense, having allowed 145 goals. Broken down even further, they have allowed seventy of those goals at home, which puts them at seventh in the league. Akira Schmid is the unquestioned starter in goal for the Comets, having started eight straight games. He has a record of 18-5-3 with a 2.31 GAA and a 0.920 save percentage to go with two shutouts. Schmid ranks fourth in the AHL in GAA, sixth in save percentage and eighth in wins. He is backed up by Mareks Mitens, who has a record of 5-5-1 with a GAA of 3.66 and 0.874 save percentage. He hasn’t played a game for the Comets since February 26th.
The Cleveland Monsters have allowed 196 goals overall this season, which ranks twenty-eighth in the AHL. They are twenty-eighth in team defense on the road as well where they have surrendered 104 goals. Their current goaltending tandem is made up of Jet Greaves and Cam Johnson. Greaves has a record of 9-7-2 with a GAA of 2.72 and 0.908 save percentage. Johnson is 3-4-2 this season with a 3.10 GAA and 0.875 save percentage.
The Comets are eighth in the AHL on the power play, having scoredn36 goals on 173 opportunities for a a success rate of 20.8%. At home, Utica has scored 19 goals on 92 power play opportunities for a 20.7% success rate which ranks twetfth in the league. Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in power play goals with seven, followed closely by Alexander Holtz who has five. Chase DeLeo and Reilly Walsh lead the club in power play assists with eleven, and Robbie Russo is right behind them with ten.
The Monsters have a success rate of 16.4% on the power play scoring 31 goals on 189 opportunities, which ranks twenty-seventh in the American Hockey League. On the road they are much better with the man advantage than their overall numbers suggest. They have scored 22 power play goals on 94 chances for a success rate of 23.4% which is seventh best in the league. Kevin Stenlund leads the team in power play goals with five and right behind him is Josh Dunne with four. Jake Christiansen leads the way in power play assists for the Monsters with ten and Stenlund ranks second in that category with seven.
The Comets penalty killing unit has seen significant improvement as of late, as they have not allowed a power play goal in six consecutive games. Overall they have a success rate of 81.2%, allowing 32 goals in the 174 times they have been shorthanded which ranks thirteenth in the AHL. At home they are second in the league with a success rate of 87.4%, allowing only 11 goals in the 87 times they have been shorthanded. The Comets have scored eight shorthanded goals this season and AJ Greer leads the team with three. Greer ranks ninth in the AHL in shorthanded goals.
The Monsters rank 29th in the league on the overall penalty kill, allowing 52 goals in the 218 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 76.1%. On the road they are thirtieth in the AHL on the penalty kill, allowing 32 goals in the 120 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 73.3%. The Monsters have scored nine shorthanded goals this season led by Carson Meyer who has three of them. Meyer is also ranked thirteenth in the league in shorthanded goals.
The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 pm EDT. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL), and the television broadcast begins at 7:00 on WPNY and AHLTV.