Utica Comets vs Bridgeport Islanders Game Preview 03-23-2022

The Utica Comets will be getting for some reinforcments for their lineup when they face the Islanders at home on Wednesday night.

The Utica Comets (35-13-6-1, 77 points, 0.700 points percentage) will be facing a team on Wednesday night that they don’t see that often when they square off against the Bridgeport Islanders (24-25-6-4, 58 points, 0.492 points percentage) at the Adirondack Bank Center. In fact, this is only the second (and last) regular-season meeting between the two teams – the Islanders won the first meeting by a score of 3-2 on December 4th in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Islanders are currently in seventh place in the Atlantic Division.

The Comets are in first place in the Eastern Conference but have struggled as of late, losing three of their last four games. They have been dealing with holes in the roster, with Chase DeLeo and Nolan Foote missing time due to injuries (Ryan Schmelzer might miss Wednesday night’s game as well) and Nate Schnarr having been traded to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday. Then, the New Jersey Devils announced on Wednesday morning they have recalled defenseman Kevin Bahl and forward AJ Greer from Utica. To help fill the roster, Utica has made three recalls from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. According to https://echl.com, the Comets have brought up forwards Tyler Irvine and Patrick Grasso, along with defenseman Tim Theocharidis.

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Irvine has already spent time with the Comets this season having played eleven games for the team. In those games, he posted with one goal and two assists along with eight PIM. Grasso was a part of Comets training camp and played one game for Utica this season and fifty-eight games with Adirondack. He is having a great year for the Thunder, as he has twenty-two goals and twenty-one assists. Theocharidis has just graduated from Arizona State University and has played four games for the Thunder.

Overall, the Comets are fifth in the AHL in team offense with 193 goals scored, and they are fourth in the league in goals scored at home with 101. With the Greer recall and DeLeo injury, the Utica Comets leader list on offense looks a little different. The top five scorers on the team are now as follows:

  • Fabian Zetterlund: 21 goals and 24 assists = 45 points (18th in the AHL in goals)
  • Alexander Holtz: 21 goals and 21 assists = 42 points (20th in the AHL in goals)
  • Reilly Walsh: 7 goals and 28 assists = 35 points
  • Robbie Russo: 3 goals and 24 assists = 27 points
  • Joe Gambardella: 10 goals and 14 assists = 24 points

With Greer in New Jersey, if DeLeo, Foote, and Schmelzer are back in the lineup on Wednesday night, they slot back into the third, fourth, and fifth spots on this list. Regardless, Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in shots with 152 and game-winning goals with five.

Utica Comets Comeback Falls Just Short on Monday Night

Bridgeport slots in at eighteenth in the American Hockey League in overall team offense with 168 goals scored, and they are twenty-fourth in the AHL in team offense on the road having scored 77 goals. Leading the Islanders offense are:

  • Chris Terry: 21 goals and 24 assists = 45 points (17th in the AHL in goals)
  • Otto Koivula: 10 goals and 29 assists = 39 points
  • Andy Andreoff: 15 goals and 22 assists = 37 points
  • Arnaud Durandeau: 13 goals and 19 assists = 32 points
  • Simon Holmstrom: 8 goals and 22 assists = 30 points

Terry leads the Islanders in shots with 154 and NHL veteran Richard Panik leads the team in game-winning goals with four.

The Comets rank fourth overall in the AHL in goals allowed with 150 and have given up 73 of those at home – which ranks seventh in the league. Akira Schmid is the clear number one goaltender for the team and has a record of 18-5-3 with a 2.31 GAA and a save percentage of 0.920. He is fourth in the league in GAA, sixth in save percentage and eighth in wins. Schmid is backed up by Mareks Mitens, who has a record of 5-5-2 to go with a GAA of 3.51 and a 0.882 save percentage. Mitens was in goal for the Comets on Monday night against the Cleveland Monsters.

The Islanders rank twenty-second in the AHL in overall team defense, allowing 180 goals, and are seventeenth on the road – surrendering 89 goals away from home. Their goaltending tandem is made up of Jakub Skarek and former New Jersey Devil Cory Schneider. Skarek has a record of 15-11-4 with a 3.01 GAA and 0.904 save percentage. His fifteen wins rank thirteenth in the league. Schneider is carrying a record of 8-10-3 with a GAA of 2.85 and a save percentage of 0.916. Schneider’s save percentage is the twelfth best in the AHL.

The Utica Comets are eighth overall on the power play, scoring 36 goals on 173 power-play opportunities for a success rate of 20.8%. At home, they are twelfth in the league – scoring 19 goals on 92 power-play opportunities for a success rate of 20.7%. Zetterlund leads the team in power-play goals with eight, followed by Holtz who has five. Reilly Walsh, Robbie Russo, and Chase DeLeo are tied for the team lead in power-play assists with eleven.

Overall, the Bridgeport Islanders have a success rate of 14.8% on the power play, scoring 28 goals in 189 opportunities – which ranks twenty-eighth in the league. On the road, they rank twenty-fourth, as they have scored 15 goals in 89 power-play opportunities for a success rate of 16.9%. Terry leads the team in power-play goals with six, followed by Austin Czarnik who has four. Terry also leads the Islanders in power-play assists with eleven.

The Comets rank thirteenth on the overall penalty kill in the AHL, allowing 32 goals in the 174 total times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 81.6%. At home they have a success rate of 87.4%, allowing 11 goals on the 87 times they have been shorthanded at the Adirondack Bank Center, which ranks second in the AHL. The Comets have also not allowed a power-play goal in seven consecutive games. They have eight shorthanded goals this season, with AJ Greer scoring three of them and five other players having one each.

The Islanders have an overall success rate of 82.3% on the penalty kill, allowing 35 goals in the 198 times they have been shorthanded which ranks ninth in the league. On the road, they are third in the AHL with a success rate of 85.1%, allowing 15 power-play goals in the 101 times they have been shorthanded. As a team, they have scored four shorthanded goals, with Cole Bardreau scoring three of them.

Wednesday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm EDT. The radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:00 on WPNY and AHLTV.

In this episode, the co-host of the Calder Farmstead an AHL Podcast Sean O’Brien joins the show! The Calder Farmstead is a podcast that covers everything AHL, we’ll chat about the Utica Comets, their strengths and weaknesses, the NHL North, favorites to come out of the Eastern and Western Conferences, Sean’s AHL analytical work, and much more!

Check out Sean’s AHL, ECHL, and SPHL analytical work at http://bit.ly/dumpandchase – you won’t find analytics for the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL like this anywhere else! You can also visit The Calder Farmstead’s linktree page at linktr.ee/thecalderfarmstead.

Subscribe to The Calder Farmstead an AHL Podcast and Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms! Check out https://martysillegalstick.com for daily articles and content covering Mohawk Valley (NY) hockey! Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast: By the Fans, For the Fans

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