Utica Comets at Belleville Senators Game Preview 04-08-2022

For the Utica Comets it’s very simple, if they win they’re in – the AHL Playoffs that is.

The Utica Comets open a two-game Canadian road trip on Friday night when they visit the CAA Arena in Belleville, Ontario to take on the Belleville Senators. The Comets enter the game in first place in the entire Eastern Conference with a record of 39-16-7-1, 86 points, 0.683 points percentage. The Senators are clinging to the fifth and final playoff spot in the North Division with a record of 32-25-4-0, 68 points, 0.557 points percentage. The Comets have won three of the four games the teams have played this season but dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime to the Senators two nights ago at the Adirondack Bank Center (for more on that game, please click here: Utica Comets vs Belleville Senators 04-06-2022 Three Observations).

For the Comets, Friday night’s game is about more than revenge for their defeat on Wednesday night. If they win in regulation, they will become the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot and take a big step toward securing the North Division crown as well. Including Friday night, Utica has nine games remaining in their regular-season schedule.

With a playoff spot on the line, here is the “tale of the tape” for Friday night’s Utica Comets at Belleville Senators game.

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Offense.

The Comets are third overall in the AHL in total goals scored with 221. On the road, they are sixth in the American Hockey League with 108 goals scored. Utica’s top two leading scorers, Fabian Zetterlund and AJ Greer were recalled to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and Frederik Gauthier has been out with an injury as well (although there is hope Gauthier could return during this trip), so Utica will need to use a “next man up” mentality to produce offense. With Zetterlund and Greer gone for now, here are the leading scorers for the Comets:

  • Chase DeLeo: 16 goals and 33 assists = 49 points (he is 17th in the AHL in assists).
  • Alexander Holtz: 23 goals and 22 assists = 45 points.
  • Reilly Walsh: 7 goals and 30 assists = 37 points.
  • Frederik Gauthier: 8 goals and 24 assists = 32 points.
  • 3 goals and 28 assists = 31 points.

If Gauthier doesn’t play, Nolan Foote (12 goals and 17 assists = 29 points). enters the list. With Zetterlund in New Jersey, Alexander Holtz leads the team in shots and Graeme Clarke leads in game-winning goals with three.

AJ Greer and Fabian Zetterlund Make an Impact for the NJ Devils

The Senators are currently eighteenth in the AHL in total goals scored with 187. At home, they have scored 90 goals – which ranks twenty-sixth in the league. The leading scorers for Belleville are as follows:

  • Jake Lucchini: 19 goals and 24 assists = 43 points.
  • Egor Sokolov: 18 goals and 24 assists = 42 points.
  • Zach Senyshyn: 19 goals and 14 assists = 33 points.
  • Andrew Agozzino: 16 goals and 16 assists = 32 points.
  • Roby Jarventie: 11 goals and 21 assists = 32 points.

Lucchini leads the team in shots with 144 closely followed by Sokolov and Agozzino who have 142 each. Senyshyn leads the Senators in game-winning goals with five.

Defense and Goaltending.

Utica is sixth in the AHL in total goals allowed, having yielded 173. On the road, they have allowed 88 goals which rank fifth in the league. The Comets goaltending tandem is made up of:

  • Akira Schmid has a record 20-7-4 with a GAA of 2.52, a 0.914 save percentage, and two shutouts. He ranks 7th in the AHL in wins, 13th in GAA, 15th in save percentage and 14th in shutouts.
  • Mareks Mitens has a record of 7-6-2 with a GAA of 3.15 and a save percentage of 0.895.

Belleville has allowed a total of 188 goals, which ranks fourteenth in the league. At home, they are thirteenth in the AHL, where they have allowed 95 goals. The Senators have three goaltenders on their roster and are as follows:

  • Filip Gustavsson has a record of 6-4-1 with a GAA of 2.57, a save percentage of 0.910, and one shutout.
  • Kevin Mandolese has a record of 9-5-0 with a GAA of 3.12 and a save percentage of 0.901.
  • Michael McNiven has a record of 4-4-2 with a GAA of 4.01, a 0.871 save percentage, and one shutout.
Subscribe to the Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast YouTube channel for videos like this and every episode of the show!

Special Teams.

The Comets are fourth overall in the American Hockey League on the power-play, scoring 47 goals in 201 overall opportunities for a success rate of 23.4%. On the road, they have scored 25 power-play goals in 96 opportunities for a success rate of 26.0% – which ranks second in the league. With Zetterlund in New Jersey, Alexander Holtz leads the Comets in power-play goals with six followed closely by Chase DeLeo who has five. DeLeo, Reilly Walsh, and Robbie Russo lead the team in power-play assists with thirteen each. DeLeo also leads the Comets in overall power-play points with eighteen.

The Senators are sixteenth overall in the AHL on the power-play, scoring 46 goals in 234 opportunities for a success rate of 19.7%. At home, they have scored 22 power-play goals in 119 opportunities for a success rate of 18.5% – which ranks twenty-first in the league. Lassi Thomson and Jake Lucchini lead the club in power-play goals with six each and Zac Leslie leads in power-play assists with eleven. Roby Jarventie and Egor Sokolov lead Belleville in overall power-play points with thirteen.

Utica ranks fourteenth in the league on the overall penalty kill, allowing 37 goals in 199 times shorthanded for a success rate of 81.4%. On the road they have allowed 24 goals in the 99 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 75.8% – which ranks twenty-seventh in the AHL. The Comets are third overall in the American Hockey League in shorthanded goals with eleven. With AJ Greer in New Jersey, Frederik Gauthier and Aarne Talvitie lead the Comets in shorthanded goals with two each.

Belleville is the third-best overall penalty-killing team in the league, yielding 41 goals in the 255 overall times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 83.9%. At home, they are sixth in the AHL on the penalty kill, allowing 19 goals in the 120 times they have been shorthanded. The Senators have scored nine shorthanded goals this season, which puts them seventh overall. Cole Reinhardt leads the team in shorthanded goals with three – which also ranks sixteenth overall in the AHL.

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


In this episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast, Joe Patarino of the Making It Reign Podcast joins the show to talk central NY and AHL hockey! Joe discusses his days playing college hockey for the Morrisville State Mustangs, the Utica Pioneers star he once coached, and how he became an LA Kings fan living in Rochester, NY!

Then we take a look at the AHL Western Conference, specifically the Pacific Division! We discuss the Ontario Reign, Stockton Heat, a team that Comets fans are familiar with – the Abbotsford Canucks, who are the potential powerhouses from the West that could make the Calder Cup Final, why AHL fans in the East should pay attention to the Western Conference, we compare the Eastern and Western Conference, and much more!

We end the show discussing the week that was for the Utica Comets, the week ahead, their magic number, who are the next Comets that could get a look in New Jersey, and finally a quick update on the SPHL!

Subscribe to both Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast and Making It Reign (under the Hockey Royalty banner) on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms! Be sure to check https://martysillegalstick.com for new daily Mohawk Valley hockey content!

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