The North Division champions Utica Comets return home from Cleveland to face the Rochester Americans on Friday night.
The Utica Comets (41-19-8-1, 91 points, 0.659 points percentage) and their fans can take a deep breath. That’s because the wait to clinch the North Division regular-season crown is now over after they took three of four points in a two-game series against the Cleveland Monsters on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. They can now turn their attention to clinching home-ice advantage throughout the AHL playoffs, as they lead the Providence Bruins and Springfield Thunderbirds for that honor as well with just over one week remaining in the regular season.
The Comets are still without Fabian Zetterlund, Kevin Bahl, and now Nikita Okhotiuk who is still with the New Jersey Devils (congratulations to Nikita on scoring his first NHL goal in his first NHL game on Thursday night). They will also most likely not have Frederik Gauthier on Friday night either, as he has missed most of the month of April due to an injury. Help, however, is on the way.
Utica welcomed AJ Greer back on Wednesday night after he was reassigned to the team by the Devils. New Jersey has also announced that Nico Daws has been reassigned to the Comets after he had a strong showing in the NHL. Getting Daws back is huge for the Comets, as it gives the team a chance to get Akira Schmid some rest and it restores the goaltending tandem that the was the best in the American Hockey League through the first half of the season.
None of this will matter to their opponents on Friday night though. The Rochester Americans (36-27-6-3, 81 points, 0.563 points percentage) enter the game in fifth place in the North Division and are embroiled in a very tight race for a spot in the playoffs. The Comets will be once again facing a team fighting desperately to get in the playoffs, so let’s take a look at the tale of the tape between the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans.
- Goals For (overall): 238 – 4th overall in the AHL.
- Goals For (home): 119 – 7th overall in the AHL.
- Chase DeLeo: 18 goals and 35 assists = 53 points.
- Alexander Holtz: 25 goals and 25 assists = 50 points. Holtz is 3rd among AHL rookies in goals, 7th in points, and 16th in assists.
- AJ Greer: 22 goals and 28 assists = 50 points.
- Reilly Walsh: 8 goals and 32 assists = 40 points. Walsh is 8th in both points and assists among AHL defensemen.
- Robbie Russo: 3 goals and 31 assists = 34 points. Russo is 11th among AHL defensemen in assists and 20th in points.
Alexander Holtz leads the Comets in shots with 162. Holtz, Reilly Walsh, and Graeme Clarke lead the club in game-winning goals with three each.
- Goals For (overall): 242 – 2nd overall in the AHL.
- Goals For (away): 120 – 5th overall in the AHL.
- JJ Peterka: 24 goals and 39 assists = 63 points. Peterka is 10th in the AHL in assists, 11th in points, and 6th in shots.
- Jack Quinn: 25 goals and 32 assists = 57 points. Quinn is 20th in the AHL in both goals and points.
- Michael Mersch: 26 goals and 27 assists = 53 points. Mersch is 17th in the AHL in goals.
- Arttu Ruotsaiainen: 18 goals and 32 assists = 50 points.
- Ethan Prow: 10 goals and 36 assists = 46 points. Prow is 3rd among AHL defensemen in points, 4th in assists, and 8th in goals.
Peterka leads the Americans in shots with 208. Quinn leads the club in game-winning goals with 6.
Defense and Goaltending.
- Goals Against (overall): 194 -7th overall in the AHL.
- Goals Against (home): 90 – 7th overall in the AHL.
- Nico Daws has a record of 12-3-2 with a 2.42 GAA, a 0.918 save percentage, and one shutout. Daws does not have enough AHL games in to qualify for the leaders lists.
- Akira Schmid has a record of 22-8-5 with a 2.54 GAA, a 0.913 save percentage, and two shutouts. Schmid is 6th in the AHL in wins, 13th in GAA, 16th in save percentage, and 15th in shutouts.
- Mareks Mitens has a record of 7-8-2 with a 3.31 GAA, and a 0.888 save percentage.
- Goals Against (overall): 260 – 30th overall in the AHL.
- Goals Against (away): 138 – 31st in the AHL.
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has a record of 14-13-5 with a GAA of 3.31, a 0.899 save percentage, and one shutout.
- Aaron Dell has a record of 12-6-1 with a 3.02 GAA, a 0.907 save percentage, and no shutouts.
- Overall: 21.4% (48 goals in 224 power-play opportunities) 5th overall in the AHL.
- Home: 19.1% (22 goals in 115 power-play opportunities) 19th overall in the AHL.
Chase DeLeo leads the Comets in power-play points with eighteen. Alexander Holtz leads in power-play goals with six, while Reilly Walsh leads the team in power-play assists with fourteen.
- Overall: 24.0% (63 goals in 263 power-play opportunities) 3rd overall in the AHL.
- Away: 23.7% (31 goals in 131 power-play opportunities) 7th overall in the AHL.
Oskari Laaksonen leads the Americans in power-play points with twenty-six and assists with twenty-two. Jack Quinn leads the team in power-play goals with ten.
Special Teams/Penalty Kill.
- Overall: 81.6% (40 goals allowed in 217 times shorthanded) 10th overall in the AHL.
- Home: 87.9% (13 goals allowed in 107 times shorthanded) 2nd overall in the AHL.
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 12 – 5th overall in the AHL.
AJ Greer leads the team in shorthanded goals with four.
- Overall: 80.0% (51 goals allowed in 255 times shorthanded) 20th overall in the AHL.
- Away: 80.9% (25 goals allowed in 131 times shorthanded) 14th overall in the AHL.
- Shorthanded Goals Scored: 4 – 28th overall in the AHL.
Four skaters have one shorthanded goal each for Rochester.
Friday night’s game at the Adirondack Bank Center is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm EDT. Radio coverage starts with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:00 pm on WPNY and AHLTV.