The Utica Comets travel to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY on Friday night to finish their regular-season series with the Americans.
Friday night’s game between the Utica Comets (42-19-8-1, 93 points, 0.664 points percentage) and Rochester Americans (36-29-7-3, 82 points, 0.547 points percentage) is huge for one team, and not so much so for the other one. The Utica Comets have already locked up first place overall in the Eastern Conference and cannot win the overall AHL regular-season title. The Americans, on the other hand, must win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive – if they lose they will be eliminated from the playoff race.
The Comets will be playing this game at less than full power. Fabian Zetterlund, Kevin Bahl, Nolan Foote, Nikita Okhotiuk, Reilly Walsh, and Alexander Holtz – all of whom will finish the regular season on Friday night with the New Jersey Devils and will return to Utica in time for the start of the Calder Cup Playoffs. They will also most likely be without Frederik Gauthier, who has missed most of the month of April with an injury. To help fill the holes in the lineup, the Comets signed Shane Harper to a PTO on Friday. Harper played this season with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, and he led the team in scoring with fifty-two points.
The Americans received a boost to their lineup on Thursday when the Buffalo Sabres re-assigned defenseman Casey Fitzgerald to the team. According to the AHL Media Kit for this game, Aaron Dell is also on the Rochester roster even though the transactions page reports he was recalled by the Sabres on Thursday. Otherwise, the Rochester Americans have not experienced any other recalls to the NHL in over one month’s time.
The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans have squared off eleven times so far this season, with the Comets winning six of those games. Their last meeting was exactly one week ago, which resulted in a 3-2 overtime victory for Utica at the Adirondack Bank Center. Here is the tale of the tape for Friday night’s twelfth and final regular-season matchup between the two clubs.
- Goals For (overall): 241 – 6th overall in the AHL.
- Goals For (away): 119 – 6th overall in the AHL.
Leading scorers (does not include the players currently with the Devils):
- Chase DeLeo: 18 goals and 35 assists = 53 points.
- AJ Greer: 22 goals and 29 assists = 51 points.
- Robbie Russo: 3 goals and 32 assists = 35 points.
- Ryan Schmelzer: 18 goals and 14 assists = 32 points.
- Frederik Gauthier: 8 goals and 24 assists = 32 points.
Chase DeLeo currently leads the team in shots with 164 and Graeme Clarke currently leads in game-winning goals with three.
- Goals For (overall): 246 – 3rd overall in the AHL.
- Goals For (home): 124 – 7th overall in the AHL.
- JJ Peterka: 25 goals and 39 assists = 64 points.
- Jack Quinn: 25 goals and 34 assists = 59 points.
- Michael Mersch: 26 goals and 27 assists = 53 points.
- Arttu Ruotsalainen: 18 goals and 33 assists = 51 points.
- Ethan Prow: 10 goals and 38 assists = 48 points.
Peterka leads the team in shots with 219, while Quinn leads in game-winning goals with six.
Defense and Goaltending.
- Goals Against (overall): 196 – 6th overall in the AHL.
- Goals Against (away): 104 – 7th overall in the AHL.
- Nico Daws has a record of 13-3-2 with a GAA of 2.39, a 0.918 save percentage, and one shutout.
- Akira Schmid has a record of 22-8-5 with a GAA of 2.54, a 0.913 save percentage, and two shutouts.
- Mareks Mitens has a record of 7-8-2 with a GAA of 3.31 and a 0.888 save percentage.
- Goals Against (overall): 269 – 30th overall in the AHL.
- Goals Against (home): 126 – 28th overall in the AHL.
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has a record of 14-14-6 with a GAA of 3.30, a 0.899 save percentage, and one shutout.
- Aaron Dell has a record of 12-7-1 with a GAA of 2.97, a 0.908 save percentage, and no shutouts.
- Corbin Kaczperski has a record of 1-2-0, a GAA of 3.55, a 0.870 save percentage, and no shutouts.
Special Teams – Power Play.
- Overall: 21.6% (49 goals in 227 opportunities) – 5th overall in the AHL.
- Away: 23.9% (26 goals in 109 opportunities) – 7th overall in the AHL.
Chase DeLeo leads the Comets in power-play points with eighteen. DeLeo and Robbie Russo lead the current roster in power-play assists with thirteen, while AJ Greer leads the current squad in power-play goals with five.
- Overall: 23.4% (64 goals in 274 opportunities) – 3rd overall in the AHL.
- Home: 24.3% (33 goals in 136 opportunities) – 2nd overall in the AHL.
Oskari Laaksonen leads the Americans in power-play points with twenty-seven and power-play assists with twenty-three. Jack Quinn leads the team in power-play goals with ten.
Special Teams – Penalty Kill.
- Overall: 81.8% (40 goals allowed in 220 times shorthanded) – 10th overall in the AHL.
- Away: 75.5% (27 goals allowed in 110 times shorthanded) – 28th overall in the AHL.
- Shorthanded goals scored: 13 – 3rd overall in the AHL.
AJ Greer leads the Comets in shorthanded goals scored with four.
- Overall: 79.4% (54 goals allowed in 262 times shorthanded) – 23rd overall in the AHL.
- Home: 80.5% (26 goals allowed in 113 times shorthanded) – 13th overall in the AHL.
- Shorthanded goals scored: 4 – 29th overall in the AHL.
Four Amerks have scored one shorthanded goal each.
Friday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 pm EDT. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL), and the television broadcast begins at 7:05 on AHLTV.