Utica Comets at Providence Bruins Game Preview 04-30-2022

The Utica Comets travel to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI to face the Bruins in what will be both teams’ regular-season finales.

The Utica Comets (42-20-8-1, 93 points, 0.655 points percentage) and Providence Bruins (36-24-5-6, 83 points, 0.585 points percentage) are both assured their spots in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Comets have clinched the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and will play the winner of the North Division’s best three-play-in round between the fourth and fifth place teams in the division – those teams will be determined by the end of play on Saturday. The Bruins are locked into third place in the Atlantic Division and will play the sixth place Bridgeport Islanders in the first round.

Nevertheless, the two teams will meet on Saturday night in a game that was originally scheduled for December 5th. Both teams had top players returned to them from their NHL parent clubs in the past twenty-four hours, but it is unclear if any of them will play in this game. The Comets could also possibly see Tyce Thompson return to the lineup, and will also welcome recent New Jersey Devils signee Chase Stillman to the team as well. With that said, here is the tale of the tape for Saturday night’s Utica Comets vs Providence Bruins game. Note – team leaders will include players who returned to their respective clubs within the past twenty-four hours, regardless of whether they will play tonight or not.

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Offense.

Utica

  • Goals For (overall): 242 – 5th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (away): 120 – 6th overall in the AHL.

Leading scorers:

  • Chase DeLeo: 19 goals and 35 assists = 54 points.
  • Fabian Zetterlund: 24 goals and 25 assists = 52 points.
  • AJ Greer: 22 goals and 30 assists = 52 points.
  • Alexander Holtz: 26 goals and 25 assists = 51 points.
  • Reilly Walsh: 9 goals and 34 assists = 43 points.

Fabian Zetterlund leads the Comets in shots with 175, and game-winning goals with seven.

Providence

  • Goals For (overall): 197 – 28th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (home): 101 – 29th overall in the AHL.

Leading scorers:

  • Cameron Hughes: 14 goals and 31 assists = 45 points.
  • Steven Fogarty: 12 goals and 30 assists = 42 points.
  • Oskar Steen: 15 goals and 20 assists = 35 points.
  • Jack Studnicka: 10 goals and 25 assists = 35 points.
  • Justin Brazeau: 15 goals and 16 assists = 31 points.

Cameron Hughes leads the Bruins in shots with 156, while Oskar Steen leads the team in game-winning goals with five.

Defense and Goaltending.

Utica

  • Goals Against (overall): 204 – 8th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (away): 112 – 13th overall in the AHL.

Goaltending:

  • Akira Schmid has a record of 22-8-5 with a GAA of 2.60, a 0.911 save percentage, and two shutouts. Schmid is 7th in the AHL in wins, 14th in GAA and shutouts, and 16th in save percentage.
  • Nico Daws has a record of 13-4-2 with a GAA of 2.57, a 0.913 save percentage, and two shutouts.
  • Mareks Mitens has a record of 7-8-2 with a GAA of 3.31, a 0.888 save percentage, and no shutouts.

Providence

  • Goals Against (overall): 188 – 2nd overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (home): 89 – 2nd overall in the AHL.

Goaltending:

  • Kyle Keyser has a record of 11-14-7 with a GAA of 2.75, a 0.908 save percentage, and one shutout.
  • Troy Grosenick has a record of 16-6-4 with a GAA of 2.00, a 0.933 save percentage, and three shutouts. Grosenick is 1st in the AHL in both GAA and save percentage, and 6th in shutouts.
  • Brandon Bussi has a record of 3-1-0 with a GAA of 2.43, a 0.927 save percentage, and one shutout.

Mohawk Valley Hockey Club Seeks Its Own Rink

Special Teams – Power Play.

Utica

  • Overall: 21.4% (49 goals in 229 opportunities) – 5th overall in the AHL.
  • Away: 23.4% (26 goals in 111 opportunities) 7th overall in the AHL.

Chase DeLeo leads the Comets in power-play points with eighteen. Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in power-play goals with eight, while Reilly Walsh leads in power-play assists with fifteen.

Providence

  • Overall: 17.6% (52 goals in 295 opportunities) – 26th overall in the AHL.
  • Home: 17.0% (26 goals in 153 opportunities) – 22nd overall in the AHL.

Cameron Hughes leads the Bruins in power-play points with nineteen. Steven Fogarty leads the team in power-play goals with six, while Hughes leads in power-play assists with eighteen.

Special Teams – Penalty Kill.

Utica

  • Overall: 81.6% (41 goals allowed in 223 times shorthanded) – 11th overall in the AHL.
  • Away: 75.2% (28 goals allowed in 113 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, which is also fourth in the American Hockey League.

Providence

  • Overall: 84.8% (42 goals allowed in 276 times shorthanded) – 3rd overall in the AHL.
  • Home: 86.0% (20 goals allowed in 143 times shorthanded) – 3rd overall in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded goals scored: 8 – 15th overall in the AHL.

Cameron Hughes leads the Bruins in shorthanded goals with four, which is also fifth in the American Hockey League.

Saturday night’s Utica Comets at Providence Bruins game is scheduled to start at 7:05 pm EDT. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:05 on AHLTV.

This episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast features our NHL Playoff Preview show! Now that the field is set, we’ll discuss each first-round matchup and who we think will advance from each one. We also give an update on the Utica Comets and discuss a very big rink project by the Mohawk Valley Hockey Club and the EMPowerPlay Project! How do your playoff picks compare to ours?

Help us grow the show by subscribing on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

Utica Comets vs Providence Bruins Game Preview 03-27-2022

It’s first place vs first place as the Utica Comets begin a five games in seven days stretch on Sunday afternoon in Providence against the Bruins

The Eastern Conference-leading Utica Comets (36-14-6-1, 79 points, 0.693 points percentage) have experienced some turbulence lately. Their roster had been dramatically changed between injuries (Ryan Schmelzer, Nolan Foote, and Chase DeLeo), trades (Nate Schnarr), and NHL call ups (Kevin Bahl and AJ Greer). It resulted in the team falling into a rut where they lost four of five games that included three in a row.

They appeared to have snapped out of that rut on Friday night with a 3-1 win at home against their arch rival the Syracuse Crunch. Fabian Zetterlund led the way with two goals, and the team appeared to be firing on all cylinders. For more details from the game please click here Utica Comets Earn a Big Bounce Back Win on Friday Night.

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Sunday afternoon’s opponent is the Atlantic Division-leading Providence Bruins (30-17-3-6, 69 points, 0.616 points percentage). The Bruins have won eight of their last ten games at home and hold the narrowest of leads over the second-place Springfield Thunderbirds (0.615 points percentage) for the lead in their Division. The Providence Bruins are of course the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins.

The Comets are currently fifth in the AHL in overall scoring with 197 goals scored. Away from the Adirondack Bank Center, they are seventh in the lead in goals scored with 92. The top five scorers for Utica are:

  • Fabian Zetterlund: 23 goals and 24 assists = 47 points.
  • Alexander Holtz: 21 goals and 21 assists = 42 points.
  • Chase DeLeo: 12 goals and 29 assists = 41 points.
  • Reilly Walsh: 7 goals and 28 assists = 35 points.
  • Robbie Russo: 3 goals and 28 assists = 31 points.

Fabian Zetterlund still leads the team in shots in 161, although Alexander Holtz holds a slight edge in average shots per game (3.12 to 3.03). With his game-winning goal on Friday night, Zetterlund extended his team lead in that category to six.

The Bruins rank twenty-second in the AHL in overall goals scored with 169. At their home rink of the Dunkin Donuts Center, they have scored 80 goals, which ranks twenty-sixth in the league. The scorers for Providence are:

  • Cameron Hughes: 14 goals and 30 assists = 44 points.
  • Steven Fogarty: 10 goals and 26 assists = 36 points.
  • Jesper Froden: 13 goals and 16 assists = 29 points.
  • Samuel Asselin: 8 goals and 20 assists = 28 points.
  • Oskar Steen: 14 goals and 13 assists = 27 points.

Jack Studnicka and Zach Senyshyn would be on this list, but Studnicka is currently with the Boston Bruins and Senyshyn was traded to the Ottawa Senators. Chris Wagner leads the team in shots with 135, With Senyshyn in Boston, Steen has sole possession of the team lead in game-winning goals with five.

Defensivley, the Comets rank fourth in the AHL, surrending 155 goals overall. On the road, they have given up 77 goals which is the third least in the league. The Utica goaltending tandem consists of Akira Schmid and Mareks Mitens, with Schmid getting the majority of the starts. He has a record of 18-6-3. with a 2.38 GAA, a 0.918 save percentage, and two shutouts. He ranks eighth in the league in wins, ninth in GAA, and tenth in save percentage. Mareks Mitens has a record of 6-5-2 with a GAA of 3.32 and a save percentage of 0.885.

The Bruins are a defensive juggernaut as well, ranking third in the AHL in overall goals allowed with 149. They are the best defensive team in the league at home, allowing only 61 goals. Troy Grosenick and Kyle Keyser man the goaltenders crease for the Bruins, with Grosenick being one of the best goalteners in the AHL. He has a record of 14-3-3 with a GAA of 1.98, a 0.930 save percentage, and three shutouts. He ranks first in the league in GAA and save percentage, third in shutouts, and seventeenth in wins.

The always entertaining Neil Villapiano from the Devils State of Mind Podcast joins us for a return appearance to Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast! We’ve got a lot to talk about between the NHL Trade Deadline, the future of the NJ Devils, the Utica Comets, his latest shows for The Hockey Podcast Network, and much more!

The Comets rank twelfth in the American Hockey League overall on the power play, scoring 36 goals on 179 opportunities for a success rate of 20.1%. On the road they have scored seventeen power play goals in eighty-one chances for a success rate of 21.0%, ranking ninth in the AHL. Zetterlund continues to lead the team in power play goals with eight, with Holtz in second with five. Chase DeLeo, Robbie Russo, and Reilly Walsh all lead the team in power play assists with eleven.

The Bruins rank twenty-first in the AHL overall on the power play, converting 44 of 235 power play chances for a success rate of 18.7%. At home, they have scored 20 power play goals on 114 opportunities for a success rate of 17.5% – ranking twenty-third in the league. Jesper Froden leads the team in power play goals with seven followed by Steven Fogarty with five. Cameron Hughes leads the Bruins in power play assists by a wide margin with seventeen.

The Comets have allowed 33 goals on 180 overall times shorthanded for a success rate of 81.7%, ranking eleventh in the American Hockey League. On the road they have struggled a bit on the penalty kill as they have allowed 21 goals on 87 times shorthanded for a success rate of 75.9% – which ranks twenty-seventh in the league. The Comets have scored nine shorthanded goals this season, led by AJ Greer with three and Aarne Talvitie with two.

Overall, the Bruins have the second best penalty killing unit in the league – allowing 31 goals in the 207 times they have been shorthanded for a success rate of 85.0%. At home, they have allowed only 13 goals on 96 times shorthanded for a success rate of 86.5% – which ranks third in the AHL. Providence has scored seven shorthanded goals this season, with Cameron Hughes scoring four of them. Hughes ranks third in the league overall in shorthanded goals.

Sunday afternoon’s game is scheduled to start at 3:05 pm EDT. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 3:05 on AHLTV.

Utica Comets vs Providence Bruins Game Preview

The Utica Comets will welcome a familiar face back when they face Providence at the Adirondack Bank Center on Tuesday night.

After about five weeks of roster turmoil for the Utica Comets, the band is getting back together again. Alexander Holtz returned to the team first after missing time for the World Junior Championships and the New Jersey Devils Taxi Squad. Shortly after Holtz came back to Utica, the Devils also reassigned Kevin Bahl, Akira Schmid, Nolan Foote, and Nico Daws returned from injury as well – although a complete reunion may have to wait a bit as on Tuesday morning the Devils recalled Schmid after placing Mackenzie Blackwood on injured reserve with a recurring left heel issue.

Another key piece of the Utica Comets roster that has been one of the best teams in the American Hockey League this season will be making his return to the Adirondack Bank Center on Tuesday night, as AJ Greer has been removed from the New Jersey Devils injured reserve list and assigned to the Comets. Before being called up to New Jersey on January 6th, the rugged winger played twenty-two games for Utica, scoring four goals and eleven assists while posting fifty-two PIM’s.

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In the absence of the aforementioned players, the Comets hit a rough patch in the month of January, losing five of their first seven games in the month. A two-game sweep of the Syracuse Crunch last weekend has the team returning to its winning ways and as a result, they once again have the best winning percentage of the AHL. Tuesday night’s opponent, the Providence Bruins, enter the contest in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 17-10-3-1 record and a .613 winning percentage. The two teams have played only once this season, which was a 2-1 overtime victory for the Comets on October 22nd in Utica. For a recap of that game, click on the link Utica Comets defeat the Providence Bruins in overtime.

Utica Comets Complete Weekend Series Sweep Over Syracuse Crunch

The Comets are currently tied for fifth overall in the AHL with the Springfield Thunderbirds in goals scored with 117. Chase DeLeo has been the straw that stirs the offensive drink for Utica – he leads the team in points with thirty-one (seven goals and twenty-four assists) in only twenty-two games played which puts him at number fifteen on the AHL scoring list. Fabian Zetterlund and Nate Schnarr lead the team in goals scored with twelve, but Alexander Holtz is right behind them with eleven. Holtz has been an absolute tear as of late, scoring four goals in his past three games.

The Bruins have scored ninety-nine goals as a team, which puts them at sixteenth in the league. With Steven Fogarty on the Boston Bruins Taxi Squad, Jesper Froden leads the team in points with twenty-one points (eight goals and thirteen assists). Zach Senyshyn is the team’s leading goal scorer with eleven.

The calling card for both the Comets and Bruins has been solid defense, as both teams have allowed only eighty-one goals each – which is the best in the American Hockey League. Even with Schmid going back to New Jersey, the Comets still have Nico Daws in goal – and he has been outstanding this season. Even with missing a month due to a lower-body injury, he has 9-2-1-0 overall record with a 2.51 GAA and .916 save percentage. His GAA ranks tenth in the AHL, while his save percentage comes in at ninth. Daws will be backed up by Brandon Kasel for the foreseeable future.

The Bruins goaltending has been equally up to the task. Troy Grosenick is having an outstanding season in his own right, posting an 8-2-1 record. His 2.28 GAA is fifth in the league and his .917 save percentage is seventh. Grosenick shares the Providence goaltending duties with Kyle Keyser and Jeremy Swayman, who was recently reassigned to the team by Boston.

The Comets and Bruins are in the top half of the AHL in powerplay efficiency. Utica is third at 23.9% (22 for 92), and Providence is twelfth at 19.5% (25 for 128). The Bruins own the second-best penalty-killing units in the league with at 87.4% (15 goals allowed on 119 times shorthanded), while the Comets have slipped to seventeenth at 81.1% (20 goals allowed on 106 times shorthanded).

The game starts at 7:00pm EST. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL), and the television broadcast starts at 7:00 on WPNY and AHLTV.

A Zamboni Time Machine Flashback: Eddie Shore

Photo credit: bostonherald.com

The Zamboni Time Machine is our look at the zany, interesting, and historic look at hockeys glorious past. This Zamboni Time Machine Flashback features a story about the sheer willpower of Hall of Fame defenesman Eddie Shore.

Eddie Shore was one of a kind.

Born in 1902, his Hall of Fame NHL playing career spanned from 1926 to 1940, with fourteen seasons played for the Boston Bruins and his final season spent with the New York Americans. Known for his “win at all costs” attitude, many compared him to baseball’s Ty Cobb, who was similarly successful in his sport and had the same attitude towards it. In his last NHL season, he also played for the Springfield Indians of the then International-American Hockey League (now known as the American Hockey League). Shore’s unique style and attitude would carry over to his time as a team owner, and leave its mark on hockey history. For more on the franchise Shore owned, please click on this link: The franchise(s) history of the Utica Comets.

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As a player and later as a team owner, Eddie Shore was as rough as he was talented. Over the course of his playing career, he broke his back, collarbone, hip, had every tooth knocked out, broke his nose fourteen times, broke his jaw five times, and had over 900 stitches put into various parts of his body. Despite all of this, Shore rarely missed a game.

In Shore’s era, teams traveled by train, as air travel was in its infancy. The Bruins were scheduled to play a game on January 3rd, 1929 in Montreal against the Maroons (Montreal had two NHL games at this time). Every member of the Bruins managed to make it to the train station on time except for Shore – who missed the train because of a traffic jam. The next train to Montreal was canceled because of an incoming blizzard, but Shore absolutely refused to miss the game. He reached out to a wealthy friend of his who loaned the determined defenseman the use of his limousine and chauffeur so he could get to Montreal.

Episode #56 features defenseman Jaxon Rutkowski of the number three ranked in the nation Utica College Pioneers men’s ice hockey team! We chat with Jaxon about the season so far, exchanging pleasantries with referees, his time with the Hampton Roads Whalers of the USPHL, and being recruited by Utica College and Coach Heenan, the hockey benefits of working outdoors and fishing, which Pioneer is the biggest wrestling fan and much more!

As they headed north out of Boston, the storm hit and it was as big as advertised. The driver of the limousine did not want to go any further, so Shore made him get into the passenger seat and took over the driving himself. The pair found an all-night gas station where they bought some chains for the tires, but that did not help the visibility as the windshield wipers had frozen to the windshield. To remedy this, Shore removed the top half of the windshield and they continued on through the night – driving through the sleet and blizzard conditions without the protection of half of their windshield.

They had to stop once more during their all-night journey to purchase another set of tire chains, but even with those, they still had to be pulled out of a ditch twice by people who happened to live nearby. Despite all the obstacles, Eddie Shore arrived in Montreal at 5:30 pm, just in time for the game against the Maroons at 7:00. Even though he got no sleep, had numb legs, and his face and hands being windburned and frostbitten, Shore talked Bruins coach Art Ross into letting him play that night. Boston won the game by a score of 1-0 on a goal by, you guessed it, Eddie Shore.

Utica Comets vs Providence Bruins preview

The Comets and Bruins will face each other for the first time on Friday night.

The Adirondack Bank Center will be rocking once again on October 22nd, when the Providence Bruins visit to take on the Utica Comets. This will be the second game of the season for the Comets after an impressive 6-2 victory over the Rochester Americans on Sunday afternoon. The Bruins enter the game with one win and one shootout loss.

Utica versus Rochester 10-17-21. Photo credit: Kristy Kinville.

If Sunday’s game was any indication, Comets Head Coach Kevin Dineen looks to have implemented an aggressive and opportunistic style into his team. The Comets also appear to have a good mixture of younger players and veteran players. Youngsters like Nolan Foote, Graeme Clarke, Alexander Holtz, Tyce Thompson and others, will benefit from the leadership provided by veterans like Joe Gambardella, Tyler Wotherspoon, Brian Flynn, and Robbie Russo.

Offensively, Reilly Walsh leads the team in points with three (all assists). Alexander Holtz’s two goals pace the team in that department, with Tyce Thompson, Brian Flynn, and Fabian Zetterlund each registering two points as well. Nico Daws is the lone Comets goaltender of record so far, and he has one win to go with a 2.01 GAA, and a .926 save percentage. Either he or Akira Schmid should be in goal for Utica on Friday night.

Alexander Holtz leads the Utica Comets to a win

The Comets special teams also had a good showing on Sunday against the Americans. They scored on one of their three power play opportunities while blanking Rochester on all five of their opportunities with the man advantage.

Utica versus Rochester 10-17-21. Photo credit: Kristy Kinville.

Providence, who is the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, are currently in third place in the AHL Atlantic Division. The Providence offense is led by Jack Studnicka, Boston’s highly touted twenty-two-year-old center has one goal and one assist through two games. Left wing Jakub Lauko has two assists thus far as well. Seven other Bruins have one point.

Both of Providence’s games this season have gone to the shootout, where they have won one and lost one. Defense appears to be the calling card of Head Coach Ryan Mougenel’s team so far, as they have given up only four goals in their two games. Goaltender Kyle Keyser has played all but one period in net for the Bruins so far. He has one win and one shootout loss to go with a 1.64 GAA and a .932 save percentage. He is backed up by veteran Troy Grosenick, who has given up one goal in his twenty minutes played.

New episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick features our Utica Comets season preview

Friday night’s game between the Comets and Bruins starts at 7:00pm. The game will be broadcast on television on WPNY and on AHLTV. Radio coverage will be on WKLL 94.9 KROCK, with Comets play by play broadcaster Jason Shaya on the call across all three platforms. For Comets team and ticket information, visit https://uticacomets.com. To learn more about the Providence Bruins, go to https://providencebruins.com.

Update: Shortly after this article posted, the New Jersey Devils recalled goaltender Nico Daws. In turn the Comets recalled goaltender Mareks Mitens from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. Utica’s goaltender tandem for Friday night will most likely be Akira Schmid and Mitens.

The Puck Lines Podcast joins the crew of Marty’s Illegal Stick

Connor Green from the Puck Lines Podcast is the featured guest for episode #45 of Marty’s Illegal Stick

Big things are happening at the Puck Lines Podcast, and show co-host Connor Green joined the crew of Marty’s Illegal Stick to talk about that, the Boston Bruins, the Eastern Conference, and more.

To put it simply, Green really likes what he sees in this season’s Bruins squad. Click on the YouTube link above to see just how far he thinks the Bruins will go, which prospect(s) he believes could make the team, the strengths and weaknesses of the Bruins, and will Tukka Rask be back?

The Puck Lines Podcast covers not only the Boston Bruins, but the rest of the NHL as well. One of the unique features of the show is it’s gambling segment, where Andrew Taverna covers the odds and lines involving various aspects of hockey.

The second segment features a discussion on the outlook of the Eastern Conference and a difference of opinion on a current power in the conference. Connor and the boys then discuss the #NHLTopPlayers: Nos. 10-1 list. What did the panel think they got right? What did they get wrong?

ECAC opens it’s mens hockey season on Saturday

To finish the show, The Zamboni Time Machine takes a look at an iconic hockey TV program.

The Puck Lines Podcast is a part of the Black N Gold Productions network, and can be found on all major podcast platforms as well as YouTube. The website for the show is http://pucklinespod.com, while the website for Black N Gold Productions is http://www.blackngoldhockey.com. The Puck Lines Podcast can also be found on Facebook at “Puck Lines Podcast” and on Twitter at @pucklinespod.

 

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