The Utica Comets Take Game One

The Utica Comets opened their North Division semifinal playoff series against the Rochester Americans with a 6-3 victory on Tuesday night.

Going into their game against the Rochester Americans on Tuesday night, it had been ten days since the Utica Comets had played a game. It had also been over a month since they had the full lineup that carried them to a dominating regular season which resulted in earning the number one seed in the Eastern Conference leg of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Americans, on the other hand, came in fresh off of two game to none play-in round victory over the Belleville Senators.

With goaltenders Nico Daws and Aaron Dell leading their respective teams out to the ice, the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans started their best of five series to determine who would play either the Syracuse Crunch or Laval Rocket in the North Division playoff final. Although separated by eleven points in the standings, the teams split their twelve-game regular season – each winning six games.

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It looked at first as though the ten-day layoff was going to be a bad thing for the Comets, as the Americans took control of the game early while the home team appeared sluggish. At just two minutes and twenty-one seconds after the opening faceoff, Rochester got on the board when Arttu Ruotsalainen beat Daws with a wrist shot from the high slot off of a feed from Brett Murray. Almost four minutes later JJ Peterka scored a nearly identical goal from the same spot on the American’s third shot of the game to give them a 2-0 lead and in the process take a raucous crowd at the Adirondack Bank Center out of the game. Rochester limited the home team to just five shots in the first period and played about as good as a road playoff period as any team can expect to and took that 2-0 lead into the intermission.

Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Playoff Preview and Prediction

Whatever Utica coach Kevin Dineen said to his team during the first intermission worked, as his Comets looked like a completely different team in the second period. They got much more traffic in front of Rochester goaltender Aaron Dell, and it paid off just four half minutes into the period when a scramble in front of the American’s net resulted in Tyce Thompson putting a loose puck past Dell to cut the visitor’s lead in half. Just one minute later, Nikita Okhotiuk sent a pass to Robbie Russo who blasted a one-timer past Dell, to tie the game and send the home crowd into a fever pitch.

Tyce Thompson scores the Utica Comets first goal of the game on Tuesday night. Video credit: Scott Kinville.

With all the momentum going Utica’s way, Rochester took the lead once again at the 11:37 mark when Ruotsalainen scored again, this time

on a shot from the right side that Daws would certainly like back. The Comets would tie it up on the power play with just over four minutes left in the middle frame when Ryan Schmelzer put a loose puck into the Amerks net to make the score 3-3. That score would hold through the end of the period.

The teams played rope a dope with each other through the first part of the third period until the 9:29 mark, when Dell stopped Fabian Zetterlund on a breakaway put Joe Gambardella put the rebound home to give the Comets their first lead of the night. With just under six minutes left, Utica added a fifth goal when Aarne Talvitie won a faceoff in the Rochester end right to AJ Greer, who rifled a shot into the top of the American’s net. Two and a half minutes later, Greer added his second goal of the night when he got in a breakaway and went forehand then backhand between Dell’s legs to make the score 6-3 and salt the game away for the home team.

The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans will meet for game two of this series on Saturday night at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm EDT.

In this episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast, Sean O’Brien from the Calder Farmstead, an AHL Podcast, joins us for our Utica Comets/North Division Playoff Preview! We’ll break down the Rochester vs Belleville and Syracuse vs Laval matchups as well as how each of them stacks up against the Comets! We’ll also take a look at the other divisions and predict who will be playing for the Calder Cup in June!

The Calder Farmstead an AHL Podcast is the source for coverage of the entire American Hockey League! Help both The Calder Farmstead and Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast grow by subscribing on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Playoff Preview and Prediction

The Utica Comets will square off with a team they are very familiar with in the semi-finals of the North Division Calder Cup Playoffs.

The long wait is finally over for the Utica Comets.

By virtue of finishing in first place in the North Division (and first place in the Eastern Conference overall) with a record of 43-20-8-1, 95 points, 0.660 points percentage, the Comets earned a first-round bye. During the bye, the fourth-place Belleville Senators and fifth place Rochester Americans faced each other in a best of three play-in series for the right to face Utica. The Americans (37-29-7-3, 84 points, 0.553 points percentage) prevailed by winning two straight games in overtime, setting the stage for an all New York State series.

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The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans are certainly no strangers to each other. The teams have played each other twelve times, with each winning six games. One of the American’s wins came on November 24th, when they ended the Comets AHL record-setting undefeated streak to start a season at thirteen games. It was also against Rochester in a game on December 8th that goaltender Nico Daws was injured, setting the stage for Mareks Mitens to take over as the Comets starting goaltender for about one month. Mitens got the job when Akira Schmid was called up to the New Jersey Devils two days after the Daws injury.

Both the Comets and the Americans have greatly benefited from their respective NHL parent clubs not making the playoffs this season. Utica played without several of their regulars during the month of April, as they were getting their look in the National Hockey League. Now that the Devil’s season is over Fabian Zetterlund, Kevin Bahl, Nikita Okhotiuk, Nolan Foote, Reilly Walsh, and Alexander Holtz are all back in Utica for the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Rochester has not received the number of players from their NHL parent club, the Buffalo Sabres, as the Comets got from theirs – but the quality is certainly there. Buffalo reassigned center Peyton Krebs and defenseman Casey Fitzgerald to the Americans for the remainder of their season. Krebs is a rookie sensation who adds to an already potent Rochester offense, while Fitzgerald adds a stabilizing presence to a blueline that has been susceptible to giving up goals all season long.

Early season action between the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, NY. Photo credit: Madison Kinville.

The North Division semifinal matchup between the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans is a best of five games series. It will be a 2-2-1 format, with the first two games being played in Utica starting on Tuesday night May 10th. The winner of this series will play the winner of the other North Division semifinal which pits the Laval Rocket against the Syracuse Crunch. Here’s the ” tale of the tape” for the series between the Comets and the Americans. Note all totals and ranks are as of the end of the regular season.

Offense.

Utica

  • Goals For (overall): 246 (3.42 per game) – 4th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (home): 122 (3.39 per game) – 10th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (away): 124 (3.44 per game) – 4th overall in the AHL.

Leading scorers:

  1. Chase DeLeo: 21 goals and 35 assists = 56 points (1.02 points per game).
  2. Fabian Zetterlund: 24 goals and 28 assists = 52 points (0.90 points per game).
  3. AJ Greer: 22 goals and 30 assists = 52 points (0.98 points per game).
  4. Alexander Holtz: 26 goals and 25 assists = 51 points (0.98 points per game).
  5. Reilly Walsh: 9 goals and 34 assists = 43 points (0.61 points per game). Walsh is sixth among AHL defensemen in points and eighth in assists.

Chase DeLeo leads the Comets in shots with 180, while Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in game-winning goals with seven. Despite having scored the fourth-most goals scored overall in the American Hockey League, Utica does not have one player in the top twenty of any overall scoring category in the league.

Rochester

  • Goals For (overall): 254 (3.34 per game) – 3rd overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (home): 132 (3.47 per game) – 4th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (away): 122 (3.21 per game) – 6th overall in the AHL.

Leading scorers:

  1. JJ Peterka: 28 goals and 40 assists = 68 points (0.97 points per game). Peterka is tenth overall in the AHL in points, thirteenth in assists, fifteenth in goals, and fifth in shots.
  2. Jack Quinn: 26 goals and 35 assists = 61 points (1.36 points per game). Quinn is twentieth overall in the AHL in points and goals
  3. Michael Mersch: 26 goals and 28 assists = 54 points (0.83 points per game).
  4. Arttu Ruotsalainen: 18 goals and 33 assists = 51 points (0.89 points per game).
  5. Ethan Prow: 10 goals and 39 assists = 49 points (0.70 points per game). Prow is sixteenth overall in the AHL in assists, is third among AHL defensemen in points and assists, and is tenth in goals.

Defense and Goaltending.

Utica

  • Goals Against (overall): 206 (2.86 per game) – 9th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (home): 92 (2.56 per game) – 4th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (away): 114 (3.17 per game) – 13th overall in the AHL.

Goaltenders:

  • Akira Schmid has a record of 22-8-5 with a GAA of 2.60, a 0.911 save percentage, and two shutouts. He is eighth in the AHL in wins, fourteenth in GAA, seventeenth in save percentage, and fourteenth in shutouts.
  • Nico Daws has a record of 14-4-2 with a GAA of 2.54, a 0.916 save percentage, and one shutout. He has not played enough AHL games this season to qualify among the league leaders.
  • Mareks Mitens has a record of 7-8-2 with a GAA of 3.31 and a 0.888 save percentage.

Rochester

  • Goals Against (overall): 270 (3.55 per game) – 30th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (home): 127 (3.34 per game) – 28th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (away): 143 (3.76 per game) – 30th overall in the AHL.

Goaltenders:

  • Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has a record of 15-14-6 with a GAA of 3.28, a 0.900 save percentage, and one shutout.
  • Aaron Dell has a record of 12-7-1 with a GAA of 2.91 and a 0.909 save percentage.

Mohawk Valley Hockey Club Seeks Its Own Rink

Special Teams – Power Play.

Utica

  • Overall: 21.6% (50 goals in 231 opportunities) – 5th overall in the AHL.
  • Home: 19.5 % (23 goals in 118 opportunities) – 18th overall in the AHL.
  • Away: 23.9% (27 goals in 113 opportunities) – 6th overall in the AHL.

Leaders:

  • Power play points: Chase DeLeo with eighteen.
  • Power play goals: Fabian Zetterlund with eight.
  • Power play assists: Reilly Walsh with fifteen.

The Comets have allowed five shorthanded goals this season, only the Ontario Reign have allowed fewer.

Rochester

  • Overall: 23.5% (65 goals in 277 opportunities) – 3rd overall in the AHL.
  • Home: 24.5% (34 goals in 139 opportunities) – 2nd overall in the AHL.
  • Away: 22.5% (31 goals in 138 opportunities) – 10th overall in the AHL.

Leaders:

  • Power play points: Oskari Laaksonen with twenty-seven.
  • Power play goals: Jack Quinn with ten.
  • Power play assists: Laaksonen with twenty-three.

Rochester has allowed fourteen shorthanded goals, which is the most in the American Hockey League.

Special Teams – Penalty Kill.

Utica

  • Overall: 81.9% (41 power-play goals allowed in 227 times shorthanded) – 9th overall in the AHL.
  • Home: 88.2% (13 power-play goals allowed in 110 times shorthanded) – 2nd overall in the AHL.
  • Away: 76.1% (28 power-play goals allowed in 117 times shorthanded) – 27th overall in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded goals scored: 13 – tied for 3rd overall in the AHL.

AJ Greer leads the Comets in shorthanded goals with four, which is also fourth overall in the league.

Rochester

  • Overall: 79.5% (54 power-play goals allowed in 264 times shorthanded) – 22nd overall in the AHL.
  • Home: 80.7% (26 power-play goals in 135 times shorthanded) – 12th overall in the AHL.
  • Away: 78.3% (28 power-play goals allowed in 129 times shorthanded) – 23rd overall in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded goals scored: 5 – 27th overall in the AHL.

Five individual players have scored the team’s five shorthanded goals.

Prediction.

This should be a very fun series between two evenly matched teams. The Comets will be well-rested as they have not played a game since April 30th, but the Americans have momentum coming into this series as they are just coming off of a two-game play-in series over the Belleville Senators. Scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem for either team, but the Comets have the home-ice advantage and are the better defensive team thanks in part to their goaltending tandem of Akira Schmid and Nico Daws. This series will go all five games, but because of their defensive advantage, the Utica Comets will win it.

In this episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast, Sean O’Brien from the Calder Farmstead, an AHL Podcast, joins us for our Utica Comets/North Division Playoff Preview! We’ll break down the Rochester vs Belleville and Syracuse vs Laval matchups as well as how each of them stacks up against the Comets! We’ll also take a look at the other divisions and predict who will be playing for the Calder Cup in June! The Calder Farmstead an AHL Podcast is a prime source for coverage of the entire American Hockey League! Help both The Calder Farmstead and Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast grow by subscribing on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Utica Comets at Rochester Americans Game Preview 04-29-2022

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.

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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.

Mohawk Valley Hockey Club Seeks Its Own Rink

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.

Check out and subscribe to Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast YouTube channel!

Offense.

Utica

  • 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.

Rochester

  • Goals For (overall): 246 – 3rd overall in the AHL.
  • Goals For (home): 124 – 7th overall in the AHL.

Leading scorers:

  • 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.

Utica

  • Goals Against (overall): 196 – 6th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (away): 104 – 7th overall in the AHL.

Goaltending:

  • 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.

Rochester

  • Goals Against (overall): 269 – 30th overall in the AHL.
  • Goals Against (home): 126 – 28th overall in the AHL.

Goaltending:

  • 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.

Utica

  • 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.

Rochester

  • 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.

Utica

  • 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.

Rochester

  • 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.

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? Let us know in the comments section! Help us grow the show by subscribing on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Game Preview 03-12-2022

The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans will both be playing their third game in four nights when they meet on Saturday night at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans will meet for the ninth time this season on Saturday night, in a battle between two of the three New York State-based teams in the American Hockey League. The Comets have won five of the games so far between the two teams.

The Comets enter Saturday night’s contest with a record of 34-11-6-0 for 74 points and a 0.725 points percentage, which is not only the best record in the North Division but in the entire Eastern Conference as well. The Americans 27-23-3-2 for 59 points and a points percentage of 0.536, which puts them in fifth place in the North Division. Points percentage is very important in the AHL this season, as that is what will determine playoff qualification and seeding. For more details, click on this link: https://theahl.com/format-2022-calder-cup-playoffs#.YizBCUPhl-0.link

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Overall, the Comets have had no problem scoring goals this season, as they are third in the AHL with 184 goals scored with 97 of them coming at home. Chase DeLeo (twelve goals and twenty-nine assists) and Fabian Zetterlund (twenty goals and twenty-one assists) are tied for the team lead in points with forty-one. Closely following them are Alexander Holtz (forty points), AJ Greer (thirty-eight points), and Reilly Walsh (thirty-four points). Holtz leads the team in goals scored with twenty-one, with Zetterlund (twenty goals), and Greer (seventeen goals) right behind him. DeLeo (twenty-nine) and Walsh (twenty-eight) are neck and neck for the team lead in assists, and Zetterlund leads the club in shots with 133.

Closely trailing the Comets in total goals scored are the Americans who are fourth in the league with 182 (92 of them have been scored on the road which is also fourth-best in the AHL). JJ Peterka leads the Americans in points and assists, and also ranks eighteenth in the American Hockey League in points with forty-six (thirteen goals and thirty-three assists). Captain Michael Mersch is second on the team in points with thirty-nine and leads the team in goals with nineteen. With Jack Quinn and Brandon Biro out of the lineup due to injuries, Ethan Prow (thirty-five), and Arttu Ruotsalainen (thirty-two) round out Rochester’s top points leaders. Peterka also leads the team in shots with 153.

It should be noted as well that rookie sensation Peyton Krebs is still with the Americans NHL parent club the Buffalo Sabres, but they have welcomed Sean Malone back to the lineup after he missed several months of action this season. Malone has ten goals and thirteen assists for twenty-three points in twenty-four games played this season, but more important to Comets fans, he has three goals and five assists in five games played against Utica this season.

Utica Comets Defeat the Toronto Marlies on Friday Night

Akira Schmid has started the last five games in goal for the Comets and enters Saturday night’s game with a record of 17-3-3 to go with a 2.26 GAA, a save percentage of .924 and two shutouts. He ranks fifth overall in the AHL in GAA and has the second-best save percentage in the league. With regular backup Mareks Mitens being reassigned to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL to presumably get some work in, the Comets have signed Brandon Kasel to a PTO to back Schmid up. The Ithaca, NY native has no AHL record this season but was 6-11-1 with a 3.59 GAA and .895 save percentage in nineteen games played with the Thunder this season.

The Americans goaltending tandem consists of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Aaron Dell. Luukkonen has an AHL record of 9-11-1 this season with a 3.35 GAA, .896 save percentage, and one shutout. Dell is 8-4-1 with the Americans and has a GAA of 2.93 to go with a save percentage of .906. Both goaltenders have spent time with the Sabres this season.

Reflecting their prolific overall offenses, the Comets and Americans are also dangerous on the power play. Utica ranks sixth in the league scoring 32 goals on 165 power-play opportunities for a 21.7% success rate. Broken down even further, they are 21.59% at home – scoring 19 goals in 88 opportunities. Chase DeLeo leads the team in power-play points with fourteen and is tied for the team in power-play assists with Reilly Walsh with eleven (Robbie Russo is close behind with ten). Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in power-play goals with seven, while Alexander Holtz has the second most with five.

Rochester has the fourth-best power play in the AHL as they have scored 37 goals on 197 opportunities for a success rate of 22.9%. The Americans have a 25% power-play success rate on the road this season, scoring 26 goals in 104 opportunities. Defenseman Oskari Laaksonen leads the team in power-play points and assists with twenty-one and eighteen respectively. Of the players on their current roster, Brett Murray leads the team in power-play goals with six followed closely by Malone who has five.

The Unsung Heroes For the Utica Comets

The Comets have an 80.6% success rate on the penalty kill this season, allowing 32 goals in 165 times shorthanded, which ranks seventeenth in the AHL. At home Utica has been much more efficient, allowing only 11 goals in 85 times shorthanded for an 87.06% success rate. The Comets have eight shorthanded goals this season, led by three of them from AJ Greer.

The Americans are ranked thirteenth on the penalty kill this season, allowing 37 goals in 197 times shorthanded for an overall success rate of 81.2%. On the road, Rochester has allowed 18 goals in 93 times shorthanded, which equals a success rate of 80.65%. The Americans have scored four shorthanded goals this season, with Ruotsalainen and former Comet Josh Teves on the current roster to light the lamp while being a man down.

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

Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Game Preview 02-18-2022

The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans renew their North Division rivalry on Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The Utica Comets will see a very familiar face on Friday night, as for the eighth time this season they will face the Rochester Americans. It has been a hard-fought series between the team this season, as Utica won the first three games, Rochester winning the next three, and then Utica winning their last matchup in Rochester on January 29th by a score of 4-2.

The Comets enter Friday night’s game in first place in the North Division with a record of 28-9-5-0, 61 points, and a point percentage of .726 – Utica’s record is also the second-best in the American Hockey League. The Americans are in third place in the North Division with a record of 24-15-3-2, 53 points, and a points percentage of .602.

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Both the Comets and Americans are the beneficiaries of high-powered offenses. Utica currently ranks third in the AHL in goals scored with 153. Fabian Zetterlund has been a dynamo on offense for the Comets, leading the team in points (thirty-seven) and goals (eighteen). Right behind him in points is Chase DeLeo with thirty-six points (ten goals and twenty-six assists) in only twenty-nine games. Rounding out the Comet’s leading scorers are Alexander Holtz, who has thirty-three points (seventeen goals and sixteen assists) in only twenty-eight games and is also riding an eight-game point streak. Defenseman Reilly Walsh is the fourth member of Utica’s “thirty points” club, as he has six goals and twenty-six assists for thirty-two points so far this season.

Only the Ontario Reign have scored more goals than the 154 the Americans have scored this season – putting them second in the AHL. Even with Jack Quinn and Peyton Krebs with the Americans NHL parent club the Buffalo Sabres, Rochester is still a very dangerous team on offense. They are led by Michael Mersch and JJ Peterka who are tied for fourteenth on the AHL scoring list with thirty-nine points each. Mersch leads the team in goals scored with nineteen and leading the team in assists is Brandon Biro with twenty-seven. Biro is also third on the team overall in scoring with thirty-five points.

Utica Comets Do Not Have a Good Night Against the Toronto Marlies

The Comets and Americans are also welcoming back familiar faces to their goaltending corps. The New Jersey Devils announced on Thursday that they have recalled Akira Schmid and reassigned Nico Daws to Utica. Like Schmid, Daws has been spectacular in his time with the Comets this season. Daws has an AHL record of 11-3-2 with a 2.44 GAA and .917 save percentage. Mareks Mitens has seen the bulk of the backup duty for Utica and has a record of 5-4-1 to go with a GAA of 3.49 and .880 save percentage. As a team, the Comets have allowed 112, which ranks as fourth-best in the American Hockey League.

The Americans have also welcomed back a goaltender that started the season. Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen is back in an Amerks uniform after having spent several weeks with the Sabres. He sports an AHL record of 7-6-1 with a 3.17 GAA and .894 save percentage. The other half of the Americans goaltending tandem is Aaron Dell, who has a record of 7-1-1 with a 2.42 GAA and .919 save percentage in nine games for Rochester this season. Overall the Americans have allowed 154 goals, which ranks twenty-ninth in the AHL.

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Much like their overall offensive statistics, the Comets and Americans both have top three powerplay units as well. Rochester ranks second in the league at 24.8%, converting 37 of 149 powerplay opportunities. Utica is right behind them with the third-best powerplay in the AHL. They have converted 31 of 130 powerplay chances for a 23.8% success rate. Utica has had the least amount of powerplay opportunities of any team in the American Hockey League.

Utica and Rochester are both in the bottom half of the league on the penalty kill. The Americans are ranked seventeenth at 80.9%, allowing 29 goals on 152 times shorthanded. The Comets rank twenty-first, allowing 28 goals on 140 times shorthanded for a success rate of 80%.

Friday night’s game starts at 7:00 pm EST. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast begins at 7:00 and will be carried on WPNY and AHLTV.

Utica Comets fall to the Rochester Americans on Wednesday Night

Photo credit: AHLTV

Despite a valiant third period comeback, the Utica Comets lose back to back games in regulation for the first time this season.

The city of Rochester has not been very kind to the Utica Comets as of late, and Wednesday night was no different as the Comets lost to their North Division rival by a score of 7-6.

Before the puck was even dropped to start the game, they were shorthanded as they were forced to play with only ten forwards. That’s because regulars like Alexander Holtz, Graeme Clarke, Frederik Gauthier (who had scored in two straight games), and Brian Flynn were all out of the lineup for various reasons. Add in the fact that AJ Greer and Nolan Foote are still with the New Jersey Devils and it was certainly a different lineup from the one Comets fans are used to seeing.

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The Americans appeared determined to set the tone early, and they did just fifty-seven seconds into the game when Mason Jobst put a rebound off a shot by Oskari Laaksonen past Utica goaltender Mareks Mitens, who was making his seventh straight start in goal. Less than a minute later, the Americans Casey Fitzgerald, who had just been returned to Rochester from the Buffalo Sabres, sprung Matej Pekar on a breakaway on a pass from the neutral zone. Pekar made no mistake, going forehand then backhand to put the puck in the net and give Rochester an early 2-0 lead.

Things went from bad to worse for the Utica Comets at the 8:15 mark of the first period when defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk was assessed a five-minute major and thrown out of the game for a check to the head – a call coach Kevin Dineen vividly disagreed with. Just forty-four seconds after the penalty was assessed, the Americans struck again as Brandon Biro snapped a shot from the top of the left circle past a partially screened Mitens to give his team a commanding 3-0 lead.

It looked like the game might get out of hand early, but during that major penalty, Utica captain Ryan Schmelzer took control of the puck near the Rochester blue line and skated the puck in all alone on Americans goalie Mat Robson (himself just called up from the ECHL this morning) and beat him on the forehand to get the Comets on the scoreboard. Three minutes later after killing the rest of the major penalty, Utica’s Tyler Irvine tipped a shot from the right side by Michael Vukojevic past Robson to make the score 3-2. An Arttu Ruotsalainen in the closing minute gave Rochester a 4-2 lead heading into the first intermission.

Utica Comets at Rochester Americans Game Preview 01-12-2022

The second period belonged to the Americans and it started six and a half minutes in when Linus Weissbach tipped a Casey Fitzgerald point shot into the Utica net to make the score 5-2. Thirty-six seconds later Rochester lit the lamp again when team-leading scorer Michael Mersch found an alone, Mitch Eliot, on a pass from the left side of the Comets zone. Eliot snapped the puck over Mitens shoulder and the Amerks extended their lead to four goals.

Rochester kept pouring it on when just four and a half minutes later while on the powerplay when Jack Quinn blasted a one-timer off of an Oskari Laaksonen feed from the left circle past Mitens to give the Americans a five-goal lead. Utica answered back with about five and half minutes left in the period on a powerplay goal of their own by Robbie Russo to make the score 7-3 going into the third period.

Utica Comets Add Pair From the Adirondack Thunder

The third period would see the Comets battle back in a game that seemed lost for them after the first two periods. They outshot the Americans fourteen to five for the period, and their efforts paid off as at the 9:48 mark, Michael Vukojevic scored his first goal of the season when he tipped a Samuel Laberge pass in the high slot past Robson to give the Comets some life in the game. Utica kept battling and with just under six minutes left they made the score 7-5 on Buffalo native Ryan Schmelzer’s second goal of the game. Two minutes later, potential Canadian Olympian Tyler Wotherspoon notched his first goal of the season with a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot and the Comets found themselves within one goal of tying the game.

It wasn’t meant to be for Utica, as despite their efforts in the closing minutes, they could not get one more past Robson and fell to their in-state rival by a score of 7-6. With the win, the Americans pulled within the three points of the Comets in the North Division standings.

Notes: Utica outshot Rochester 29-28…Utica was 1 for 3 on the powerplay, Rochester was 3 for 6…Ryan Schmelzer (2 goals), Michael Vukojevic (1 goal, 1 assist), Tyler Irvine (1 goal, 1 assist), and Chase DeLeo (2 assists) led Utica scorers. DeLeo extended his point-scoring streak to six games…Jack Quinn (1 goal, 3 assists) and Oskari Laaksonen (4 assists) led Rochester scorers, Brandon Biro also had 1 goal and 2 assists…This is the fourth time in the last five games Utica has given up at least five goals…Utica’s next game is at home on Friday night, Rochester next plays on Friday night as well, at home against Belleville.

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Utica Comets at Rochester Americans Game Preview 01-12-2022

Injuries, protocols, and recalls have changed the look of Wednesday nights game between the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans since the last time they met.

What a difference a month makes for the Utica Comets.

It was almost a month ago, December 8th to be exact when the Comets last played the Americans. It was that game that kicked off the roster turmoil that has been swirling around the team ever since when goaltender Nico Daws left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury and hasn’t been back since.

In that game, Utica had Akira Schmid available to finish the game for Daws. Also on the roster for Utica that night were Marian Studenic, AJ Greer, Nolan Foote, Graeme Clarke, Alexander Holtz, and Kevin Bahl. Now, Schmid, Studenic, Greer, and Foote are all with the New Jersey Devils, Holtz and Bahl are in the AHL Covid protocols, and Clarke is on injured reserve with a hand injury. A different team indeed.

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At the time of that fateful December 8th game, the Comets were running away with the American Hockey League’s best record. Since then, Utica still has the best winning percentage in the league at .820, but they have gone 2-2-1-0. The Americans are second place in the North Division behind the Comets with an 18-11-0-0 record for a winning percentage of .621.

The Americans have experienced some roster turmoil of their own, particularly in goal. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was the team’s regular starter before being recalled to the Buffalo Sabres in December. In response, the Sabres have recalled Micahel Dell from Rochester leaving the team with Mat Robson who they recalled from Cincinnatti of the ECHL, and Bryan Haude to handle their goaltending duties. Robson was recalled on Wednesday morning and Haude was signed to a PTO at the same time.

The good news for the Americans is the Sabres have reassigned Jack Quinn, Casey Fitzgerald, and Brandon Biro to Rochester. All three have been key contributors to the American’s success this season.

With all of this as the backdrop, the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans will meet on Wednesday night for their fifth meeting of the season, this time at Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena. The Comets won the first three meetings with the Americans taking the last two. The teams will face each other a total of twelve times this season.

Utica Comets Add Pair From the Adirondack Thunder

The Comets enter the game ranked tenth in the AHL in total offense with ninety-one goals scored. Individually, they are led by Chase DeLeo – who has six goals and eighteen assists in seventeen games played this season. Besides leading his team in scoring, DeLeo also has a six-game point-scoring streak going as well. Fabian Zetterlund leads Utica in goals scored with nine.

To put it simply, the offense is the Rochester Americans calling card. They lead the American Hockey League in goals scored with 108. Three Amerks are in the top twenty of AHL scorers: Michael Mersch is fouth with thirty points, Jack Quinn is twelfth with twenty-six points, and JJ Peterka is twentieth with twenty-five points. Mersch leads the team in goals scored with sixteen and Peterka leads in assists with nineteen.

The Utica Comets celebrate a goal against the Rochester Americans earlier this season at the Adirondack Bank Center. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The goaltending situation for both teams does not look anything like it did earlier in the season for either team. Since losing Daws and Schmid, Mareks Mitens has started every game for the Comets in goal. In his six AHL games this season he has a record of 3-2-1-0 with a 3.45 GAA and .877 save percentage. He is backed up by David Tomeo, who is signed to a PTO with Utica and has yet to see any game action.

The aforementioned Robson will most likely be making the start in goal for Rochester on Wednesday night. He was actually in goal for Rochester the last time these two teams met on December 8th and made thirty-two saves to pick up the win. In three games for Rochester this season, Robson has a record of 2-1-0-0 to go with a GAA of 5.87 and .826 save percentage.

With the top-rated offense in the league, it’s not surprising the Americans have the best power play in the AHL as well. They have converted 27 of 103 powerplay opportunities for a success rate of 26.2%. At 21.3%, the Comets have the seventh best powerplay in the AHL, scoring on 16 of 75 powerplay chances. The seventy-five powerplay opportunities are by far the least amount in the AHL.

The teams are close in regard to powerplay efficiency, but their is quite the gap between their penalty killing prowess. The Comets rank fifth in the AHL at 85.7% – allowing 12 goals on 84 opposing powerplays. The Americans are twenty-first, giving up 27 goals on 103 opposition powerplays for success rate of 80.8%.

The opening faceoff is at 7:05pm EST with radio coverage beginning with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast will be on AHLTV.

Utica Comets lose their second straight overtime game

Not only did the Utica Comets lose to the Rochester Americans 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday night, they may have lost goaltender Nico Daws as well.

The Utica Comets suddenly find themselves facing a little bit of adversity.

In losing to the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena on Wednesday night, the Comets have now lost two straight games for the first time all season. This was bound to happen at some point, but star goaltender Nico Daws had to leave the game due to an injury after a collision in his crease during the third period. It’s safe to say, this was certainly not expected for the team that entered this game with the AHL’s best record.

Coming into the game, it looked like the Comets could have a distinct advantage over their rivals from western New York. That’s because the Americans would be without their normal starting goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has been recalled to the Amerks parent club the Buffalo Sabres. He would be replaced in goal by Mat Robson, who was just recalled by the club from Cincinnatti of the ECHL. Then, a pregame announcement that Rochester leading scorer Jack Quinn would miss the contest due to a non-covid illness had to have the Comets feeling good about their chances.

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It showed early in the game, as the Utica Comets came out flying. They tested Robson early and often with a robust welcome back to the American Hockey League (he played for the Iowa Wild in the 2019-20 season). At the 5:47 mark of the first period, the pressure by the Comets would pay off as Nate Schnarr took control of a blocked Reilly Walsh shot behind the net who then, in turn, passed to Marian Studenic who was left alone in front of the net. Studenic snapped a shot past Robson to give Utica a 1-0 lead and it looked like they were off and running.

After the Studenic goal, the Comets continued to attack the Rochester zone, but Robson stood tall and was able to get his team to the locker room down by just the one goal going into the intermission.

A look at the Utica Comets overall underlying numbers so far

In the early going of the second period, it was the Americans who would put some pressure on the Comets, but Daws was able to keep them at bay. This would lead to Utica’s second goal of the night when Aarne Talvitie created a turnover by hounding former Comet Josh Teves into turning the puck over in the neutral zone. Talvitie then carried the puck into the Rochester zone on the left side and slid the puck to Chase DeLeo in the slot who buried the goal to give his team a 2-0 lead. With the goal, DeLeo earned his team-leading fifteenth point on the season.

Just after the goal, Nico Daws appeared to be shaken up by a shot up high but stayed in the game. It was unfortunately a harbinger of things to come.

The Americans would not go away however and countered with just six minutes left in the second period they would finally beat Daws to get on the scoreboard. Sean Malone sent a pass across the Utica zone to a wide-open Mattias Samuelsson who blasted a one-timer into the net to get the Americans within one goal. It was Samuelsson’s first goal of the year and gave Rochester some much-needed momentum heading into the second intermission.

Defenseman Reilly Walsh excelling for the Utica Comets

It would take Rochester only twenty-three seconds into the third period to tie the game at two. Samuelsson picked up his second point of the night when he found Americans captain Michael Mersch on the right side of the Utica crease who put the puck into the wide-open net. The Comets answered a little over four minutes later when AJ Greer sent a pass from the left side of the Rochester zone to Fabian Zetterlund, who was streaking into the slot. Zetterlund took the pass and went forehand/backhand and lifted the puck over Robson and into the net to give the Comets a 3-2 lead.

Minutes after the Zetterlund goal, a collision in the crease would end Nico Daws’s night. Rochester’s Arttu Ruotsalainen got in on a partial breakaway which resulted in the collision that would cause Daws to immediately grab his right leg in obvious pain. He was helped off of the ice without putting any weight on the injured leg and replaced by backup Akira Schmid. As of this writing, there is no official word on Daws’s condition.

With eight minutes and seventeen seconds left, a Colton White tripping penalty would prove costly for the Comets. While on the power play, Sean Malone took a feed from the point by Oskari Laaksonen and then beat a screened Schmid on the backhand to tie the game at three. The score remained 3-3 after sixty minutes of play to force overtime.

After exchanging chances in the overtime period, Rochester would be awarded a four-on-three power play with one minute and fifteen seconds left when Utica’s Brian Flynn took a double-minor high sticking penalty. With forty-three seconds left in the game, the Americans cashed in when rookie sensation Peyton Krebs fired a one-timer past Schmid off of a feed from Malone to win the game.

Notes: Utica outshot Rochester by a margin of 35 to 28…Utica was 0 for 2 on the power play, Rochester was 2 for 2…Reilly Walsh led in points with two (both were assists), Sean Malone and Peyton Krebs led Rochester in scoring with three points each (both had one goal and two assists)…With his two assists, Reilly Walsh extends his point-scoring streak to three games…Utica’s next game is at home on Friday night against the Cleveland Monsters, Rochester’s next game is at home on Friday night against the Laval Rocket…Despite the loss, the Comets still have the best record in the American Hockey League at 16-1-2-0.

Episode #54 of Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast features a very entertaining interview with Utica College Pioneers men’s hockey team Head Coach Gary Heenan.

Utica Comets at Rochester Americans game preview

The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans to meet at the Blue Cross Arena.

The Utica Comets will play in their first “revenge” game of the season on Wednesday night when they travel to Rochester to play the Americans.

Revenge in the aspect that it was the Amerks (as the Americans are sometimes called) that ended the Comets AHL record-setting thirteen-game winning streak to start a season on the night before Thanksgiving. Adding insult to injury, it was done before a standing-room-only crowd at Utica’s Adirondack Bank Center, disappointing the nearly 4,000 fans in attendance.

With payback as the backdrop, the two AHL North rivals will meet for the fifth time this season on December 8th. The Comets have won four of these meetings and possess an AHL best 16-1-1-0 record, which of course puts them in first place in the AHL North Division. The Americans are in second place behind Utica with an 11-6-0-0 mark and have won their last three games. There will be a new face and a few familiar faces missing from the game as defenseman Colton White has been assigned to the Comets from the New Jersey Devils while Mark Jankowski, Brett Murray, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are now with the Buffalo Sabres.

The Utica Comets celebrate scoring a goal against the Rochester Americans. Photo credit: Scott Kinville:

The strength of the Rochester Americans is without a doubt their offense, as their sixty-nine goals scored is the most in the American Hockey League. It’s no wonder considering they have three players in the top twenty of the AHL including Jack Quinn, who is tied for first with eleven goals and thirteen assists, JJ Peterka is fifteenth with eighteen points, and Michael Mersch is sixteenth with seventeen points. Oskari Laaksonen is fifteenth in scoring among AHL defensemen with twelve points, and Rochester also has dangerous rookie forward Peyton Krebs – who was acquired in the Jack Eichel trade earlier this season.

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While they don’t have the top-end firepower that the Americans have, the Utica Comets are still fifth in the AHL on offense with sixty-six goals scored. The Comets have found offensive success by getting contributions from everyone up and down the roster. Leading the team in points scored is center Chase DeLeo, who has fourteen points (two goals and twelve assists) in only ten games played. As far actual goal-scoring goes, the Comets have twelve players with at least four and are led by Alexander Holtz and Joe Gambardella with six (Holtz has played nine games while Gambardella has played fifteen). Reilly Walsh is eighth among scoring by AHL defenseman with thirteen points.

While similar in overall offensive numbers, the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets are polar opposites on the defensive end of things. The Americans are seventeenth in the league having allowed fifty-eight goals so far this season. As previously mentioned, their regular goaltender, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been recalled to the Buffalo Sabres (and getting the start on Tuesday night), leaving backup Michael Houser as most likely starting against Utica. Backing up Houser will be Mat Robson, who was recalled by Rochester on Monday from Cincinnatti of the ECHL.

Defenseman Reilly Walsh excelling for the Utica Comets

To put it simply, the Utica Comets have been stellar on defense this season. They have allowed only thirty-three goals, which is far and away the best in the AHL. Not only do they have the best defensive numbers, but Utica also has the best statistical goaltending tandem in the American Hockey League. Both Nico Daws and Akira Schmid have won eight games while losing only one (Schmid’s loss was in overtime) which is one off of the nine wins that top the league leaderboard. Schmid leads the league in GAA (1.43) and save percentage (.950), while Daws GAA of 2.12 is fifth and his .929 save percentage is fourth.

With the league’s top offense, it is no surprise that the Rochester Americans also have the best power play at 26.5%. The Comets are currently fifteenth in the AHL with a 19.2% conversion rate, although their fifty-two power-play opportunities are by far the least amount of chances with the man advantage in the league.

Currently, the Utica Comets are fourth overall in penalty killing at 87.5%, which is less than one percent off of the league lead. Rochester’s defensive struggles have also spilled over into their penalty kill units, as they are twenty-fourth in the AHL at 78.5%.

Radio coverage for Wednesday night’s game begins at 6:30 with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL), while television coverage will start at 7 o’clock on AHLTV.

Alex Tuch is coming back to New York State

The twenty-five-year-old forward is going to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Jack Eichel trade.

The Buffalo Sabres and Vegas Golden Knights completed a blockbuster trade on Thursday that involved Jack Eichel and a 2023 third round draft pick going to the Golden Knights. In return, the Sabres received Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a 2022 first round draft pick, and a 2023 second round pick – there are conditions attached to all three draft picks.

Alex Tuch going to the Buffalo Sabres is homecoming of sorts. He was born and raised in the Syracuse area, about 150 miles east of Buffalo. At age 15 he played for the Syracuse Stars, a AAA junior hockey team. From there he moved on to the United States National Team Developmental Program (USNTDP). After completing that program, Tuch played two seasons of Division I college hockey for Boston College.

Prior to his first season at Boston College, Alex Tuch was taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft (eighteenth overall) by the Minnesota Wild. After his time at Boston College, he played one season for the Wild’s AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild. In June of 2017, Tuch was traded by the Wild to the Vegas Golden Knights where he was given the opportunity to show off the talent that made him a first round draft pick.

The Utica Comets could have the best goaltending tandem in the AHL

Alex Tuch was an integral part of the Golden Knights run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. During the regular season he scored fifteen goals, and added an additional ten points during the playoff run. The following season he put up twenty goals and fifty-two points, and had established himself as one of the most promising young power forwards in the NHL. Injuries derailed his third NHL season, but he got back on track last season – scoring eighteen goals in fifty-five games.

In July of this year, Tuch had successful shoulder surgery that has a six month recovery timeline. Currently on injured reserve, he won’t play for the Sabres until at least February of next year. Even if he doesn’t play right away, the addition of Tuch will bolster what is becoming an impressive core of young talent the Buffalo Sabres are putting together. Tuch, Rasmus Dahlin, Peyton Krebs, Dylan Cozens, Owen Power, Ryan Johnson, Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka are all twenty-five years of age or younger – with Victor Olofsson just missing this group as he is twenty-six.

Things have been tough for the Buffalo Sabres, but better days are coming. Bringing Alex Tuch back to his home state will certainly help that process along.

Utica Comets and Buffalo Sabres prospects discussed

Joe Konze from Trainwreck Sports discusses the Utica Comets and Buffalo Sabres on a recent episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick.

Joe Konze from Trainwreck Sports was on a recent episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick to discuss the Buffalo Sabres and what’s happening in the world of hockey. Trainwreck Sports is a multi-media sports site that takes a “no holds barred” approach to covering the Buffalo sports scene (you can check out Trainwreck Sports here https://trainwrecksports.com). Being from Buffalo, he is familiar not only with the Sabres, but the Rochester Americans and the American Hockey League in general. Here is a clip from the show of Joe and crew discussing the Utica Comets and New Jersey Devils prospects – especially Alexander Holtz.

The Utica Comets and Alexander Holtz are the topic of discussion in this clip from Marty’s Illegal Stick.

Joe is obviously a Buffalo Sabres fan, but he is an objective observer of the team. Anyone who follows hockey knows the Sabres have been suffering for a while, but there could very well be light at the end of the tunnel for the team. In the clip below, Joe tells us which of the Sabres prospects to watch for not only in Rochester, but also at the University of Michigan – and his name is not Owen Power.

Joe Konze from Trainwreck Sports in Buffalo discusses the Buffalo Sabres prospects.

These are small samples of what was talked about during Konze’s visit to the show. Among the other topics discussed were the state of the Sabres, Jack Eichel, what the future holds in Buffalo, the top five Sabres of all time, Nikita Kucherov’s injury, and Coach Gary Heenan and the Utica College Pioneers. You can watch the whole show by clicking on the link below.

The entire episode of Joe Konze’s appearance on Marty’s Illegal Stick.

Brand new episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick features Joe Konze from Buffalo’s Trainwreck Sports

Joe follows the Buffalo Sabres for Trainwreck Sports.

Joe Konze knows the Buffalo Sabres very well.

Living in Buffalo, New York he became a rabid fan of the team in the 1990’s and carried that passion for his hometown hockey team to https://trainwrecksports.com. Trainwreck Sports is a Buffalo based multi media sports site that takes a “pull no punches” approach to covering the Buffalo sports scene. Although Joe is a long time Sabres fan, he calls it like he sees it – both good and bad.

In this episode of Marty’s Illegal Stick, Joe joins Scott, Dom, and Dave “The Save” to talk all things Sabres. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The current state of the team and how it got this way.
  • The team owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, and why they get so much blame for what has gone wrong.
  • The Jack Eichel saga and what the Sabres should do about it.
  • The team’s top prospects and others to keep an eye on.
  • Should the Sabres ride out the rebuild or try to get better now by trading some young assets?
  • The top five players in Buffalo Sabres history.

Then, the “Hockey Hot Takes” segment of the show covers the Nikita Kucherov injury and will it effect the Lightning more this season than it did last season. The Evander Kane suspension and what the Sharks should do with him is then discussed, and the segment closes by talking about the Utica Comets season opening victory.

A look back at the Evel Knievel and hockey connection

The show closes with an all new Zamboni Time Machine that features a 1970’s hockey wild man who mooned the crowd at Madison Square Garden – and that was mild compared to the other things he had done.

You can find Marty’s Illegal Stick on Facebook at “Marty’s Illegal Stick Hockey Podcast”, and on Twitter @MartysStick.

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