Utica Comets Fall to Charlotte in Overtime and Rochester Game Preview

Checkers come from behind for the overtime win, and the Utica Comets head to Rochester for a game against the Americans on Saturday night.

The Utica Comets began a three games in three nights stretch on Friday night, but it wasn’t the start they were hoping for when they dropped a 4-3 overtime decision against the Charlotte Checkers.

The Comets got off to a great start as they scored on their first shot of the game one minute and seventeen seconds after the opening faceoff. Alexander Holtz carried the puck across the Charlotte blue line and slid a pass to Chase DeLeo, who fired a five-hole wrist shot through goaltender Antoine Bibeau to make the score 1-0. The Checkers answered back seven and a half minutes later when Cole Schwindt scooped up a loose puck in front of the Utica net and put a backhand shot into the net past Comets goaltender Nico Daws, who had lost track of the puck. Chase DeLeo scored his second goal of the game with fifty seconds left in the period after AJ Greer forced a turnover to set him up and give the Comets a 2-1 lead heading into the first period.

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At just over two minutes into the second period, former Comet Kole Lind came back to haunt his former team when he put a rebound off of a Scott Wilson shot past Daws to tie the game at two. Schwindt gave the Checkers the lead 13:26 with his second goal of the game when the Comets left another rebound in front of their net that Schwindt was able to capitalize on. Aarne Talvitie got off the slide with just under six minutes left in the period when he took a Sam Laberge centering pass and put it past Bibeau to tie the game at three. It was Talvitie’s first goal since November 19th, which was coincidentally also against the Checkers.

Utica College Pioneers and Central New York College Hockey Recap

Utica Comets vs Charlotte Checkers
Nolan Foote of the Utica Comets sets a screen against the Charlotte Checkers during their game on Friday night. Photo Credit: Scott Kinville.

A scoreless third period led to overtime which certainly didn’t lack excitement. The Comets had opportunities to win the game, but Charlotte controlled the play for the most part. After Holtz and DeLeo could not convert on a two on one, the Checkers came right back with a three on one of their own. Another former Comet, Zac Dalpe, finished it with a laser of a shot past Daws and just under the crossbar to give Charlotte the victory.

Notes: Charlotte outshot Utica 32 -27…Charlotte was 1 for 2 on the powerplay, Utica was 0 for 3…Nate Schnarr missed his second consecutive game for the Comets, and Nick Rivera hasn’t played since being injured on January 21st against Syracuse…The Comets are also without Tyler Wotherspoon for the foreseeable future as he is now with the Canadian Olympic Team…Alexander Holtz has at least one point in the last eight games he has played in for Utica (the streak actually extends over ten games, but he missed two games in that stretch)…Chase DeLeo has a four-game point streak going and has had multiple points in each of his last three games…Fabian Zetterlund, Nolan Foote, Ryan Schmelzer, and Reilly Walsh all had their point streaks snapped…Charlotte plays again Saturday night at Syracuse, Utica plays again on Saturday night as well at Rochester.

Utica Comets at Rochester Americans Game Preview 01-29-2022

The Comets will have no time to dwell on the loss to Charlotte, as they head out to the road to play Rochester on Saturday night then continue on to Cleveland to play the Monsters on Sunday.

The Americans are in second place in the North Division behind the Comets with a record of 21-12-2-1 and a winning percentage of .625. Despite the loss Friday night to Charlotte, they still have the best winning percentage in the AHL at .773 with a record of 23-5-5-0. The teams have played six times this season already, the Comets won the first three and the Americans have won the last three.

Neither the Americans nor Comets have a problem putting the puck in the net, as they are second and fourth overall in the AHL in goals scored with 134 and 124 respectively. The Comets are led on offense by Chase DeLeo. He is now tenth in the league in scoring with ten goals and twenty-five assists for thirty-five points (he is fourth overall in assists). Fabian Zetterlund is the team’s leading goal scorer with thirteen, but he is followed closely by Nate Schnarr (twelve), Alexander Holtz (eleven), and DeLeo (ten). Schnarr has missed the last two games for undisclosed reasons.

Rochester captain Michael Mersch leads the team in points with thirty-seven and is tied for the team lead in goals scored with eighteen. Mersch is also currently seventh in the AHL scoring race. Rochester is currently without their co-leader in goals scored, Jack Quinn, as he is on injured reserve with the Buffalo Sabres. The Americans are also missing another key part of their offense in Peyton Krebs, who is also currently with the Sabres. They still have JJ Peterka, however, who has eight goals and twenty-two assists.

Despite giving up four goals last night, the Comets are still third overall in the American Hockey League in team defense and have given up only eighty-five goals so far this season. Nico Daws (10-2-2, 2.43 GAA, .918 save percentage) played last night in goal for Utica and with the team playing three games in three nights, he most likely will be in net Sunday as well. This means it’s highly likely Mareks Mitens will get the start in the Comets crease against the Americans. In eight games played for Utica this season, Mitens has a record of 4-3-1 with a 3.84 GAA, a save percentage of .867.

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The Rochester Americans are an offensive dynamo, but they have struggled mightily on defense this season. They are thirtieth overall in the AHL in team defense, having given up a total of 131 goals. Recalls and injuries have caused a revolving door of sorts among Rochester goaltenders. The team currently has Mat Robson (who has two of three Rochester wins versus Utica this season) and Charles Williams as their tandem. Robson has an AHL record of 5-1-2 with a 3.84 GAA and .878 save percentage this season. Williams has a record of 0-1-1 with a 5.62 GAA and a .817 save percentage.

With their strong offensive capabilities, the Americans and Comets also have strong powerplay units as well, as they are second and third in the league respectively. The Americans have converted 35 of 130 powerplay opportunities for a percentage of 26.9%. The Comets have scored 23 goals on 99 powerplay chances for a success rate of 23.2%. The Comets ninety-nine powerplay chances are the fewest of any team in the American Hockey League.

The Saturday night game between Utica and Rochester begins at 6:05 pm EST. Radio coverage begins with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL) and the television broadcast begins at 6:05 on AHLTV.

Utica Comets vs Charlotte Checkers Game Preview 01-28-2022

The last time Charlotte played at the Adirondack Bank Center, the Utica Comets set the AHL record for most consecutive wins to start a season.

The Utica Comets continue a busy stretch in the schedule when the Charlotte Checkers come to town on Friday night. The Comets enter the game with the best winning percentage in the American Hockey League at .781 but will have a couple of lineup adjustments heading into not only this weekend games but for at least a few more weeks as well.

Stalwart Utica defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon, who has the second-best +/- in the AHL at +21, has been named to the Canadian Olympic Team and will be gone for two to three weeks while the Olympic games take place (congratulations Tyler!). In his roster spot, Utica has recalled defenseman Joe Masonius has been recalled from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL.

Speaking of recalls from Adirondack, the Comets have brought goaltender Mareks Mitens back as well, sending Brandon Kasel back to the Thunder. Mitens has already played eight games for the Comets this season, posting a 4-3-1 record with a 3.84 GAA and a .867 save percentage. Kasel’s and then subsequently Mitens recall was made necessary by Akira Schmid being recalled back to the New Jersey Devils in the wake of Mackenzie Blackwood being placed on injured reserve.

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The Comets and Checkers have met three times this season. Aside from the historic win in Utica on November 19th, the two teams met in Charlotte on November 27th and 28th – with the Comets winning both of those games as well. Having the best winning winning percentage in the American Hockey League, the Comets are also leading the North Division as well. The Checkers enter the game in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with a 19-15-2-0 record and a .556 winning percentage.

Both the Comets and the Checkers have top-five overall offenses in the AHL. The Comets are fourth overall in the league with 121 goals scored. Chase DeLeo is now thirteenth in the American Hockey League with thirty-three points (eight goals and twenty-five assists), and a three-game point streak going in which he has six points. Fabian Zetterlund leads the team in goals scored with thirteen and has a four-game point-scoring streak himself. Nipping at Zetterlund’s heels for the team goal-scoring lead in Alexander Holtz, who has eleven but has been on an absolute tear as of late. He has a six-game point-scoring streak and goals in three of his last four games. Sandwiched in between Zetterlund and Holtz in the team goal-scoring race is Nate Schnarr, who has twelve.

Utica Comets Blank Providence in Battle of First-Place Teams

The Checkers are certainly no slouches on offense themselves, as they are third in the AHL in goals scored with 122. They are led in points by Logan Hutsko with twenty-three (seven goals and sixteen assists). Former Utica Comet Zac Dalpe leads the Checkers in goals scored with thirteen (Dalpe played in six games for the Comets in 2013-14). He is closely trailed by another former Utica Comet, Kole Lind, as well as Scott Wilson – who has 193 games of NHL experience). Lind and Wilson have eleven goals each.

Team defense is not a problem for the Comets, as the eighty-one goals they have allowed is the best in the AHL – due in large part to the team’s strong goaltending. Since returning from injury two weeks ago, the Utica Comets net has belonged to Nico Daws. For the season, Daws has compiled a record of 10-2-1 with a GAA of 2.32 and a save percentage of .922 – including the first professional shutout of his career in North America on Tuesday night against the Providence Bruins. Daws ranks eleventh in the AHL in wins, sixth in GAA, and sixth in save percentage.

With a back-to-back slate of games this weekend against Charlotte and the Rochester Americans, it is likely both Daws and Mitens will get playing time.

With regular goaltender Joey Daccord still with the Seattle Kraken Taxi Squad, the Checkers goaltending duties have been handled by Billy Christopoulos. In three games for Charlotte, he has a record of 2-1 with a 2.36 GAA and .922 save percentage. Antoine Bibeau was reassigned to the team by Seattle four days ago to complete the goaltending tandem. Overall, Charlotte is twenty-first in the American Hockey league in team defense, allowing 108 goals.

With their strong offensive capabilities, the Comets and Checkers also have strong powerplays. Utica is third in the American Hockey League converting 23 of 96 chances for a 24% success rate – although they have had the least amount of powerplay opportunities in the league. Charlotte has scored on 26 of 128 powerplay chances making their success rate 20.3% – good for ninth in the AHL.

The Checkers and Comets have nearly identical success percentages on the penalty kill. Charlotte is twelfth in the AHL, allowing 22 goals on 121 times shorthanded for an 81.8% success rate. Utica has allowed 20 goals on 108 times shorthanded for an 81.5% success rate – good for sixteenth in the league.

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 on WPNY and AHLTV.

Utica Comets complete two-game sweep of the Charlotte Checkers

The Comets were dominant in the second game of the series.

The Utica Comets enjoyed some southern hospitality this weekend.

On Saturday night, they took game one of the weekend series in a hard-fought 1-0 victory in which Comets goaltender Akira Schmid earned his first-ever professional shutout. Sunday afternoon’s game featured a lot more offense.

The Comets unloaded a five-goal barrage on Charlotte goaltender Christopher Gibson to win game two by a score of 5-2. The win improved Utica’s record to 15-1-0-0.

It only took five minutes for the visitors to get on the scoreboard. Alexander Holtz carried the puck down the right side, spun in the faceoff circle, and lost his balance. While falling, Holtz managed to shove the puck over to the high slot where Marian Studenic picked it up and simply waited until Gibson got out of position before snapping the puck into the top of the net giving Utica a 1-0 lead.

In the last five minutes of the first period, the teams would exchange goals. Utica took a 2-0 lead when Samuel Laberge and Aarne Talvitie broke into the Charlotte zone on a two-on-one. Laberge passed the puck over Talvitie from the right side who in turn gave it right back to Laberge. The pass back was in Laberge’s skates but he managed to recover the puck and put it by Gibson for his first goal as a member of the Utica Comets.

Utica Comets defeat the Charlotte Checkers 1-0 on Saturday night

Three minutes after the Laberge goal, the Checkers caught the Comets defense pinching in their zone. Carsen Twarynski sprung Cole Schwindt on a breakaway who beat Comets starting goaltender Nico Daws for his seventh goal of the season. The game entered the first intermission with a score of 2-1.

Charlotte tied the score at two early in the second period when team-leading scorer Alexander True scored on the power play after putting a rebound off of a shot from Zac Dalpe into the back of the Utica net. After killing a Kevin Bahl tripping penalty after the Charlotte power-play goal, the Comets would score and take the lead for good. Fabian Zetterlund poke checked the puck back into the zone at the Checkers blue line, sped down the left side, and fed AJ Greer in the slot who beat Gibson with a wrist shot. After two periods of play, Utica led by a score of 3-2.

Calder Farmstead AHL Podcast co-host guest on latest Marty’s Illegal Stick

The Comets scored once again two minutes and fifty-one seconds into the third period. Charlotte failed to clear the puck out from the front of their net and Nate Schnarr capitalized with his fifth goal of the season and team-leading (among active players) twelfth point of the season. Three and a half minutes later, Samuel Laberge scored his second goal of the game when AJ Greer sent a saucer pass to Laberge in the left side slot who beat Gibson on the stick side to make the score 5-2 Comets.

Although they wouldn’t score any more after the second Laberge goal, Utica dominated the play in the third period. They limited the Checkers to just five shots on goal in the period, all of which Daws stopped. Frustrations boiled over at the end of the game as AJ Greer and Connor Carrick dropped the gloves for a fight that would spill into the Charlotte bench. The fight was eventually broken up, and the Comets head back to Utica with a stranglehold on first place in the AHL North Division.

Notes: Utica outshot Charlotte by a margin of 29 to 18…Utica was 0 for 3 on the power play, Charlotte was 1 for 3…Nico Daws recorded his eighth victory of the season, which is tied for second-best in the AHL…Samuel Laberge led Comets scorers with three points (two goals and one assist). AJ Greer (one goal and one assist) and Alexander Holtz (two assists) each had two points…Defenseman Reilly Walsh had his five-game point-scoring streak snapped…The Comet’s next game is on Wednesday night at home against North Division rival the Belleville Senators.

Utica Comets defeat the Charlotte Checkers 1-0 on Saturday night

Akira Schmid of the Utica Comets earns his first professional shutout.

Utica Comets goaltender Akira Schmid has been at or near the top of the American Hockey League goaltender statistics all season. Now he has a shutout to add to those totals.

Schmid turned aside all twenty-six of the Charlotte Checkers shots en route to the 1-0 win. Not only is the shutout the first of Schmid’s professional career, but it is also the first for the Utica Comets overall this season. This is actually quite astounding considering that both Schmid and fellow Comet Nico Daws are both in the top five in the AHL in GAA and save percentage.

Calder Farmstead AHL Podcast co-host guest on latest Marty’s Illegal Stick

The opening minutes of the game saw Charlotte get several good chances which were helped by a power play due to an interference penalty taken by Kevin Bahl. Schmid stood tall, and the Comets were able to get some chances of their own. Checkers goalie Joey Daccord was able to match Schmid’s save efficiency and the teams went into the first intermission locked in a scoreless tie.

The second period was an infraction filled affair as there were seven total penalties called in the period. It started at just forty-six seconds into the period when Utica’s Graeme Clarke took a two-minute hooking penalty. Charlotte would help the Comets kill that penalty when about halfway through their power play opportunity, Logan Hutsko took a goaltender interference penalty ending his team’s chance with the man advantage.

A pair of minor penalties taken by the Checkers at 7:08 and 7:32 of the second period would put the Comets on a five-on-three power play leading to the only goal of the game. Fabian Zetterlund, who met the Comets in Charlotte after being reassigned to the team earlier in the day by the New Jersey Devils, scored from just above the goalline on the right side of the Charlotte net off a feed from Alexander Holtz to give the Comets the lead. The assist was Holtz’s first of the season, and Reilly Walsh drew the secondary assist – extending his point scoring streak to six games.

Utica Comets vs Charlotte Checkers series preview

Charlotte would get two more power play opportunities of their own before the end of the period but could not convert, and after forty minutes Utica led one to nothing.

The Checkers got a power play early in the third period off a Nate Schnarr slashing penalty but it was the Comets who would get the golden opportunity. While shorthanded, Aarne Talvitie and Marian Studenic broke in on Daccord two on none, but the Charlotte netminder made a spectacular save with his stick to keep the score one to nothing. The rest of the period was for the most part defensive minded as both teams only had five shots on goal each. The Comets would hang on for the 1-0 win and improve their record to an AHL best 14-1-0-0.

Notes: Charlotte outshot Utica by a 26-17 margin…Utica was 1 for 6 on the power play, Charlotte was 0 for 6…Utica and Charlotte meet again on Sunday November 28th at the Bojangles Coliseum. The game starts at 3:00 pm.

Utica Comets vs Charlotte Checkers series preview

The Utica Comets take a trip down south to play the Checkers in Charlotte for a two game series.

With Thanksgiving and their AHL record-setting season-opening win streak over, the Utica Comets have taken a 753 mile trip south for their geographically longest road trip of the season. Awaiting them in the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina is the Checkers – who are the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. The Comets defeated the Checkers by a score of 4-1 in their only meeting so far this season on November 19th at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, NY.

The two-game series in Charlotte will be played on Saturday, November 27th, and Sunday, November 28th at the Bojangles Coliseum. The Comets enter the series in first place in the North Division with a 13-1-0-0 record while Charlotte is fifth in the Atlantic Division with an 8-7-2-0 mark.

Calder Farmstead AHL Podcast co-host guest on latest Marty’s Illegal Stick

Through the first part of the season, both the Comets and the Checkers are in the top ten in the American Hockey League in offense. Utica is fifth with fifty-six goals scored in fourteen games. Charlotte is right behind in sixth place with a total of fifty-four goals scored in seventeen games. Despite both teams being in the top ten in team scoring, neither team has an individual scorer in the top twenty of the AHL scoring race.

The Utica Comets had a roster change recently when their leading scorer, Chase DeLeo, was recalled to the New Jersey Devils. In his place, 2020 first-round draft pick Alexander Holtz was reassigned to Utica. Holtz started the season in Utica scoring five goals in four games before being recalled to the Devils. In his first game back with the Comets on Wednesday night, he picked right up where he left off by scoring his sixth goal overall with the team. His six goals are tied for the team lead with Joe Gambardella. With DeLeo in New Jersey, Nate Schnarr is now the Comets leading scorer with eleven points (four goals and seven assists).

The Comets will also get another key part of their team back as New Jersey announced on Saturday morning they reassigned forward Fabian Zetterlund to Utica. In the ten games he played for the Comets this season, Zetterlund had three goals and six assists.

The Charlotte offense runs through center Alexander True. In seventeen games played, he has six goals and eight assists for fourteen points. After True, Aleksi Heponiemi and Logan Hutsko are tied for second on the team with eleven points.

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A major strength of this season’s Utica Comets team has been its goaltending. Akira Schmid is 6-0 and leads the AHL in GAA and save percentage with 1.65 and .944 respectively. Despite taking his first loss of the season on Wednesday night, Nico Daws is still tied for second in the league with seven wins. His 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage both rank fourth in the American Hockey League.

The Charlotte goaltending tandem consists of Christopher Gibson and Joey Daccord. Gibson has a record of 4-4-0 with a GAA of 3.29 and a save percentage of .896. Daccord’s record stands at 3-3-1 with a GAA of 2.54 and a .913 save percentage. His GAA ranks fourteenth in the AHL and his save percentage is tied for fifteenth best overall.

With the series being played in back-to-back games, expect to see all four goaltenders in action this weekend.

On special teams, Utica is ranked tenth in the AHL on the power play at 21.1% and Charlotte is tied for fifth at 22.4%. On the penalty kill, Utica is ranked eighth in the league at 85.1% and Charlotte is fifteenth at 82.4%.

Saturday night’s game starts at 6:00 pm and Sunday’s game at 3:00 pm. Radio coverage begins a half-hour prior to the start time with the pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The television broadcast will be on AHLTV.

Notes: Utica has outscored its opponents by a margin of 56-28 for the season, Charlotte has outscored its opponents 54-51…Comets defenseman Robbie Russo has his five-game point streak snapped on Wednesday night, but teammate Reilly Walsh is currently riding a five-game point streak of his own…After this series, these teams will meet one more time in the regular season on January 28th at the Adirondack Bank Center.

Utica Comets set AHL record with win over Charlotte

The Utica Comets set the AHL mark for consecutive wins to start a season.

History was made on Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center, where the Utica Comets defeated the Charlotte Checkers by a score of 4-1. Coming into tonight’s game, they were tied with the 1984-85 Rochester Americans for the most consecutive wins to start an AHL season at eleven. They now own the record outright.

Leading scorer Chase DeLeo missed his fifth straight game while in the Covid protocol, but they did get alternate captain Brian Flynn back. Flynn had missed the previous seven games after suffering an upper-body injury at practice.

The Charlotte Checkers, who are the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, came into tonight’s game looking to play the spoiler of the Comets big night. At just over a minute into the game, it looked like they might just do that. Max McCormick tipped a Matt Kiersted shot from the left side of the net past Comets starting goaltender Nico Daws to give the Checkers an early 1-0 lead. Utica would wind up outshooting Charlotte ten to eight in the first period but found themselves in a familiar position as they went to the locker room not being able to answer the McCormick goal.

Whatever Utica Comets coach Kevin Dineen said to his team during the first intermission worked, as they were the dominant team in the second period. It started just about six minutes into the period after some sustained offensive pressure, Nolan Foote scored his second goal of the season from the slot off of a feed from captain Ryan Schmelzer to tie the game at one. From this point through the rest of the period, the Comets were off and running.

Nolan Foote of the Utica Comets ties the game at one against the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Shortly after a fight between former Comet Kole Lind and current Comet AJ Greer, the Comets struck again. A loose puck scramble in front of Charlotte goaltender Joey Daccord was won by Nate Schnarr, who. found an opening and did not miss, giving the Comets their first lead of the night with a score of 2-1.

AJ Greer and Kole Lind battle it out in the second period of Friday night’s game. Photo credit: Scott Kinville

Schnarr and the Comets were not done in the second period. With under two minutes to Reilly Walsh stole the puck near the Checkers blue line to keep the pressure on. He fired a wrist shot from the point that was tipped by Schnarr in front of the net past Daccord for his second goal of the game that gave the Comets a 3-1 lead going into the second period.

In the third period, it would be the Checkers who turned on the offensive pressure, as the Comets protected their two-goal lead. Charlotte outshot Utica twelve to four for the period, but Nico Daws was up to the task. With just over two minutes left, Aarnie Talvitie scored his fifth goal of the season into the empty Charlotte net, and it was time to celebrate in Utica. The Comets won the 4-1 and set the record in front of a roaring home crowd.

Notes: Utica and Charlotte had the same number of shots on goal for the game at 24…Charlotte was 0 for 1 on the power play, Utica was 0 for 2…Nate Schnarr (2 goals, including the game-winner) and Graeme Clarke (2 assists) each led the Comets in points…with an assist tonight, Robbie Russo extended his point-scoring streak to four games…With the win, Nico Daws is now tied with Keith Kinkaid for most in the AHL with seven…The Comets play again Saturday night at home against Rochester, Charlotte plays again on Sunday in Hershey.

Utica Comets vs Charlotte Checkers preview

The Utica Comets will set an AHL record with a win on Friday night.

Normally, a team’s twelfth game of the regular season would not have a playoff like atmosphere about it – but most teams do have the chance to do what the Utica Comets can do this Friday night.

This Friday night, the Comets are going for their twelfth consecutive win to start the season to break the AHL record they tied on Wednesday night by defeating the Rochester Americans. Their opponent for the potential recording breaking game at the Adirondack Bank Center will be the Charlotte Checkers, who are the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers.

The Checkers enter the game sitting in third place in the AHL Atlantic Division with a 7-5-1-0 record. Offensively, they are lead by center Alexander True, who leads the team in points with thirteen, assist with seven, and is tied for the team lead in goals with Cole Schwindt at six each. True’s thirteen points also have him tied for ninth in the AHL scoring race with eleven other players.

In goal, Christopher Gibson and Joey Daccord have split the duties for the Checkers. Gibson has a record of of three wins and three losses, including one shutout, a GAA of 3.37 and a save percentage of .903. Daccord has made five appeareances so far this season, compiling a record of three wins and two losses to go with a 2.38 GAA and .919 save percentage.

The Utica Comets tie AHL record with win

The Utica Comets are the only remaining undefeated team in the American Hockey League with a record of 11-0-0-0. They have done this despite losing key contributors like Alexander Holtz, Fabian Zetterlund, Brian Flynn, Tyce Thompson, Jesper Boqvist, and Chase DeLeo to either callup or injury. Fortunately for Utica, Frederik Gauthier and Marian Studenic, who replaced Thompson and Boqvist, have been excellent with Comets since their arrival. coach Kevin Dineen is getting the absolute most of this team by instilling a “next man up” attitude in response to the losses and the team is getting contributions from all four of it’s lines.

Despite missing the past four games, Chase DeLeo still leads the Comets in scoring with one goal and eleven assists in only seven games played. After DeLeo, Joe Gambardella and Nate Schnarr are tied for second on the team with eight points each. Gambardella leads the team in goals scored with six.

The backbone of Utica Comets win streak has no doubt been the teams goaltending. Nico Daws and Akira Schmid have established themselves as being among the very best goaltenders in the American Hockey League. Daws has won all six of his starts this season, with sparkling 2.17 GAA and .936 save percentage. For as great as Daws’s numbers are, Schmid’s have been even better. In his five starts this season (all wins), he has an astounding GAA of 1.38 and a save percentage of .951. Both his GAA and save percentage are ranked number one in the AHL.

Friday nights game starts at 7:00pm. Radio coverage begins at 6:30 with the Comets pregame show on 94.9 K-Rock (WKLL). The Television broadcast will be carried by WPNY as well as AHLTV.

Notes: Charlotte is ranked third in the AHL on the power play at 23.9%, and twelfth in the league at 83%. Utica is tied for twelfth in the league on the power play at 20%, and sixth on the penalty kill at 86.8%….Utica has outscored its opponents as a whole this season 45-20, Charlotte has outscored its opponents 45-37….Akira Schmid has made two straight starts in goal for the Comets….Defenseman Robbie Russo has a three game point streak going, including the game winning goal on Wednesday night against Rochester….Defenseman Reilly Walsh has a two game goal scoring streak….Charlotte last played on Wednesday night in Lehigh Valley, the Comets las played on Wednesday night in Rochester. This is the first of four meetings between these two teams this season.

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