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Syracuse Crunch at Utica Comets game preview 12-16-2023

Arch rivals the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets meet on Saturday at the Adirondack Bank Center in a North Division matchup.

The Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets will square off for their seventh of fourteen regular-season meetings on Saturday. The puck drop is scheduled for 5:00 pm. The Comets lead the season series thus far four games to two.

Both teams are looking to rebound from losses to the same team. On Wednesday night, the Crunch dropped a 4-1 decision on home ice to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The loss extended Syracuse’s losing streak to three games – which includes two against the Comets.

The Comets were hot coming into their game on Friday night, as they were winners of four straight. That came to an abrupt halt, as the same flightless birds from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went into the Adirondack Bank Center and defeated the Comets by a score of 4-1.

Brodeur recalled by the Utica Comets

Not only will the Crunch look to snap their losing streak on Saturday, but they will also seek to get their offense going. Overall, they have had one of the most prolific offenses in the American Hockey League this season, but have hit a a bump in the road as of late. The Crunch have scored just one goal in each of their last three games.

Help is on the way for Syracuse. On Thursday, their NHL parent club the Tampa Bay Lightning reassigned defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Mitchell Chaffee to the Crunch. Chaffee is tied for the team lead in both goals (nine) and points (nineteen). Myers leads the club in plus/minus at +11.

Prior to Friday night, the Comets seemed to have found their groove on offense after struggling for most of the season. They had averaged four goals per game in December prior to Friday night’s one-goal output.

Ultimately the team’s success is often based on their special teams units, which are on the extreme ends of the scale. On one hand, they have the fourth-best penalty-killing unit in the AHL. On the other hand, the Comets have the worst power play success percentage in the league.

Five points separate the Crunch and Comets in the North Division standings. Television coverage for Saturday’s game will be on AHLTV. The Crunch radio broadcast will be on ESPN Radio Syracuse and the Comets broadcast will be on 94.9 K-Rock. For more information about both teams, including schedules and ticketing, visit or

Here’s the tale of the tape for Saturday’s game between the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets.

Team Records

Syracuse Crunch

  • Overall record: 13-8-0-2, 28 Pts – 2nd in the North Division.
  • Away record: 5-5-2-0, 12 Pts.
  • Goal differential: +10.
  • Head Coach: Joel Bouchard.

Utica Comets

  • Overall record: 10-9-3-0, 23 Pts – 6th in the North Division.
  • Home record: 5-4-1-0, 11 Pts.
  • Goal differential: 0.
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.

Team Offense

Syracuse Crunch

  • Goals For: 75.
  • Goals Per Game: 3.26 – 12th in the AHL.
  • Shots: 670.
  • Shots Per Game: 29.13 – 20th in the AHL.
  • Power Play: 20.0% (19 for 95) – 12th in the AHL.

Utica Comets

  • Goals For: 68.
  • Goals Per Game: 3.09 – 15th in the AHL.
  • Shots: 612.
  • Shots Per Game: 27.82 – 27th in the AHL.
  • Power Play: 9.8% (8 for 82) – 32nd in the AHL.

Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

Syracuse Crunch

  • 1.) Mitchell Chaffee: 9G + 10A = 19Pts.
  • 2.) Gage Goncalves: 4G + 15A = 19Pts. Goncalves is 14th in the AHL in assists.
  • 3.) Felix Robert: 8G + 9A = 17Pts.
  • 4/5.) Maxim Groshev (8G + 7A), Gabriel Dumont (5G + 10A), and Jack Thompson (2G + 13A) with 15Pts each.
  • Shots Leader: Jack Thompson with 64.
  • Power Play Goals: Mitchell Chaffee with four.
  • Power Play Points: Jack Thompson with eleven.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: six are tied with one each.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Mitchell Chaffee, Gabriel Dumont, and Daniel Walcott with two each.
  • +/- Leader: Philippe Myers at +11. Myers is 11th in the AHL in +/-.
  • PIM Leader: Shawn Element with 45. Element is 15th in the AHL in PIM.

Utica Comets

  • 1.) Graeme Clarke: 9G + 9A = 18Pts.
  • 2.) Xavier Parent: 7G + 10A = 17Pts.
  • 3.) Ryan Schmelzer: 5G + 9A = 14Pts.
  • 4.) Max Willman: 7G + 6A = 13Pts.
  • 5.) Kyle Criscuolo: 4G + 9A = 13Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 69. Clarke is 18th in the AHL in shots.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Graeme Clarke with three.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Graeme Clarke and Xavier Parent with four each.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Shane Bowers with two. Bowers is 8th in the AHL in shorthanded goals.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Graeme Clarke with four. Clarke is 4th in the AHL in game-winning goals.
  • +/- Leader: Joe Gambardella at +8.
  • PIM Leader: Samuel Laberge with 35.

Team Defense

Syracuse Crunch

  • Goals Against: 65.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 2.83 – 10th in the AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 602.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 26.17 – 3rd in the AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 86.2% (94 for 109) – 5th in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: six – 2nd in the AHL.

Utica Comets

  • Goals Against: 68.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.09 – 18th in the AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 648.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 29.45 -15th in the AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 87.3% (69 for 79) – 4th in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Socred: five – 6th in the AHL.


Syracuse Crunch

Hugo Alnefelt

  • Record: 3-4-2.
  • GAA: 2.83 – Alnefelt is 10th in the AHL in GAA.
  • Saves: 210.
  • Save Percentage: 0.901.
  • Shutouts: one.

Matt Tomkins

  • Record: 3-2-0.
  • GAA: 2.77.
  • Saves: 115.
  • Save Percentage: 0.891.
  • Shutouts: none.

Utica Comets

Isaac Poulter

  • Record: 8-3-1. Poulter is 10th in the AHL in wins.
  • GAA: 2.36. Poulter is 8th in the AHL in GAA.
  • Saves: 335.
  • Save Percentage: 0.920. Poulter is 10th in the AHL in save percentage.
  • Shutouts: one.

Nico Daws

  • Record: 1-1-0.
  • GAA: 2.04.
  • Saves: 59.
  • Save Percentage: 0.937.
  • Shutouts: none.

Jeremy Brodeur

  • Brodeur has no AHL statistics.

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