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Utica Comets at Springfield Thunderbirds game preview 11-17-23

The Utica Comets and Springfield Thunderbirds meet for the first of four regular-season meetings on Friday night.

The MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts will host the first meeting of the season between Utica Comets and Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday night. The Comets are in seventh place in the North Division while the Thunderbirds hold down fourth place in the Atlantic.

The Comets will be looking to build on what would be the best game they played all season last Saturday night. They defeated the Rochester Americans 6-0 in front of their home crowd at the Adirondack Bank Center. Simon Nemec (two goals and two assists) and Kyle Criscuolo (one goal and three assists) had four points each for the red and black. Issac Poulter made twenty-three saves in goal for the shutout, continuing his strong start to the season.

Poulter has been the answer the Comets needed between the pipes with Nico Daws still out and Erik Källgren struggling. He is in the top three in the AHL in GAA and save percentage, while compiling a record of 4-1-1.

Fast fact: the Utica Comets are the least penalized team in the AHL with only 97 PIM.

The Connecticut Hockey Foundation featured on the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast

The Springfield Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds enter Friday night’s game in need of a win. Although they are 6-3-1-0 in their last ten games, they have lost three in a row and dropped to fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

Springfield’s offense undoubtedly goes through forwards Adam Gaudette and Nathan Walker. Both should be familiar to Utica fans as both have spent time in a Comets uniform. Gaudette and Walker are off to blistering starts, They are first and second in the AHL in goals and points and have been special teams specialists. Gaudette leads the league in power-play goals with six, while Walker leads the AHL in shorthanded goals with three.

Friday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. EST. Television coverage will be on AHLTV and the radio broadcast will be on 94.9 K-Rock. Here’s the tale of the tape between the Utica Comets and the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Team Records

Utica Comets

  • Overall Record: 4-4-2-0, 10 Pts.
  • Away Record: 3-2-1-0, 7 Pts.
  • Place in Standings: 7th in the North Division.
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.
  • Goal Differential: +4.

Springfield Thunderbirds

  • Overall Record: 7-7-1-0, 15 Pts.
  • Home Record: 5-2-0-0, 10 Pts.
  • Place in Standings: 4th in the Atlantic Division.
  • Head Coach: Drew Bannister.
  • Goal Differential: -1.

Team Offense

Utica Comets

  • Goals For: 33.
  • Goals Per Game: 3.30 – 13th in the AHL.
  • Shots: 274.
  • Shots Per Game: 27.40 – 28th in the AHL.
  • Power Play: 12.1% (4 for 33) – 28th in the AHL.

Springfield Thunderbirds

  • Goals For: 44.
  • Goals Per Game: 2.93 – 22nd in the AHL.
  • Shots: 420.
  • Shots Per Game: 28.00 – 25th in the AHL.
  • Power Play: 16.9% (10 for 59) – 21st in the AHL.

Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

Utica Comets

  • 1.) Xavier Parent: 5G + 6A = 11 Pts.
  • 2.) Kyle Criscuolo: 2G + 6A = 8 Pts.
  • 3.) Graeme Clarke: 4G + 3A = 7 Pts.
  • 4.) Simon Nemec: 2G + 4A = 6 Pts.
  • 5.) Justin Dowling: 1G + 5A = 6 Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 37.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Graeme Clarke with three. Clarke is 9th in the AHL in PPG.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Graeme Clarke with three.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leaders: Kyle Criscuolo and Shane Bowers with one each.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Xavier Parent with two. Parent is 10th in the AHL in GWG.
  • +/- Leader: Five at +5.
  • PIM Leader: Robbie Russo with 12.

Springfield Thunderbirds

  • 1.) Adam Gaudette: 11G + 7A = 18 Pts. Gaudette is 1st in the AHL in goals and points.
  • 2.) Nathan Walker: 9G + 8A = 17 Pts. Walker is 2nd in the AHL in goals and points, 12th in +/-, and 17th in shots.
  • 3.) Matthew Peca: 2G + 11A = 13 Pts. Peca is 8th in the AHL in assists.
  • 4/5.) Dylan Coghlan (5G + 3A), Mackenzie MacEachern (3G + 5A), and Calle Rosen (0G + 8A) with 8 Pts each.
  • Shots Leader: Adam Gaudette with 51. Gaudette is 2nd in the AHL in shots.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Adam Gaudette with six. Gaudette leads the AHL in PPG.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Adam Gaudette with 8.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Nathan Walker with three. Walker leads the AHL in SHG.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Adam Gaudette with three.
  • +/- Leader: Matthew Peca at +11. Peca is tied for the league lead in +/-.
  • PIM Leader: Adam Gaudette with 22.

Team Defense

Utica Comets

  • Goals Against: 29.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 2.90 – 11th in the AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 295.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 29.50 – 13th in the AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 85.3% (29 for 34) – 9th in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: two – 11th in the AHL.

Springfield Thunderbirds

  • Goals Against: 45.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.00 – 15th in the AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 488.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 32.53 – 28th in the AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 82.1% (55 for 67) – 17th in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: four – tied for 2nd in the AHL.

Goaltenders

Utica Comets

Issac Poulter

  • Record: 4-1-1. Poulter is 12th in the AHL in wins.
  • GAA: 1.92. Poulter is 3rd in the AHL in GAA.
  • Saves: 198.
  • Save Percentage: 0.938. Poulter is 3rd in the AHL in save percentage.
  • Shutouts: 1.

Erik Källgren

  • Record: 0-3-1.
  • GAA: 4.98.
  • Saves: 68.
  • Save Percentage: 0.810.
  • Shutouts: 0.

Tyler Brennan

  • No AHL statistics.

Springfield Thunderbirds

Malcolm Subban

  • Record: 3-4-1.
  • GAA: 2.52. Subban is 15th in the AHL in GAA.
  • Saves: 204.
  • Save Percentage: 0.915. Subban is 14th in the AHL in save percentage.
  • Shutouts: 0.

Vadim Zherenko

  • Record: 4-3-0. Zherenko is 20th in the AHL in wins.
  • GAA: 3.27.
  • Saves: 239.
  • Save Percentage: 0.909. Zherenko is 18th in the AHL in save percentage.
  • Shutouts: 0.

For more information about the Utica Comets, including schedules and ticketing, visit https://uticacomets.com.

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