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Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch Game Preview

The Utica Comets face the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night in search of their first win of the season.

The Utica Comets are looking to even the season series at one with the Syracuse Crunch after dropping their home opener, 4-3, in overtime two weeks ago. Utica hopes to turn their season around and get their first win in the regular season at the Upstate Medical University Arena. The Syracuse Crunch, on the other hand, are off to a hot start, winning three of their first four games. Both teams should be well rested as it is their first game of the week.

Utica lost their first matchup in overtime and still has not found their stride, with struggles coming both offensively and defensively. They have let up eleven goals in three games while only scoring six.

Despite the struggles on the ice, one bright spot is twenty-eight-year-old left-wing Max Willman. After signing with the New Jersey Devils from the Philadelphia Flyers, he has two goals and one assist in just three games played. On the other end, Tyce Thompson is still pointless with a -1 rating despite making a strong case to make the Devils opening night roster.

Central New York college hockey players in the SPHL

The good news is the Devil’s 2022 second overall pick, Simon Nemec could return to the lineup. He had a strong rookie campaign, posting twelve goals and twenty-two assists in sixty-four games. The Comets were looking for him to take the next step this season and hopefully help lead the offense. It’s been a rough start to this season for Nemec, however, as he was injured on opening night and has not been in the lineup since.

Utica will also be without Cal Foote who was called up this Monday to bolster the Devils blue line who will be without Colin Miller due to injuries.

The Syracuse Crunch

On the other side of the Ice, the Syracuse Crunch currently has the best winning percentage in the North Division. One reason for their hot start so far is the depth of their scoring. In their first four games, nineteen different skaters have recorded at least a single point. Only one skater is pointless.

Twenty-four-year-old center Felix Robert is leading the Crunch’s strong offense with four goals and one assist in four games. Robert has had a quiet first couple of years in the AHL, having scored thirty points in his best season thus far. Judging from his play so far this season, he is setting up for a breakout year.

The special teams for the Crunch are helping the strong start. So far they have only given up one powerplay goal in nineteen attempts. On the other hand, Syracuse is capitalizing when they have the man advantage. They have scored five times with a percentage of 26.3%, second only to the offensive powerhouse that is the Rochester Americans.

The television broadcast for Friday night’s game will be on AHLTV, and radio coverage will be on 94.9 KROCK as well as ESPN Radio Syracuse. Here are some more in-depth stats to look at before the Utica Comets face off against the Syracuse Crunch.

Team Records

Utica

  • Overall Record: 0-1-2, 2 points
  • Away Record: 0-2-0
  • Place in Standings: 7th in the North Division
  • Goal Differential: -5
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen

Syracuse

  • Overall Record: 3-1-0, 6 points
  • Away Record: 2-1-0
  • Place In Standings: 1st in the North Division
  • Goal Differential: +6
  • Head Coach: Joel Bouchard

Team Offense

Utica

  • Goals For: 6
  • Goals Per Game: 2
  • Shots: 84
  • Shots Per Game: 28
  • Powerplay: 8.3% (1/12)

Syracuse

  • Goals For: 15
  • Goals Per Game: 3.75
  • Shots: 127
  • Shots Per Game: 31.75
  • Powerplay: 26.3% (5/19)

Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

Utica

  • 1.) Max Willman: 2G + 1A = 3Pts
  • 2.) Justin Dowling: 0G + 3A = 3Pts
  • 3.) Graeme Clarke: 1G + 1A = 2 Pts
  • 4.) Xavier Parent: 1G + 0A = 1Pt
  • 5.) 5 tied at 1 point each
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 16
  • Power Play Goals Leaders: Graeme Clarke with 1
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: None
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: None
  • +/- Leader: Justin Dowling and Max Willman at +1
  • PIM Leader: Robbie Russo with 10 PIM

Syracuse

  • 1.) Felix Robert: 4G + 1A = 5Pts
  • 2.) Mitchell Chaffee: 0G + 4A = 4Pts
  • 3.) Lucas Edmonds: 2G + 1A = 3 Pts
  • 4.) Daniel Walcott: 2G + 1A = 3 Pts
  • 5.) Gage Goncalves + Jack Thompson 0G + 3A = 3 Pts
  • Shots Leader: Mitchell Chaffee with 12
  • Power Play Goals Leaders: Five tied with 1
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Daniel Walcott with 1
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Robert Felix + Daniel Walcott + Gabriel Dumont with 1
  • +/- Leader: Lucas Edwards + Felix Robert + Jack Thompson at +3
  • PIM Leader: Gabriel Dumont with 9 PIM

Team Defense

Utica

  • Goals Against: 11
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.66
  • Shots Allowed: 84
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 28
  • Penalty Kill: 84.6% (11/13)
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored (team): 0

Syracuse

  • Goals Against: 9
  • Goals Against Per Game: 2.25
  • Shots Allowed: 87
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 21.75
  • Penalty Kill: 94.7% (18/19)
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored (team): 1

Goaltenders

Utica

Isaac Poulter

  • Record: 0-0-1
  • GAA: 1.65
  • Save Percentage: .941
  • Shutouts: 0

Erik Källgren

  • Record: 0-1-1
  • GAA: 6.35
  • Save Percentage: .758
  • Shutouts: 0

Note: goaltender Jeremy Brodeur was called up from Adirondack of the ECHL on Friday morning. He has no AHL statistics this season.

Syracuse

Hugo Alnefelt

  • Record: 2-0-0 (T-2 for most wins)
  • GAA: 1.00 (2nd lowest in AHL)
  • Save Percentage: 0.966 (2nd highest in AHL)
  • Shutouts: 1 (T-1st In AHL)

Pyotr Kochetkov

  • Record: 1-0-0
  • GAA: 2.79
  • Save Percentage: 0.912
  • Shutouts: 0

Evan Fitzpatrick

  • Record: 0-1-0
  • GAA: 4.16
  • Save Percentage: 0.852
  • Shutouts: 0

For more information about the Utica Comets, visit https://uticacomets.com. For more on the Syracuse Crunch, visit https://syracusecrunch.com.

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