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Utica Comets vs Belleville Senators game preview 11-29-2023

The Utica Comets and Belleville Senators will meet on Wednesday night for the first of eight 2023-24 regular season meetings.

North Division rivals the Utica Comets and Belleville Senators meet on Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center both looking to build momentum heading into December. The Comets are currently in fifth place in the division while the Senators hold down the seventh spot. Although separated by two places in the standings, they are separated by only one point.

The Comets are 5-4-1-0 in their last ten games and have hit some turbulence as of late. They have been shutout in their last two games, and haven’t scored a goal since the second period of a 4-1 win against Syracuse on November 22nd. The power play continues to struggle as well, as its 8.9% efficiency rate is the worst in the American Hockey League.

Utica got some welcome news in regards to their offensive struggles earlier this week. First, it was announced that defenseman Topias Vilen and forward Yushiroh Hirano were assigned to the Comets from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. Vilen has spent most of this season in Utica and had a brief stay in Adirondack. In six AHL games this season, he has four assists.

Hirano was having a fantastic season with the Thunder prior to his AHL recall. Three of his six goals for Adirondack came on the power play, which is something the Comets are desperately looking for.

In the midst of all this, the Devils traded forward Tyce Thompson to the New York Islanders for forward Arnaud Durandeau. Durandeau had the best season of his career in 2022-23, posting twenty-four goals and thirty-one assists. You can read more details about Vilen, Hirano, and Durandeau here: Trio assigned to the Utica Comets.

Adding to the good news for the Comets, the Devils also announced forward Max Willman was reassigned to Utica. Before being recalled by New Jersey, Willman had seven points in seven games for the Comets.

Max Willman assigned to the Utica Comets

The Comets will be missing one of their “heart and soul” players when they take the ice on Wednesday night. Sam Laberge, who recently signed an NHL deal with the Devils was recalled to New Jersey. It is unclear how long he will be with the Devils.

The Belleville Senators

This season has been a struggle for the Belleville Senators. They have only one point over their last five games (0-4-1) and have only three wins in November. The Senators are also in the bottom third league-wide, on offense, defense, and special teams. They have allowed six shorthanded goals which is tied for most in the AHL with the Rochester Americans.

There have been two bright spots for the Senators in an otherwise dismal season thus far. Goaltender Mads Sogaard has been outstanding in the eight games he has played in. Although his record is barely above .500 at 4-3-0, he is eleventh in the AHL in save percentage and thirteenth in GAA.

Defenseman Maxence Guenette is one of the top offensive defensemen in the American Hockey League. He is following up a strong 2022-23 campaign in which he registered forty points with continued production this season. In sixteen games he has two goals and eleven assists and is tied for the the team lead in points with Angus Crookshank. He has also not taken a penalty this season.

Television coverage for Wednesday night’s game will be on AHLTV, and the radio broadcast will be on 94.9 K-Rock. For more information about the Utica Comets, visit https://uticacomets.com.

Here’s the tale of the tape between the Utica Comets and Belleville Senators.

Team Records

Utica Comets

  • Overall record: 6-6-3-0, 15 Pts – 5th in the North Division.
  • Home record: 3-2-1-0, 7 Pts.
  • Goal differential: -1.
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen.

Belleville Senators

  • Overall record: 6-8-1-1, 14 Pts – 7th in the North Division.
  • Away record: 2-4-1-0, 5 Pts.
  • Goal differential: -17.
  • Head Coach: David Bell.

Team Offense

Utica Comets

  • Goals For: 44.
  • Goals Per Game: 2.93 – 20th in the AHL.
  • Shots: 420.
  • Shots Per Game: 28.00 – 28th in the AHL.
  • Power Play: 8.9% (5 for 56) – 32nd in the AHL.

Belleville Senators

  • Goals For: 41.
  • Goals Per Game: 2.56 – 28th in the AHL.
  • Shots: 475.
  • Shots Per Game: 29.69 – 16th in the AHL.
  • Power Play: 16.7% (11 for 66) – 21st in the AHL.

Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

Utica Comets

  • 1.) Xavier Parent: 6G + 7A = 13 Pts.
  • 2.) Kyle Criscuolo: 4G + 9A = 13 Pts.
  • 3.) Simon Nemec: 2G + 6A = 8 Pts.
  • 4.) Max Willman: 4G + 3A = 7 Pts.
  • 5.) Graeme Clarke: (4G + 3A) and Justin Dowling (1G + 6A) = 7 Pts each.
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke: 50. Clarke is 20th in the AHL in shots.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Graeme Clarke with three.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Graeme Clarke with three.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Shane Bowers with two. Bowers is 4th in the AHL in SHG.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Xavier Parent with two.
  • +/- Leader: Filip Engaras at +6.
  • PIM Leader: Arnaud Durandeau with twenty-three.

Belleville Senators

  • 1.) Angus Crookshank: 6G + 7A = 13 Pts.
  • 2.) Maxence Guenette: 2G + 11A = 13 Pts.
  • 3.) Egor Sokolov: 3G + 6A = 9 Pts.
  • 4.) Garrett Pilon: 3G + 5A = 8 Pts.
  • 5.) Cole Reinhardt: 2G + 5A = 7 Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Angus Crookshank with 56. Crookshank is 12th in the AHL in shots.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Egor Sokolov with three.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Maxence Guenette and Egor Sokolov with six each.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Angus Crookshank and Zack Ostapchuk with one each.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Jacob Larsson with two.
  • +/- Leader: three tied at +2.
  • PIM Leader: Cole Reinhardt with twenty-five.

Team Defense

Utica Comets

  • Goals Against: 45.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.00 – 19th in the AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 443.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 29.53 – 15th in the AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 83.6% (46 for 55) – 17th in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Socred: three – 7th in the AHL.

Belleville Senators

  • Goals Against: 58.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.63 – 27th in the AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 553.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 34.56 – 31st in the AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 74.2% (46 for 62) – 31st in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: two – 14th in the AHL.

Goaltenders

Utica Comets

Isaac Poulter

  • Record: 5-2-1
  • GAA: 2.62
  • Saves: 246
  • Save Percentage: 0.914
  • Shutouts: 1

Erik Källgren

  • Record: 1-4-2
  • GAA: 3.57
  • Saves: 152
  • Save Percentage: 0.874
  • Shutouts: 0

Belleville Senators

Mads Saogaard

  • Record: 4-3-0
  • GAA: 2.35 – 13th in the AHL
  • Saves: 215
  • Save Percentage: 0.923 – 11th in the AHL
  • Shutouts: 1

Kevin Mandolese

  • Record: 0-2-1
  • GAA: 5.12
  • Saves: 94
  • Save Percentage: 0.870
  • Shutouts: 0

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