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Utica Comets vs Cleveland Monsters weekend series preview

The Utica Comets hit the road this weekend for a pair of games against the Cleveland Monsters. Game one is on Saturday night at the Rocket Mortgage Field House, while the rematch is on Sunday afternoon – puck drops for both games are 6:00 PM and 12:30 PM. The Comets are still struggling with a record of 6-7-3-0, which lands them in 6th place in the North Division. As for the Cleveland Monsters, they sit atop the North Division with a record of 12-4-1-0.

The Cleveland Monsters

The Monsters are currently on a four-game winning streak which they hope to extend in their home barn this weekend. A key factor in those wins is the goaltending, as in the past four games the Monsters have given up only seven goals. Rookie goaltender Pavel Cajan has been especially solid – he is currently 20th in the AHL for GAA. Overall the Monsters have given up fifty-one goals in seventeen games.

The Cleveland goaltending corps got even stronger on Saturday, as Daniil Tarasov was assigned to the Monsters from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Cleveland has a record of 5-3-0-0 at home. In those games, when the Monsters outshot their opponents they are 5-0-0, conversely when they got outshot, they were 0-3-0-0. Their main shooter is Carson Meyer who leads the team with fifty-one shots in total and leads by thirteen shots.

Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey featured on the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast

The Monsters have scored fifty-nine goals in seventeen games for a +8 differential. Their leading goal scorer is Emil Bemstrom, who has nine goals in six games. He will return to the lineup after being called up by the Columbus Blue Jackets

Kent Johnson will be out of the lineup after the Blue Jackets called up the 5th overall pick in the 2021 draft. Johnson will be a big loss as he has five goals and ten assists for fifteen points in ten games and was second on the team in points. Even without Johnson, Cleveland still has Trey Fix-Wolansky. A seventh-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he has five goals, and fifteen assists for twenty points in fourteen games.

The Utica Comets

The Comets are attempting to get back into the win column as they have dropped their last three games. In those games, the Comets were outscored 16-3 – including two straight shutout defeats. The winner this weekend could be determined by who scores first. When the Monsters score first they have a record of 8-1-1, while the Comets are 8-2-1 when they are the first to light the lamp.

Utica needs to make sure they stay out of the penalty box, as during this losing streak they have given up four power-play goals. Another big issue for the Comets is the lack of offensive production. They have only three goals in their last three games.

Trio assigned to the Utica Comets

One big problem the Comets have faced recently is the constant change of players in the last week. The injury bug has been going through the Devil’s system necessitating ten recalls and loans in the past ten days. Samuel Laberge was called up by the Devils on Wednesday and made his NHL debut Thursday night. On Friday, New Jersey recalled their number two overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, defenseman Simon Nemec. The loss of Laberge and Nemec will hurt as they are integral parts of the Comets.

Sam Laberge recalled by the New Jersey Devils

Here are some more in-depth details ahead of this weekend’s matchup between the Utica Comets and Cleveland Monsters:

Team Records

Utica Comets

  • Overall Record: 6-7-3, 15 Pts – 6th in North Division
  • Away record: 3-4-2
  • Goal differential: -4
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen

Cleveland Monsters

  • Overall Record: 12-4-1, 25 Pts – 1st in North Division
  • Home record: 5-3-0
  • Goal differential: +8
  • Head Coach: Trent Vogelhuber

Team Offense

Utica Comets

  • Goals For: 47
  • Goals Per Game: 2.94 – 20th in AHL
  • Shots: 456
  • Shots Per Game: 28.50 – 26th in AHL
  • Power Play: 10.3% (6/58) – 32nd in the AHL

Cleveland Monsters

  • Goals For: 59
  • Goals Per Game: 3.47 – 8th in AHL
  • Shots: 497
  • Shots Per Game: 29.24 – 20th in AHL
  • Power Play: 22.4% (15/67) – 6th in AHL

Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

Utica Comets

  • 1.) Xavier Parent: 6G + 8A = 14 Pts.
  • 2.) Kyle Criscuolo: 4G + 9A = 13Pts.
  • 3.) Graeme Clarke: 5G + 5A = 10 Pts.
  • 4.) Justin Dowling: 2G + 6A = 8Pts.
  • 5.) Max Willman (4G + 3A) and Chase Tillman (4G + 3A) = 7 Pts each.
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 53.
  • Power Play Goals Leader:  Graeme Clarke with three.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Graeme Clarke and Xavier Parent with three.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader:  Shane Bowers with two. Bowers is T-2 in the AHL in SHG.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Xavier Parent with two.
  • +/- Leader:  Filip Engaras at +6.
  • PIM Leader: Arnaud Durandeau with twenty-five.

Cleveland Monsters

  • 1.) Trey Fix-Wolansky: 5G + 15A = 20 Pts. Fix-Wolansky is 6th in the AHL for points and 6th in assists.
  • 2.) Jake Christiansen: 3G + 11A = 14 Pts.
  • 3.) Brendan Gaunce: 5G + 7A = 12 Pts.
  • 4.) Emil Bemström: 9G + 2A = 11 Pts. Branström is 14th in the AHL in goals and 12th in +/-.
  • 5.) Two others tied with 11.
  • Shots Leader: Carson Meyer with 51.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Emil Bemström and Nick Blankenburg tied with 2.
  • Power Play Points Leader: Nick Blankenburg with six.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: No one has scored shorthanded.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Emil Bemström with three. Bemström is tied for 3rd in AHL in GWG.
  • +/- Leader: Trey Fix-Wolansky at +11. Fix-Wolansky is 6th in the AHL in +/-.
  • PIM Leader: Carson Meyer with nineteen.

Team Defense

Utica Comets

  • Goals Against: 51
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.19 – 25th in AHL
  • Shots Allowed: 469
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 29.31 – 15th in AHL
  • Penalty Kill: 84.5% (49/58) – 12th in the AHL
  • Shorthanded Goals Socred: three – 7th in the AHL

Cleveland Monsters

  • Goals Against: 51
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3 – 17th in the AHL
  • Shots Allowed: 541
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 31.82 – 25th in AHL
  • Penalty Kill: 74.2% (61/77) – 21st in the AHL
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: 0 -28th in the AHL.

Goaltenders

Utica Comets

Isaac Poulter

  • Record: 5-2-1
  • GAA: 2.62
  • Saves: 246
  • Save Percentage: .914
  • Shutouts: 1

Erik Källgren

  • Record: 1-5-2
  • GAA: 3.77
  • Saves: 172
  • Save Percentage: .864
  • Shutouts: 0

Cleveland Monsters

Pavel Cajan

  • Record: 3-1-1
  • GAA: 2.50 – 20th in the AHL
  • Saves: 168
  • Save Percentage: .923 – 10th in the AHL
  • Shutouts: 0

Jet Greaves

  • Record: 9-3-0. Greaves is 4th in the AHL in wins.
  • GAA: 3.09
  • Saves: 322
  • Save Percentage: .899
  • Shutouts: 1

Television coverage and the radio broadcast for both games will be on AHLTV and 94.9 K-Rock. For more information about the Utica Comets, including schedules and ticketing, visit https://uticacomets.com.

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