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Utica Comets vs Rochester Americans Weekend Preview

The Utica Comets will be looking to take advantage of a Rochester Americans dealing with key losses during a home-in-home series this weekend.

The Utica Comets are facing the Rochester Americans for their third and fourth times out of twelve regular-season meetings this weekend. Utica lost their first matchup 5-4 and then won the next contest last Friday 4-3 in overtime. The game-winning goal came from Xavier Parent, who notched his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

This Friday night’s game will be at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester and is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. On Saturday night the scene shifts to Utica’s Adirondack Bank Center where the Comets will be holding their annual Veterans Day celebration. The game is slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.

Utica Comets

The Comets are looking to bounce back after losing to the Hartford Wolfpack 3-2 at home on Saturday To win this weekend, the Comets are going to need their defense and goaltending at their best. The Americans are a fast and shifty team since that is the type of team the Buffalo Sabres are currently creating. The go-to player for Utica is going to be Simon Nemec, the second overall pick in the 2022 draft. Coach Dineen will be leaning on Nemec to hopefully bolster the blue line and use his excellent skating to transition quickly to offense and trap the Americans in a cycle.

Another player to look out for is Tyce Thompson who currently has three points in his last four games. One assist came as the primary assist on the game-tying goal against the Americans last week. After starting the first four games pointless, Thompson has turned his season around. He excels in disrupting passing lanes which disrupts his opponent’s flow, which is something the Comets need to win this home and home against the Americans. Utica will also be missing Max Willman, who was called up once Jack Hughes was injured and is not set to return this weekend.

The final key in order for the Comets to succeed this weekend is to make sure they capitalize on the special teams. With the Americans currently holding the highest power play percentage in the North Division at 26.5%, Utica must stay out of the penalty box. They must also capitalize on any powerplay chances that they get since the Americans have a disappointing 69.2% penalty-kill rate – while also giving up almost 4 penalties per game. If Utica can get their power play going it could be hard for the Americans to come back and win the game.

Editor’s note: After this article was originally published, the New Jersey Devils announced they had reassigned defenseman Cal Foote to the Utica Comets.

See what has changed since our last Comets vs Americans preview: Utica Comets at Rochester Americans game preview 11-03-2023.

Rochester Americans

The Rochester Americans are going to be down four of their top skaters. First is Matthew Savioe who has two goals and three assists for five points in six games. Savoie finished his conditioning stint in the AHL on November 4th which made him get called up. In his short time at Rochester, he made an immediate impact, scoring a goal against Utica as well. They will also lose one of their top defenseman Ryan Johnson, who joined the Amerks at the start of the season. Finally, Rochester will be out Brandon Biro and Lukas Rousek. These subtractions will significantly hurt the Americans as each of those players was a key player for the Americans.

Regardless of being without some of their key players, Rochester still has maintained their top scorers while the injury bug is going throughout the Sabres Organization. Jiri Kulich, the 19-year-old Czech forward has been lighting it up, scoring nine goals and posting four assists for a total of thirteen points. That is the sixth most points in the AHL while also being the fourth youngest skater in the whole league. Isak Rosen will also still be in the lineup – he has 12 points in 10 games while being only twenty years old. He is also tied for twelfth most points in the American Hockey League.

The Rochester goaltenders are looking like Dustin Tokarski and Devin Cooley, as Micheal Houser was loaned back to the ECHL. Tokarski and Cooley are not off to the best start. Tokarski, a 34-year-old veteran in the young Americans locker room has two starts this season. In those two starts, he has let up eight goals and has a save percentage of .849%. Cooley on the other hand has gotten a majority of the starts with five. The 26-year-old is currently in his 3rd season and has a GAA of 4.12 and a save percentage of .883%

Here are some more in-depth statistics for this weekend’s home and home matchup between the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans.

Team Records

Utica

  • Overall Record: 3-3-2, 8 Pts
  • Home Record: 0-2-1, 1 Pt
  • Away Record: 3-1-1, 7 Pts
  • Place in Standings: 7th in North Division
  • Goal Differential: -1
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen

Rochester

  • Overall Record: 6-2-2, 14 Pts
  • Home Record: 2-1-2, 6 Pts
  • Away Record: 4-1-0, 8 Pts
  • Place in Standings: 1st in North Division
  • Goal Differential: -3
  • Head Coach: Seth Appert

Team Offense

Utica

  • Goals For: 24
  • Goals Per Game: 3- 20th in the AHL
  • Shots: 200
  • Shots Per Game: 25
  • Powerplay: 12.5% (3 for 25)- 28th in the AHL

Rochester

  • Goals For: 4
  • Goals Per Game: 4.3- 1st in the AHL
  • Shots: 304
  • Shots Per Game: 30.4 – 11th in the AHL
  • Powerplay: 26.5% (9 for 34)- 4th in the AHL

Top Five Scorers and Individual Leaders

Utica

  • 1) Xavier Parent: 5G + 4A = 9Pts
  • 2) Graeme Clarke 3G + 2A = 5Pts
  • 3) Chase Stillman: 3G + 2A = 5Pts
  • 4) Topias Vilen: 0G + 4A = 4Pts
  • 5) Shane Bowers: 3G + 0A = 3Pts
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 25
  • Powerplay Goals: Graeme Clarke with 3
  • Powerplay Points: Graeme Clarke with 3
  • Shorthanded Goals: Shane Bowers with 1
  • Game-winning Goals: Xavier Parent with 2
  • +/- Leader: Xavier Parent at +5
  • PIM leader: Robbie Russo with 12

Rochester

  • 1) Jiri Kulich: 9G + 4A = 13 Pts – 6th in the AHL
  • 2) Isak Rosen: 5G + 7A = 12 Pts – T-12 in the AHL
  • 3) Jeremy Davies: 2G + 7A = 9 Pts
  • 4) Kale Clague: 1G + 8A = 9Pts
  • 5) Mason Jobst: 5G + 3A = 8Pts
  • Shots Leader: Jeremy Davies with 33
  • Powerplay Goals: Brandon Biro and Isak Rosen with 4
  • Powerplay Points: 3 different players tied with 2
  • Shorthanded Goals: Justin Richards with 2- 3rd in the AHL
  • Game-winning Goals: Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen tied with 2 -T-3rd in the AHL
  • +/- Leader: Linus Weissbach at +5
  • PIM leader: Joesph Cecconi with 30 PIMS

Team Defense

Utica

  • Goals Against: 25
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.13 Goals Against Per Game- 18th in the AHL
  • Shots Allowed: 238
  • Shows Allowed Per Game: 29.75 Goals Against Per game- 14th in the AHL
  • Penalty Kill: 83.3% (25 for 30) – 13th in the AHL
  • Short-Handed Goals Scored (Team): 1- 20 in the AHL

Rochester

  • Goals Against: 46
  • Goals Against Per game: 4.60 Goals Against Per Game- 31st in the AHL
  • Shots Allowed: 338
  • Shows Allowed Per Game: 33.80 Goals Against Per game- 31st in the AHL
  • Penalty Kill: 69.% (27 for 39) – 32nd in the AHL
  • Short-Handed Goals Scored (Team): 3- 4th in the AHL

Goaltenders

Utica

Isaac Poulter

  • Record: 3-0-1 – T-13rd for wins
  • GAA: 1.87 – 9th in the AHL
  • Saves: 145
  • Save Percentage: .942 -2nd in the AHL
  • Shutouts: 0

Erik Källgren

  • Record: 0-3-1
  • GAA: 4.98
  • Saves: 68
  • Save Percentage: .810
  • Shutouts: 0

Rochester

Dustin Tokarski

  • Record: 1-0-1
  • GAA: 3.85
  • Saves: 58
  • Save Percentage: .879
  • Shutouts: 0

Devin Cooley

  • Record: 3-1-1
  • GAA: 4.12
  • Saves: 151
  • Save Percentage: .883
  • Shutouts: 0

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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