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Utica Comets Vs Toronto Marlies Weekend Preview

The Utica Comets will host the Toronto Marlies this weekend for their second and third matchup of the 2023-2024 season. The Marlies are leading the season series 1-0, which was a 5-2 win in the second game of the season for the Comets. Since then, Utica holds a record of 17-16-4-3 for 41 points, only two points behind the Marlies who have a record of 18-14-6-1 for 43 points. The games will be at 7:00 and 5:00 respectively.  

Toronto Marlies 

For the Marlies in their past ten, they have a 5-3-2 record and they’re currently on a three-game point streak. One player to look out for is Kiefer Bellows. Bellows, the 2016 1st round pick from the Islanders, is currently 10th in the AHL for goals with 18 and he has a total of 32 points. Another thing to point out about Bellows is that all 18 of his goals have come from even strength. For the Comets to come away with a win this weekend, they must keep their eyes on him all weekend long. 

In addition to Bellows playing well on 5v5, it’s also all the Marlies who excel on even strength. Toronto’s the second highest-scoring team in the AHL, scoring on average 3.62 goals per game. Of their 141 goals scored on the season, 110 of those goals have come from even strength, while holding a league-average powerplay. So, Utica must play at their peak ability to shut down the strong Toronto Marlies Offense.  

On the other end of the ice, the Marlies goaltenders are also solid. One goalie to point out is Dennis Hildeby. The 2022 draft pick is excelling in his rookie season, he’s currently posting a .910 SV% and a 2.42 GAA all in 21 starts. In those starts, he holds a record of 10-7-4, while also picking up three shutouts which ties him for third in shutouts league-wide.  

Utica Comets 

The Comets are on a three-game win streak and seem to have found their stride, as they are 6-3-1 in their last 10. In their last three games, they have outscored their opponents 8-5. Last Saturday night, they scored three straight goals in a come-from-behind 3-1 victory against the division-leading Syracuse Crunch. On Wednesday night, Brian Halonen scored with 39 seconds remaining in the third period to complete another come-from-behind victory – this time against the Laval Rocket.

Utica Comets involved in multiple transactions

The Comets goalies have stepped up their play recently, especially the rookie Isaac Poulter. Poulter picked up his second shutout against the Rochester Americans in a 2-0 victory last Friday. This moves Poulter’s stats to 2.55 GAA and a .913 SV%, while also picking up 12 wins in his 20 games played. That ties Poulter for 12th in wins in the AHL. In the game that Poulter did not play, Arkia Schmid stepped in against the Crunch and turned aside 22 shots, only allowing one goal, which gave him his 3rd win on the season in 10 games played.  

In the past week, the Comets have been involved in numerous transactions, including call-ups from the ECHL and reassignments from the NHL. The Comets had Justin Dowling, Yushiroh Hirano, Daniil Misyul, and Santeri Hatakka return to the lineup. while having Erik Middendorf and Colin Felix leave the club and return to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL.  

The television broadcast for this weekend’s games will be on AHLTV, while the radio broadcast is on 94.9 K-Rock. For more information about the Utica Comets, including schedules and ticketing, visit https://uticacomets.com

Here are more in-depth stats for tonight’s matchup between the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets. 

Team Records

Utica Comets

  • Overall record: 17-16-4-3, 39 Pts. – 6th in the North Division.
  • Home record: 9-8-1-3, 22 Pts.
  • Goal Differential: -5
  • Head Coach: Kevin Dineen

Toronto Marlies

  • Overall record: 18-14-6-1, 43 Pts. – 4th in the North Division
  • Away record: 10-7-2-1, 23 Pts.
  • Goal Differential: +23
  • Head Coach: John Gruden

Team Offense

Utica Comets

  • Goals For: 125
  • Goals Per Game: 3.13 – 16th in the AHL
  • Shots: 1139
  • Shots per Game: 28.48 – 26th in the AHL
  • Power Play: 16.6% (25/151) – 26th in the AHL

Toronto Marlies

  • Goals For: 141
  • Goals Per Game: 3.62 – 2nd in the AHL
  • Shots: 1193
  • Shots per Game: 30.59 – 13th in the AHL
  • Power Play: 17.8% (30/169) – 18th in the AHL

Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

Utica Comets

  • 1.) Graeme Clarke: 17G + 17A = 34 Pts. Clarke is 12th in the AHL in goals.
  • 2.) Ryan Schmelzer: 10G + 18A = 28 Pts.
  • 3.) Xavier Parent: 9G + 19A = 28 Pts.
  • 4.) Kyle Criscuolo: 8G + 16A = 24 Pts.
  • 5.) Joe Gambardella: 6G + 14A = 20 Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Graeme Clarke with 121. Clarke is 13th in the AHL for shots.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Brian Halonen with 6. Halonen is 17th in the AHL in power-play goals.
  • Power Play Points: Xavier Parent with 10.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Shane Bowers and Ryan Schmelzer with two. Both are T-4th for SHG in the AHL.
  • Game Winning Goals: Graeme Clarke with Six.
  • +/- Leader: Ryan Schmelzer at +11.
  • PIM Leader: Samuel Laberge with 51.

Toronto Marlies

  • 1.) Joesph Blandisi: 11G + 24A = 35 Pts. Blandisi is 20th in the AHL for Points.
  • 2.) Alex Steeves 16A + 18A = 34 Pts. Steeves is 18th in the AHL for goals.
  • 3.) Kieffer Bellows: 18G + 14A = 32 Pts. Bellows is 10th in the AHL in goals.
  • 4.) Logan Shaw: 15G + 14A = 29 Pts.
  • 5.) Nick Abruzzese: 7G + 22A = 29 Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Logan Shaw with 112.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Ryan Tverberg and Alex Steeves with four.
  • Power Play Points: 3 skaters tied with 10 points.
  • Shorthanded Goals Leader: Logan Shaw and Josiah Slavin with 1.
  • Game Winning Goals: Logan Shaw with 3.
  • +/- Leader: Marshall Rifai with +19. Blandisi is 9th in the AHL for +/-
  • PIM Leader: Kyle Clifford with 72 PIMs. Clifford is 18th in the AHL for PIMs.

Team Defense

Utica Comets

  • Goals Against: 130
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.25 – 20th in AHL.
  • Shots Allowed: 1203
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 30.08 – 19th in AHL.
  • Penalty Kill: 86.2% (119/138) – 2nd in the AHL.
  • Shorthanded Goals Socred: 6 – 6th in the AHL.

Toronto Marlies

  • Goals Against: 118
  • Goals Against Per Game: 3.03 – 14th in the AHL
  • Shots Allowed: 1040
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 26.67 – 2nd in the AHL
  • Penalty Kill: 83.5% (116/139) – 9th in the AHL
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: 2 – 25th in the AHL

Goaltenders

Utica Comets

Isaac Poulter

  • Record: 12-5-1 – Poulter is 14th in the AHL for wins
  • GAA: 2.55
  • Saves: 491
  • Save Percentage: .913
  • Shutouts: Two – Poulter is 14th in the AHL for Shutouts

Akira Schmid

  • Record: 3-3-4
  • GAA: 3.39
  • Saves: 285
  • Save Percentage: 0.891
  • Shutouts: None

Erik Källgren

  • Record: 1-5-2
  • GAA: 4.21
  • Saves: 186
  • Save Percentage: .853
  • Shutouts: none

Toronto Marlies

Dennis Hildeby

  • Record: 10-7-4
  • GAA: 2.42
  • Saves: 498
  • Save Percentage: .910
  • Shutouts: Three – Hildeby is 5th in the AHL for Shutouts

Keith Petruzzelli

  • Record: 6-5-1
  • GAA: 3.14
  • Saves: 288
  • Save Percentage: .881
  • Shutouts: None

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