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Gameday: Comets at Adirondack

December 7, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Utica Comets News Release

UTICA COMETS (6-13-1-1) @ ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS (10-10-0-2)

Glens Falls Civic Center, 7 p.m.

Radio: 94.9 K-Rock

Tonight's Game: For the second time in back-to-back nights, the Utica Comets will meet an opponent for the first time in franchise history as they travel to Glens Falls to meet the Adirondack Phantoms. The Comets look to right the ship after they dropped their past two games, including last night's loss to Bridgeport.

When They Last Met: Tonight is the first ever regular season meeting between these two teams. The Comets defeated the Phantoms 4-2 in a pre-season encounter in late September at the John F. Kennedy Arena in Rome, NY.

Comets Outlook: The Comets converted twice on the power play but could not quiet the Sound Tigers, as they dropped a 5-3 decision at The AUD.  Utica got goals from Patrick Mullen, Benn Ferriero and Yannick Weber, which included a three point night for Ferriero (1-2-3). Weber (1-1-2) and Cal O'Reilly (0-2-2) also picked up multi-point games for Utica, but it did not prove to be enough. Joacim Eriksson made 27 of 32 saves for his ninth loss of the season.

Phantoms Outlook: The Phantoms recorded their third shutout of the season as Cal Heeter stopped all 24 shots he faced in a 3-0 Adirondack victory. Heeter's shutout was the second of both the season and his AHL career, with his only other blanking on Nov. 8 at Springfield.  Tye McGinn, Brandon Alderson and Chris VandeVelde each found the back of the net for the Phantoms, the team high seventh for VandeVelde. Jason Akeson picked up his team high 15th point of the season with an assist on McGinn's goal.

Yann According To Plan: Yannick Weber has provided a major offensive spark since he was loaned to the Comets last month, and has now scored a point in each of his six games in a Comets sweater. Weber's two points against Bridgeport now has him with seven points (2-5-7) in six games played which is already tied for the Comets lead amongst defensemen.

Power Surge Continues: The Comets have now found the back of the net seven times with the man advantage over their past seven games played, courtesy of power-play goals from Ferriero and Weber.  Utica's power play has risen into the top 10 in the AHL at 19.5 percent as a result of their recent success.

How May I Assist You: With his two helpers against Bridgeport, center Cal O'Reilly has now recorded five assists over seven games with the Comets.  The former Windsor Spitfire broke the 240 assist mark for his North American professional career with his first assist last night.

Big Benn Strikes Again: Benn Ferriero connected on a power-play goal for the second straight game and the third in his last four. Ferriero is the team's sole leader in both goals (9) and power-play goals (4) and has moved to within just two points of Pascal Pelletier for the team lead in points.

Wherever We May Rome: Although the Comets and Phantoms have yet to meet during the regular season, Utica was victorious for the first time in franchise history on Sept. 29 at the John F. Kennedy Arena in Rome, NY. Alex Friesen scored twice to lead the Comets while captain Colin Stuart added two points (1-1-2) of his own.

A Long Time Coming: AHL franchises from Utica and Glens Falls will meet for the first time since Feb. 16, 1993 when the Utica Devils fell to the Adirondack Red Wings 7-3 at the Civic Center. Utica's last win at the Civic Center came nearly a month before on Jan. 23, when the Devils were victorious 6-3.

Scouting The Phantoms: Jason Akeson leads the Phantoms in both assists and points (3-12-15), while winger Chris VandeVelde tops the roster with seven goals.  Rookie Petr Straka has amassed 10 points (5-5-10) over 20 games to lead all of Adirondack's first year players.

Bruno Gervais, a veteran of 418 NHL games, leads all Adirondack blueliners with 12 points (4-8-12).  Gervais' eight assists rank second on the Phantoms behind just Akeson and his three power-play goals are the most amongst all teammates.  Denmark native Oliver Lauridsen has a +8 rating over 22 games played, which is not only the highest on his team but also a career best mark.

The Phantoms possess a stellar tandem between the pipes with Cal Heeter and Yann Denis. Heeter tops Denis with six wins, a .925 save percentage and a 2.24 goals against average.  Denis, who possesses a .902 save percentage and 2.49 save percentage in his own right, enters tonight's game with a winning record at 4-3-2.


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