Gameday: Comets vs Toronto
TORONTO MARLIES (44-24-2-4) @ UTICA COMETS (33-31-5-4)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7pm
Radio: 94.9 K-Rock
Tonight's Game: The Utica Comets have reached their second to last game of the season as they host the Toronto Marlies at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. After their strong second half, Utica was finally eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday in their defeat against Rochester.
When They Last Met: The Comets dropped a 3-2 decision to Toronto on Apr. 6 at Ricoh Coliseum. Center's Pascal Pelletier and Cal O'Reilly each scored for the Comets, while winger Alexandre Grenier collected two assists. Sam Carrick led the way for Toronto with two goals, while defenseman Eric Knodel had two assists. Joe Cannata took the loss despite a 33 save effort, while Garret Sparks was victorious with 23 saves on 25 shots.
Comets Outlook: The Utica Comets were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday evening, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Rochester Americans at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. David Marshall scored the lone goal for Utica, with Ray Kaunisto collecting his first assist as a Comet on the play. Joacim Eriksson took the defeat for the home side, with 18 saves on 22 shots, while Andrei Makarov was the victor for Rochester with 31 stops.
Marlies Outlook: Toronto won a wild 5-4 decision against the Binghamton Senators in overtime on Wednesday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. TJ Brennan led the Marlies with three points (1-2-3) and Stuart Percy scored twice for the visitors and Jerry D'Amigo had two assists. Buddy Robinson led the Senators with two goals. Drew McIntyre collected the victory with 23 saves for Toronto.
Catcher In The O'Reilly: Despite appearing in just 50 games this season, Utica center Cal O'Reilly has cracked the AHL's top ten in power-play assists, with 22. O'Reilly's .44 PPA per game is third in the AHL amongst players with 50 or more games played, behind just Travis Morin (.47) and Mike Hoffman (.451). The Toronto, ON native is second overall on the Comets with 43 points (6-37-43).
The Pellowship Of The Ring: Utica's leading scorer, center Pascal Pelletier, has hovered on the first page of the league leaders for the entirety of the season and currently sits alone in 12th with 60 points (20-40-60). The playmaker's 40 assists are tied for 10th in the AHL, with his 25 even strength helpers tied for fifth in the league.
Forgetting David Marshall: Comets winger David Marshall was the Utica goal scorer in Wednesday's defeat against Rochester, with his second tally of the season. Marshall, who had scored last on Feb. 28 against Adirondack, now has multiple goals in the AHL for the sixth straight season.
Catch Me If You Cannata: Netminder Joe Cannata has lost just twice over his past eleven appearances. The Wakefield, MA native has allowed more than two goals only once over that span. Cannata has amassed a .937 save percentage over his run and has seen his number for the season rise to .905. The Merrimack College graduate's goals against average has also dropped to 2.87.
Scouting The Marlies: Spencer Abbott is tied for the Marlies lead in scoring amongst all forwards with 69 points (17-52-69) over 64 games played. Abbott is currently sixth, alone, in the AHL in points, but trails teammate TJ Brennan.
Brennan leads all AHL defensemen with his 72 points (25-47-69). The New Jersey native, who tops his closest competitor in defensive scoring by thirteen points, is also the only defenseman in the AHL with 20 or more goals and no other blueliner has more than 15. Brennan's 25 tallies also lead the Marlies.
Forwards Trevor Smith and Carter Ashton have thrived in limited AHL action this season. Smith has amassed 26 points (10-16-26) over just 23 games played, while Ashton has 23 points (16-7-23) over 24 games. Drew MacIntyre has led the Marlies this season between the pipes, with 47 games played and has been amongst the AHL leaders all season and he enters this week of action with 28 wins, good for a tie for second in the league. The Prince Edward native made his long awaited first career NHL start on Apr. 10.
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