Utica Comets, Rochester set for first meeting since December
The Utica Comets and Rochester Americans are about to get reacquainted.
The Thruway rivals are set to face-off in a key North Division matchup at 7 p.m. Saturday in Utica. It is the second of three games on the weekend for the Comets, who have a home-and-home series with Syracuse on Friday and Sunday.
Saturday’s game between Utica and Rochester is the first time the teams — which had a spirited playoff series last May — will meet since Dec. 28. The last time the teams met, Rochester was ahead of Utica in the North. The teams have flipped since then with Utica a few points ahead of Rochester.
This game is the first of four weekend meetings between the teams through Saturday, April 8. The teams also have a home-and-home series next weekend with a game Friday in Utica and April 1 in Rochester. The teams meet again April 8 in Utica when the Comets will be in the middle of a season-long five-game homestand.
Both the Comets and Amerks are battling for playoff positioning in the seven-team North Division, so these games are critical. The top five teams in the North qualify for the American Hockey League’s postseason. The regular-season ends Saturday, April 15.
Rochester Americans at Utica Comets
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Adirondack Bank Center, Utica.
BROADCAST: KROCK 94.9FM or krock.com (free); AHLTV, watchtheahl.com (subscription video); Channel 5 for Spectrum subscribers in the Utica-Rome area.
SEASON SERIES: Utica leads the 10-game series 3-2-1-0 following the Amerks 5-4 overtime win on Dec. 28 in Rochester.
PROMOTION: Rockin’ the Rink: 90’s Night. Three local bands are set to play in the arena during pre-game and both intermissions. Hits from the 90s are expected to be played in-game. The Comets are set to wear their red throwback Utica Devils’ jerseys as well.
WHAT TO KNOW: Rochester, which played Hershey at home on Friday, is winless in its last six road games (0-4-1-1), which is among the longest current stretches in the AHL. The team is 13-14-2-2 on the road this season. The team is 1-1-0-0 in two games at Utica this season. ... Like Utica, Rochester is also playing a three-game weekend. Though, the Amerks also played earlier in the week. It means goaltenders Malcom Subban and Michael Houser will split starts for the team. Subban has a 3.46 GAA in two starts vs. Utica while Houser has a 2.37 GAA in three starts. ... Brett Murray (two goals, four points) and Brandon Biro (1 goal, 5 five assists) lead the Amerks with six points vs. Utica this season. Biro is the first Rochester player to reach 50 points this season. ... Utica is 9-11-0-0 in games played on Saturday this season. ... Brian Pinho (three goals, two assists) and Reilly Walsh (five assists) lead the Comets with five points vs. Rochester this season. ... Neither Isaac Poulter nor recently professional tryout contract addition Mike Robinson have made appearances vs. Rochester this season. Nico Daws — whose status was unclear as of Friday because of what is described as a lower-body injury — is 3-2-0 vs. Rochester this season. Akira Schmid — who is on recall with New Jersey — is 0-0-1 vs. Rochester this season.
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