Utica Comets close January with busy stretch
The last full week of January is a busy one for the Utica Comets.
Following Wednesday’s shortened game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Utica has three more games over four days. It will all eventually cap a busy 13-game (and a partial contest) month of January for the American Hockey League team.
Utica, holding onto second place in the seven-team North Division, gets the first visit of the season from the Atlantic Division’s Charlotte Checkers at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Then, the Comets will make the short drive to Syracuse on Friday to play at the rival Crunch. It is the fourth time in 11 days the North Division rivals will meet. The Comets and Crunch are also scheduled to meet the first day of February in Utica
This week closes with a 7 p.m. Saturday home game against another Atlantic Division opponent in the Providence Bruins. It is the third time this month the teams will meet. The Comets are Bruins are scheduled to close their season series Saturday, Feb. 4.
That game is the last before the short AHL All-Star break and the mad dash to the end of the regular-season heats up. The team has a lighter load of 10 games — though there is travel to Canada and Ohio involved — in February.
Charlotte Checkers at Utica Comets
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday.
WHERE: Adirondack Bank Center.
BROADCAST: KROCK 94.9FM or krock.com (free), watchtheahl.com (subscription video).
SEASON SERIES: The teams are both 1-0-1-0 in the four-game series. Both games just after Thanksgiving in Charlotte went to overtime with Utica winning 3-2 on Nov. 26.
WHAT TO KNOW: It is the first of two games for the Comets as part of the annual Save of the Day Foundation games. The team is set to wear special jerseys with a black base featuring the Utica Devils’ horned U logo. The jerseys are set to be sold via live auction, online auction, raffle, and best bid, according to the team. ... Utica is 8-3-1-1 against Atlantic Division teams this season. ... When the Comets and Checkers last met, Alex Holtz was on a brief stint with Utica when he had three points in the two meetings. Andreas Johnsson, Nolan Foote and Graeme Clarke each have goals against Charlotte this season. ... Utica was 1-1-1-0 while wearing the special Save of the Day jerseys last season as the New Jersey Devils affiliate. ... Charlotte, which is the Florida Panthers, affiliate, is 5-4-1-0 against North Division teams this season. ... Wednesday’s game is the first of five consecutive road contests for Charlotte. The team won back-to-back road games against WBS and Hershey in early January. The team is 8-7-1-1 on the road this season. ... Thirty-three-year-old veteran forward Riley Nash, who has played more than 860 regular-season games between the NHL and AHL, leads Charlotte with 15 goals and 34 points. He has six goals in his last nine games. ... Zac Dalpe is the Charlotte captain. He played six games for the Comets during the team’s first season in 2013-14.
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