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Monsters Hit the Road, Clash with Utica

In the first of four meetings between the two teams this season, the Cleveland Monsters, affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, drop the puck vs. the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, on Friday with full coverage, live from Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, NY, underway at 7:00 pm on Alt 99.1, AHLTV and the Monsters Hockey Network.

MONSTERS PRE-SCOUT: Following a 1-4 home loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday, the Cleveland Monsters enter today’s game at 3-2-0-0 on the season. With a .600 points percentage, the Monsters currently rank tied for second in the AHL’s Central Division standings and tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland is led in scoring by C Zac Dalpe (4-2-6), LW Eric Robinson (3-2-5) and LW Nathan Gerbe (0-4-4).

COMETS PRE-SCOUT: In the wake of a 1-6 home loss to the Rochester Americans on Wednesday, the Utica Comets enter today’s game at 3-3-0-0 on the season. With a .500 points percentage, the Comets currently rank fifth in the AHL’s North Division standings and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Utica is led in scoring by LW Reid Boucher (8-2-10), RW Zack MacEwen (2-4-6) and C Tanner Kero (0-6-6).

SEASON SERIES: Friday marks the first of four meetings between the Monsters and Comets this season and the first of two meetings between the two teams at the Adirondack Bank Center this year.

MONSTERS GOALTENDERS

35 J-F Berbe
 OVERALL:      4 GP, (2-2-0), 0 SO, 2.54 GAA, .927 S%
LAST APPEARANCE:     

(30/33) in 1-4 L vs WBS 10/13/18

HEAD-TO-HEAD:     

N/A

ON THE ROAD:     

1 GP, (1-0-0), 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .925 S%

 

39 Brad Thiessen
OVERALL:      1 GP, (1-0-0), 0 SO, 2.00 GAA, .935 S%
LAST APPEARANCE:      (29/31) in 5-2 W vs RFD 10/6/18
HEAD-TO-HEAD: N/A
ON THE ROAD:     

N/A

 

80 Matiss Kivlenieks
OVERALL:      N/A
LAST APPEARANCE:      N/A
HEAD-TO-HEAD: N/A
ON THE ROAD:      N/A

 

COMETS GOALTENDERS

32 Richard Bachman 
OVERALL:     

4 GP, (1-3-0), 0 SO, 4.29 GAA, .870 S%

LAST APPEARANCE:     

(24/30) in 1-6 L vs ROC 10/17/18

HEAD-TO-HEAD:     

N/A

AT HOME:      4 GP, (1-3-0), 0 SO, 4.29 GAA, .870 S%

 

31 Ivan Kulbakov
OVERALL:     

2 GP, (2-0-0), 0 SO, 3.50 GAA, .907 S%

LAST APPEARANCE:      (38/41) in 5-3 W at TOR 10/14/18
HEAD-TO-HEAD:      N/A
AT HOME:      N/A

 

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

  • RIVALRY RENEWED: On Friday, the Monsters and Comets will meet for just the 11th time in the two teams’ franchise histories and for the first time since the Monsters were defeated by Utica on the road on Saturday, December 27, 2014, by a final score of 6-3. Cleveland is 3-4-1-2 vs. the Comets all-time with a -5 goal differential (24/29) while the Monsters logged a 2-2-0-1 all-time record vs. the Comets in Utica.
  • FORMER FRIENDLIES: There are numerous Cleveland connections on the Comets’ current roster, including veteran D Jaime Sifers, who logged 141 regular-season games played in a Monsters uniform spanning the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons and helped claim the 2016 Calder Cup for Cleveland, second-year G Ivan Kulbakov, who appeared in eight games for Cleveland last season, LW Vincent Arseneau who appeared in 24 regular-season games for the Monsters during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, and LW Brendan Gaunce, the younger brother of the Monsters’ all-time appearance leader Cameron Gaunce, now a blue-liner for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
  • RED-HOT REID: Utica’s leading scorer, LW Reid Boucher, is off to a hot start this season and currently ranks in the AHL’s top-five in points (10, T2nd), goals (8, 1st), power-play goals (4, T1st), power-play points (5, 4th), shots on goal (22, T3rd) and game-winning goals (2, T1st).