History will be made.
For the first time in franchise history, the Utica Comets will be attending the dance known as the AHL Playoffs. Entering the post-season as the number one seed in the Western Conference, the Comets will be taking on a familiar team to Canucks fans, the Chicago Wolves.
The series will be a best-of-five with the first two games being played in Chicago, while the remainder of the series will shift back to Utica. This format is used to cut down on travel and the Comets had the choice to open the series in Utica or Chicago with the first two games being played in one city and the remainder in the other.
Game 1 – Wednesday, April 22th – 5pm PT @ Chicago
Game 2 – Friday, April 24th – 5pm PT @ Chicago
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 29th – 4pm PT @ Utica
**Game 4 – Friday, May 1st – 4pm PT @ Utica
**Game 5 – Saturday, May 2nd – 4pm PT @ Utica
** If necessary
By the numbers
2 – Number of seasons the Comets have been the AHL affiliate of the Canucks (2013 – current), and also the number of seasons the Wolves were the AHL affiliate of the Canucks (2011 – 2013).
103 – Points the Comets finished with this season as they had a Western Conference best 47-20-9 record.
15-2-3 – Record of the Comets since the NHL Trade Deadline and acquisitions of Sven Baertshi and Cory Conacher.
87 – Points the Wolves finished with this season. Chicago finished third in the Midwest Division and eighth in the conference with a 40-29-6-1 record.
13 – Comets players that have never played an AHL Playoff Game: Peter Andersson, Darren Archibald, Adam Clendening, Travis Ehrhardt, Joacim Eriksson, Alex Friesen, Brendan Gaunce, Alexandre Grenier, Ben Hutton, Joseph Labate, Andrey Pedan, Hunter Shinkaruk and Mike Zalewski.
4 – Career AHL post-season games combined by Canucks prospects Frank Corrado and Nicklas Jensen. Each appeared in two games with the Wolves in 2012, the last time a Canucks AHL affiliate made the playoffs.
66-0-1 – That’s the combined record of both these teams when leading after two periods this season. The Wolves have not blown a two-period lead in 47 games, while the Comets haven’t lost in regulation after leading through 40 minutes in their two-year history. That’s 63 games to be exact. Needless to say, don’t be playing from behind in this series, especially in the third period.
1 – Show of awesome fan support from Comets fans in Utica during the wee hours of the night.
Chicago scouting report
“They have a really deep team,” said Comets head coach, Travis Green. “They have had a real good stretch to get into the playoffs and are going to be a real tough team to beat. They have some really quick forwards and some big defenceman. At this time of year I don’t look at any team and say one is a favorite over another in any of the series that I look at.”
Three keys to a series victory
Play their game: There is a reason why the Comets finished first in the AHL’s Western Conference. No need to change anything for the post-season. Dictating the pace of the game and strong puck possession is the team’s strength, along with sensational goaltending.
Balanced attack: The Comets don’t rely on any superstars to provide offence. They enter the post-season with 11 forwards that hit double digits in goals this season, with Brandon DeFazio leading the charge with a team-high 21. No other team had as many players with 10+ goals. If the balanced attack continues, this team will be hard to beat.
Grease: “You got to win the battle of the creases,” said Green. “Like any playoff series you need to win the battles in front of the net and find a way to score the greasy goals. There are a lot of goals scored in the paint during the playoffs, and there are a lot of series that are won or loss in the paint during the playoffs.”