After ousting the Oklahoma City Barons in seven games, the Utica Comets will take on the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL Western Conference Final.
The Griffins will be a tough test. They finished the season with 46 wins, just one behind the Comets. In their last 28 regular season games, they went 21-5-2, and have won seven of their past eight post-season games. They are the highest scoring team in the AHL, averaging 3.28 goals per game during the regular season and 3.10 goals per game in the playoffs.
On the other side, the Comets bring with them perhaps the stingiest defensive squad in the AHL, giving up a league best 2.17 goals per game in the post-season, thanks in large part to Jacob Markstrom, who’s 1.85 goals-against average and .930 save percentage leads all goaltenders that remain in the post-season.
The series will be a best-of-seven and use a 2-3-2 format, with the Comets holding home-ice advantage.
Game 1 – Sunday, May 24th – 4pm PT @ Utica
Game 2 – Monday, May 25th – 4pm PT @ Utica
Game 3 – Thursday, May 28th – 4pm PT @ Grand Rapids
Game 4 – Friday, May 29th – 4pm PT @ Grand Rapids
**Game 5 – Sunday, May 21st – 2pm PT @ Grand Rapids
**Game 6 – Tuesday, June 2nd – 4pm PT @ Utica
**Game 7 – Wednesday, June 3rd – 4pm PT @ Utica
** If necessary
By the numbers
103 – Number of points the Comets had during the regular season after posting a 47-20-7-2 record.
100 – Number of points the Griffins had during the regular season as they posted a 46-22-6-2 record.
249 – Goals scored by Grand Rapids during the regular season, 30 more than the Comets (219) netted.
182 – Goals surrendered by Utica during the regular season, three less than the Griffins (185).
1 – Win by each team during their two-game season series. The Comets prevailed with a 4-2 win on January 14th, while the Griffins skated to a 5-1 win on January 23rd.
131 – Regular season points combined by Andy Miele and Teemu Pulkkinen, the two leading scorers on the Griffins, in just 117 games. The duo has combined for 28 points in 20 post-season games.
Grand Rapids scouting report
"They are a real good team," said Comets head coach, Travis Green. "They won it (Calder Cup) two years ago and they know what it takes. They have a really good skilled group of forwards and they had a great regular season. It's going to be a good challenge."
Key to a Comets series win
More offence: The Comets have failed to score more than two goals in half of their playoff games so far. Against a high scoring team like the Griffins, the Comets need to find a way to start producing more offence as two goals per game might not be enough.
"We have to find a way to score more goals," said Green. "We have to find a way to make it harder on the opposing goaltenders. We have done a good job of creating chances, but we need to start putting the puck in the net. We have guys that can score and I am really hoping that they find their groove this series."