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Utica Comets Notebook: Oct 12, 2015

by Mark Caswell / Vancouver Canucks
A weekly look at the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.

Last Week in Review: The reigning Western Conference champions kicked off the season this past Saturday against the Rochester Americans with a 2-1 loss. The Comets unleashed 39 shots on net but could only get one past Linus Ullmark. The Amerks scored twice in a span of 14 seconds in the second period for the win.

Business Side of Things: Last week the Comets announced the debut of the new ticketing system dubbed Empire State Tix. Our brand new in-house ticketing system that will eliminate the middleman and add a whole new dimension to purchasing a Utica Comets ticket.

Individual tickets went on sale to the public this past Saturday morning. Four games, Oct. 21 (Rochester), 23 (Hershey), Nov. 20 (Hartford), and Jan. 16 (Albany), sold out within 24 hours. Several other games, including the first game against the Crunch on Oct. 24, are on the cusp of selling out.

The Streak: With the first two games of the season sold out, Comets have extended their sell out streak to 17 games. The Streak dates back to April 10, 2015 vs the Adirondack Flames, and runs through the 13 home dates at The AUD.

Saturday, October 10: Utica Comets @ Rochester Americans – L 1-2

The Utica Comets season did not get off on the right foot as they fell 2-1 to the Rochester Americans Saturday night at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Amerks’ goaltender Linus Ullmark stole the show with 38 saves, several of the highlight-reel variety.

Nicklas Jensen (1-0-1) scored the Comets lone goal of the game, and Joe Cannata made 20 saves in the loss.

A Look Ahead:

The Comets have just one game this week before they open up the home portion of the schedule.

Saturday, October 17: Utica Comets (0-1-0-0) @ Hartford Wolf Pack (0-1-0-0)
Where: XL Center
When: 7:00pm EST
NHL Affiliate: New York Rangers
Season Series: 0-0-0-0

Comets vs. Wolf Pack: This will be the first time in team history that the Comets will take on Hartford, or the New York Rangers’ top affiliate.

About the Wolf Pack: The Rangers AHL affiliate dropped their season opener against the St. John’s IceCaps by a score of 3-1 this past Saturday. AHL Sophomore Chad Nehring scored the only goal for the Pack. Starting goaltender, Magnus Hellberg, is one of the premier goaltenders of the AHL. Last year Hellberg was named to the American Hockey League’s All-Star team as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals, and finished the year.

Shooting Star of the Week: Nicklas Jensen

Jensen kicked off his campaign with a sizzling third-period goal. The highlight-reel worthy goal pulled the Comets to within striking range. The 2011 29th overall draft pick finished the game with a +1 rating, and fired a team-high six shots on net.

Comets Leaders

Goals: Nicklas Jensen (1)
Assists: Hunter Shinkaruk & Michael Zalewski (1)
Points: Nicklas Jensen, Hunter Shinkaruk & Michael Zalewski (1)
Penalty Minutes: Mackenze Stewart (15)
Shots On Goal: Nicklas Jensen, Taylor Fedun (6)
Plus/Minus: Nicklas Jensen, John Negrin, Michael Zalewski, Taylor Fedun (+1)
GAA: Joe Cannata (2.04)
Save Percentage: Joe Cannata (.909)

Rapid Fire

Cardiac Comets: The one-goal game trend that Comets fans have become accustomed to is back. Last year the Comets played in a league high 44 one-goal games. During the 2013-14 season the Comets were one of three teams (Norfolk Admirals, Providence Bruins) to play in a league high 46 one-goal games. The Comets had the second most one-goal game wins with a record of 24-13-5-4 during that season.

New Kids on the Block: The Comets roster of 28-players currently consists of nine players who have yet to play a full season in the AHL. Three rookies on defense Ashton Sautner, Anton Cederholm, and Jordan Subban, will all be looking to make their mark in the professional ranks. Cole Cassels, and Mackenze Stewart are their offensive counterparts. Subban, Cassels and Stewart made their professional hockey debuts on Saturday night.

Bench Boss: Travis Green enters his third year of being the Comets Head Coach. In that time he has compiled an 82-52-18 record (.599 winning percentage). Including playoffs the Castlegar, B.C. native has led the Comets to 105 total wins, and just three wins shy of winning the Calder Cup last season.

A Hat Trick of Medicine: Three of the top five point-scorers for the 2010-11 Medicine Hat Tigers are on the Comets roster. Linden Vey (116 points), Hunter Shinkaruk (42), and Wacey Hamilton (73) paced the Tigers to a third round exit in the WHL. Curtis Valk also played in 56 games for the Tigers, and recorded 17 points.

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