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Comets Monthly: January 2020

...a look at how the Comets did to begin 2020

by Cory Hergott @CoryHergott / Freelance writer

It has been an up and down season for the Utica Comets as they find themselves sitting third in the North Division and 10th overall in the AHL after 48 games. The club went 6-7-0-0 for the month of January and currently shows a record of 26-18-2-2 for their efforts this year.

The Comets came up on the positive side of their goal differential for January after outscoring their competition by a margin of 40-37. They finished the month going 7/52 on the power play and allowed 11 goals while down a man 60 times.

Speedy winger Justin Bailey picked up three of the Comets seven power-play goals, while Nikolay Goldobin grabbed a pair.

Bailey also paced the club with 12 goals and 16 points in his 11 games of action before being called up to the big club, while Olli Juolevi and Brogan Rafferty battled it out for top scoring honours on the back end with eight and seven points respectively. Bailey's big month saw him earn his first hat trick at the pro level and he promptly followed that one up with two more over his next three games, earning him AHL Player of the Week honours for the week ending January 19th.

Rookie goaltender Mikey DiPietro earned five of the Comets six wins in January and wrapped up the month with his first shutout at the pro level with a 27-save effort in a 3-0 win over the Cleveland Monsters.

DiPietro's 14 wins tie him for third-best amongst rookie netminders in the AHL, while his 2.70 goals-against average is fourth-best amongst rookie tenders. Only four other rookie goaltenders have a better save percentage in the AHL than DiPietro's 0.907%.

The Comets are still showing up all over the AHL's leaderboards as Reid Boucher's 50 points in 41 games still top the league, while his 24 goals tie him for second in that category with Belleville Senators forward Josh Norris and fellow Comet Justin Bailey. In fact, the Comets currently boast five of the AHL's top 20 scorers as Boucher, Goldobin, Bailey, Kole Lind, and Brogan Rafferty are all within the league's top-17 this season.

Rafferty's 39 points in 44 games have him one off of the club's record for points by a defenceman in a single season, set by Bobby Sanguinetti in the 2014/15 campaign. Rafferty's totals are also currently the best in the AHL by any defender.

As far as rookies are concerned, Rafferty is knotted with Sens' forward Alex Formenton for third in the AHL. Brogan's 33 assists are also six better than the previous single-season high for a Comets defender set by Patrick Wiercicoch in the 2017/18 season.

Rafferty isn't the only Comets rookie defender who is making noise as Olli Juolevi's 22 points in 39 games have him sitting fifth amongst AHL rookie rearguards. Olli is currently putting up 0.56 points/game and is on pace for a 38 point season.

Comets Plays of the Month

Justin Bailey Earning AHL Player of the Week Honours

Tweet from @UticaComets: Friendly reminder that @JustinBailey95 is your Player of the Week. pic.twitter.com/ESRg6DDo7s

This Feed From Kole Lind to Lukas Jasek is Money

Tweet from @UticaComets: .@klind13 threads the needle to a streaking @LukasJasek and he makes no mistake to put the Comets up 2-0!#BNGvsUTI pic.twitter.com/64scoVrsOy

Jonah Gadjovich Broke Out The Jackhammer Against The Sens

Tweet from @dkeeping: Gadjovich throwing some bombs!#Canucks#Comets https://t.co/dwuJBgFnTF pic.twitter.com/V8JqRXAg3M

Kole Lind... Bay-Bay!

Tweet from @UticaComets: Snipe City, population: @klind13.#HFDvsUTI pic.twitter.com/8NB1y83ROM

Olli Juolevi Joins the Rush

Tweet from @UticaComets: Execution is key on this three-on-two and @OlliJuolevi nets his second of the year!#HFDvsUTI pic.twitter.com/v47siWjuw9

Lukas Jasek With the Work in the Corner Before Heading to the Dirty Area For a Goal

Tweet from @UticaComets: Just taaaaaap it in @LukasJasek.#CLEvsUTI pic.twitter.com/g4dMJvs6oP

Jonah Gadjovich With the Deft Hands in Close

Tweet from @UticaComets: .@JGadjovich tips in his 10th of the season! pic.twitter.com/0RufKGcVRu

A Few Saves From Mikey D's First Pro Shutout

Tweet from @TheAHL: .@UticaComets goaltender Mikey DiPietro made some stellar saves on Friday to earn his first pro shutout. pic.twitter.com/gxfKH9pOMY

The Comets have 10 games on the schedule for February. Stay tuned to this space to see how they made out when the calendar flips to March and the stretch drive to the playoffs begins.

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