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Comets close out decent month of January, look to head into All-Star break on high note

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The Utica Comets have three games in four nights before the AHL All-Star break gives the team nearly a week off to recharge before beginning the unofficial second half of the season, and a tight playoff push.

UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica Comets have a stretch of three games in the next four nights before having nearly a week off for the AHL All-Star break, the unofficial mid-way point of the regular season.

The team has technically already played more than half of its games with 42 down and 30 still to go, and currently sit at 22-14-5-1, second in the North Division with 50 points.

After a decent month of January, in which the team went 7-5-1-0, earning points in eight of their 13 games, the Comets have set themselves up nicely for the upcoming playoff push.

However, with just eight points separating them and the fifth place Laval Rocket, currently on the outside looking in, there isn't a very large margin for error the rest of the way.

"We feel like we're above treading water, but I think there's always room for improvement," Comets head coach Kevin Dineen said of his team's play to this point. "I feel like once our health situation [improves] there are some hard decisions for us to make, and we're looking to keep pushing through this and grinding out points."

After starting off the month amid what amounted to a 12-game point streak, five of which coming in January, the team has cooled off a bit and are just 5-5-0-0 in their last ten.

While their stock has improved since the changing of the calendar year, moving comfortably up to second place in the division from third on December 31 - with the point streak aiding in their rapid ascent from seventh prior - Dineen indicated that his team will need to step up their game another notch as the playoff race heats up.

The Comets host Thruway rival Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday before traveling to Hartford to take on the Wolf Pack, Friday, and returning home to close out the pre-All-Star slate, on Saturday, against the Providence Bruins.

The team will then pause for the All-Star festivities, which take place in Laval, Quebec, with the Skills Competition on Sunday at 6 p.m., and the 3-on-3 AHL All-Star Challenge on Monday at 7 p.m. Both events will be televised live on NHL Network.

Goalie Nico Daws is Utica's lone All-Star representative this season. The team will return to action post-All-Star break on Friday, February 10 vs. Hershey.

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