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Comets gear up for big home-and-home weekend against rival Crunch

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The Utica Comets are amid a stretch of three straight games against their biggest North Division rival, and will face the Crunch in a span of four in five and five in seven.

UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica Comets have lost two of their last three, after a scorching hot month that saw the team earn at least a point in the standings in 12 straight games.

The last time out, the Comets dropped a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee against the North Division rival Syracuse Crunch 5-1, on the road, despite outshooting the Crunch 34-31.

It was Utica's third loss in three Galaxy Cup meetings with Syracuse this season, and it began a stretch of three straight games head-to-head.

The Utica Comets are amid a stretch of three straight games against their biggest North Division rival, and will face the Crunch in a span of four in five and five in seven.

After facing off just twice in the team's first 35 games of the season, the Comets will play the Crunch in a span of four of five games and five of seven.

Utica currently sits in second place in the North Division at 19-11-5-1 with 44 points. This puts them eight points behind the first place Toronto Marlies, four points ahead of the third place Rochester Americans, and five points in front of the fourth place Crunch.

The Amerks have two games at hand on the Comets, while the Crunch have one, making this a big stretch as the playoff race heats up more than midway through the regular season.

While Utica has struggled against Syracuse so far this year, all the games of the season series so far have been on the road. The Comets will finally host the Crunch for the first time this year on Friday, for the first of a back-to-back home-and-home set.

Utica is 10-4-2-1 at home, and has won six straight at the Adirondack Bank Center, while Syracuse is 7-8-0-2 on the road. The Comets are hoping some of that home cooking will result in a different result on Friday.

Following Friday's game, the two teams will head right down the Thruway to Syracuse to play again at the Upstate Medical University Arena, on Saturday.

Both games are 7 p.m. starts


Foote returns

For the games this weekend, the Comets will have forward Nolan Foote back in the line-up, after he was re-assigned from the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Foote was recalled on Jan. 10, and was leading the Comets with 13 goals at the time. He is now second on the team, as Graeme Clarke has surpassed him with 14.

The Denver, CO native has skated in 33 games with the Comets this season and has 18 points. He appeared in three NHL games with the Devils during his call-up.