2016 ended in a difficult way for the Utica Comets with 9 straight losses including a 6-3 New Year's Eve loss to Rochester.  Later that night as the ball dropped signifying the new year, at a record of 10 and 15, most fans had resolved to the fact that this just wasn't going to be Utica's year.  Well, that was last year; this is a whole new year.

So far, in 2017 the Comets have put together an impressive streak, winning eight of their last nine games since the start of the year. They're on a six-game win streak and are now two-games above .500 at 18 wins and 16 losses. The Comets are now in fourth place in the North Division of the AHL's Eastern Conference and just behind 3rd place St. Johns.

The winning ways continued on Saturday night in Syracuse. Richard Bachman made 20 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th of his career to help the Comets to a 4-0 win over the Crunch at the War Memorial. So far this season, Utica leads the rivalry with 4 wins and 2 losses against the first-place Syracuse Crunch.

The Comets have three games remaining before next week's AHL All-Star game. They're at home on Wednesday (Springfield), Friday (Wilkes-Barre Scranton) and Saturday (Syracuse).  The puck drops at 7 p.m. each night.  The games are sold-out; but, seats are  available for purchase through ticket exchange on the Stub Hub website.

The Sellout Streak Continues

For the record, the Comets sell-out streak is currently at 77 games, selling out through this Saturday's game with Syracuse. Last season, Comets fans sold out the Utica Memorial Auditorium for all 40 home games, including two first round playoff games against the Albany Devils. A total of 154,400 fans walked through the doors of The AUD to attend a Comets game during the 2016-17 season. Prior to that, the Comets skated to a sellout crowd in 40 out of a possible 51 times en route to the Calder Cup Finals during the 2014-15 American Hockey League season.

Get the current AHL standings here.

updated 1/23/17, 12:20 p.m.