Utica, NY – It was announced by Utica Comets General Manager, Dan MacKinnon, that the team has re-signed last season’s captain, forward Ryan Schmelzer, to a two-year AHL contract. In addition, the club announced that forward Samuel Laberge and goaltender Mareks Mitens have agreed to terms for a return to the team.
Schmelzer, 28, is a native of Buffalo, New York who spent last season with the Comets as team captain. Last season, with 64 games played for Utica, Schmelzer totaled 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points making him seventh in scoring on the team and fifth in goals scored. During the post-season, Schmelzer scored one goal and one assist. In 197 AHL games played in his career, the Canisius College product totaled 41 goals and 46 assists for 87 points.
Laberge, 25, hails from Chateauguay, Quebec and split last season between the Comets and the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. With the Comets, he scored five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 53 games. Playing in 150 AHL career games, Laberge totaled 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points. During this major junior career, Laberge was twice voted Humanitarian of the Year in the QMJHL playing for Rimouski where he also won a league championship during the 2015-16 season.
Mitens, 24, played last season with both Adirondack and the Utica. The Ventspils, Latvia native played in 17 games for Utica holding a 3.31 goals against average with a .888 save percentage totaling a record of 7-8-3. During his collegiate career, Mitens played for Lake Superior State for four seasons winning the NCAA (WCHA) Championship during the 2020-21 season.