2/8/19 – Utica Comets vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms

*cracks the ever loving fuck out of knuckles*

 

What’s up R/Canucks, Farmies back at’er again, this time with some triple-header action for the weekend as the Utica Comets face off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Rochester Americans and Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Yep, its going to be a busy busy busy weekend for the Farm, and with some healthy bodies returning to the lineup, we should be seeing some pretty strange lineups this weekend that we haven’t seen before.

 

Little bit about Lehigh Valley, they are the farm team of the Philadelphia Flyers and are currently sitting in a tie for 3rd place in the Atlantic Division along with the Providence Bruins. The Phantoms are 5-3-2-0 in their last 10, and coming into tonight are on a 1 game losing streak after dropping a 2-1 game to the Hershey Bears.

 

The Comets are currently sitting 4th in the AHL’s North Division but have struggled since having a very successful January, and have gone a similar 5-3-1-1 in their last 10. The Comets finally got some momentum going on their powerplay in their match against the Springfield Thunderbirds, prior to Saturday’s 75% powerplay success rate, the Comets had succeed only twice in 21 attempts. I guess from the big club to the Farm, there is just something in the powerplay Gatorade because something clearly isn’t clicking for both clubs.

 

With that being said, and given that I have two more games to cover for the weekend, lets hop right into tonight’s coverage and tonight’s starting lineup!

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Gaunce Gaudette Lind
Boucher Kero MacEwen
Dahlen Woods Pyatt
Bancks Darcy Jasek
LD RD
Sautner Schenn
McEneny Chatfield
Leblanc Sifers
G
Michael Leighton

 

Man….that is a rough looking lineup. Once again, despite having successful games in each of his last 8 starts, Jonah Gadjovich again rides the bench so Carter Bancks, Brendan Woods and Cam Darcy can continue to provide nothing but penalty killing, that is, when they themselves AREN’T sitting in the box for taking bad penalties.

 

Hate that 3rd line, Dahlen’s struggled HARD 5v5 this season, so you stick him with offensive an offensive black hole in Woods? What? I’d much rather see Dahlen-Gaudette-Lind, and slide Gaunce to center with Pyatt and Jasek…….Gaunce has been effective at center, I don’t know what having 2 of your 4 centers be guys who can’t score at the AHL level does for your team or what it teaches your rookies. It isn’t teaching them about a winning culture that’s for sure, because their “stable” defensive presence has led to them BARELY being 4th in the north division with up to 4 games in hand on the guys above and below them in the standings…

 

Send Gadj back to junior or something cause seriously what a fucking waste, how is he learning shit at this point. He’s been fucking effective in all his games of January and February…he managed to get Brendan Woods to score a goal off a terrific bank pass from the left wing… ahhh I could rant for a while but I don’t have the wrist strength …

 

TRANSACTIONS

 

Guillaume Brisebois saw himself called up to the big club in the wake of Alex Edlers OWN fucking faaaaaaaaaaace getting annihilated.

Comets traded away winger Tanner MacMaster, who struggled mightily the past couple months when he was able to slide into the lineup…shame too, because he looked solid to start the year…wonder if it was another Palmu situation where he just had no idea what the team expected of him whenever he was able to slide into a game….

Also the Comets mercifully released Cliff Watson, who as far as I’m concerned was completely out of his depth in his time on the third pairing, but for whatever reason KEPT getting played over Saucerman who was much more reliable.

 

Benched
Arseneau Gadjovich Hamilton Saucerman
2 1 2 1

 

*eyeroll emoji*…

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Bachman Blujus Graham Juolevi
Out for the Season hand upper body injury Out for the season

 

Sautner returns from injury, and sadly so ends, the beloved, “his fucking faaaaaace” Injury Report. Godspeed sir…

 

Streamable Clarity Improvement Notice

 

Continuing with last issues theme, going to be Players full name (jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) then every sub sequential play featuring that player it’ll be last name(jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) I’m also going to reduce the amount of hyperlink in the GOAL streamables, since that’s what I think MOST people are here for and don’t want some gaudy blue taking up the screen.

 

1st period

 

Comets in their Green and White alternates

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 0-0

 

Lot of end to end action that period; shots favored Utica 9 to 6 and to be honest kind of surprising it was that close, because it felt like Utica were heavily out-possessing Lehigh Valley throughout. Sautner looking good in his first game back since having his face broken, and Gaudette looking just miles above his peers in terms of skill. I truly hope the big club finds a way to move Sutter before the trade deadline or in the offseason cause this kid is ready for big minutes in the NHL.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-1 Phantoms

 

Thos two goals, the team is going to want back, BADLY…brutal defensive lapses to mixed in with just pure offensive dominance from MacEwen, Jasek, Gaudette and Lind….Dahlen still just completely invisible 5v5 though, what are they going to do with him to get him going if he couldn’t do it playing with Kero and MacEwen…certainly don’t know what Woods and Pyatt are going to do for him… some good fight in this Comets team…wonder if they regress like they usually do in the late period or if they will show some fire. Comets and Phantoms both with 12 shots each that period.

 

3rd Period

 

  • GOAL – UTICA – 2-2 Tie: there’s some fire for you! Ashton Sautner(#6) after being gone for 21 games with his FUCKIIIINGGGG FAAAAAAAAAAACE getting smashed, wires a shot from the blue line off a cross-ice pass from Tanner Kero(#10) to tie the game at 2
  • Comets maintaining pressure to start…lot of offensive zone draws early, not a lot of high danger shots but shots nonetheless from their blue line, think Schenn had 2 and then McEneny on the next lines shift followed with 1 of his own
  • GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Comets: MacEwen(#15) brings the puck into the zone and takes a hit, but that opens up Boucher(#24) to walk the puck in to the bottom half of the circle and of course, the most casual of shots goes under McKenna’s pads to give the Comets their first lead of the game
  • GOAL – UTICA – 4-2 Comets: make it 4 straight unanswered and EARLY. Dahlen(#54 )plays it up to Woods(#21) who’s in on a 2-on-1 with Tom Pyatt(#20) and they connect with Pyatt going high blocker side on McKenna….on second thought…Philly…you can keep him!
  • A big shift from Bancks, Darcy and Jasek around the 14 minute marks see’s the Phantoms unable to even leave the neutral zone, just absolutely hemming them in their own zone with puck possession along the boards
  • Chatfield’s(#5) bad game continuing as he fans on a shot after racing down the length of the ice to chase the puck, he then fans on his pass leading to what could’ve been a very bad feed had it not been picked up by Brendan Woods
  • GOAL – UTICA – 5-2 Comets: Make that 5 unanswered! Pyatt(#20) flicks a high one towards the net and Brendan Gaunce(#16) casually tips it down towards McKenna and after a couple seconds points it out for the ref.
  • Yeah Philly you can definitely keep him
  • Ashton Sautner takes a cross checking minor to put the Comets on a late PK with 3 minutes remaining in the game
  • On the first PK shift, MacEwen collides with a defender trying to clear the puck and holds his shoulder…hopefully nothing more comes of it and this is the last we speak of it
  • Gaudette being given PK time which to me is unusual given the usual suspects are all still available for a pk shift…guess Cull is showing the “Utica cant develop players” crowd something to talk about
  • Comets kill the PK and kill the remaining seconds….wow what a comeback haha

 

The Score at the end of the 3rd period: 5-2 Comets

 

Damn what an impressive third period, granted some of those goals were softer than baby shit…but they got the job done. 5 straight unanswered goals to win it in regulation…Kind of hilarious that after two periods of Gaudette and Lind looking like the only offensive dynamos this game, the guys who id been shitting on for not producing lately all come up to contribute offense. Now I have nothing to complain about…what the fuck guys? How could you do your Farmies bro like this?

 

Final Score 5-2 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
2nd Lehigh Valley Justin Bailey Connor Bunnaman 5v5
2nd Lehigh Valley Philippe Myers Chris Conners 5v5
2nd Utica Carter Bancks Jaime Sifers Lukas Jasek 5v5
3rd Utica Ashton Sautner Tanner Kero Zack MacEwen 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Zack MacEwen Stefan LeBlanc 5v5
3rd Utica Tom Pyatt Brendan Woods Jonathan Dahlen 5v5
3rd Utica Brendan Gaunce Tom Pyatt Brendan Woods 5v5

 

Takeaways

  • Don’t make any moves for McKenna…please. Leighton has been good with Utica and the two goals tonight were hardly his fault…absolutely left out to dry off bad plays from Jalen Chatfield
  • Speaking of, Jalen Chatfield had a brutal game tonight, turnovers galore, I hope nobody said to him, “you gotta play like Pouliot if you want to REPLACE Pouliot” cause holy the guy just was off tonight. Uncharacteristically late to making safe moves
  • Adam Gaudette and Kole Lind together is a joy to watch, these two SOMEHOW got kept off the scoreboard tonight, but man you can just see the chemistry building there.
  • Luke Jasek might be a bit undersized, but the way this guy works the boards is incredible, rarely ever loses a battle outright along the boards, effectively keeps his opponents held up with him after the puck escapes leading them to make late/risky defensive moves, the latter which led to a goal the Jasek assisted on…I like his play…I don’t know if realistically he’s got NHL potential, but his game is super effective at the AHL level and leads to a tremendous amount of offensive opportunities for his team.
  • Jonathan Dahlen had a bit more noticeable of a game then we’ve seen in the past couple weeks…he actually got a point at 5v5 which is a bonus for him. But still, I can’t take away the invisible tag yet, because still for a guy with his clear talent, he SHOULD be able to create the space needed to utilize his passing game, he SHOULD be having more of those plays that he had in the first period, but for whatever reason they just aren’t coming, I can’t tell if it’s because he’s too slow, or he is just unsure of stepping into bigger players to try and win a puck battle, but whatever it is, its making him unreliable as a top 6 guy…and if you can’t be reliable 5v5 in the AHL in a team’s top 6…then it aint looking good for reuniting the old Timra boys in the NHL. I still have faith in Dahlen, I don’t think he’ll make the roster out of training camp next summer, but if he improves like he has this season moving from the 2nd tier Swedish league to the fucking AHL, then we might see him in the latter parts or even as an emergency call-up…I wont write him off yet…just call it growing pains for now
  • Zack MacEwen’s a fucking stud… Like Jasek I don’t know if his game will translate at an NHL level, but man his 800 foot game is just unreal…the explosiveness, skating, speed, the edgework for a guy his size while being able to score at his pace as an undrafted kid out of junior…its legit hard to NOT get excited at what this kid can accomplish at the next level because he’s already overachieving beyond what anybody expected…I really hope he’s given a shot with the big club…give up the effing playoff dreams and start seeing what we got in the future. I like Tyler Motte, but the team isn’t in desperate need of Tyler Motte in their nightly rotation…we can afford to get Zack MacEwen some playing time

 

Comets Three Stars

  1. Lukas Jasek
  2. Adam Gaudette/Kole Lind
  3. Zack MacEwen

Honorable mentions: Ashton Sautner for overcoming such a brutal layoff to come back and not look timid or hesitant at all, and scoring the equalizer that opened the door on the Comets comeback tonight! Really great stuff from him and I hope that once he’s fully healed (he wore a full face guard tonight) that he gets a shot with the big club, he definitely earned it in his play before injury, and he’s reminding us now that he’s still got it

 

What’s Next?

 

It’s time to ice up the wrists, as the Comets are back at it again tomorrow against the Rochester Americans…the Amurks just absolutely murdered the Springfield Thunderbirds 7 to 1 (granted it is the Thunderbirds and they are legitimate garbage), and they are 3-2-0-0 in their last 5, with their only losses coming against the Syracuse Crunch. In their last 10 the Amurks are 7-0-1-2, and with that record edged the Syracuse Crunch recently for 1st place in the North Division with 63 points and a .670 points percentage.

It’ll be a tall task for this Comets squad but I mean, they can be gamers but the triple header will take its toll, fortunately there wasn’t a lot of special team time tonight to wear them down, so I expect them to try and maintain a very disciplined game to keep themselves fresh for their road game against the Sound Tigers on Sunday.

 

Until then, I Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Farmies, and as always any feedback, improvement suggestions, content or highlights you’d like me to focus/pick out during games, let me know and I’ll do my best to provide during the next Farmies!

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