2/17/19 – Utica Comets vs. Cleveland Monsters

Good Sunday to R/Canucks, we gather here today in the middle part of our Family Day long weekend to catch up on the little Farm team that could, as they attempt to extend their point streak for February with a win tonight at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets farm team the Cleveland Monsters!

 

I said it about the Canucks loss last night, but the fact that they are having competitive games against one of the legitimate BEST western conference, all-star teams with a d-core that features, 2 young 2nd pairing guys as their 1st pair, 2 3rd pairing (near 7th d quality) d men rotating shifts with a 7th D-man while a rookie call-up d-man alternates in on offensive draws only…like having competitive games with THAT as your D-core shouldn’t be remotely possible, but the Canucks, as painful as these losses have been, are putting in shit tones of work to establish themselves as the bonafide future first pairing and core of this club.

 

Which brings me to my same echoing statements regarding our farm team; this club is absolutely killing it this February when by all accounts they shouldn’t be. This month they’ve lost 22 man games from their TOP players, MacEwen, Gaudette, Jasek, Brisebois, Schenn, Blujus and Sautner either due to call-ups to the big club or due to injury…but they’ve STILL made it work and earned points! 16 of their last 24 goals came at even strength, and not just from their top six, the team is producing from all lines even with the absence of Gaudette and MacEwen AND with Boucher/Kero slowing down in their production, so it’s been a very impressive stretch from the club. A club that gets a fair share of critique in regards to youth deployment and development…but I have to give the ol’ Jason Botchford hat-tip to Cull because the work ethic that’s been instilled in this club has paid off this month of February as they come into toinght’s matchup having earned points in 6 of their last 7 games, and hold steady in 3rd place in the AHL’s North Division

 

Hat-tipping aside, let’s get into tonight’s matchup and our starting lineup!

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Pyatt Kero Boucher
Gaunce Darcy Gardiner
Dahlen Woods Jasek
Arseneau Hamilton Lind
LD RD
Sautner Saucerman
LeBlanc Sifers
McEneny Chatfield
G
Michael Leighton

 

Looks like Colton Saucerman slides back into the lineup after riding the bench for his last 5. Jesse Graham, despite a relatively “ok” game for his first game back after being out with injury since before January 25th, is the lone healthy scratch from tonight’s lineup, and while I do appreciate his speed and ability to backcheck, he’s still not nearly as reliable defensively as the rest of the Comets blue-liners.

 

Also sliding into tonight’s lineup is Reid Gardiner, who replaces an injured Jonah Gadvjoich; Gadjovich was the recipient of a pretty brutal crosscheck and facewash from Tristan Jarry in Saturdays game, but no word from the team on what specific injury is keeping him out. Reid Gardiner in his time with the Kalamazoo Wings has picked up 53 points in 36 games with our affiliates affiliate!

 

Benched
Graham
1

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Bachman Bancks Blujus Gadjovich Juolevi
Out for the Season UBI hand Upper body injury Out for the season

 

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 Blue

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 1-0 Monsters

 

Well that was pretty brutal…outshot 19 to 5, the Comets struggled HARD to manage any form of meaningful possession throughout the period…besides some high danger scoring chances created by Tanner Kero, the team just had no answer to the Monsters control. Every shift was pretty much rinse and repeat…struggle to clear, get tired, flip high through the neutral zone to allow for a change, repeat. Leighton was sharp throughout the period though, 1 goal allowed on 19 shots, where a majority were pretty significant shots from the Monsters…hopefully the Comets can wake up this period

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-1 Monsters

 

I mean this period was BETTER….but still 2 goals off of pretty bad D coverage is never great…nor is falling on your face during the powerplay. They did however turn the tide on the shot sheet as they registered 14 shots on net to the Monsters 6… perhaps the Monster are a bit exhausted from that oppressive first period of domination…Still though, the Monsters have looked literally big and strong against this Comets team, so it’s going to be a massive uphill battle if this Comets team of the last two periods continues their offensive setup struggles into the third period.

 

3rd Period

 

 

Score at the end of the Third Period: 4-4 Tie

 

Well the Comets sure know how to make a game interesting! The point streak continues tonight regardless of the outcome…the Comets overcome a brutal first period and a 3 goal deficit to take the Monsters to overtime. Somehow after giving up 19 shots against in the first period the Comets now edge the Monsters in shots against, 29 to 28 across 3 periods. The tide and momentum was in the Comets favor there in the final couple minutes with the Comets constantly threatening in the Monsters zone but unable to get any shots off.

 

Overtime

 

Final Score : 5-4 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Cleveland Doyle Somerby Dan DeSalvo Dillon Simpson 5v5
2nd Cleveland Doyle Somerby Adam Clendening Paul Bittner 5v5
2nd Cleveland Kevin Stenlund Mark Letestu Jean-Francois Berube 5v5
2nd Utica Jaime Sifers Kole Lind Wacey Hamilton 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Tanner Kero Brendan Gaunce PPG
3rd Utica Brendan Gaunce Reid Gardiner Cam Darcy 5v5
3rd Utica Tanner Kero Tom Pyatt 5v5
3rd Cleveland Sam Vigneault Doyle Somerby Dillon Simpson 5v5
OT Utica Tom Pyatt Brendan Gaunce Evan McEneny 3v3

 

Takeaways

  • Well…THAT was certainly a game of hockey. I can’t even wrap my head around the ups and downs of this one…an absolutely horrific of horrific first periods followed by a bit of a battler 2nd period where the Comets just couldn’t capitalize on their chances….and then a 3rd period where a brand new Comets team comes out, infused by Michaels Secret Stufff or some shit because that was fucking nuts. Most times when the Comets get dominated in any period, they lack the gas to mount any kind of comeback…hell, their record of winning games after being down in goals after the first period is a dismal 2-11-1-0. They came up absolutely huge though, they found that 10th gear and shifted into overdrive to complete the comeback .
  • I have to preface my takeaways with: yes that first period was absolutely atrocious, the team was tired and just struggled to get anything going…they were out possessed like crazy and the Monsters threw everything but the kitchen sink at Michael Leighton…that being said, I still think I can confidently say that the majority of the Comets tonight had impressive games.
  • Colton Saucerman honestly might have usurped Jesse Graham for that last D spot…he was stepping up into the play when he needed too, backchecking with speed and hustle, didn’t have many flubs or atrocious giveaways, and was actually bailing out his d-partner (starting in the 2nd/3rd periods) Evan McEneny on several plays, something that NEVER happens. I know Cull has spoken highly of Sauce’s work ethic and energy in the room, but his skill absolutely did not look out of place on the ice tonight…he was sound offensively and defensively and genuinely displayed a more well-rounded game than I’ve ever seen from Graham
  • Jaime Sifers also had himself a phenomenal game, he stepped up huge tonight with 5 shots on net, a goal and managed to end the night with the best +/- of all D-men tonight…he really played great, heavy checking and physical play to boot, I don’t know if it’s really captured in the streamables from today’s games but the guy was an absolute stud on the blue line along with Saucerman
  • This was actually baffling to me but, Brendan Gaunce ended the night with 1 goal, 2 assists, 4 shots on goal and a +/- of 2, the highest among all Comets players…and he didn’t even get a single fucking star….like what the hell…the guy was leading the team with speedy zone entries and was constantly threatening the Monsters alongside Reid Gardiner, who also deserves a shout out for his play, as he picks up an assist in his 1st game back with the Comets. It speaks to Gaunce’s elevated play since being returned to the Comets that he is able to prove himself dangerous on a line with an ECHL call up and Cam Darcy… if Gardiner can find the scoring touch that he displays while with the KZoo Wings, then this could be a line to watch
  • Another takeaway from this game was bigbrain Dahlen; dude didn’t find the back of the net or find the scoresheet tonight but he was constantly a threat, and he was smart enough to adapt and play around it…that one streamable of him going to Sifers off the draw was great, and really could’ve been a game changer earlier had it been a true one-timer… I know a lot of folks see him or a guy like Kole Lind with 0’s on the scoresheets, but if you’re watching its hard to ignore the impact they are having when they are on the ice…they are impact players at a very young age in the AHL and are obviously putting their division rivals on notice. The goals will come, maybe they wont light it up for the final couple of months of this season, but I genuinely am excited to see what they bring next season after a quality summer training camp.
  • oh yeah shout out to Michael Leighton for hanging in there after a brutal first period of being hung out to dry

 

Comets Three Stars

  1. Brendan Gaunce
  2. Jaime Sifers
  3. Colton Saucerman

HM: Jonathan Dahlen

 

What’s Next?

 

The Comets are back in action this Friday (nice little break) when they face off against the Rochester Americans at home for their 8th of 10 meetings throughout the season. The Comets have split the season pretty evenly with the Amurks, going 3-3-0-1 since their first meeting in October; with their most recent meeting being a game similar to tonight’s as the Comets found themselves down by 2 goals in the first period, only to rattle off 5 straight unanswered goals to win it in regulation. That was of course, the big game that earned Zack MacEwen his call-up with the big club, so we’ll see how this team manages without their top players in this next outing. The Amurks are currently riding a 2 game win streak, and will face off against tonight’s opponent the Cleveland Monsters on Wednesday before facing the Comets Friday. Rochester sits first in the North Division, while the Comets sit comfortably in 3rd.

 

The Comets are streaking man, 13 points out of a possible 16 through February while missing a ton of talent…Let’s see if they can continue against one of their toughest opponents in the division!

 

Until Friday, 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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