Good morning Canucks fans it’s a mildly decent looking day today, the sun is poking through the haze, the Canucks are playing an afternoon game in Sin City…and your boy Thrillhoiaf is up extra early to recap last night’s game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms because he got himself a little inebriated watching last night’s UFC (an event attended by quite a few of our Canuck core) and completely spaced there was a game to recap! So I’m going to do my best to write this in the past tense AS IF I had watched this game last night because I am a consummate professional through and through and owe it to my loyal reader base to give you the best content the Farmies can offer!
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms coming into this key tilt against the Comets are 27-23-3-3. Good enough for 6th in the AHL’s Atlantic division, they’ve struggled as of late though, going 2-7-0-1 in their last 10…both teams are in pretty tight battles for that final spot in the Calder playoffs for their respective divisions, with the Phantoms sitting 5 points back with 1 game at hand on Providence, and the Comets sitting tight in 4th place with 67 points and a respectable .578 points earning %. But oh boy the race is tight, as hot on their heels are the surging Belleville Senators, led by rookies Drake Batherson and Logan Brown, the Sens are right behind the Comets with 65 points and a .551 points earning %… so yeah, I stressed it last Farmies and the one before that but, holy moly this team has to buckle down and get some wins or at the very least get all their games into extra time if they want to secure a Calder spot.
With that being said let’s get into the starting lineup and the pivotal match at hand!
Looks like Mazanec makes his season debut for the Comets, and he faces off against Mike McKenna who was usurped from the Canucks earlier this season off waivers.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Out for the Season||hand||Out for the season||undisclosed injury|
Looks like the team released PTO Mike Szmytula after last nights game and have elected to put out a line of Arseneau, Gardiner and Lind… I mean why bother play Lind at all if you’re going to relegate him to the 4th line with ECHL plugs?
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.
Comets in their White
- Audio is completely unbalanced throughout…in rink audio is crazy loud while Joe Roberts commentary is nearly silenced so apologies for that one
- Surprised that Cull rolled out Gadj/Woods and Bancks again as his first line
- Mazanec faces his first dangerous shot as a Comet after a pass from the Phantoms bench goes behind Jesse Graham(#64), who’s playing way too far up while the team doesn’t have possession
- ok so 2:24 down in the game, and the 4th line of Arseenau/Gardiner/Lind doesn’t get shifted on at all and we cycle back to the first line of Woods/Gadj/Bancks… I mean jesus, this kid got 95 points last year in the WHL…how does shafting him to the 4th line with guys who are not playmakers or AHL talent going to do anything for this kids growth?
- 1st liner Jonah Gadjovich(#22) finishes his check then after playing chase, catches a loose puck along the boards and turns with a shot on goal the first shot for the Comets tonight
- Zack MacEwen gets dinged for tripping, and the Comets are off to the penalty kill
- 1st PK group: Pyatt, Brisebois, Sifers, Gaunce
- GOAL – LEHIGH VALLEY – 1-0 Phantoms: Greg Carey and TJ Brennan play a little give and go as Carey rifles a one timer past Mazanec’s glove side to open the scoring for the Phantoms
- Now the Arseneau, Gardiner, Lind line is out to start at the next draw
- That line for reference, manages to gain the zone, but then sends all 3 guys to a battle along the boards and they immediately lose possession going the other way, then on their next zone exit, dump and change
- the firstline continues to provide sustained offesne as the line cycles around for shots on goal from Evan McEneny(#2), Jaime Sifers(#26) and Gadjovich(#22)
- Jalen Chatfield(#5) goes cross ice with a pass that is way too slow and gets picked off by a Phantom in the Comets own zone
- audio now JUST Joe Roberts commentary…no on ice audio lol…jesus AHL get ya shit together
- Comets pressuring the Phantoms and Gadjovich(#22) catches a loose puck along the boards and drives through the open lane for a shot that just goes wide of the net
- Lukas Jasek( #9)doesn’t let a hold or a hook from Byron Froese affect him as he successfully moves the puck through the neutral zone to hand off to Brendan Gaunce(#16) for a shot on goal , Jasek draws the penalty on Froese as well and the Comets are off to the powerplay
- McEneny sets up Jasek who comes blazing into the Phantoms zone on the powerplay but gets laid out pretty hard…he takes a second to adjust his helmet on the ice, but continues his shift so hopefully nothing more comes of it
- Kole Lind(#13) picks upa Jesse Graham(#64) rebound off a Phantom skate, but mishandles it and it leads to a breakaway chance for Justin Bailey who’s shot gets saved by Mazanec
- GOAL – LEHIGH VALLEY – 2-0 Phantoms: After an offensive zone start for the 4th line, the Phantoms Greg Carey gets the puck at center and through traffic wrists a shot that goes high blocker side on Mazanec and the Phantoms have a 2 nothing in this one
- A shot from the Phantoms goes off the post late, and Boucher and MacEwen break out the other way, and both guys get blatantly interfered with but no call is made…funny how that works huh
Score at the end of the first period: 2-0 Phantoms
The shots on record show Lehigh Valley leading 8 to 5, but man it legitimately felt like Utica had wayyyy more time spent shooting on the Phantoms net, I assume its just a case of the Phantoms shots actually reaching the intended target, wheras a majority of the Comets shots were hitting traffic on their way in and getting blocked aside. But overall, it was a decent enough period from the Farm…Gadjovich, MacEwen and Boucher again looking strong…that 4th line is a big whoof though…just not able to do much of anything but dump and change…the points matter though, so really hoping they can pick it up in this next period.
- 1st shift of the 2nd period gets stuck out on the ice for over a minute 30 hemmed into their own zone
- 5 minutes deep, quite a bit of end to end play, but mostly only fluttering shots on net for the Comets
- Gadjovich(#22) leads the zone entry and then hits the breaks to give a cross-ice feed to Brendan Woods(#21 )for a shot that gets blocked
- a pretty baffling exchange, as Evan McEneny gets a in tussle with Greg Carey behind the play…ref has his arm in the air, but the Comets have possession of the puck but play doesn’t get whistled dead…only when the Comets regain the puck AFTER the puck gets taken off them and they regain does the play get whistled dead…pretty bizarre call by the ref…Comets to the PK
- 1st PK group: Sifers, LeBlanc, Gaunce, Bancks
- 2nd PK group: Pyatt, Chatfield, Woods, Brisebois and they kill it
- Some great physical play from Boucher, Darcy and MacEwen mixed in with some shots towards the net that go completely wide – good sustained pressure though
- Comets lose an offensive zone draw and Guillaume Brisebois(#55) gets outmuscled and beat hard leading to a 2 on 1 defended by Chatfield(#5) all alone, fortunately Mazanec makes the save
- LOL Woods(#21) boards David Kase and answers Reese Willcox’ call to fight…probably a huge mistake though as he gets shitpumped pretty hard
- Comets to the PK for 2 minutes as Woods take’s the boarding minor as well as a fighting major
- Frenetic pace here late in the 2nd, end to end with weak shots and chances from both teams
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-0 Phantoms
Well not really too many highlightables which was strange given the frantic nature of the period…28 shots total that period with Utica edging the Phantoms hard 17 to 11…but the bulk of all of those shots were incredibly weak with very few actually being dangerous chances for the Comets..the Phantoms definitely had the more dangerous opportunities throughout. Not sure what the Comets need to do here to have a fighting chance this period. They’re somehow maintaining possession and sustained pressure but absolutely struggling hard to get clean shots on Mike McKenna’s net
- Couple early scrambles in front of both goalies nets, but both get cleared easily to prevent any real scoring opportunities
- Brendan Woods draws a holding penalty 4 minutes into the period to put the Comets on their 2nd powerplay of the night…HOPEFULLY they can get something going off this one this time
- 1st powerplay shift: Pyatt, MacEwen, Darcy, Boucher, McEneny
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Phantoms: after 45 minutes of play, the Comets FINALLY get on the board in this one, as Zack MacEwen(#15) picks up the rebound of an Evan McEneny(#2) shot from the blue line for his 19th of the season to cut the Phantoms lead in half
- Chatfield(#5 )and Jasek(#9) combine for a give and go on McKenna as Chatfield crashes the net
- Gaunce(#16) races down the ice for an odd-man rush and sets up McEneny(#2) on the left wing for a shot but McKenna makes the save
- [MacEwen(#15) with a burst of speed as he fights through 3 Phantom players to get a shot on McKenna]( https://streamable.com/p4l9z
- TJ Brennan gets dinged for holding on Jalen Chatfield and the Comets are off to their third powerplay and look to capitalize on the momentum they’ve generated this period
- Comets struggle with their first unit to generate any passing or possession in the Phatnoms zone so the young gun line comes out, Gadjovich, Jasek, Lind, Brisebois, Darcy
- Jasek(#9) finds Lind(#13) all alone on the right wing and sets him up for a powerful one time blast but McKenna makes the stop
- Young guns possess for the rest of the powerplay in the Phantoms zone and create one more chance before the powerplay ends
- Phantoms get a 2-on-1 breakaway that gets broken up by Brisebois(#55) then Woods(#21) appears to lose an edge and goes down hard into the end boards awkwardly
- Jasek(#9) picks up a puck and gets a quick release to notch the Comets 37th shot on goal of the night
- Woods came out for his next shift so I guess that earlier fall didn’t affect him too much
- 2 minutes left and Mazanec still hasn’t been pulled, probably due to the offensive zone possession the Comets are showing this period…just utterly dominating the Phantoms so far
- 1:49 remaining, and the Comets get an offensive zone draw, and Mazanec heads to the bench for the extra attacker
- Line of MacEwen, Darcy, Pyatt, Boucher, McEneny and Gaunce out for a solid minute
- GOAL – LEHIGH VALLEY – 3-1 Phantoms: The tired 6 man group gets caught when Mike McKenna flips the puck high into center to a blazing Justin Bailey who races it down into the empty net…unfortunate end to the period after just pure offensive dominance from the Comets
- Jesse Graham(#64) takes an interference penalty with 25 seconds left in the period so there goes any chance of late heroics
- ah the joys of AHL teams having arenas that don’t have direct access from locker rooms to the team benches, Looks like Gadjovich was trying to goad Tyrell Gouldbourne into a fight, but the referee’s and cooler heads prevailed
Final Score: 3-1 Lehigh Valley Phantoms
|1st||Lehigh Valley||Greg Carey||TJ Brennan||Chris Conner||PPG|
|1st||Greg Carey||David Kase||Reece Wilcox||5V5|
|3rd||Utica||Zack MacEwen||Evan McEneny||Reid Boucher||PPG|
|3rd||Lehigh Valley||Justin Bailey||Mike McKenna||—||ENG|
- Bit of a heartbreaker for Utica as they struggle to only capitalize on one of their 37 shots on McKenna. Those two 1st period goals off long shots from Greg Carey certainly didn’t help them. Its been a while since Mazanec last played, so hard to expect him to be on perfect form tonight…but boy the Comets needed a win tonight or at least a point in added time to help the Comets secure that Calder spot.
- Really liked the games of Evan McEneny, Brendan Woods, Jonah Gadjovich, Lukas Jasek and Zack MacEwen tonight, all 4 were creating chances and opportunities for the team while their teammates mostly appeared to struggle to even complete a pass.
- Kole Lind is back in that gray area of just getting nothing going…before we get another Palmu/Dahlen situation, jesus we need this kid playing with players better than Arseneau or Reid Gardiner…Lind was essentially just a quick body out for o-zone draws and to dump and change…his linemates looked out of their depth, and besides a few big checks from Arseneau, there just was nothing to this lines chemistry at all.
- For a team with only 1 bonafide NHL quality center (2 if you count Tanner Kero who’s been out with injury) its impressive this team managed to get off as much possession and shots in those last two periods, but oh boy this teams center depth is hurting them badly…the fact that Adam Gaudette wasn’t papered down to Utica for the ability to play playoff hockey with the Comets is absolutely baffling to me…this team had some of its best chemistry with Gaudette on a line with Lind…I want to see the kid up with the Canucks as much as anybody, but oh man it hurts watching 4 wingers try to generate offense on a nightly basis.
- Not sure what’s going on with Brendan Gaunce, after the illness bug hit the team, I chalked it up to nursing an illness too…but the slowdown in his game indicates to me that he seems to have hit a wall in his play…I’m not sure if that’s to do with the constant juggling of linemates or what, but he has been held pointless in his last 5 outings after having a 9 point January and a 7 point February. It may be that the mojo that Tom Pyatt and he had earlier has begun to dissipate in the wake of playing more defensive minutes than offensive but its really hard to say what’s going on. but it means a big brunt of the offensive weight has fallen onto Boucher and MacEwen and given that the team has only been able to score more than 1 goal ONCE in their last 4 games, I’d say the formula is not working too well…really hope he can get over the slump soon because lord knows the team needs it.
Comets Three Stars
- Zack MacEwen
- Jonah Gadjovich
- Brendan Woods
HM: Lukas Jasek
With tonight’s loss, the Comets are tied with the Belleville Senators in points, but have a marginal edge in points percentage to give them 4th place in the North Division. Their next matchup see’s them play against the North Divisions 2nd place team, the Syracuse Crunch, first on Wednesday at home, and then again on Friday on the road. After going 3-0 against the Crunch in January, the Comets returned in February only to lose 4-0 to the Crunch…The Tampa Bay Lightning’s farm team has 3 games in hand on the Comets and lead the North Division with the best penalty kill %, so if the Comets shell of a team expects to win these next two games or earn points at all in this Calder race, they’re going to have to show up like they did in tonight’s final frame and do everything in their power to score at even strength.
Until Wednesday folks, 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!