3/2/19 – Utica Comets vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms

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!

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Gadjovich Woods Bancks
Boucher Darcy MacEwen
Pyatt Gaunce Jasek
Arseneau Gardiner Lind
LD RD
Brisebois Chatfield
McEneny Sifers
LeBlanc Graham
G
Marek Mazanec

 

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

 

Injury Report
Bachman Blujus Juolevi Kero
Out for the Season hand Out for the season undisclosed injury

 

Healthy Scratches
Anselmini Hamilton Saucerman Thomas
1 1 1 2

 

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.

 

1st period

 

Comets in their White

 

 

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.

 

2nd Period

 

 

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

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 3-1 Lehigh Valley Phantoms

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
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

 

Takeaways

  • 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

  1. Zack MacEwen
  2. Jonah Gadjovich
  3. Brendan Woods

HM: Lukas Jasek

 

What’s Next?

 

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!

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