10/16/19 – Utica Comets vs. Syracuse Crunch

Welcome to the Comets Harvest where, tonight, the Comets look to make it three straight to start the season. Despite what their current record says, the Comets had quite the rough outing in their last game. After two clutch early goals from Reid Boucher, the Penguins rallied with three unanswered goals in the second and third periods to almost seal the Comets fate. Were it not for some late-game heroics from their Captain, Carter Bancks, the ledge for the Comets might look a little differently.

 

Against a strong Syracuse Crunch team, the Comets will have to shore upon their ability to control the puck through the neutral zone and in transition. The Crunch are on an entirely different level when it comes to firepower. If the Comets wilt against them the way they did against the Penguins, then we could be looking at a very LONG game for the farm team.

 

Since we last met, the Comets have had a few changes to the roster. Goaltender Zane McIntyre was called up to play backup for Thatcher Demko while Markstrom was on a personal leave. Defenceman Ashton Sautner was called up to the Canucks for their upcoming road trip, due to illness to Oscar Fantenberg. Joining Tyler Graovac on the injured list was Comets Captain Carter Bancks, who picked up an upper-body injury in Saturday’s game against the Penguins.

 

Yesterday, I read someone on Twitter saying that Sautner was being called up so the team could trade Troy Stecher. First off, how dare you? Secondly, don’t you dare invoke that kind of cosmic juju on our boy Tony (from Richmond).##Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Perron (#27) MacEwen (#15)
Gadjovich (#21) Hamilton (#36) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Michael DiPietro (G)

 

Honestly, that Juolevi/Chatfield pairing gives me the heebie-jeebies. This pairing was atrocious last year, and Trent Cull was quick to split them up after just a few games. Juolevi’s foot speed in his own end is still a massive work in progress, and Chatfield tends to play overly aggressive in the offensive zone. This requires Juolevi to have a d-partner who can skate fast and bail him out on back-checking when Juolevi’s aggressive play backfires. Juolevi is NOT that kind of partner for Chatfield, nor is Chatfield that kind of partner for Juolevi. I would’ve preferred Juolevi/Blujus and Teves/Chatfield to remain the same. Blujus has the speed and is much more sound in his own end than most Comets d-men in the lineup.

On the bright side, the kid, Michael Di Pietro, gets his first AHL start! Hypeeee! Also really digging that skill line of Goldy/Jasek/Baertschi. Plus, the debut of Francis Perron! Should make this at the very least a competitive one against a tough Syracuse Crunch team.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Seamus Malone (arm)) Tyler Graovac (knee) Carter Bancks (upper body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Mitch Eliot Dyson Stevenson

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 2-2 Tie

 

Messy, but exciting as hell. Some pretty huge defensive lapses from Juolevi gave the Crunch two goals that period. However, like the last game against the Penguins, the Comets showed off their resolve, as they battle back twice to tie the game. Love the compete of this fourth line and the NHL line of Bae/Jazzy/Goldy. MacEwen is doing everything he can to get his mojo going again. Hopefully, he can make it work in the next period. Mac had several offensive rushes last period, but each time, the Crunch were quick to pounce on him to deny him the space to generate offense.

 

2nd Period

 

 

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

 

Pure domination from the Comets throughout the second period, outshooting the Crunch 17-to-3 and scoring three unanswered. The powerplay leaves a lot to be desired as the Comets went 0-for-2 in the second, and have gone 0-for-5 on the night. However, at even-strength, this team is buzzing, so it’s hard to really complain about their ability to score on the man-advantage. Really strong periods from Brogan Rafferty, Kole Lind, and Nikolay Goldobin; all three were consistently noticeable on every shift. Some concern that the Comets might crash from exhaustion, but they’ve shown strong resolve these past three games, so they might be just fine!

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 6-2 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Reid Boucher Carter Camper 5v5
1st Syracuse Cory Conacher Dominik Masin Chris Mueller shg
1st Utica Jonah Gadjovich Wacey Hamilton Vincent Arseneau 5v5
1st Syracuse Chris Mueller Alex Barre-Boulet Luke Schenn 5v5
1st Utica Dylan Blujus Sven Baertschi Nikolay Goldobin 5v5
2nd Utica Francis Perron Zack MacEwen Justin Bailey 5v5
2nd Utica Reid Boucher Kole Lind 5v5
2nd Utica Zack MacEwen Nikolay Goldobin Brogan Rafferty 5v5
3rd Utica Vincent Arseneau Nikolay Goldobin Josh Teves 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Despite going 0-for-5 on the powerplay while giving up one short-handed, the Comets managed to absolutely dominate the Syracuse Crunch to make it three in a row. Amazingly, just five players from the Comets roster tonight failed to wind up on the scoresheet, and only one ended up with a big-fat-bagel for a scoreline in Carter Camper. Camper was actually a zone-entry machine tonight, and despite being on the ice for one goal for, he somehow stayed off the scoresheet tonight.
  • The in-house three stars were a bit of a joke lol. Nikolay Goldobin should’ve been first star with his three-assist performance tonight, followed by Zack MacEwen and his 1g 1a with five shots performance. Third star should’ve gone to the French unit, Vinny Arseneau, who was a force alongside Gadjovich and Hamilton.
  • MDP looked pretty good all things considered! He genuinely didn’t get tested often in this game. The first goal was a blown coverage by Juolevi, and the second was an unfortunate redirect of the puck off his blocker. He definitely didn’t look out of place tonight as an AHL goaltender and faced quite a multitude of hard shots from a stacked Syracuse offensive group. Seriously, rewatch that blast from Conacher; MDP takes the shot up high and is quick to pounce on the loose puck to prevent any follow-up.
  • I really hope Juolevi is still rehabbing his knee or something, because oh boy he looked pretty bad tonight. He was directly responsible for the shorthanded goal against and took a penalty to deny a second sure-fire shorthanded attempt. He just doesn’t have the skate speed to hold the blue-line on the powerplay. I’m glad Cull recognized it and swapped him for Rafferty. But for a player that the Canucks are hoping can be a powerplay specialist…he HAS to somehow get better on his feet. Otherwise, I don’t think he even cuts it as a powerplay specialist at the AHL level, let alone the NHL. One of my significant concerns coming into tonight’s game was how the Chatfield/Juolevi pairing would do, and honestly, Chatfield was the difference-maker in the pairing. Chatty’s no-regard for his body on defensive back-checks were the difference between pucks being cleared out of the Comets end and pucks ending up in the back of the net. Big yikes all around for #48 tonight, again…I said it last game, it’s still VERY early in the season… but this is another tick in the concern column.
  • Glad to see Lind, Baertschi and Goldobin have much better games tonight than they did in Wilkes-Barre. The three were dangerous in the neutral zone and created an insane amount of high-danger scoring chances for the Comets tonight.
  • Check out this shot map from tonight’s game I’m not joking when I say they dominated.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Zack MacEwen
  • Vinny Arseneau

HM: Justin Bailey and Dylan Blujus

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets are back in action this Friday for the 2nd of a four-game home-stand, when they take on the reigning Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers. With a rookie goalie between the pipes and all lines firing on all cylinders, the Comets looked dominant against a strong divisional rival. Hopefully, they can make it four in a row to start the season, and we can officially erase all the awful memories we have of last season.