10/19/19 – Utica Comets vs. Rochester Americans

24 Hours later and the sun is still shining in Utica! The Comets pulled off another dominant win at home. This time against the reigning Calder Cup Champions. While they may not be the same team on paper, a win over one of last season’s best teams is still a quality win!

 

For added context to the Comets’ impressive start to the season, they’re among two teams who are still undefeated in the AHL (the other being the Toronto Marlies). They lead the entire AHL in goals-for, with 22 in 4 games. Their goals per game of 5.5 goals/game leads the AHL by a hefty margin. The next best team being the Stockton Heat who have a goals/game average of 4.2, for those who struggle with math, that’s a full goal more per game than the next best team in the league.

 

The team has gotten goal contributions from everywhere in their lineup, with 15 different goalscorers across the four games played. The only players yet to register a point are; Tyler Graovac, who left the first game with injury). Seamus Malone, who just returned from injury. Dyson Stevenson, who I’m 99% sure, was benched for most of his two games played. And Jalen Chatfield, who has an aversion to offense.

 

Last season against the Rochester Americans, the Comets got eviscerated by Victor Olofsson. Olofsson alone scored 14 points in ten games against the Comets last year. Safe to say, the Comets won’t be missing him when they play their 3rd game of this four-game home-stand. The Amurks have only managed 13 goals in five games to start their year. In their last match, the Amurks lost to the Cleveland Monsters in the shootout. The Amurks special teams are pretty similar to the Comets in that their powerplays are both equally weak. However, the Amurks penalty kill is currently the worst in the AHL’s North Division at 78.3% efficiency.

 

All in all, its been great watching exciting Comets hockey for a change. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard the end of last season dragged. Hopefully, the Comets group can keep their momentum going to close out their weekend double-header with their fifth straight win. For now, let’s get into tonights starting lineup!

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Perron (#27) MacEwen (#15)
Malone (#17) Hamilton (#36) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
McIntyre (G)

 

Zane McIntyre returns after a brief call-up stint with the Canucks. Otherwise, no changes to the lineup.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) 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: 3-1 Comets

 

It wasn’t as pretty as the start against Charlotte, but the Comets once again capitalize on every chance they get and rattle off three unanswered for the FIFTH time this season. Still buzzing off that short-handed goal started by Juolevi’s beauty of a slap-pass. Moving forward, the Comets need to shore up defensively to prevent the Amurks from getting the amount of chances they got in the first.

 

2nd Period

 

  • Rafferty with another pass taken away
  • GOAL – UTICA – 4-1 Comets: Justin Bailey (#95) with an active stick gets a steal in the defensive zone to spring Zack MacEwen (#15) for a drive on the Amurks and scores an absolutely filthy goal. Beautiful toe-drag and patience to roof one past Andrew Hammond.
  • Like I said in yesterday’s Comets Harvest, if Bailey and MacEwen start finding their groove together, they’re going to be an absolute force.
  • Lind (#13) breaks up a shot attempt in his end then, alongside Carter Camper (#19), drives down the left-wing and cuts to the net for a scoring try
  • Juolevi (#48) with two fantastic passes to MacEwen (#15) in the offensive zone. MacEwen almost picks up his second goal of the night on that second pass
  • Pressuring in the offensive once again, Francis Perron picks up a tripping penalty and Rochester pressures with the goalie pulled, as the Comets fail to touch-up.
  • Wow ok, apparently a game misconduct gets issued to Perron for shooting the puck out of play after the Comets touched up, so his nights done
  • 1st PK Group: Blujus, Brisebois, Boucher, Hamilton
  • Blujus with a huge shot-block and clear
  • 2nd PK Group: Bailey, Jasek, Chatfield, Juolevi
  • Justin Bailey (#95) in a board battle springs Jasek (#9) ahead on a short-handed breakaway, but Jasek fans on his backhand attempt
  • LOL, Vinny Arseneau hops out of the box as the Comets kill off the Perron tripping penalty and IMMEDIATELY takes a tripping penalty of his own haha. Comets Penalty Killers getting tested tonight
  • 1st PK Group: Brisebois, Boucher, Brisebois, Hamilton
  • Oh man, Wacey Hamilton takes his SECOND slashing penalty of the night while on the penalty-kill and the Comets are now in a 3-v-5
  • 1st Trio: Blujus, MacEwen, Juolevi
  • McIntyre with a glove save, allowing Juolevi to change-off for Chatfield
  • Blujus (#8) with another huge block on the 5-on-3
  • Zach Redmond whiffs on a shot on net sending it around the boards allowing Zack MacEwen to race for a change
  • Juolevi then gets another clutch clear as Arseneau steps out of the box to allow Boucher and Jasek to shift on
  • Rochester with another shot that gets sailed wide of the net and out of the zone.
  • From out of the penalty box, Wacey Hamilton (#36) leads a 3-on-1 but elects to shoot for himself. Hamilton chases the rebound and draws an interference penalty on Rochester. Comets off to their first powerplay of the game after a lengthy penalty kill
  • 2nd PP Unit up first: Rafferty, Camper, Jasek, Bailey, Baertschi
  • 2nd unit gets a couple shots forcing Hammond to glove down a shot
  • Baertschi gets a shot on goal but a crashing Jasek cant put in the rebound – Comets lose the zone forcing them to change
  • 1st powerplay group with some impressive chances but can’t hit the net
  • Goldobin (#77) with two huge scoring chances from in tight
  • Seamus Malone with a steal as the Amurks try to clear – relentless pressure from the fourth line forces the Amurks to ice the puck, giving the Comets ANOTHER offensive zone draw. Great stuff from the combination of Arseneau, Malone, and Hamilton
  • Malone appears to be getting double-shifted as the center for Bailey and MacEwen now that Perron was out
  • Rrafferty (#25) with a solid effort to force Tage Thompson out of the Comets zone
  • Comets are looking a little tired to close out the period – Comets looking ok defensively but they are hemorrhaging shots-against. McIntyre solid so far, 34 saves on 35 shots after 40 minutes.
  • Oh boy, Josh Teves picks up a holding penalty as he attempts to stop a wraparound attempt by Rochesters’ Lawrence Pilut.
  • Comets closing out the final two minutes of the period on their sixth penalty kill of the game
  • 1ST pk Group: Jasek, Hamilton, Chatfield, Juolevi
  • Zach Redmond fans on a one-timer and Juolevi is there to poke the puck ahead to Jasek for the clear
  • 2nd PK Group: MacEwen, Bailey, Blujus, Brisebois
  • 15 seconds remaining and Blujus takes a high-sticking minor, but the Comets fail to touch-up before the end of the period. They’ll start the third on a brief two-man disadvantage

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 4-1 Comets

 

Comets are getting out-shot BADLY in this one, fortunately for them, Zane McIntyre has been lights out. Realistically, the Comets SHOULD be losing given the amount of quality chances they’re giving up. But heading into the third with a three-goal lead with leagues 7th best PK% bodes well for their ability to close this one out at home. PBP man Joe Roberts had a fantastic quote in the second that sarcastically went;

“What is this Comets team even DOING? They went from scoring a goal on every THREE shots to scoring a goal on every FIVE?”

Honestly, the Comets offense has been just insane after five games; Boucher, Lind, and Goldobin now rank 1st 8th and 10th in the AHL for scoring. Based on their rather high shooting percentages, I would expect things to cool down for them eventually, but right now, they are running HOT. This string of incredibly exciting games comes as a massive relief to the Comets faithful, who stuck by this team through a brutal 2018-19 season. Consider this a reward for their unquestioned patronage. Hopefully, the good times keep rolling, and the Comets can try aim for eight goals again to close out this one!

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 7-1 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Sven Baertschi Andrew Hammond (lul) 5v5
1st Utica Reid Boucher Dylan Blujus Kole Lind 5v5
1st Utica Wacey Hamilton Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi SHG
1st Rochester Tage Thompson Sean Malone 5v5
2nd Utica Zack MacEwen Justin Bailey 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Sven Baertschi Olli Juolevi PPG
3rd Utica Nikolay Goldobin Sven Baertschi 5v5
3rd Utica Lukas Jasek Nikolay Goldobin 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

The Good:

 

Call up Goldobin. He’s got nothing to prove at the AHL level, the kids’ vision, passing, playmaking… just get him on a line with Petey and let him thrive. He has all the tools to be a fantastic compliment to Pettersson. This is two back-to-back three-assist games for Goldy. If he keeps this kind of play up, I don’t see how the Canucks can justify keeping him down in the minors. Bring him up and push skill down in your lineup, don’t push them out of it.

  • This was my major takeaway yesterday…and nothing has changed after tonight. Call-him up…that’s Ten points in four games for Goldy. Just put him with Petey and see if they can get the magic going again.
  • Take the above sentiment and apply it to Sven Baertschi as well. Tonights one goal and two assists give him eight points in four games played. I’m done with Leivo/Pearson/Bo…push one of those guys into your bottom six and get Bae back with Bo. Please…he and Goldy are just playing with their food down in the AHL.
  • Zane McIntyre was studly in his first game back after riding the bench in Vancouver. 45 saves on 46 shots. Safe-to-say, the Comets left Zane a little high-and-dry. When the team’s scoring six goals per game, it’s probably a relief to him to be able to play without worrying about giving up one goal.
  • It feels like just yesterday that I was madly concerned with the skating of Olli Juolevi, following the Syracuse Crunch game. And here he is tonight, having arguably the best game of his season. OJ was positionally sound, was making crisp passes all night, and was a shot-blocking machine on the Comets penalty kill. Sidenote, Olli, please stop blocking shots with your knees Especially when you have a six-goal lead on your opponent. I love that with such a massive point lead over their opponent, the kid is STILL sacrificing his body to make the defensive play… that kind of mentality should win him a ton of favor with the doubter crowd.
  • Zack MacEwen appears to have finally come online. Tonight was a banner game for him. He was effective on the penalty kill and a constant threat in the offensive zone. That goal in the second was just a complete beauty. Even with the few giveaways he had, I can’t find too many faults in his game tonight. Looked like the Mac of old
  • Kole Lind had himself a great game as well I think he might appear in MOST of the streamable’s tonight. Was liking everything he was doing off of faceoff draws to setup Boucher for one-timers. He did slow down a bit in the third period, but overall I thought he was a threat to the Amurks whenever he was on the ice
  • Reid Boucher, it’s a shame he never seems to get his mojo going at the NHL level. His speed in the AHL is passable, but it’s quite literally that extra step that prevents him from making the jump. Boucher now leads the AHL in points and goals.
  • Soak it in baby, cause it won’t last forever
  • Despite the shots-against, tonight was another display of goal-scoring dominance from the Comets. While not exactly, pretty, the Comets got the job done again at home to make it a historic five-straight to start the season. Great stuff for a team that struggled so hard last year to find ANY goals.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Zane McIntyre
  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Reid Boucher

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets take a bit of a break in the action as they don’t return until next Friday, where they take on the Binghamton Devils at home. The last time the Comets met the Devils, they rattled off four straight unanswered goals in the second period to secure a 4-3 victory on the road. Since that meeting, the Devils have lost four straight, including an OT loss at home to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Barring any changes to this dominant Utica Comets lineup, it’ll be hard to imagine the Devils being able to break their losing streak on the road.

 

As always, if you want to read up on this Comets Harvest or the 2018-19 Farmies editions, you can find them all at my Comets Harvest Blog here

 

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

 

also, let me know what titles do you prefer

simplified Utica Comets (standings) vs. opponent (opponents standings)

or a boiled down lede describing the game like Tonights?

Cheers!

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