11/1/19 – Utica Comets vs. Providence Bruins

New month, who dis?

 

The Comets close the book on the month of October and look to stay undefeated as they start November with a double-header at home!

 

Their first matchup see’s them take on the Boston Bruins affiliate, the Providence Bruins. A thrilling and dynamic name for their affiliate! Don’t you think?

 

The Bruins have had a jam-packed schedule to start their season. With the B’s having played eleven games already in October, posting a decent 6-3-0-2 record. The team didn’t, however, get the same kind of goaltending that the Comets have gotten as of late. Both Michael Di Pietro and Zane McIntyre sit in the top ten of AHL goaltending for both save-percentage and goals-against-average. While the trio of Max Lagace, Dan Vladar, and Kyle Keyser sit in the bottom twenty of AHL goaltending.

 

The Bruins have some hope in that the Comets offense has been trending downwards over the past couple games. Mostly due to exhaustion (game against Hershey), and the complete overhauling of the Comets forward lines.

 

Right now, it’s tough to complain about a team that went undefeated through an entire month. It’s great that the team has been able to bank as many points as they have, while they still have guys like Baertschi, Goldobin, and Fantenberg plugging the lineup. This golden period likely won’t last forever. That’s why I telepathically implore the coaching staff to shore up the defensive efforts of the team. Through eight games, the Comets have relied heavily on clutch saves from their goaltending tandem. The team just can’t keep relying on a rookie goaltender and a 27-year-old journeyman goalie to play the way they have to start the year.

 

McIntyre has been a stud for the Comets, no doubt; he needed a change of scenery after four seasons spent with the Providence Bruins. His best AHL season to date came in the 2016-17 season when he posted a 2.03GAA with a 0.930 save%. Currently, he sits with a 1.78gaa and a 0.944 save%. Eventually, his numbers will come down to earth, barring some Jacob Markstrom like surge in his late twenties.

 

EDIT: I wrote the previous section last night, and sure enough, Sven Baertschi is on his way up to the Canucks, likely for the foreseeable future. It was fun while it lasted! Hopefully, Baertschi can carve out a full-time role with the Canucks for the remainder of the season. It will be tough for the Comets to move forward without the stable presence of a bonafide scoring, NHL winger.

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Jasek (#9) Goldobin (#77)
Bailey (#95) Perron (#27) Lind (#13)
Bancks (#34) Hamilton (#36) MacEwen (#15)
Arseneau (#18) Malone (#17 Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Fantenberg (#7)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) Chatfield (#5)
G
Michael DiPietro (G)

 

I like that first line! Glad to see Jasek and Goldobin reunited again. MacEwen is one of the few young guys in the lineup to have found chemistry with Bancks and Hamilton, so it will be interesting to see what he can do with them in tonight’s game.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Tyler Graovac (knee)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Dylan Blujus Carter Camper (undisclosed) Richard Bachman Mitch Eliot

 

1st period

 

Comets in their home Whites

 

 

Score at the end of the First Period: 1-0 Bruins

 

Well, the first half of that period was a bit of a cluster-fudge. But the Comets seemed to wake up in the back half of the period, getting themselves several quality chances created from Lind, Boucher, Jasek, Goldobin, and MacEwen. Goldobin is having himself a noticeable night, picked up on his efforts in the defensive end before I noticed how well he was transitioning the puck up-ice.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-0 Bruins

 

I wrote about it a few times this season that the team needs to improve on their weaknesses for when the goal-scoring dries up, or if the goaltending comes back to reality. Well, tonight, the Comets are getting a bit of a double-dip here as brutal defensive lapses have resulted in two weak goals-against! Goldobin and MacEwen are looking great together. Still, it’s tough to say whether those two’s chemistry will be enough for the Comets to come back from a two-goal deficit with less-than twenty minutes remaining.

 

3rd period

 

 

Brutal game. First loss. First shutout loss. Not much to write about in this one.

 

Final Score: 2-0 Providence

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Providence Zach Senyshyn Cameron Hughes 5v5
2nd Providence Joona Koppanen 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • The fun was bound to end sometime. Makes sense that its immediately after the team loses, Baertschi, Camper, and Boucher for tonight’s game. Even with Cehlarik out of Providence’ lineup, the Comets just lacked any consistent chemistry throughout the 60-minute affair that could contribute effective offense.
  • Brutal game from Guillaume Brisebois had several golden opportunities to score and couldn’t hit the broad-side of a barn. When Chatfield is doing a better job at getting shots off on net, then you know, you’ve had a rough game
  • Team loses for the first time this season, and all things considered, given who was out of their lineup, literally every bonafide Top-6 AHL center was out of tonight’s lineup. Graovac, Camper, Gaudette all out with injury, or with the Canucks. Perron has done a decent job transitioning to center and looked alright alongside Lind and Bailey, but they, like everyone else tonight, struggled to find meaningful chemistry to produce.
  • Lukas Jasek easily had his worst game in the two seasons I’ve spent watching him play for Utica. He just looked sooooo sluggish on the ice tonight. It was as if his speed regressed completely. Maybe there is a flu-bug in Utica right now because he looked uncharacteristically late to both the offensive and defensive side of the game tonight. His line was hard-carried by Goldobin. I campaigned last game, for him to be moved back to the wing, where he looked his best last season. Now I’m not even sure where to put him if this is the kind of effort he is going to put in.
  • Speaking of whom. Goldobin played fantastic, despite not getting on the scoresheet. He had several fantastic breakout rushes as well as some beautiful cross-ice feeds to Jasek and MacEwen that unfortunately weren’t capitalized on. I’m 100% positive the news of Baertschi’s call-up acted as a motivator for Goldobin because he was playing quite well tonight.
  • After that brutal opening goal, Rafferty regained his footing in the remaining two periods. He has a bomb of a shot, and I’m glad the coaching staff elected to throw both he and Juolevi out there to generate scoring chances. Jury’s still out on whether his lame-eye is holding him back from having better play with the puck. I’m not trying to come across rude or anything, but the flub of the puck on the opening goal, surely came from him not having two good eyes. There have been other occasions where he’s blindly passed the puck onto his opponent’s stick, and I genuinely wonder if that’s from a lack of peripheral vision/depth perception. He’s still easily the Comets best RD (after Sautner and Fantenberg), but you have to wonder what his ceiling would be if his vision were 100% all there.
  • Jalen Chatfield had a good game, he was a wrecking ball on the ice tonight. One of my biggest complaints about him is his desire to step up into the offensive, only for him to immediately waste the puck or blow the team’s control of the zone. He looked “better” tonight, in that he actually had some shots land on net. He’s been in the AHL almost three seasons now, and by most Utica diehard accounts, he’s yet to progress his offensive game in any way. I’m just not sold on Chatfield’s physical presence being enough to justify his spot in the daily line up.
  • Despite the miscommunication with MDP on the 2nd goal, I thought Juolevi had himself a pretty decent night. I really wish he took a shot on that picture-perfect shooting lane. He’s got a sneaky good shot from the blue line, so I don’t know why Juolevi thought his safest option was a pass through six bodies that were clogging up center-ice? Fantenberg had a couple bombs on net tonight, but otherwise, he looked quite middling and had several gaffes where he needed to be bailed out by others.
  • Again, this was bound to happen, that the Comets lose the NHL caliber players and the scoring/winning falls off a cliff. Fortunately, it does look like the team took my telepathic advice by working on their defensive games. The question going forward will be whether they can find their goal-scoring touch in the absence of some of the key forwards who rocketed this team to the top of the league in goals-for.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Michael Di Pietro
  • Me, for not falling asleep
  • You, for reading this entire thing

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets return tomorrow night against the Rochester Americans. The Amurks most recently dominated the Binghamton Devils at home by a score of 4-2. Fingers crossed Reid Boucher is ok to return to the lineup Saturday night. Otherwise, the team might be in for a repeat of tonight’s effort against the B’s.

 

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

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