11/6/19 – Utica Comets vs. Binghamton Devils

The Comets look to bounce back from their dismal double-shutout loss this past weekend. The problem is, they’re missing practically everyone important that would make that easy to accomplish.

 

Tonight’s opponent is their North Division rivals, the Binghamton Devils. Fortunately for this young core, they’ve dominated the Devils so far this season. The Comets are currently winning the season match-up with three wins to the Devils none, with the Comets outscoring the Devils twelve-to-five. The Devils are currently the second-worst team in the Division, coming into tonight’s match-up having lost three straight.

 

In theory, this is a great opponent for the Comets young group of prospects to try and re-assert the team’s place at the top of the Division. However, there hasn’t been anyone in the Comets lineup that has taken it upon themselves to win the team some games in the absence of Boucher and Baertschi.

 

The Comets game against Providence last Friday, was at the very least, a promising sign that this team could battle hard in the absence of its star players. I’ve just finished going through all the shot tracking for the game, and its quite incredible they came away from that one without any points. They badly outshot the Bruins and out-chanced them throughout, but ran into a goalie who decided to play his best game of the season that night.

 

Their game against Rochester on Saturday, though… wellllll *coughs his way out of trying to justify what happened*

 

After last night’s embarrassing loss to the St. Louis Blues, I’m just hoping that the Comets show some fire and fight in their game. At the very least, to prove that they didn’t luck themselves into an undefeated October, but earned it through good play and teamwork.

 

Fingers crossed that no one else gets injured too . . .

 

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

 

LW C RW
Perron (#27) Graovac (#44) Goldobin (#77)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) MacEwen (#15)
Bancks (#34) Malone (#17) Lind (#13)
Arseneau (#18) Hamilton (#36) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Brisebois (#55) Eliot (#52)
Teves (#4) Rafferty (#25)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Not having Blujus, Sautner, OR Fantenberg to play with this young-ass d-corps could be disastrous on the levels of Saturday’s game. Fingers crossed they don’t collapse when put under pressure.

That being said, I’m glad to see them move Perron back to his natural spot on the wing. He looked decent at center, much more-so than Jasek, but alongside Goldobin from a more comfortable position could be good news for that line. Graovac also has looked pretty awful in his two games with the Comets, so he needs to show something tonight alongside two of the team’s best playmakers.

Oh, and they didn’t bench Josh Teves, which is a godsend.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Reid Boucher (knee) Carter Camper (upper-body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Richard Bachman Stefan LeBlanc Ashton Sautner (unavailable) Justin Taylor (unavailable)

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

Score at the end of the First Period: 2-1 Devils

 

Tough to rate how that period, as a whole, went for the Comets. Comets were outshot eleven to eight and gave up several significant scoring chances to the Devils. Lukas Jasek has been disappointing tonight. Mitch Eliot looks much better than he did over the weekend. Brogan Rafferty is having another off-night for the most part. This period, he was caught on the ice for both goals against, with poor reads on both plays. It’s incredible how incapable the team is at setting up a cycle in the offensive zone in the absence of just a few players. Hoping they can somehow figure it out and try to even this one out. Dyson Stevenson’s goal ended a scoring drought of 140 minutes.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-2 Tie

 

Comets outshot ten to five, but, they go two-for-two on the penalty kill, and get a game-tying goal off an absolutely gorgeous passing play. I had a giant thing prepared for the conclusion of this period about how this team isn’t even trying to set up passing plays between themselves. And here they are closing out the period with that beauty of a goal. Hopefully, that tying goal gives the team a shot in the arm and some faith in their scoring ability.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 4-2 Devils

 

Comets outshot 18 to five over the final frame. 39 to 18 overall. Pretty pathetic effort once again. I am getting horrific flashbacks of last season with the terrible decision-making.

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Binghamton Kyle Cumiskey Nathan Bastian Brandon Baddock 5v5
1st Binghamton Ben Street Joey Anderson Dakota Mermis 5v5
1st Utica Dyson Stevenson Vincent Arseneau 5v5
2nd Utica Nikolay Goldobin Brogan Rafferty Justin Bailey 5v5
3rd Binghamton Chris Conner Nathan Bastian Ben Street 5v5
3rd Binghamton Ben Street Ryan Schmelzer SH,EN

 

Takeaways

 

  • Having a tough time putting together coherent thoughts on tonight’s Comets performance. Frankly, it sucked. It was pathetic. Sixty minutes of guys playing cute hockey with their endless no-look drop passes to their opponent’s sticks, and shots that are fifty feet wide of the goal. I’m even getting tired of the dump-and-chase hockey. After eleven games, it’s quite obvious that the Comet’s have only three guys on the team, max, who have the aptitude or drive, to actually play that kind of hockey.
  • Speaking of which, what happened to Zack MacEwen. Relative to how he played most of last year, his skating looks lethargic, his shooting ability has dropped off the face of the earth. I know people are going to point to his 6 points in 9 games, but those 6 points came from a run of three games only. He’s been held pointless now in five straight. If he’s chosen to work on his defensive game, that’s fantastic, but if that comes at the expense of dropping everything else from your game that made you worth a call-up last season, then I’d say forget it.
  • Kole Lind came into this season wanting to prove the haters and the doubters wrong. Lind has exactly zero points, when playing away from Boucher or Baertschi. Lind has been a passenger for the majority of the Comet’s first eleven games of the season, and never has it been more apparent than this past three. The kid is completely averse to physical play when it’s not instigating after the whistle’s blown. I simply do not see any sort of intensity from his play. The only time you’ll catch it is when he’s jumping on loose pucks. Genuinely not sure what direction or trajectory he has as a player if, as a goal-scorer, he is completely and wholly reliant on everyone else to carry him.
  • My brain keeps replaying that dump-in from Olli Juolevi with the two-man powerplay advantage. Like are you seriously kidding me that not one of those six guys could carry the puck into the zone themselves? I’m certain the voice screaming “no!” in the streamable is from the powerplay coach dying inside on that play. Once again, away from NHL caliber talent (Fantenberg, Sautner), Juolevi proves to be a one-trick pony. Two trick if you consider sacrificing your body on every penalty kill. And while I absolutely love me a tape-to-tape rink wide feed that results in a goal. I can’t, for one, accept that in place of everything else required to be a successful defender, even if just at the AHL level. Tonight’s game from OJ wasn’t even a bad showing of his skate speed. He only got burned once, which for him is a milestone. When you’re getting outclassed by Jalen Chatfield in both the defensive AND offensive end, alarm bells start ringing.
  • Lukas Jasek continues to be just a complete dud. I understand that playing with MacEwen and Bailey is tough since both guys like to play “me versus everybody,” kind of hockey. But I wasn’t kidding when I said that’s the fastest I’ve seen Jasek skate all season. He’s just looked so disengaged from the play. I can only equate it to him being that uncomfortable with playing the center position, that he’s hesitant to play at center-ice and create offense from there. More often than not, Jasek will peel off from chasing a puck rather than attempt to continue an offensive drive. This all goes back to the team having no backup plans in the event of call-ups or injuries. Well, the team is down Camper, and Graovac is too slow to hang with the top-six, so now what?
  • Lost in the minutiae of the Comet’s third disappointing result in a row was the lowkey impressive game from Mitch Eliot. Eliot could actually hit the net with a shot from the blueline. So by that token alone, he’s automatically outplayed Brisebois. His speed looked sharp, and despite a few times where he couldn’t outmuscle a Devils player who was crashing the net, I didn’t think he looked too out of place amongst his AHL D compatriates.
  • At this point I’m willing to say, the Comes should put Arseneau and Stevenson with Francis Perron and give them better match-ups. Because that line was actually quite legit when they were together. Tonight, once again, Perron, Arseneau, and Stevenson, independent of each other, were the only players engaged physically while actually landing shots on goal.
  • Feelsbadman for Zane McIntyre, who got absolutely shelled for 60 minutes tonight. Team completely left him hanging on all three of those goals against.
  • Also, at this point, it would be hilarious if the Comets did go without a single win through November after an undefeated October.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Mitch Eliot
  • Vinny Arseneau
  • Zane McIntyre

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets return Friday night when they take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the last time this season. In their first match against the Penguins, the Comets gave up three straight goals to then tie the game and win in overtime. The current iteration of the Comets might get three goals, contingent of course on the returns of Camper, and Boucher. With Baertschi somehow slipping through the waiver wire undetected.

 

Comets lose three straight, and honestly, the blueprint to beating them is pretty clear right now. There isn’t a lot of time between games to adjust, as the Comets play another three games in the next five days. Fingers crossed their opponents don’t have this team figured out or this November stretch is going to be worthy of last year’s Comets.

 

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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