11/15/19 – Utica Comets vs. Syracuse Crunch

Good evening Canucks Nation! It’s time for another catch-up on the Farm! Tonight the Utica Comets hit the road to take on the Syracuse Crunch.

The Crunch are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Rochester Americans, while the Comets are coming off a nice four-day vacation. The Comets last game was a 3-1 loss to non-other than, well, the Syracuse Crunch!

 

As we all know, the Canucks called up Zack MacEwen and Tyler Graovac in lieu of injuries to Tyler Motte, Micheal Ferland, Jay Beagle, and Brandon Sutter. I’m sure there’s more to that list that I’m forgetting.

 

Safe to say the Comets opening lineup is going to be put to the test tonight. Fortunately, the Comets do get some reprieve, as Reid Boucher slides back into the lineup for the first time in five games. Boucher’s goalscoring has been sorely missed by the Comets over the past five games, as the Comets have managed just seven goals in the five games without Bouch.

 

Let’s get into the starting lineup and the game itself!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

 

LW C RW
Goldobin (#77) Hamilton (#36) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Malone (#17) Perron (#27) Bancks (#34)
Arseneau (#18) Taylor (#14) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Sautner (#6) Chatfield (#5)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Blujus (#8) Eliot (#52)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Wacey Hamilton is your farm team’s number one center. Let that sink in.

Josh Teves remains a healthy scratch after leading all AHL rookies in plus/minus through the first month of the season… but hey, what do I know about roster management!

Speaking of roster management!

Olli Juolevi slides out of tonight’s lineup, apparently not an injury, just a precautionary “load management” thing.

 

https://twitter.com/OD_Birnell/status/1195492204342587392?s=20

 

Given the team just had four days off, It’s bizarre to me that now Juolevi needs to be given “precautionary scratches.” Not in the sense that I don’t think they should be careful with his knee. Just that the Comets to-date, have not been playing Juolevi with any pretense of caution towards his recovery. Through the start of this season, Juolevi has been playing first pairing minutes, at evens, and on both the first powerplay and penalty-kill units. Did the coaching staff not think to simply, not overload him with playing time every single night? Really hope they didn’t overdo it with him already. Maybe I’m reading too far into things. However, it seems weird to call this scratching, “load management” when up until now Juolevi’s been given the Alex Edler duties at the AHL level. Not sure I buy the logic here.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Carter Camper (upper-body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Josh Teves Stefan LeBlanc

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

The Score at the end of the 1st period: 1-1 Tie

 

An exciting period where the Comets outshoot the Crunch ten to six, but a lack of discipline gives the Crunch some badly needed momentum to close out the period. Comets are controlling play quite well after twenty minutes of action, just need to settle-down their passes in the offensive zone. Barring the blunder on the second powerplay, it was a strong period of play from Kole Lind. Boucher looks like a man trying to regain his spot at the top of the AHL’s goalscoring list.

2nd Period

 

 

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

 

What a crazy period of hockey as the Comets outshoot the Crunch eleven to eight, score three goals, and get themselves four powerplays! Practically all of this happened after the halfway point of the period to boot. Guys finally getting rewarded with goals after stellar play. It may be weird to say, but this team actually looks better now than they did with MacEwen, and Graovac in the lineup. The team is doing infinitely better at driving to high-danger scoring areas to create scoring chances — an area of concern that I addressed in last weekend’s Harvests. I have to commend the Comet’s effort levels tonight in light of the adversity they’re facing. The Crunch made them look foolish on Monday, and right now, they’re making the Crunch look like amateurs.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 5-2 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Reid Boucher Kole Lind 5v5
1st Syracuse Alex Barre-Boulet Cameron Gaunce Chris Mueller PPG
2nd Utica Kole Lind Nikolay Goldobin Brogan Rafferty PPG
2nd Syracuse Boris Katchouk Ross Colton Taylor Raddysh PPG
2nd Utica Reid Boucher Nikolay Goldobin Mitch Eliot 5v5
2nd Utica Carter Bancks Francis Perron Ashton Sautner 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher EN/SH

 

Takeaways

 

  • Great effort from the Comets special teams tonight in a brutal grind of a game. Tomorrow’s game against Rochester will be a tough one given how many minutes the Comets top players logged tonight. Kole Lind looked exhausted by the end of the game as he was continually eating even-strength and powerplay minutes. While guys, like Bancks, and Hamilton were on for practically the entire game, with even-strength and an insane amount of penalty killing minutes.
  • Strong game from Reid Boucher in his return as he nets a hat-trick to put himself back on top of the AHL goal-scoring race. After five games missed due to injury, amazingly, just one player managed to overtake Bouch, and that was the Penguins Stefan Noesen. In just one game, Boucher managed to both tie and overtake Noesen’s lead. Guy was playing lights-out hockey tonight, as he logged critical minutes at evens, shorthanded, and on the powerplay. Guy was everywhere tonight and the difference-maker for this club.
  • Goldobin continues to be a stud at the AHL level, as he notched two assists tonight to put him fifth in the AHL for assists. He slowed down a bit in the third period, but to be honest, I think that may have had to do more with him getting benched through all the penalty-killing. That was a lot of time for a majority of the Comets forwards to sit and wait out the Crunch’s powerplay try’s. Loved seeing him get involved in board-battles while not giving up on his flash and panache playmaking. Kids got a great attitude since coming to the Comets, and this was a great game for him to make a case for his place alongside the Canucks top-six. He just sees offense in a completely different way than anyone else on the Comets. He finds people almost at-will. That pass through two Crunch sticks to find Arseneau on the doorstep was just, *makes Italian finger-kissing gesture*, beautiful. I know most people on this sub are done with him, but I don’t see how anyone can deny him a chance at this point.
  • Kole Lind had a return to form tonight, which was nice to see. He reminded me a bit of Gaudette with some of the moves he was pulling off on Crunch players through the offensive zone. He still needs to work on his overall two-way game, but if he can find the confidence in his game so that games like tonight happen regularly, then the other aspects will eventually come too.
  • Rafferty has easily jumped everyone on the depth chart for that best RD in the pipeline. He’s just so smooth everywhere on the ice. He had no glaring defensive errors tonight from what I saw. His ability to transition and carry the puck from his end to the offensive zone is a huge bonus to his value. The Canucks gain a lot from having a cost-controlled RD who can move the puck with his skating.
  • Didn’t come up much tonight, nor does he come up much on most nights, but Brisebois had a pretty solid game for himself. His speed is great, and he pairs nicely with Rafferty. His offensive contributions are still a huge work in progress, but considering he can wheel, and move the puck up ice on his own is a positive. He’s certainly worked on his puck handling while under pressure. Too often last season, Brisebois would panic while under pressure and just throw the puck wherever, but this season he’s stayed way more composed. Maybe, a lot of that has to do with having a d-partner like Rafferty on his right-side? Who knows, but it’s good that with a d-corps this young, that guys like Brisebois and Rafferty can hold it down in spite of their inexperience.
  • If Malone’s arm-injury is serious, I wonder what the Comets do to get a body in Utica in-time for Saturday’s game against Rochester? The Kalamazoo Wings have Dylan Sadowy available who could maybe get there in time. In nine games to start the ECHL season, Sadoway has eleven goals and five assists. The KWings also have Yannick Veilleux, who has quite a bevy of AHL experience, who likely could fill in the bottom-six role that Malone was providing. Again, that’s if they can even get them here in time. They could also opt to call-up someone from the Adirondack Thunder. Someone like Ara Nazarian, a 23-year-old left-winger who was signed by the Thunder after a four-year stint with the University of New Hampshire. Food for thought.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Reid Boucher
  • Kole Lind
  • Nikolay Goldobin

HM: Carter Bancks,

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets will look to build off this impressive return to form when they play at home, tomorrow, in a pivotal match against North Division, the Rochester Americans!

 

If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

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