11/20/19 – Utica Comets vs. Binghamton Devils

Good evening Canucks Nation, it’s time to check in on the Farm to see how their November is going!

 

oh…right

 

Well, tonight the Comets face off against familiar foe, the Binghamton Devils.

The Devils visit the Adirondack Bank Center off a 3-2 Loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Comet’s last outing saw them get out to an early two-goal lead over the Rochester Americans. Unfortunately, the Comets exhausted themselves early and went on to give up four straight unanswered goals to end up losing 4-3.

In theorem, the Comets will come into tonight’s matchup well-rested and ready to take on a team whom they’ve only lost to, once, this season.

Against “Bingo” this season, the Comets have managed four wins and just one loss, while outscoring their opponent, 17 to 11, across those five games. The return of Reid Boucher should make goalscoring for this Comet’s club a bit easier tonight.

Tonight, the Comets see the return of Carter Camper, who had missed the last eight games for the Comets with an upper-body injury. Camper’s absence, as well as the call-ups of Graovac and Gaudette, meant the Comets were rolling with just one true-center. Here’s hoping he hasn’t lost a step and picks up right where he left off!

The Binghamton Devils don’t have Corey Schneider in their lineup yet. Schneider had been given extra time to pack for his move to the minors, and thus wouldn’t be in Utica for tonight’s matchup. In net, however, is the New Jersey Devils, 217 5th round draft pick, Gilles Senn. To date, the Devils have played Evan Cormier or Louis Domingue against the Comets. But with Domingue’s call-up to the Devils, Bingo has chosen to give their rookie netminder the start for tonight’s action. The Comets should hit the inexperienced rookie quick and hard if they want to blow this game open early.

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Goldobin (#77) Hamilton (#36) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Perron (#27) Jasek (#9) Bancks (#34)
Arseneau (#18) Taylor (#14) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Sautner (#6) Chatfield (#5)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Michael Di Pietro

 

Well, the center situation certainly looks better, and the wings aren’t that bad either. Glad to see Josh Teves get slid back into the lineup. Teves made waves earlier this year when he led the AHL in +/-. Teves is still in the top-six of the league for that stat (yes I know it’s a pretty useless stat by today’s standards, but it’s all we’ve got…for now…)

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Seamus Malone (arm) Olli Juolevi (not the knee)

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Stefan LeBlanc Tanner Sorenson Mitch Eliot

 

1st period

 

Comets in their home Whites

 

 

The Score at the end of the 1st period: 2-1 Comets

 

Certainly an action-filled period, but a messy one from the Comets. Way too many giveaways from the Comets for my liking to consider the lead they generated, “a healthy one.” It seems like the Comets were barely hanging onto that period, thanks to the responsible defending of Brisebois and Rafferty. Di Pietro, once again, being asked to come up huge on more than one occasion for his team as they routinely allow the Devils to set up shop in point-blank range. Last time they had a two-to-one lead after the first period, they went on to give up three unanswered over the remaining two periods…Hopefully, that isn’t the case tonight.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-3Tie

 

Again, messy. Comets out-chanced the Devils and outshot them 16 to 11 over twenty minutes of the second period — good job by the Comets to stop the bleeding with that tying goal midway through the second. Comets are doing good to pepper the rookie goaltender, Senn with shots, but he’s been solid for the Devils tonight. Need to shore up on the giveaways if they want to break the tie in the third. MDP remains solid, despite the three goals-against. Comets defensive breakdowns have forced him to come up huge on multiple odd-man breaks for the Devils. That goal off of the Bailey giveaway is genuinely painful to watch.

 

3rd period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 3rd period: 4-4 Tie

 

Genuinely, an atrocious period of hockey for the Comets outside of that tiebreaking goal from Carter Bancks. Over the final 11 minutes of the game, the Devils outshot the Comets 13 to 3. Easily, 90% of those shots on goal were legit scoring chances too, not the fluttering shots from wherever that the Comets were throwing on Senn. Props to Di Pietro for keeping this 4-all; without him, I don’t think this game reaches overtime.

 

Overtime

 

 

Final Score: 5-4 Binghamton Devils

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Francis Perron Brogan Rafferty Guillaume Brisebois 5v5
1st Binghamton Brett Seney 5v5
1st Utica Nikolay Goldobin Brogan Rafferty PPG
2nd Binghamton Brett Seney Joey Anderson Ben Street 5v5
2nd Binghamton Chris Conner 5v5
2nd Utica Vincent Arseneau Carter Bancks Carter Camper 5v5
3rd Utica Carter Bancks Dylan Blujus Dyson Stevenson 5v5
3rd Binghamton Brandon Baddock Micahel McLeod Julian Melchiori 5v5
OT Binghamton Egor Sharangovich Ryan Schmelzer Dakota Mermis 3v3

 

Takeaways

 

  • At least they scored and weren’t shut out?
  • Defensively, this team was atrocious tonight. The giveaways, the blind passes right onto their opponent’s sticks, the missed passes into no-mans land, the lazy breakout attempts, just an awful look for the Comet’s defense. Physically they couldn’t even match up with the Devils. Sautner and Chatfield, the Comet’s two most physical defensemen, were ignored by the Devils every single time they were on the ice together in the Comets end. What is a coach to do if your most physical “shutdown” pairing is rendered completely ineffective by every Devils line? Sautner and Chatfield were both on ice for three goals against tonight and zero goals-for.
  • Speaking of goals-for! Lukas Jasek has two goals and two assists on the season. All four of his points came in the first five games of the season when he was playing with Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, or Reid Boucher. The move to center has undoubtedly been a struggle for the Czech forward. At what point do the Comets/Canucks management group give up on this stupid experiment and bring in an AHL center to relieve Jasek of his duties. Jasek’s move to center wasn’t born out of some “Elias Pettersson-like” belief in his talent to transition. It was born out of the need for more centers since they didn’t do enough to prep the Comets for a season without Gaudette or Graovac. That’s just completely unacceptable…they’re tanking his development by wasting his time at center. Put him back on the left-wing where he can utilize his skills effectively. He is way too small and way too old to be learning how to play center on-the-fly in the AHL. As a guy who praised Jasek’s two-way game last season, it’s painful seeing him waste his season trying to plug an organizational hole. He’s still doing great defensively. He’s tied for second on the team in +/- with +8, but the points just aren’t coming as he struggles to adapt his playmaking from the boards to center-ice.
  • Justin Bailey was godawful tonight. Like legitimately, outside of the team having bad defensive games, Bailey single-handedly gave the game away with his giveaways. Right now, the only thing making him useful is he can play net-front on the powerplay, and he can skate really fast. The only problem is, he does nothing with either of those skills. He repeatedly wheels into his opponent’s zone for low percentage shots on goal, or blind passes that get picked off. For a guy with his size and his speed, you’d think he’d be able to create space like no other on the ice. There’s such a lack of communication between Bailey and the team around him that most Comets players end up watching him wheel around with no plan of action. The novelty of his blistering speed has worn off, now that it’s evident that he doesn’t quite know what to do with it.
  • His save percentage and goals-against-average will not reflect it, but Michael Di Pietro did everything he could to keep the Comets in it tonight. Look at the games shot map. The Devil’s hammered Di Pietro with shots from the high-slot. The Comet’s efforts to box out Devils forwards from taking these high-danger shots in those areas was nearly non-existent. Half of the time, the Comets just let the Devils walk-in for shots from those areas too. Just rewatch that streamable from the first period where Wacey Hamilton changes off to allow the Devils to waltz in for a clean shot on goal…that was the entire game. The Comets, team-wide, need to do a better job at stifling their opponent’s zone-entries
  • Was disappointed to see Kole Lind disappear after the first two periods. I have to think that monstrous hit on him shook him up or something. Through the games opening 35 minutes, Lind was ferocious on the puck and single-handedly created some of the Comet’s most dangerous chances to start the game. Didn’t like the way he went down on the ice, and I don’t like the idea that there’s no concussion spotters that would’ve pulled him after that hit for a look, because he seriously got laid the fuck out. He did have some defensive lapses that allowed the Devils to tie up the game. However, at least his mistakes came from him trying to help, and not just from standing still watching the play.
  • Carter Bancks had himself a solid game, one goal, one assist and a +3 on the night. His tiebreaker goal tonight was his fourth on the season, and it ties his goal-total from last season in a quarter of the games played. Good start from the Comets Captain, who was an offensive black-hole last year. Still needs to avoid taking stupid penalties, though. That slashing penalty on the PK could’ve been the straw that broke the camels back. Fortunately, for him, Dylan Blujus was there to come up big on the 5-on-3 PK to bail out the Comets.
  • Boucher had one of his worst games of the season as well. I bet he’d like to forget that opening period, where he had multiple giveaways while holding the offensive zone. Bouch managed to record four shots on goal but wasn’t his usual dangerous self tonight.
  • Rafferty had himself one weird-ass game too. Two assists, three shots on goal, on-ice for two goals-for, and zero goals-against. But his defensive play was suspect AF tonight. Numerous giveaways in his end that nearly resulted in direct goals-against. Couple of failed pinches in the offensive and defensive zone that resulted in odd-man rushes. That being said, on a lot of his errors, he had great plays to backcheck and make up for it with takeaways or clearing attempts. It’s tough to evaluate him. Rafferty’s smooth ability to carry the puck and create offense under pressure in his rookie AHL year make him one of the Canucks top defensive prospects. I’ll always take a d-man with an OK defensive game if he can move and control the puck like he can. As opposed to, say, Jalen Chatfield, who can skate and play the body on a lot of his defensive efforts, but can’t create offense to save his life when he’s in the offensive zone. Tonight was somehow one of Rafferty’s worst games, but also somehow one of his more complete efforts as he showed off the full range of his skillset in both ends of the ice, for better or for worse.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Michael Di Pietro
  • Carter Bancks
  • The Comets fourth-line for all the chances they generated that kept the game as even as it was

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets return this Friday for a weekend roadie double-header when they face off against the Laval Rocket. The Alex Burrows coached (assistant) Rocket sit 3rd in the AHL’s North Division, two points above the Comets. The Rocket has had a near inverse month of November, as they’ve gone 7-1-2-0 in their past ten, compared to the Comets 3-6-1-0. Fingers crossed the Comets can shore up on some of the defensive lapses that plagued tonight’s game against the Devils before this critical back-to-back tilt.

 

I’m catching up with friends Friday night, so I’ll likely have the recap out Saturday morning, or a double-digest out on Sunday.

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

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