11/22/19 – Utica Comets vs. Laval Rocket

The Comets blistering undefeated October seems like decades ago. After a pristine 8-0 start, the Comets have had a dismal November record of 2-6-1-0.

 

Despite four goals in their last outing, the messy defensive play of the Comets came back to bite them, as they lost a heartbreaker at home. The loss was the team’s sixth loss at home. Given the Adirondack Bank Center’s already teeny-tiny capacity, this is something the Farm is going to have to curb if they want to keep butts in the seats. Otherwise, that talk of moving the team to Abbotsford is going to be a primary talking point this summer.

 

Tonight, the Comets face off against the Alex Burrows (assistant) coached, Laval Rocket. The Rocket are on the heater of all heaters. After a weak, 3-5-1 start to their season, the Rocket rallied to pick up 16 points out of a possible 20, over their last ten games.

 

A lot of that credit is due to the incredible goaltending from rookie, Cayden Primeau. Primeau currently leads the AHL in goaltending stats with a 1.87 goals-against-average and a 0.934 save percentage.

 

The Comets will need to be on their games tonight if they want to crack the impeccable defense of Primeau. Wednesday’s game against the Rocket proved that getting plenty of even-strength goals isn’t enough to get the job done.

 

With several of the Comets French contingent playing in front of their “home” crowd tonight, perhaps, the Comets will find that extra gear tonight.

 

Writers note: I’m writing and covering as much as I can before I head out to catch up with friends. Depending on my intoxication levels, I might try to finish my recap when I get back home. Otherwise, you’ll likely notice me fluctuating from saying “tonight” and “Friday night” as I lose track of my tenses.

 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the starting lineup!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

 

LW C RW
Goldobin (#77) Hamilton (#36) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Arseneau (#18) Perron (#27) Bancks (#34)
Gadjovich (#21) Jasek (#9) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Chatfield (#5)
Sautner (#6) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Fortunately, Cull broke up that Sautner/Chatfield pairing, which was just abhorrent against the Devils on Wednesday. It looks like Jasek got demoted to centering a returning Jonah Gadjovich and Dyson Stevenson. That’s certainly one way to inspire your struggling center to produce.

I’m still convinced Jasek has upside as a winger, but his crucial development years are getting wasted as the Canucks organization flounders at providing the necessary center depth to this club. Gadjovich returns after missing the last 14 games due to an “upper-body strain.” Gadjovich looked impressive in his first few games with the Comets, so hopefully the time off hasn’t caused him to lose a step.

I like that Trent Cull is going with the Arseneau/Perron/Bancks line. Those three were easily the Comets best forwards against Binghamton. Maybe playing in front of their fellow Frenchmen, Perron and Arseneau will be inspired to score a bunch for friends and family who made the trek out to Laval.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Seamus Malone (arm) Olli Juolevi (not the knee)

 

Healthy Scratches
Richard Bachman Stefan LeBlanc Tanner Sorenson Mitch Eliot Justin Taylor

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

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

 

Comets amazingly end the period with a lead in shots-on-goal, but boy their chances weren’t very impressive. Comets look like they’re trying to land shots square into the chest of Primeau or something. Uninspiring hockey is how I would describe the opening twenty minutes. Not a whole lot is happening. Both teams are playing very boring hockey outside of the odd-man-rushes that the Rocket have been getting for themselves. Surely, the coaching staff recognizes the number of odd-man-rushes this team gives up on a nightly basis. Passing game weak, son!

 

2nd Period

 

THIS IS WHERE I STOPPED WATCHING LAST NIGHT – I am so…so hungover. I am sorry if sentence structure and grammar goes out the window.

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-1 Rocket

 

Comets dominated in the second period start to finish as numerous defensive lapses compound into three-straight goals for the Rocket. Comets are battling, but once that puck starts getting played in the Comets side of the neutral zone, it is nothing but repeated positioning lapses that give way to odd-man rushes for the Rocket. Outshot ten to six over twenty minutes, with the majority of those shots being high-danger opportunities for Laval. Comets need to show some fire and start battling to set up in the Rocket’s zone.

 

3rd period

 

 

Despite an incredibly late attempt at evening things out, yet another poor defensive effort from the Comets sinks them. Will have to hope they reset with a better effort for Saturday’s rematch (spoiler alert, they did).

 

Final Score: 6-4 Laval Rocket

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Francis Perron Carter Camper Guillaume Brisebois PPG
1st Laval Josh Brook 5v5
2nd Laval Michael McCarron Riley Barber Gusav Olofsson 5v5
2nd Laval Jake Evans Riley Barber Nikita Jevpalovs 5v5
3rd Laval Otto Leskinen Jake Evans Alex Alain 5v5
3rd Utica Lukas Jasek Jonah Gadjovich Carter Camper ppg
3rd Laval Riley Barber Matthew Peca Michael McCarron PPG
3rd Laval Ryan Poehling Kevin Lynch 5v5
3rd Utica Carter Camper Jalen Chatfield Francis Perron 4v4
3rd Utica Jonah Gadjovich Francis Perron Guillaume Brisebois PPG

 

Takeaways

 

  • Jonah Gadjovich appears to have not missed a step, his hustle and compete level were present every single shift. Friday against the Rocket saw him showcasing his playmaking ability quite well through the early-goings of the game as well. His goal and assist Friday night put him at 3 points in 4 games played this season. A lot of people were talking about this being a bounce-back year for Kole Lind, but I think people are sleeping on Gadjovich pretty hard. I wrote about it tonnes last year that Gadjovich finally had things click for him in the final stretch of the season. Gadjovich’s performance against Laval is one of the lone shining stars of an otherwise dark and brutal game to watch.
  • Boucher had a very quiet game, as did Goldobin too, but I think that has to do a lot with their centermen being just piss-awful. Wacey Hamilton is out of his depth as a first-line center, and his frustration boiled over in the third when he took that nonsensical slashing penalty. Were there better centers available, I think he’d slide out of the lineup for tomorrow’s match. With Travis Green making a statement to management that he’d rather 3 minutes of Tyler Graovac on the wing over Loui Eriksson, I can’t envision a scenario where the Comets get any help at center in the immediate future. Maybe Antoine Roussel comes down for a conditioning stint and plays center with Goldy and Bouch. Until then, Hamilton will have to do. It’s just unfortunate that the games of two of the Comets best forwards have to suffer most because of it.
  • Lukas Jasek had an impressive game Friday, all things considered. Jasek came out with a -1 rating for +/-, but was on the ice for three of the Comets four goals, while scoring one of his own on the powerplay. He was quite sound defensively tonight despite his negative +/-. Legit nothing he could do about Chatfield having a brainfart after a faceoff and just outright ignoring his check in the crease of McIntyre. Nor, could Jasek have done anything regarding, McIntyre allowing his second of four five-hole goals.
  • Speaking of which, McIntyre was pretty bad. Like, “oh, I see why Providence had no problem letting him go,” bad. For McIntyre’s second straight start, he posted a sub 0.820 save percentage, and a goals-against-average higher than 4.00. At this point, it’s hard to justify him getting the majority of starts for the Comets because his play has regressed to where it was with Providence last season. Let MDP play because the Comets aren’t getting any support from McIntyre in net. Obviously, it goes without saying that the Comet’s atrocious defensive coverage is also causing a lot of these goals-against. But four weak five-hole goals in a row is unacceptable for an AHL starter.
  • Jalen Chatfield was pulled from the Ashton Sautner pairing because that pair did atrociously against Binghamton. Friday night, the Chatfield, Brisebois pairing played just as atrociously. I’m all for Chatfield “playing with heart,” sacrificing the body, playing physical, and skating hard. But at what point is the team going to realize that Chatfield has been a drag in every pairing he’s been moved to? If he was contributing offense on a nightly basis, I would be able to forgive his defensive lapses. But he does not produce at the AHL level. Right now, the only thing keeping him in the lineup is his compete level and the fact that he can kill penalties. By my tracking, however, when Chatfield is on the penalty kill, the Comets give up the most shots. He leads the Comets in CORSI-against while on the penalty-kill by a 13 point margin.
  • Carter Camper and Francis Perron had pretty solid nights, with both picking up three points apiece. Perron displayed great tenacity on the puck Friday and some sharp agility on multiple backchecking moments. There were a couple plays where he stood around watching the play unfold from the corner of the defensive-zone, but otherwise, the dude played good. Quietly, Perron has been one of the Comets best forwards this season, as he now sits with four goals and ten assists in 16 games played for the Comets
  • After Saturday’s match against the Rocket, we’ll have reached the quarter-way mark of the season. This season, I’ve spent a lot of my time manually tracking CORSI/FENWICK related events. The purpose is for me to be able to provide a more comprehensive analysis of player performances. Now that the sample size has grown quite a bit, I’m excited to get into some report cards for the players. I’ve reached out to top men who know this stuff way better than I do. Hopefully, I’ve done my homework on the correct data to record, and I can confidently start discussing my findings to all you beautiful people who read my recaps. So despite the Comets brutal November slump, I’m excited that there’s some good that can from it!

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Francis Perron
  • Carter Camper
  • Jonah Gadjovich

 

The Comets Trajectory?

They played earlier today, and now that I’ve sweated all the booze out of my system, I’ll move on to reviewing this afternoon’s rematch against the Rocket! Hopefully, have that one out later tonight!

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

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