12-7-19 – Utica Comets vs. Providence Bruins

Well Canucks fans, its time to follow up the main course with some dessert as we move from the Canucks wild OT win over Buffalo into the Comets roadie against Providence.

 

The last time these teams met, the Comets struggled to score on Bruins tendy, Max Lagace. Despite controlling shot-attempts for the bulk of the game, the Comets simply weren’t strong enough to break the Bruins defense.

The Comets were atrocious at controlling shot attempts against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, so they will need to have an inverse performance with Richard Bachman starting between the pipes.

Bachman starts for the first time this season and will likely be incredibly rusty. Comets have to do everything in their power to not leave him high-and-dry. It’s been a tough year for Bacher as he’s spent the season relegated to being a rostered goaltending consultant for the team. Fingers crossed the Comets have a much better performance tonight against the higher-ranked Providence.

Providence currently leads the AHL’s Atlantic Division and are on a seven-game point streak. Their powerplay is middle of the pack, but their penalty kill is third in the Eastern Conference.

The Comets special teams have been killing it, despite their brutal results over the past month and a bit. Their 22.5% powerplay success rate is the best in the Eastern Conference, and their 86.3% penalty-killing percentage is second in the East as well. Powerplay will have to be top-notch tonight against Providence if they want to maintain their streak of powerplay goals. Last night’s powerplay tally from Jonah Gadjovich made it ten-straight.

Here’s to them making it eleven straight! With that, let’s take a look at the starting lineup!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Jasek (#9) Perron (#27)
Arseneau (#18) Bancks (#34) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) LeBlanc (#3)
G
Richard Bachman

 

In hindsight, I actually can’t believe they gave McIntyre the start against the worst team in the Atlantic Division. Giving Bachman his season debut against the best team in the Atlantic Division seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Coaching staff makes some baffling roster decisions.

Mitch Eliot slides out of the lineup for Josh Teves. Eliot struggled against Bridgeport pretty badly and even started seeing his minutes get cut in the third frame due to how poor he was playing. Josh Teves isn’t exactly an upgrade, but his speed will at least be an asset to the team. Needs to find a scoring punch to his game to start earning consistent ice-time.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dylan Blujus (undisclosed)

 

Healthy Scratches
Tanner Sorenson Mitch Eliot David Pope Nikolay Goldobin (unavailable to play) Zack MacEwen

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 0-0 tie

 

Once again, it looks like it’ll be a tight game against the Providence Bruins for the Utica Comets. Richard Bachman is looking very strong so far tonight as he stopped 16 of 16 shots. Comets registered just eight shots on goal. Comets need to make more of their time spent in the offensive zone. Need to take a page from their two opponents thus far this weekend, and start throwing everything they can towards the net.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 1-1 Tie

 

I’ll let this graphic do the talking.

Amazingly, after getting outshot NINETEEN to FIVE in the second period, this one remains tied at one apiece. After two periods, Comets have been outshot 35 to 13.

They’re going to have to do something to start drawing penalties and getting more opportunities with the man-advantage in the third. They’re getting eviscerated at even-strength and need every little advantage they can get. The scary thing is, I don’t think Goldobin OR MacEwen will do much to change the way the Comets have played lately. Neither guy is renowned for their defensive play or ability to sustain shot-attempt pressure.

 

3rd period

 

 

 

The score at the end of the 3rd period: 2-2 tie

 

¯_(ツ)_/¯

 

Overtime

 

 

The score at the end of the Overtime: 2-2 Tie

 

For the second night in a row, the Comets chance at a second point depends on the shootout.

 

Shootout

 

 

Final Score: 3-2 Providence Bruins

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
2nd Providence Paul Carey Robert Lantosi Josiah Didier 5v5
2nd Utica Justin Bailey Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi PPG
3rd Providence Brendan Gaunce Robert Lantosi Paul Carey 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi 5v5

 

Takeaways

  • It’s pretty funny; you could literally take everything I said last night against Bridgeport, and apply it to tonight’s game
  • Another disappointing display of puck-control from the Utica Comets. Their best-sustained pressure came in the final two minutes of the third period, and the entire overtime period never. Otherwise, it was a pretty pitiful performance.
  • Olli Juolevi looked solid in his return second game back. Was crucial in the Comets penalty-killing tonight two equalizer goals to force overtime. Skating looked better tonight than it did before his recent IR stint. Guess the time off did wonders for him. Bummer about the post he hit tonight two penalties he took that gave the Bruins serious momentum swings. It would’ve been awesome to see him get his first goal of the season in his return second game, but two assists will suffice.
  • Richard Bachman was the hero for this club tonight. Considering this was his first start of the entire 2019-20 season, I was worried rust would be a major factor. And while it was on that first goal from Paul Carey. Bachman was the difference-maker tonight as he went on to stop 42 of 44 shots on net.
  • yeesh
  • Pretty sure at some point Seamus Malone got benched after being on the ice for both Providence goals-against. He looked weak on the puck and repeatedly got muscled away from offensive plays. Ironically, Cull substituted him with Lukas Jasek, who has been just as ineffective in staying strong on the puck as Malone.
  • Does Ryan Johnson have any plans to bolster the center depth of this club? Do the Canucks brass have no problem tanking the development of Lukas Jasek, simply to fill an organizational void? Surely a team overloaded on the wings can make a deal somewhere to bring in a center. They had to bench Malone due to his weak play against Providence; who else is there to bring in? Another ECHL PTO?
  • Considering the Comets head coach is a former AHL defenseman, I’m pretty shocked that the D-corps have regressed as badly as they have this season. Not a single man on the roster looks proactively strong on the puck. By proactive, I mean the ability to carry the puck through considerable pressure to create offense or at the very least, to transition play up-ice. Currently, the only strength on the puck comes from the D reacting to the play developing from scoring areas in their end. Most of their physical play to deny possession comes in too-little-too-late situations. Sautner hasn’t looked the same this season. Chatfield is constantly chasing the play. Brisebois’ speed in the defensive zone has looked weak all season. Eliot is young and capable but lacks strength. Teves is all speed but no brains. Blujus is physical but lacks the speed to be proactive with it. Juolevi doesn’t know how to use his size and shies away from physical contact. Rafferty is a solid two-way defender, but puck-protection and out-muscling his opponents to transition the puck isn’t his thing. I don’t know how many more games I can watch where five players stand stationary in the defensive end. The Comets d-corps are letting their goalies to face an unrelenting stream of unblocked shots. MDP is good and young and will survive, but even he can’t prop up a team that gives up 60+ even-strength shot-attempts on a nightly basis.
  • Am I misinterpreting the way the Comets are playing? Is there even a message being relayed from the farm to the Canucks about how poor they’ve doon defensively this season? Can’t blame these losses on injuries, because it’s not like their star players are out of the lineup, they have Rafferty, Boucher, Baertschi, Camper, Bailey, and Sautner. The guys at the top of the call-up list are in the lineup, and they aren’t good enough. They’re eking out points, which, sure, good job, but if the long-term plan is to develop and win, then they’re doing it poorly.
  • Comets now sit in a three-way-tie for 4th place in the Division and are just three points up on the seventh-place team in the division, the Cleveland Monsters. Its time to shape up…or ship up!

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Richard Bachman – 42 saves on 44 shots-against
  • Olli Juolevi – Two assists, four shots
  • Reid Boucher – One goal and one assist on three shots

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets have a quick turnaround as they hit the road again to faceoff against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this upcoming Monday. Hopefully, the team gets Di Pietro, MacEwen, and Goldobin back into the lineup so they can maybe get a jolt of energy into this struggling lineup.

 

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

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