12/13/19 – Utica Comets vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Feels like we are in a state of Deja Vu. The Comets are back for another double-header weekend where they, once again, take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers!

The Comets and the Sound Tigers have played three of their four-game series just in the past seven days. With their fourth and final match of the season not taking place until the final stretch of the season, on April 4th.

Despite the Sound Tigers status as the fifth-worst team in the league, they’ve actually fared quite well against the Comets over their previous two meetings.

The first meeting, last Friday, saw the Comets barely eke out a point. After getting dominated in shot-attempts at even-strength, 57 to 43, the Comets managed a late goal from Reid Boucher to force OT, and then the shootout. Total shot-attempts across all strength-situations favored the Sound Tigers 84 to 60.

Their second matchup was much more favorable to the Comets, as they picked up a 6-3 regulation win on the road. Four straight unanswered goals in the third period led the Comets to victory. The game itself saw dominant offensive performances from Kole Lind and Brogan Rafferty.

The pair’s offensive dominance over the Sound Tigers and the Comets overall end-results have masked some terrifying underlying numbers for the Utica Comets season. Comets have just one game, this December, where they’ve controlled shot-attempts at even-strength. Ironically, that CORSI-positive game was their 5-3 loss to Toronto.

In 26 games this season, the Comets have controlled even-strength shot-attempts just ten times. When taking away game-state factors, and just examining raw shot-attempts in all-situations, the Comets have out-shot their opponents nine times out of 26 games.

This strategy worked great to start the season when Michael Di Pietro and Zane McIntyre were playing fantastic hockey. But now that the AHL’s grueling schedule has begun to settle in. Suddenly the Comets rope-a-dope playstyle has started to bite them more often than not.

Consistency is something that I’ve desired from the Utica Comets through their November slump and this rough December patch. Let’s hope they can cap off this grueling six-games-in-nine-nights with some much-needed points.

With all the crushing realism aside, let’s get into tonight’s starting lineup and see how the Comets do in tonight’s rubber-match!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Malone (#17) Boucher (#24)
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Perron (#27)
Bailey (#95) Jasek (#9) Lind (#13)
Gadjovich (#21) Bancks (#34) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Sautner (#6) Rafferty (#25)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Jalen Chatfield managed to get into Utica in time for tonight’s matchup. He replaces Guillaume Brisebois, who gets an opportunity to sit in the penalty box and cash that sweet, juicy, NHL paycheque.

Also returning to tonight’s lineup is Dylan Blujus, who’d missed the previous five games with injury.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

Injury Report
Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee) Dyson Stevenson (injured)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc David Pope Mitch Eliot

 

David Pope, seconds after pulling into Kalamazoo, MI, was recalled for his second stint with the AHL club. Stefan LeBlanc slides out as the result of Blujus return.

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 3-1 Sound Tigers

 

Comets, according to the AHL’s ‘Game Center,’ come out of that period even on the shot differential. Comets looked a step behind through much of the first period. The Comets lone goal came from quick puck movement. The Sound Tigers first two goals came from rapid puck movement. At some point, they need to stop playing chess with the puck and start playing checkers. Keep it simple, and move the puck faster into shooting lanes. For every shot the Sound Tigers registered on goal, there are at least two preceding shot-attempts that get blocked or miss the net. Because the Comets don’t defend the body or challenge their opponents, the Tigers can afford to continue the high-volume approach that has drowned the Comets on so many occasions this season.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 4-1 Sound Tigers

 

Despite outshooting the Sound Tigers ten to seven, the Comets look woefully out of their depth as they struggle time and time again to shut down the offensive of this struggling Atlantic Division rival. Not much to say really, first-line cant complete a pass, second-line has been invisible, third line’s shots on goal just haven’t been effective, with the fourth-line being the only one not getting dunked on every shift.

 

3rd period

 

 

Final Score: 4-3 Bridgeport Sound Tigers

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st BRI Travis St. Denis Nick Schilkey Otto Koivula ppg
1st BRI John Stevens Kyle Burroughs Colin McDonald 5v5
1st BRI John Stevens SH
1st UTI Reid Boucher Sven Baertschi Brogan Rafferty 5v5
2nd BRI Kieffer Bellows Sebastian Aho Seth Helgeson 5v5
3rd UTI Jonah Gadjovich Nikolay Goldobin Carter Camper ppg
3rd UTI Carter Camper Lukas Jasek Francis Perron ppg

 

  • Disappointing effort from the Utica Comets again as they lose to an inferior opponent at home for the umpteenth time
  • Comets closed out the game edging the Sound Tigers in shots-on-goal, 34 to 23. Unfortunately, the majority of those shots were simply non-threatening. Size and strength isn’t a strong suit of this team, but speed is. They need to be using their speed to drive to better shooting lanes. Too often, this team stands still and waits for openings. The high-volume approach at the AHL level can make up for sloppy defense and so-so goaltending. A calculated approach at the AHL level can not make up for sloppy defense and so-so goaltending. They need to be producing so much more than they are.
  • Look at this grapppppppppppph
  • Every time I do it makes me laugh
  • I drew black lines at the top of the circles to highlight the difference in shots-on-goal between the two teams. Utica registered seven shots on goal, one of which made it past Coreau. Five of those shots came from Reid Boucher.
  • The Sound Tigers registered eleven shots-on-goal from below the marks indicated. Four of which resulted in goals-against.
  • It’s not like the Sound Tigers are some marvelous defensive team either, they have the third-most goals allowed in the league FFS! They are in a league of their own when it comes to goal-differential, as they are the league-worst at -32. MINUS, 32.
  • Tonight’s loss puts the Comets in a precarious tie with the Laval Rocket, who lose-out only due to their number of games played. Just four points separate them from the 7th ranked Cleveland Monsters. These two losses against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers could haunt them come April.
  • I don’t even want to discuss the players. They were spectacularly mediocre.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Jonah Gadjovich
  • Reid Boucher
  • Carter Camper

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets are back at it tomorrow when they take on the Binghamton Devils. I will be at my works Christmas Party, so I probably won’t get a recap out until Sunday night. Maybe later, depending on how many drink tickets they give out this year!

 

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

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