2/29/2020 – Utica Comets vs. Laval Rocket

The Comets face off against Alex Burrows Laval Rocket tonight at home, with the chance of earning six out of six possible points in the final weekend of February.

The Rocket have struggled immensely as of late. The Rocket were running hot early on in the season, launching to seventh-place in the league while rocking a 0.605 points-percentage. This percentage since then has plummeted down to 0.517, while the team has free-fallen down to their current spot of 19th in the AHL, 6th in the North Division.

The Rocket have rebounded similarly to the Comets, with points earned in five of their last ten games. Whereas the Comets have picked up points in seven of their last ten.

Comets are rolling heading into tonight’s match; last night’s game against Toronto saw Sven Baertschi and Kole Lind rejoin the AHL’s list of top-20 scorers.

Some other notes from the scoreboards pertaining to the farm

  • Reid Boucher and Justin Bailey sit 2nd and 4th in goal-scoring with 31 and 27 respectively
  • Brogan Rafferty sits 6th in the AHL and leads all rookies in assists, with 34 assists in 52 GP
  • Kole Lind and Nikolay Goldobin are in a four-way-tie for 9th in assists with 30 each

 

For posterity, the Laval Rocket have no players in the top-20 of any of those categories listed above.

Anyways, let’s get into tonight’s leap-year matchup and see if the Comets can begin their brutal March schedule with a tidy little win-streak going!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Bailey (#95) Hamilton (#36) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Baertschi (#47)
Stevens (#16) Graovac (#44) Perron (#27)
Gadjovich (#21) Malone (#17) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Sautner (#6)
Blujus (#8) Chatfield (#5)
Petgrave (#22) Rafferty (#25)
G
Michael Di Pietro

 

INJURY REPORT
David Pope (upper-body) Vincent Arseneau (season done) Carter Bancks (undisclosed) Lukas Jasek (undisclosed) Reid Boucher (ill) Olli Juolevi (injured)
Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc

 

Tyler Graovac returns to action for the first time since November 14th, 2019, an absence of 107 days.

Bit strange to see Cull push Stevens, a natural center, out to the wing. Seamus Malone has had solid games lately, but the realist in me thinks having four legitimate and experienced AHL centers throughout the lineup is better than having a very green fourth-line who will barely play. Stevens moving down would allow this team much more flexibility, but, I mean, what do I know!?

Reid Boucher and Olli Juolevi sitting out of tonight’s game is certainly interesting. Comets twitter account says Boucher is ill, and Juolevi is “injured.” Possibly related to the injury that kept him out of a few games

Still baffling that Matt Petgrave gets slid in for Juolevi instead of LeBlanc, who’s played out of his mind while off-role for this team. No disrespect to Petgrave, who’s obviously making the most out of his opportunity.

Still, it feels like LeBlanc’s getting le shaft.

I see you, dog, I see the work you puttin’ in!

 

1st period

 

Comets in their flying skate alternates

 

The score at the end of the 1st period: 2-0 Rocket

 

Comets look exhausted to be honest. Tyler Graovac had the intermission interview and the first thing he admitted was, “things are fast out there.” I was about to make a point that TG looked incredibly slow relative to everyone else on the ice.

Massive props to Graovac; here he is in the intermission interview, smiling his ass off, admitting that the time-off hurt his speed and that he hopes with more ice-time his skating will come around. I wish he were with the Canucks still giving intermission interviews. His were genuinely a breath of fresh air.

And that’s all I have to say about TG and his skate-speed.

Comets need to find some energy here in the second to try, at the very least, to cut the lead to one.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The score at the end of the 2nd period: 5-0 Rocket

 

Come

White towel —

Is it possible for a team to forfeit the third period and just call it a game?

Cause that’s how bad this is

Probably won’t bother recapping the remainder of this game…they’re not trying, so, why should I?

 

3rd period

 

  • Comets start the period with two minutes of penalty-killing, but who cares, no one cares…
  • GOAL – UTICA – 5-1 Rocket: Oh my god, they get on the board! Only four more to go! The Comets fourth-line gives a jolt of energy into the Utica faithful after Matt Petgrave (#22) sens a shot towards the net of McNiven, and Dyson Stevenson (#26) gets a last-second tip on the puck to send it top shelf.
  • Fourth-line out pressuring for the Comets again; they seem to be the only line actually generating anything for this club. As Tortorella once said, “good for ~him~ them, bad for us.”
  • Possibly the only interesting moment from the last five minutes, as the fourth-line mucks it up a bit after a stoppage in play
  • Comets to the powerplay off a delay-of-game from Ryan Culkin
  • GOAL – UTICA – 5-2 Rocket: Jonah Gadjovich (#21) cuts the Rocket’s lead to three with a tip-in of a Carter Camper (#19) slap pass on the powerplay.
  • Comets pull Kielly with 5:30 left for the extra-attacker
  • Hamilton, Lind, Goldobin, Graovac, Rafferty, Petgrave are the first six for Utica
  • Facing the 6-on-5, Yannick Veilleux slashes Justin Bailey — Comets to the powerplay with 3:27 remaining in the third, their SEVENTH of the game
  • Kielly stays on the bench, Cull rolling with the 6-on-4 powerplay
  • Goldobin, Camper, Rafferty, Baertschi, Graovac, Bailey
  • Even with the two-man advantage, the Comets are finding it hard to get shots on goal
  • 1:18 left, and Baertschi takes a roughing penalty after giving a shove to the face of Ryan Culkin after being ridden into the boards.

 

Final Score: 5-2 Laval Rocket

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st LAV Alex Alain Lukas Vejdemo Ryan Poehling PPG
1st LAV Jake Lucchini Gustav Olofsson Nikita Jevpalovs 5v5
2nd LAV Laurent Dauphin Cale Fleury Nikita Jevpalovs PPG
2nd LAV Yannick Veilleux Kevin Lynch 5v5
2nd LAV Laurent Dauphin 5v5
3rd UTI Dyson Stevenson Matt Petgrave Jonah Gadjovich 5v5
3rd UTI Jonah Gadjovich Carter Camper Guillaume Brisebois PPG

 

Takeaways

  • Comets end up out-shooting the Rocket, but a burnt-out team and a worn-out goalie combine for a quick and early demise to this Comets team.
  • Good showing from the Gadjovich/Stevenson combo late in the game to try and make things interesting, but it was all too-little-too-late.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Jonah Gadjovich
  • Dyson Stevenson
  • Eric Kowiatek (the guy who designed the Flying Comet jerseys)

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets blew a golden opportunity to head into March on a significant momentum swing. But with Reid Boucher out of the lineup, a goalie playing on fumes, and, perhaps, a team burnt out from their dominant win over the Toronto Marlies, and it’s easy to see how this one got away from them so fast.

Comets get a couple days to regroup before they begin another 3-in-4, starting this upcoming Wednesday with a roadie against the Rochester Americans. Fortunately for the Comets, the Amerks lost in regulation tonight against the Syracuse Crunch. The gap between them in third, and the Amerks in second, remains a four-point spread.

Sorry this one sucked Canucks Nation, blame the team though, not me

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