3/11/2020 – Utica Comets vs. Syracuse Crunch

Good evening Canucks Nation, things are looking way brighter on the west coast after that big shootout win over the Islanders, while, on the other side of the continent, things are lookin’ Willie D levels of “real gud” for the Utica Comets.

The Comets have had a roller-coaster of a season. After picking up 54 points through their first 42 games played (0.643 points-earning percentage), the Comets experience a hard slump in late-January/early-February. Across their rough patch, the Comets picked up a measly seven points over eleven games played (0.318 points-earning percentage).

How quickly this team can rebound though, as they’re now on a solid bounce-back, having picked up 12 points over their last seven games played (0.857 points-earning percentage).

The bounce-back couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve written ad nauseam about the Comets brutal March schedule and how important it was for the team to earn points at all costs.

Leading the charge for the Comets this past seven games are Carter Camper, and Reid Boucher.

Carter Camper, in particular, is maintaining some unreal levels of production for this Comets team. In the Comets last seven games, Camper has contributed two 5v5 goals, four primary 5v5 assists, a powerplay primary assist, and two secondary powerplay assists.

Boucher, on the other hand, continues to beat franchise and his own scoring records. In the last seven games, Boucher has contributed three 5v5 goals, three primary 5v5 assists, two powerplay goals, one primary assist on a powerplay goal, and an empty netter. Before this heater, he also was on a four-game goal streak.

Visiting the Comets tonights is division rivals, the Syracuse Crunch. The Crunch have gone 6-2-1-1 in their last ten, a run that puts them three points outside of the playoff bar.

The season series against the Crunch has been all over the map. Out of the seven games played thus far, the Comets are narrowly winning by way of a shootout win back on February 8th. In their last meeting, the Comets got absolutely trounced at 5-on-5, giving up 54 shot-attempts to their 32.

Though the results skew slightly in the Comets favour, a lot of that had to do with the impressive goaltending performances from Michael Di Pietro early on in the season. In their last outing, Di Pietro was relied upon to make 40 saves on 43 shots-against. To keep the current win-streak alive, the team will have to avoid repeatedly throwing him to the wolves.

It looks like the starting lineup might be getting a bit of a shakeup, as Sven Baertschi slides out of the lineup due to knee-soreness. That’s, morbidly, a massive sigh of relief to all of the Sven Baertschi stans out there. Think everyone in Canucks nation would prefer knee-soreness, over another concussion-related injury.

With that bit of good-news/bad-news out of the way, let’s take a look at tonights starting lineup!

 

THE STARTING LINEUP

LW C RW
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Boucher (#24)
Bailey (#95) Hamilton (##) Lind (#13)
LeBlanc (#3) Graovac (#44) Jasek (#9)
Perron (#27) Stevens (#16) Stevenson (#26
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Blujus (#8)
Sautner (#6) Rafferty (#25)
Petgrave (#22) Eliot (#52)
G
Michael Di Pietro

 

INJURY REPORT
Vinny Arseneau (season toast) David Pope (concussion) Jonah Gadjovich (ill) Sven Baertschi (knee) Olli Juolevi (hip soreness)
Healthy Scratches
Seamus Malone Josh Teves Carter Bancks (vet)

 

I can’t believe the madman did it, he had Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton available, and chose to bench one of them over, that no-good Carter Camper!

Also, Matt Petgrave getting ice time over Josh Teves is certainly a message. That one-way contract kicking in next year for Teves is looking pretty brutal right about now.

 

1st period

Comets donning the Flying Comet alternates!

 

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

Quite shocking how many shots missed the net from Syracuse. If they shore-up on their accuracy, this Comets team might be doomed heading into the next two periods. Comets, despite their lack of puck-control through the opening frame, lead the Crunch in shots-on-goal 13-to-9.

The team ought to start tightening up defensively in their end. MDP is going to get burnt out due to the staggering number of post-to-post saves this Crunch team is forcing him to make. I’m not sure if the permissiveness allowed is caused by a lack of communication, skill, or willingness to challenge opponents man-on. Either way, the Comets can’t keep doing their rookie netminder dirty like this.

 

2nd Period

 

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

A disappointing period of play from the Comets that echoed the disappointing play of the team from the first. Comets outshot 11-to-8, an unacceptable shot-differential given the two powerplays that the team had to work with. If Cull and his coaching staff couldn’t reel the team back to their senses during that break to fix the glass, then I don’t know if I can expect anything more than what we’ve already seen so far tonight from this team. 15 shorthanded goals-against!

 

3rd period

 

Final Score: 3-1 Syracuse Crunch

 

Scoresheet

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st UTI Justin Bailey Nikolay Goldobin Brogan Rafferty PPG
2nd SYR Dennis Yan Otto Somppi Tyler Bird 5v5
2nd SYR Luke Witkowski SHG
3rd SYR Boris Katchouk Daniel Walcott Peter Abbandonato 5v5

 

Takeaways

There’s only one takeaway from this game. Sporting leagues across the planet are ending their seasons due to COVID-19’s rapid spread worldwide. The President denies the threat or impact of the disease, while star players are testing positive in alarming numbers, so much so that the NBA just suspended its season …fucking Tom Hanks tested positive!

The fine folks in Utica just got treated to one of the most pathetic, embarrassing, and heartless performances from their Utica Comets, I think I’ve ever seen. The Comets are a tiny organization, 3000 max per game. They had seven home games remaining, excluding any potential playoff revenue. I’m sure the Acqualini fam will help out their AHL-bro if things move into dire straits. But this was a shitty taste to leave in the mouths of fans

  • Oh yeah, MDP is a fucking beast. Sucks the team in front of him no-showed

My west coast people, please wash your hands, wear a facemask if you can, cough or sneeze into your armpit, wash your hands, avoid touching shit…. wash your hands …did I mention wash your hands??!?!

Stay safe everyone, shits about to get real nutty in the coming days…

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Michael Di Pietro

 

The Comets Trajectory?

Barring all hockey being suspended for the remainder of the season, the Comets will look to rebound from tonight’s embarrassment this Friday when they take on the visiting Belleville Senators

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