10/30/19 – Utica Comets vs. Binghamton Devils

Good evening Canucks Nation. It’s time for another recap of the Utica Comets! Tonight the Comets look to close out the first month of the season with an undefeated 8-0-0-0 record!

 

The Comets opponent tonight is their North Division rivals, the Binghamton Devils. The Devils are coming off a 3-2 Overtime Victory against the formerly undefeated, Toronto Marlies. Before their upset of the Marlies, the Devils lost to the Comets by a lopsided score of five-to-one. The Comets edge their season-series with the Devils by a combined score of nine-to-four.

 

Coming out of Saturday’s shootout victory over the Bears, there were two major takeaways. The First being Michael Di Pietro’s stunning 38 save performance after an exhausting five-hour midnight bus-ride from Utica to Hershey. The second was the Comet’s complete defensive collapse throughout 65 minutes of play. It was tough to evaluate Saturday’s matchup given the previously mentioned, late-night ride into town. However, combining last Saturday’s effort with the glimpses of poor defensive play against the Devils last Friday makes for a decent cause for concern.

 

Since getting off to their hot goal-scoring streak, the Comets have gradually devolved into individual playmaking for goals, as opposed to calculated cycling and teamwork. I believe that Saturday’s game wasn’t just a blip on the radar. The Comets hemorrhaged scoring-chances against, giving concern to what this team is if the goal-scoring dries up, or comes down-to-earth.

 

The team has had three full days of rest since Saturday’s shellacking against the Bears. Even head-coach Trent Cull has acknowledge the team needing to get better defensively,

https://twitter.com/OD_Birnell/status/1188510614731268099?s=20

Like Canucks nation saw in the game against the Capitals, sometimes all the goal-scoring in the world isn’t enough to make the difference. Even with Di Pietro and McIntyre’s stellar numbers, there will come a time where their stellar goaltending isn’t enough to win games.

 

Fingers crossed this Comets club was able to shore up on some of the defensive problems they’ve had over the past several games. Possibly closing out the month undefeated would be quite the turnaround, given where this club was, at the end of last season.

 

LW C RW
Goldobin (#77) Camper (#19) Boucher (#24)
Baertschi (#47) Perron (#27) Lind (#13)
Bancks (#34) Jasek (#(9) Bailey (#95)
Arseneau (#18) Malone (#17) Stevenson (#26)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Fantenberg (#7)
Teves (#4) Chatfield (#5)
G
Zane McIntyre (G)

 

Couple moves since Saturday’s game, with Adam Gaudette and Ashton Sautner getting recalled to the Canucks. Replacing Sautner on the blue-line will be defenceman, Oscar Fantenberg. Fantenberg joins the Comets on a conditioning stint after missing the first month of the season due to various illnesses and injuries. Fantenberg’s label as a “conditioning stint” actually allows the Comets to go over the veteran cap for the next seven games on the Comets schedule. Joining the Comets from Kalamazoo was Mitch Eliot, who was sent down over last weekend to get some playing time in. I think his time in the AHL is mostly practicing time with the club. I don’t see him playing over Juolevi, Brisebois, Teves, LeBlanc, barring injuries/call-ups to two of those four.

MacEwen being out with an illness means the forward lines get shaken up quite a bit. Arseneau, Perron, and Bancks looked great together, wished they just kept them together – not sure I like any of the combos in the top nine. But we’ll see what they come up with tonight!

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Tyler Graovac (knee) Zack MacEwen (illness)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Dylan Blujus Wacey Hamilton (vet) Richard Bachman Mitch Eliot

 

1st period

 

Comets in their home Whites

 

 

Score at the end of the First Period: 0-0 Tie

 

Not exactly the most exciting period of hockey – Few of those defensive lapses once again showing up, but several members of the forward groups, Baertschi, Boucher, and Arseneau, to name a few are showing great wheels in getting to their end on the backcheck. Utica outshot the Devils eight-to-six, but it didn’t feel like they did, haha. First time this season that the Comets have been held goal-less in the first period.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 1-0 Comets

 

Not a lot to write about that period, it was pretty meandering with a lot of chasing the puck through the neutral zone and failing to set-up a cycle in the Devils end when they finally entered. Comets again outshot the Devils, this time ten-to-seven, this time it felt like no team generated any considerable offense. The Comets still lead, so I can’t really be caught complaining. The team’s chemistry looked a bit better this past period – fourth line still the only line really going at full-steam when they’re on the ice — quiet nights from Lind after 50 minutes of play.

 

3rd Period

 

 

The late pressure from the Binghamton Devils cant close the gap, as the Comets end the first month of the season undefeated. Not the most impressive game by any stretch, but can’t complain about an 8-0-0-0 start!

 

Final Score: 3-1 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
2nd Utica Francis Perron Sven Baertschi Olli Juolevi 5v5
3rd Utica Kole Lind Brogan Rafferty Francis Perron 5v5
3rd Binghamton Brett Seney Ben Street 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Evan Cormier (lol) 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Well defensively speaking, it was better than Saturdays or Friday’s efforts – there were still a couple gaffe’s here and there, but again, eight-win start, you’d be hardpressed to see me whining that much about this teams ability to eke out a win
  • Tonight’s 23 save performance from McIntyre gives him an impressive 0.956 save-percentage, I’ll have to wait for the AHL to update the stat tables, but as it stands, that would be good enough for first in the league amongst qualified goalies. Another stellar goaltending performance from the Utica duo. Given Di Pietro’s incredible numbers as well, I have to wonder what this team’s plan is for Richard Bachman.
  • Brogan Rafferty had himself a bounce-back of a game. He looked solid in his end tonight while contributing well offensively on several occasions. Despite a few strange non-pass occurrences in tonight’s game, it’s quite crazy to me that the “legally blind” thing doesn’t appear to be hindering him at this level. Loved that pass from him to Lind! An absolute beauty of a pass. After his rough weekend, it was nice to see him simplify his game a bit and look terrific doing so.
  • Francis Perron had himself a terrific night on a line with Baertschi and Lind. The Perron/Baertschi combo created some fantastic scoring chances. It was just the luck of the evening that they were unable to score more. Liked what I saw between Bae and Perron, wonder what MacEwen’s return will do to the lines heading into the weekend double-header.
  • The coaching staff is going to have trouble finding a trio that works with Lukas Jasek. I think Jasek’s talents are being wasted at center. Jasek doesn’t appear to be strong enough to win faceoff battles routinely and has been relegated to mostly being an effective defensive center. The bulk of his offensive prowess last season came from his ability to win battles along the boards. Obviously, the organization sees Jasek’s playmaking ability as a boon to his move to center, but I just see zero chemistry between him and Bailey, whom the coaching staff have paired with Jasek for the majority of his starts at center. I liked the look of the Euroline, and I hope they do bring that trio back, but with the success of Perron/Baertschi, it’ll likely be a while before Jasek gets a shakeup to try and get him going in his new role.
  • Man, can the Canucks call up Jalen Chatfield and teach him how to shoot the puck? I can’t even count the number of times he wound-up for a one-timer on the blue line and just sailed it into the boards. Offense truly dies on his stick. I would see the set-plays of the forward groups culminate with the puck ending up on Chatty’s stick, and I’d be disappointed automatically, knowing the play was about to die. I don’t want to rag on the guy, because he does play the most physical of all the Comets D-men. I don’t think the Canucks have anyone that plays like him in their system. Whether they’re in the NHL or minor leagues across the world, the Canucks aren’t exactly swimming in crash-bang defensemen. But man, the guy needs to figure out the shooting and passing aspect of the game. Otherwise, I don’t see him sticking around. Look at a player like Dylan Blujus, who’s just two years older than Chatfield, but plays physical and has a proven track record of scoring at the AHL level. I’d personally much rather have Blujus on that third pairing alongside Teves, but the whole AHL-contract versus NHL-contract thing will likely keep Blujus wasted in the press box.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Zane McIntyre
  • Francis Perron
  • Brogan Rafferty

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets return this Friday when they start their weekend double-header facing off against the Atlantic Divisions, Providence Bruins. The PB’s sit 2nd in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, second only to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

10/26/19 – Utica Comets vs. Hershey Bears

Well, the Comets are off to quite the insane start! Last night the Comets defeated the Binghamton Devils, 5-1, to win their sixth straight game. After Friday’s victory, the Comets now lead the AHL in goals-for.

 

Last night was a quiet one for the team’s star players. Gaudette had some flashes of speed and a couple shots on net, but otherwise remained pretty invisible. Fairly reasonable, for him to be a little rusty, given how much time he’s spent sitting on the bench in Vancouver. Jasek had himself a really good defensive game, but offensively his line was denied repeatedly by Evan Cormier’s impressive goaltending.

 

As I wrote last night, the Comets really succeeded off the work their fourth line was putting in with their aggressive forechecking. The Devils did not have an answer for that line, and it paid dividends for the Comets scoresheet. Hershey is the 2nd best team in the AHL’s Atlantic division, so this could be the first real litmus test for the Comets.

That being said, I thought the Syracuse and Charlotte games were going to be the real litmus tests, and those two games were complete blowouts in favor of the Comets, so who knows! Over the past several games, the Comets have had lapses in defensive coverage only to be bailed out by stellar goaltending, The Comets will eventually have to shore up on that area of their game. It works now, but consistency with goaltending isn’t something a farm team should ever rely on. Look at what happened with the team just last season when their tandem for the better part of the season was a near-retiree and a steady rotation of ECHL PTO’s.

 

Until that “come-down to earth” moment happens, I’m going to keep appreciating this iteration of the Comet’s ability to score at an outrageous clip to win games in dominating, exciting fashion.

Speaking of winning games! Let’s get into tonight’s matchup and see if the boys on the farm can make it seven straight to start the season!

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Goldobin (#77)
Lind (#13) Gaudette(#88) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Jasek(#9) MacEwen (#15)
Arseneau (#18) Perron (#27) Bancks (#34)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Teves (#4) Chatfield (#5)
G
DiPietro (G)

 

After last night, I didn’t expect too much line-shuffling. The coaches, however, want to get Gaudette going, and what better way than by reuniting Gaudette with Sven Baertschi, and Kole Lind. If you remember, Lind and Gaudette had some incredible chemistry to start last season, before Gaudette was called up.
Jasek now returns to a line with the speed-demons in Bailey and MacEwen. Jasek, as always, was great defensively in last night’s game against Binghamton but struggled to contribute offensively from center-ice. Last season, Jasek was at his best playing along the wings, due to his fantastic puck-control along the boards. As a center, there isn’t a way for him to utilize that highly underrated aspect of his game. He’s still got a great two-way game, and he needs to find some consistent offense as a playmaker from the center.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Tyler Graovac (knee) Carter Bancks (upper body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Dyson Stevenson Dylan Blujus

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

Score at the end of the First Period: 1-0 Comets

 

Comets lead, but the problems that were beginning to show in the game against Binghamton were made more apparent against this aggressive Hershey team. Too often, the team has been caught playing way too far up neutral-ice. The blue-liners have missed multiple cross-ice passes, resulting in poor defensive coverage in their end. The numerous drives from Bears players’ has resulted in many Comets’ looking lost while chasing the play in their end. Fortunately, Di Pietro has been solid tonight as he stopped seven of seven dangerous shots. The Comets are likely exhausted from their midnight bus-ride to Hershey. So, I don’t know if (moving into the second period) the team will be able to sustain the same kind of offensive prowess that they’ve had in previous efforts. One thing is for sure, they will need to shore up on these defensive lapses if they intend to remain undefeated.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 1-0 Comets

 

Pretty awful period for the Comets forwards group. Michael Di Pietro bailed them out repeatedly in this period. Comets outshot 14-to-4 after twenty minutes. Not much to say about this period…it was not good. Shades of last season with the abysmal defensive coverage displayed. Not sure if they’ll be able to find that extra gear in the third, but here’s hoping, because MDP deserves a win with this performance.

 

3rd Period

 

 

Fourth line out to close the final 15 seconds says it all. This team just absolutely barraged over 40 minutes of play. Nothing much to say. No clue how they do in Overtime as the team looks completely gassed.

 

Overtime

 

 

One shot on goal in overtime. MDP with six saves. It’s genuinely incredible the Comets are getting any points out of this game — brutal effort from the Comets over 45 minutes. Comets outshot 39-to-20 over the full 65.

 

Shootout

 

 

It took the ringer, Reid Boucher, to win it in the shootout. Comets swarm MDP after this one because they know he’s the reason they earned any points tonight. Trent Cull should consider himself lucky the Bears didn’t put out Pilon or Maillet in the shootout as they were dynamite in tonight’s action for the Bears. The Comets will take the freebie, though.

 

Final Score: 2-1 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Adam Gaudette Sven Baertschi Guillaume Brisebois 5v5
3rd Hershey Phillippe Maillet Steve Whitney Alex Alexeyev 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Not much to write about in this one. The concerns I had about the team’s defensive coverage were brought to light in a significant way in tonight’s game. After the first period, the team’s forward groups displayed atrocious back-checking through the remaining 45 minutes of play. Defensive pairings did no better as they were just horrific at controlling the puck and clearing the zone with safe passes. Looked like everyone tonight was trying to be the hero instead of playing as a team. I get that the Comets are hyped to be off to such a stellar start, but the goalscoring has come from effective playmaking as a group, not playing selfishly.
  • Michael Di Pietro had a remarkable game playing behind an atrocious Comets group. The AHL doesn’t track it, but I’m willing to bet that at least 55-75% of the Comets shots-against were considered “high-danger” chances. This was the kind of performance that leads to goalie controversy, and I loved every minute of it. The game itself was an absolute slog to watch, don’t get me wrong, but MDP’s performance; save, after save, after save was a treat to watch. I was impressed with his finesse in tracking the puck tonight. He still tends to overplay on his saves, but he’s a showman, and the acrobatics made his performance tonight the most compelling thing about the game. He was certainly robbed of a shutout performance. The Comets should count themselves lucky to have come out of tonight’s game with any points at all.
  • I don’t even know if it’s worth getting into who did good and who did bad, because, on the whole, the team, collectively did pretty terrible. Wasn’t much to like from anyone, although I would argue that Zack MacEwen and Reid Boucher had the best performances from the forward groups, but it wasn’t pretty.
  • Despite the team’s lethargic play tonight, I still think this team is really good. Like I said, the team had a midnight bus-ride from Utica to Hershey in preparation for the game, so I have to think their efforts from last night, combined with a brutal sleep schedule played a major factor in tonight’s result. and hey, they still won! so I mean, quit complaining THRILLHOIAF right?

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Michael Di Pietro
  • .

HM: Zack MacEwen or Reid Boucher, I guess?

 

The Comets Trajectory?

The Comets return home next Wednesday for the third of eight matches against the Binghamton Devils. The Devils play the other undefeated AHL team, the Toronto Marlies tonight at home.

 

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

10/25/19 – Utica Comets vs. Binghamton Devils

Merry weekend to all in Canucks nation! Tonight couldn’t be a better night for Canuck-hockey. As those of us in BC hunker down for windstorm 2k19, what better way to spend the evening than by watching the Farm-team try and make it an unprecedented six in a row to start the season.

 

Tonight the Comets see the return of Ashton Sautner as well as the season debut of Adam Gaudette. Despite his impressive pre-season, and solid play in his few NHL starts, his play wasn’t enough to warrant a long-term look with the club. Gaudette joins a club that has been dominating the AHL in goalscoring to start the season.

Since moving to center full-time, Lukas Jasek has shown to have decent chemistry playing alongside Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin. Most would assume Gaudette would move to a line with Baertschi, in an attempt to rekindle their pre-season chemistry. But it might not be the optimal move for the club long-term.

 

Tonight’s opponent for the Comets are their Division Rivals, the Binghamton Devils. Binghamton comes into tonight’s game after having ended a four-game losing streak, Wednesday night, in a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Gaudette(#88) MacEwen (#15)
Arseneau (#18) Perron (#27) Bancks (#34)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Teves (#4) Chatfield (#5)
G
McIntyre (G)

 

Adam Gaudette, rocking number 88, slots between the all-speed-pair of Justin Bailey and Zack MacEwen. I’m looking forward to seeing what those three can put together tonight. If this line uses their speed like I know they can, I’m going to call them the Gigawatt-line.

Disappointed to see Blujus get benched, but understand he has it tough playing behind Sautner, Chatfield, and Rafferty. Blujus, honestly, played like a guy who should be in the regular lineup over Chatfield or Sautner. He plays like a pro, chipped in offensively, played physical, and was sound in the defensive-end. I do hope Blujus gets an extended look with the d-corps as the season progresses along. I like his ability to contribute all-over as opposed to someone like Chatfield, who plays physical, skates hard, but has offense evaporate on his stick.

Seamus Malone looked OK in his first games since returning from IR. Given how incredibly deep the Farm is right now; however, he’ll need to absolutely light it up in his opportunities to get himself a consistent spot in the teams bottom-6.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Tyler Graovac (knee)
Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Dyson Stevenson Dylan Blujus Seamus Malone Wacey Hamilton (vet) Richard Bachman

1st period

 

Comets in their Green/White Thirds’

 

 

Score at the end of the First Period: 2-0 Comets

 

The Comets, once again, start with a dominant period of hockey. The fourth line with Francis Perron centering has been a threat every-time they’ve been on the ice too. Really liking what I’m seeing from Perron tonight, he’d otherwise been quiet to start the year. This is his first “noticeable” effort. Josh Teves is looking good tonight as well, showing crisp skating and puck control. Brisebois and Sautner are a reliable pairing, but neither are moving the needle offensively; I think Brisebois had 2-3 shots that each sailed high and wide of the goal. Otherwise, the team looked good to start, a few giveaway blunders, but McIntyre has been solid. Comets outshot the Devils 12-to-6 after 20 minutes of play.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 3-1 Comets

 

Well, the Comets regained the two-goal lead. However, the second period was quite messy — really bizarre play-reads by the Comets blueliners. The forward groups also appear to be struggling to gain and establish a cycle in the Devils zone. Comets were out possessed and outshot 12-to-10 after 20 minutes of play. They start the third with a minute-and-a-half of powerplay time.

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 5-1 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Carter Bancks Francis Perron 5v5
1st Utica Vincent Arseneau Francis Perron Brogan Rafferty 5v5
2nd Binghamton Chris Conner Michael McLeod 5v5
2nd Utica Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi Nikolay Goldobin PPG
3rd Utica Vincent Arseneau Carter Bancks Francis Perron 5v5
3rd Utica Kole Lind Carter Camper Reid Boucher EN

 

Takeaways

 

  • Well, I bet you weren’t expecting to read a bunch of praise about the Comets fourth line, but here it goes! They were literally the difference-makers for the team tonight. Francis Perron, ironically, after being bumped down to the fourth line after Gaudette’s return, had himself his most impressive game as a Comet. He was smooth transitioning the puck, constantly fishing passes out to open players from impossible areas, he was every bit as advertised coming into the season tonight with an impressive showing alongside two of the Comets seldom discussed players
  • If you’ve been reading the Farmies/Harvest since I began last season, you’ll probably have noticed I have a bit of a homerism for a few players. I was maybe the only person in North America who appreciated what Petrus Palmu brought to the ice every time he had a shift, but he gone now. Replacing him as this year’s homerist pick is Vinny Arseneau! I was a pretty big homer for Big Vin last season as well, but this season might be a bit different due to the strides he’s appeared to have taken with his game.

Big Vin spent the majority of his pro career in the ECHL until he earned a 20 game PTO with the Comets in 2017-18. Last season, Arseneau surprised many when he ended up 9th in team goalscoring after playing only 38 games. After six games this season, Vin has picked up three goals, and one assist after six games exclusively playing on the fourth line. The guy can hit hard, can score beauty goals, and can transition the puck. He’s a legit threat whenever he’s on the ice because I don’t think opponents expect a 6’2″ 216-pound left-winger to be able to transition the puck as well as he can.

This isn’t a THRILLHOIAF “call-him-up” campaign or anything. This is just a write-up showing my appreciation for Arseneau’s game, and overall improvement as a role-player who’s become one of the Comets more underrated offensive threats. Granted, it is still incredibly early in the season; There are still 70 games remaining on the schedule. Regardless, I still liked what I saw from the big guy tonight.

  • True story, on elite prospects, Arseneau is listed as the only hockey player EVER to have originated from Les Iles-de-la-Madelaine.
  • Olli Juolevi had himself a pretty good game tonight as well. His skating did look a bit clunky at times in the third period. At one point, I thought he rolled his ankle, trying to change his ankle. Overall though, I think OJ had himself a good game, relative to his defensive compatriots who were otherwise unnoticeable or making bad reads repeatedly throughout the night.
  • Gaudette, MacEwen, and Bailey looked quite dangerous at all times when they were on the ice, but they need to pick between the three of them who’s going to be the trigger man…It seems more like all three want to take the option to wheel, snipe, and celly on their own as opposed to working as a trio to create space and scoring opportunities. Don’t get me wrong; the three have the speed to try and 1v5 their opponents. Still, it bodes better for them to be able to cycle off a zone-entry for a shot, than to just mindlessly wheel around the net to set up the defenseman.
  • Zane McIntyre with another solid outing for the team. McIntyre was relied upon several times to come up with huge clutch saves for his team. With the lone goal-against being due to poor defensive coverage. Wasn’t really sure what to expect from him coming into this season, but he’s been a big reason why the Comets can run up the score the way they have.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Vincent Arseneau
  • Francis Perron
  • Zane McIntyre

HM: Carter Bancks

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets head out on the road Saturday night when they visit the Hershey Bears. Last season, the Bears and Comets split the season, with the Bears outscoring the Comets six-to-four after two games. Saturday’s meeting will be just one of two games the two will play this season. The Comets leave for Hershey at midnight tonight, so exhaustion will likely be an important factor in the team’s play tomorrow.

 

As always, if you want to read up on this Comets Harvest or the 2018-19 Farmies editions, you can find them all at my Comets Harvest Blog here

 

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

10/19/19 – Utica Comets vs. Rochester Americans

24 Hours later and the sun is still shining in Utica! The Comets pulled off another dominant win at home. This time against the reigning Calder Cup Champions. While they may not be the same team on paper, a win over one of last season’s best teams is still a quality win!

 

For added context to the Comets’ impressive start to the season, they’re among two teams who are still undefeated in the AHL (the other being the Toronto Marlies). They lead the entire AHL in goals-for, with 22 in 4 games. Their goals per game of 5.5 goals/game leads the AHL by a hefty margin. The next best team being the Stockton Heat who have a goals/game average of 4.2, for those who struggle with math, that’s a full goal more per game than the next best team in the league.

 

The team has gotten goal contributions from everywhere in their lineup, with 15 different goalscorers across the four games played. The only players yet to register a point are; Tyler Graovac, who left the first game with injury). Seamus Malone, who just returned from injury. Dyson Stevenson, who I’m 99% sure, was benched for most of his two games played. And Jalen Chatfield, who has an aversion to offense.

 

Last season against the Rochester Americans, the Comets got eviscerated by Victor Olofsson. Olofsson alone scored 14 points in ten games against the Comets last year. Safe to say, the Comets won’t be missing him when they play their 3rd game of this four-game home-stand. The Amurks have only managed 13 goals in five games to start their year. In their last match, the Amurks lost to the Cleveland Monsters in the shootout. The Amurks special teams are pretty similar to the Comets in that their powerplays are both equally weak. However, the Amurks penalty kill is currently the worst in the AHL’s North Division at 78.3% efficiency.

 

All in all, its been great watching exciting Comets hockey for a change. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard the end of last season dragged. Hopefully, the Comets group can keep their momentum going to close out their weekend double-header with their fifth straight win. For now, let’s get into tonights starting lineup!

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Perron (#27) MacEwen (#15)
Malone (#17) Hamilton (#36) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
McIntyre (G)

 

Zane McIntyre returns after a brief call-up stint with the Canucks. Otherwise, no changes to the lineup.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Tyler Graovac (knee) Carter Bancks (upper body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Mitch Eliot Dyson Stevenson

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

 

Score at the end of the First Period: 3-1 Comets

 

It wasn’t as pretty as the start against Charlotte, but the Comets once again capitalize on every chance they get and rattle off three unanswered for the FIFTH time this season. Still buzzing off that short-handed goal started by Juolevi’s beauty of a slap-pass. Moving forward, the Comets need to shore up defensively to prevent the Amurks from getting the amount of chances they got in the first.

 

2nd Period

 

  • Rafferty with another pass taken away
  • GOAL – UTICA – 4-1 Comets: Justin Bailey (#95) with an active stick gets a steal in the defensive zone to spring Zack MacEwen (#15) for a drive on the Amurks and scores an absolutely filthy goal. Beautiful toe-drag and patience to roof one past Andrew Hammond.
  • Like I said in yesterday’s Comets Harvest, if Bailey and MacEwen start finding their groove together, they’re going to be an absolute force.
  • Lind (#13) breaks up a shot attempt in his end then, alongside Carter Camper (#19), drives down the left-wing and cuts to the net for a scoring try
  • Juolevi (#48) with two fantastic passes to MacEwen (#15) in the offensive zone. MacEwen almost picks up his second goal of the night on that second pass
  • Pressuring in the offensive once again, Francis Perron picks up a tripping penalty and Rochester pressures with the goalie pulled, as the Comets fail to touch-up.
  • Wow ok, apparently a game misconduct gets issued to Perron for shooting the puck out of play after the Comets touched up, so his nights done
  • 1st PK Group: Blujus, Brisebois, Boucher, Hamilton
  • Blujus with a huge shot-block and clear
  • 2nd PK Group: Bailey, Jasek, Chatfield, Juolevi
  • Justin Bailey (#95) in a board battle springs Jasek (#9) ahead on a short-handed breakaway, but Jasek fans on his backhand attempt
  • LOL, Vinny Arseneau hops out of the box as the Comets kill off the Perron tripping penalty and IMMEDIATELY takes a tripping penalty of his own haha. Comets Penalty Killers getting tested tonight
  • 1st PK Group: Brisebois, Boucher, Brisebois, Hamilton
  • Oh man, Wacey Hamilton takes his SECOND slashing penalty of the night while on the penalty-kill and the Comets are now in a 3-v-5
  • 1st Trio: Blujus, MacEwen, Juolevi
  • McIntyre with a glove save, allowing Juolevi to change-off for Chatfield
  • Blujus (#8) with another huge block on the 5-on-3
  • Zach Redmond whiffs on a shot on net sending it around the boards allowing Zack MacEwen to race for a change
  • Juolevi then gets another clutch clear as Arseneau steps out of the box to allow Boucher and Jasek to shift on
  • Rochester with another shot that gets sailed wide of the net and out of the zone.
  • From out of the penalty box, Wacey Hamilton (#36) leads a 3-on-1 but elects to shoot for himself. Hamilton chases the rebound and draws an interference penalty on Rochester. Comets off to their first powerplay of the game after a lengthy penalty kill
  • 2nd PP Unit up first: Rafferty, Camper, Jasek, Bailey, Baertschi
  • 2nd unit gets a couple shots forcing Hammond to glove down a shot
  • Baertschi gets a shot on goal but a crashing Jasek cant put in the rebound – Comets lose the zone forcing them to change
  • 1st powerplay group with some impressive chances but can’t hit the net
  • Goldobin (#77) with two huge scoring chances from in tight
  • Seamus Malone with a steal as the Amurks try to clear – relentless pressure from the fourth line forces the Amurks to ice the puck, giving the Comets ANOTHER offensive zone draw. Great stuff from the combination of Arseneau, Malone, and Hamilton
  • Malone appears to be getting double-shifted as the center for Bailey and MacEwen now that Perron was out
  • Rrafferty (#25) with a solid effort to force Tage Thompson out of the Comets zone
  • Comets are looking a little tired to close out the period – Comets looking ok defensively but they are hemorrhaging shots-against. McIntyre solid so far, 34 saves on 35 shots after 40 minutes.
  • Oh boy, Josh Teves picks up a holding penalty as he attempts to stop a wraparound attempt by Rochesters’ Lawrence Pilut.
  • Comets closing out the final two minutes of the period on their sixth penalty kill of the game
  • 1ST pk Group: Jasek, Hamilton, Chatfield, Juolevi
  • Zach Redmond fans on a one-timer and Juolevi is there to poke the puck ahead to Jasek for the clear
  • 2nd PK Group: MacEwen, Bailey, Blujus, Brisebois
  • 15 seconds remaining and Blujus takes a high-sticking minor, but the Comets fail to touch-up before the end of the period. They’ll start the third on a brief two-man disadvantage

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 4-1 Comets

 

Comets are getting out-shot BADLY in this one, fortunately for them, Zane McIntyre has been lights out. Realistically, the Comets SHOULD be losing given the amount of quality chances they’re giving up. But heading into the third with a three-goal lead with leagues 7th best PK% bodes well for their ability to close this one out at home. PBP man Joe Roberts had a fantastic quote in the second that sarcastically went;

“What is this Comets team even DOING? They went from scoring a goal on every THREE shots to scoring a goal on every FIVE?”

Honestly, the Comets offense has been just insane after five games; Boucher, Lind, and Goldobin now rank 1st 8th and 10th in the AHL for scoring. Based on their rather high shooting percentages, I would expect things to cool down for them eventually, but right now, they are running HOT. This string of incredibly exciting games comes as a massive relief to the Comets faithful, who stuck by this team through a brutal 2018-19 season. Consider this a reward for their unquestioned patronage. Hopefully, the good times keep rolling, and the Comets can try aim for eight goals again to close out this one!

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 7-1 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Sven Baertschi Andrew Hammond (lul) 5v5
1st Utica Reid Boucher Dylan Blujus Kole Lind 5v5
1st Utica Wacey Hamilton Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi SHG
1st Rochester Tage Thompson Sean Malone 5v5
2nd Utica Zack MacEwen Justin Bailey 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Sven Baertschi Olli Juolevi PPG
3rd Utica Nikolay Goldobin Sven Baertschi 5v5
3rd Utica Lukas Jasek Nikolay Goldobin 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

The Good:

 

Call up Goldobin. He’s got nothing to prove at the AHL level, the kids’ vision, passing, playmaking… just get him on a line with Petey and let him thrive. He has all the tools to be a fantastic compliment to Pettersson. This is two back-to-back three-assist games for Goldy. If he keeps this kind of play up, I don’t see how the Canucks can justify keeping him down in the minors. Bring him up and push skill down in your lineup, don’t push them out of it.

  • This was my major takeaway yesterday…and nothing has changed after tonight. Call-him up…that’s Ten points in four games for Goldy. Just put him with Petey and see if they can get the magic going again.
  • Take the above sentiment and apply it to Sven Baertschi as well. Tonights one goal and two assists give him eight points in four games played. I’m done with Leivo/Pearson/Bo…push one of those guys into your bottom six and get Bae back with Bo. Please…he and Goldy are just playing with their food down in the AHL.
  • Zane McIntyre was studly in his first game back after riding the bench in Vancouver. 45 saves on 46 shots. Safe-to-say, the Comets left Zane a little high-and-dry. When the team’s scoring six goals per game, it’s probably a relief to him to be able to play without worrying about giving up one goal.
  • It feels like just yesterday that I was madly concerned with the skating of Olli Juolevi, following the Syracuse Crunch game. And here he is tonight, having arguably the best game of his season. OJ was positionally sound, was making crisp passes all night, and was a shot-blocking machine on the Comets penalty kill. Sidenote, Olli, please stop blocking shots with your knees Especially when you have a six-goal lead on your opponent. I love that with such a massive point lead over their opponent, the kid is STILL sacrificing his body to make the defensive play… that kind of mentality should win him a ton of favor with the doubter crowd.
  • Zack MacEwen appears to have finally come online. Tonight was a banner game for him. He was effective on the penalty kill and a constant threat in the offensive zone. That goal in the second was just a complete beauty. Even with the few giveaways he had, I can’t find too many faults in his game tonight. Looked like the Mac of old
  • Kole Lind had himself a great game as well I think he might appear in MOST of the streamable’s tonight. Was liking everything he was doing off of faceoff draws to setup Boucher for one-timers. He did slow down a bit in the third period, but overall I thought he was a threat to the Amurks whenever he was on the ice
  • Reid Boucher, it’s a shame he never seems to get his mojo going at the NHL level. His speed in the AHL is passable, but it’s quite literally that extra step that prevents him from making the jump. Boucher now leads the AHL in points and goals.
  • Soak it in baby, cause it won’t last forever
  • Despite the shots-against, tonight was another display of goal-scoring dominance from the Comets. While not exactly, pretty, the Comets got the job done again at home to make it a historic five-straight to start the season. Great stuff for a team that struggled so hard last year to find ANY goals.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Zane McIntyre
  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Reid Boucher

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets take a bit of a break in the action as they don’t return until next Friday, where they take on the Binghamton Devils at home. The last time the Comets met the Devils, they rattled off four straight unanswered goals in the second period to secure a 4-3 victory on the road. Since that meeting, the Devils have lost four straight, including an OT loss at home to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Barring any changes to this dominant Utica Comets lineup, it’ll be hard to imagine the Devils being able to break their losing streak on the road.

 

As always, if you want to read up on this Comets Harvest or the 2018-19 Farmies editions, you can find them all at my Comets Harvest Blog here

 

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

 

also, let me know what titles do you prefer

simplified Utica Comets (standings) vs. opponent (opponents standings)

or a boiled down lede describing the game like Tonights?

Cheers!

10/18/19 – Utica Comets vs. Charlotte Checkers

Welcome, all to the 4th edition of the Comets Harvest! The Comets are in unprecedented territory, having won three games to start their season for the first time since, well, ever! Matter of fact, the last time the Canucks farm team rattled off three wins to start the season, their affiliate was the 2012-13 Chicago Wolves! Pretty nutty.

 

There are some similarities between the Canucks and the Comets, beyond just the win-streak, the Comets powerplay, too, has been just awful to start the year. After three games and 15 powerplay tries, the Comets have managed only one goal-for. This past Wednesday, the team gave up their first short-handed goal. Last season the Comets led the league in short-handed goals against with 19 total in 76 games.

 

But let’s not drown in the negative thinking, because this team has looked solid to start the year! It’s hard to fault a team when their speed and gritty play has led to some very exciting hockey. Particular commendations have to go to the bottom six players such as Justin Bailey, Jonah Gadjovich, and Vincent Arseneau. The fourth line has been playing hard with aggressive forechecking, which has directly led to goals-for, scoring chances, and penalty-draws to give the Comets multiple powerplay opportunities.

 

The Comets did great in a dominant victory over their archrivals, the Syracuse Crunch. I believe the Comets caught the Crunch off-guard with their speed in the transition game. Multiple times Wednesday, the Comets caught the Crunch on slow line-changes to spring forwards on breakaway opportunities.

 

To defeat the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers, they’ll have to maintain that same transition game to try to make it four in a row. The Checkers have been playing highly undisciplined hockey (21 penalties in just four games played) but have made up for it with a league-leading penalty kill. To offset the skill of the Checkers’ league-leading penalty kill, the Comets will need to capitalize on their powerplay opportunities if they arise.

 

I have faith that at even-strength, the Comets have the speed and the high-end skill to win. Having an effective powerplay as back-up will just be helpful in case the even-strength game doesn’t work out.

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Perron (#27) MacEwen (#15)
Malone (#17) Hamilton (#36) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Michael DiPietro (G)

 

Jonah Gadjovich picked up an upper-body strain during the match against Syracuse, so his status is uncertain for the weekends game. Subbing in for him is Seamus Malone, who returns after missing the entirety of training camp with an arm injury. Malone was one of the Comets lone bright spots towards the end of last season when he picked up three goals in six games before a season-ending injury to his arm.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Tyler Graovac (knee) Carter Bancks (upper body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Mitch Eliot Dyson Stevenson

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

 

Score at the end of the first Period: 3-0 Comets

 

Well, that’s certainly one way to start a period! The team is displaying quite a versatile, well-balanced attack, with contributions coming from all four forward groups AND the three defensive pairings. Hard to find any faults with any play that Period. The 4-on-4, despite being pinned in their end, wasn’t even that bad, as they went on to disrupt practically all of the Checkers scoring chances. Digging the compete of this team.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 4-0 Comets

 

After getting dominated for the bulk of the second Period, leave it to Reid Boucher to come up huge on the penalty kill to regain the Comets momentum. After the short-handed goal, the Comets looked have regained their fire, returning to some heavy offensive zone pressure to close out the Period. Comets defensive work still holding solid while Michael Di Pietro has been making some clutch saves all Period to keep the Comets in this one. Next Period might be more dominance from the Comets as they’ll have the bench facing the offensive zone this time.

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 8-2 Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Carter Camper Kole Lind 5v5
1st Utica Brogan Rafferty Nikolay Goldobin Sven Baertschi 5v5
1st Utica Justin Bailey Zack MacEwen 5v5
2nd Utica Reid Boucher shg
3rd Charlotte Hunter Shinkaruk Gustav Forsling Max McCormick 5v5
3rd Utica Sven Baertschi Nikolay Goldobin Lukas Jasek 5v5
3rd Charlotte Eetu Luostarinen David Gust 5v5
3rd Utica Kole Lind Zack MacEwen Nikolay Goldobin PPG
3rd Utica Dylan Blujus Francis Perron Zack MacEwen 5v5
3rd Utica Justin Bailey Guillaume Brisebois Francis Perron 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

The Good:

 

  • Call up Goldobin. He’s got nothing to prove at the AHL level, the kids’ vision, passing, playmaking… just get him on a line with Petey and let him thrive. He has all the tools to be a fantastic compliment to Pettersson. This is two back-to-back three-assist games for Goldy, if he keeps this kind of play up I don’t see how the Canucks can justify keeping him down in the minors. Bring him up and push skill down in your lineup, don’t push them out of it.
  • It’s crazy to me that Zack MacEwen can have a three-assist game of his own, and somehow fly under the radar. He was sneaky good tonight. Pure speculation, but it looks like MacEwen spent a lot of his offseason working on his defensive game, as he has looked quite sharp in his own end to start this season. He hasn’t looked nearly as lost defending in his own end as he did last year. Liking his improvements to start the year, even if offensively, it has been a bit slow going. If he and Bailey can stick together on a line, then their speed is going to give everyone in their conference fits.
  • Kole Lind had himself another fantastic game. One goal and one assist with two shots on net, he looks so much more composed while controlling the puck. Last season he was quick to throw pucks away to nowhere and gave up a lot of Comets chances with risky low % plays. This season he’s looked poised with the puck, and honestly seems to be a better playmaker with Boucher than Kero did. Boucher is someone that Lind could definitely learn from; Lind still needs to improve his speed so that his vision and creativity can transfer to the NHL level. Otherwise, a great start for the kid after a brutal debut season last year.
  • Dylan Blujus was great tonight, as he was last night also. It sucks he has to play behind guys like Sautner, Rafferty, and Chatfield on a regular night, because honestly, I think he’s better in the offensive AND defensive zones compared to a guy like Chatfield. He has solid positioning and solid fundamentals when it comes to controlling play in his own zone. I don’t know how long Sautner will be up with the Canucks for, but I’m glad Blujus has been able to show well in his two games this season
  • Brogan Rafferty, could be a steal if he keeps improving. Plays like an NHL third pairing guy; great poise with the puck and always makes up for his errors on the ensuing play. Never has to get bailed out by his partner, always puts in the effort to make up for his mistakes. Gotta love a guy playing with tenacity and fire in both ends of the ice to establish himself.
  • Josh Teves, amazingly he didn’t end up on the scoresheet tonight despite a majority of the goals-for tonight, being a direct result of his ability to clear his zone or enter the offensive with his skating. Displayed a much better sense of when to engage and disengage tonight, that he hadn’t done so in previous games. If he can find consistency where every game looks the way it did tonight, then he too could be another steal for the Canucks.

 

The So-So:

 

  • Lukas Jasek, I think I said it in my last post that he looks uncomfortable as a center, and tonight was no different. While still sound defensively and offensively, I think his playmaking ability is better suited while playing from the wing rather than at center. He just doesn’t have the speed to play his game in the middle of the ice. I think the team also loses the benefit of having him along the wall battling for pucks, which is something he absolutely thrived in last year.
  • Olli Juolevi, I put him in the so-so range only because relative to the other defensemen tonight, I thought guys like Blujus and Rafferty outperformed him. But this isn’t me saying Juolevi played terrible, I personally think he had a great game. Was killer on the penalty kill, even if I have to keep saying, “Dude…please stop blocking shots with your knees!” He had his usual finesse as a passer on the powerplay, but his speed and ability to transition the puck up the ice with his skating is still a work in progress. Because players like Teves, Blujus and Rafferty have proven to be able to transition the puck from their own end with skating as opposed to cross-ice passes, I have to put OJ in just the so-so range for tonight. Still a great game by OJ’s standards, but still some work to do for him! I’m optimistic the guy will be clutch later in the season as he’s notoriously a slow starter in every league he’s played in.
  • MDP, yes, there are quite a few streamables of him making highlight saves, but still, he does need to tighten up on his rebound control. I think due to his youth and agility, he elects to go for the acrobatic save rather than the easy save. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fun as hell to watch, but like, that LUostarinen goal. I have no idea why MDP has to full-body hop in the air to make a glove save and then dive to his belly to attempt a stop of the rebound …It’s a bit excessive, but I’m sure the goalie coaches in Utica will help him to refine it. He’s a good goaltender in spite of the needlessly acrobatic saves, arguably could’ve been a shutout for him if he just tightened up on a few things.

 

Comets 18 Stars

  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Everybody Else

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets are back in action tomorrow for their 3rd of a four-game home-stand, when they take on their division rivals, the Rochester Americans. Fortunately, the Amurks are without Victor Oloffsson who terrorized the Comets last season. IIRC: Olofsson picked up something like 15 points in 8 or 10 games against the Comets last year.

The Comets are looking great to start the season despite some of the early adversity they’ve faced. Their wins to start this year aren’t coming against teams like the Laval Rocket or Belleville Senators, either. They’ve been coming against legit competition, so its exciting times for the farm!

 

 

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

 

also, let me know what titles do you prefer

simplified Utica Comets (standings) vs. Opponent (opponents standings)

or a boiled down lede describing the game, like Tonights?

Cheers!

10/16/19 – Utica Comets vs. Syracuse Crunch

Welcome to the Comets Harvest where, tonight, the Comets look to make it three straight to start the season. Despite what their current record says, the Comets had quite the rough outing in their last game. After two clutch early goals from Reid Boucher, the Penguins rallied with three unanswered goals in the second and third periods to almost seal the Comets fate. Were it not for some late-game heroics from their Captain, Carter Bancks, the ledge for the Comets might look a little differently.

 

Against a strong Syracuse Crunch team, the Comets will have to shore upon their ability to control the puck through the neutral zone and in transition. The Crunch are on an entirely different level when it comes to firepower. If the Comets wilt against them the way they did against the Penguins, then we could be looking at a very LONG game for the farm team.

 

Since we last met, the Comets have had a few changes to the roster. Goaltender Zane McIntyre was called up to play backup for Thatcher Demko while Markstrom was on a personal leave. Defenceman Ashton Sautner was called up to the Canucks for their upcoming road trip, due to illness to Oscar Fantenberg. Joining Tyler Graovac on the injured list was Comets Captain Carter Bancks, who picked up an upper-body injury in Saturday’s game against the Penguins.

 

Yesterday, I read someone on Twitter saying that Sautner was being called up so the team could trade Troy Stecher. First off, how dare you? Secondly, don’t you dare invoke that kind of cosmic juju on our boy Tony (from Richmond).##Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) Baertschi (#47)
Bailey (#95) Perron (#27) MacEwen (#15)
Gadjovich (#21) Hamilton (#36) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Chatfield (#5)
Teves (#4) Blujus (#8)
G
Michael DiPietro (G)

 

Honestly, that Juolevi/Chatfield pairing gives me the heebie-jeebies. This pairing was atrocious last year, and Trent Cull was quick to split them up after just a few games. Juolevi’s foot speed in his own end is still a massive work in progress, and Chatfield tends to play overly aggressive in the offensive zone. This requires Juolevi to have a d-partner who can skate fast and bail him out on back-checking when Juolevi’s aggressive play backfires. Juolevi is NOT that kind of partner for Chatfield, nor is Chatfield that kind of partner for Juolevi. I would’ve preferred Juolevi/Blujus and Teves/Chatfield to remain the same. Blujus has the speed and is much more sound in his own end than most Comets d-men in the lineup.

On the bright side, the kid, Michael Di Pietro, gets his first AHL start! Hypeeee! Also really digging that skill line of Goldy/Jasek/Baertschi. Plus, the debut of Francis Perron! Should make this at the very least a competitive one against a tough Syracuse Crunch team.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Seamus Malone (arm)) Tyler Graovac (knee) Carter Bancks (upper body)

 

Healthy Scratches
Stefan LeBlanc Mitch Eliot Dyson Stevenson

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 2-2 Tie

 

Messy, but exciting as hell. Some pretty huge defensive lapses from Juolevi gave the Crunch two goals that period. However, like the last game against the Penguins, the Comets showed off their resolve, as they battle back twice to tie the game. Love the compete of this fourth line and the NHL line of Bae/Jazzy/Goldy. MacEwen is doing everything he can to get his mojo going again. Hopefully, he can make it work in the next period. Mac had several offensive rushes last period, but each time, the Crunch were quick to pounce on him to deny him the space to generate offense.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 5-2 Comets

 

Pure domination from the Comets throughout the second period, outshooting the Crunch 17-to-3 and scoring three unanswered. The powerplay leaves a lot to be desired as the Comets went 0-for-2 in the second, and have gone 0-for-5 on the night. However, at even-strength, this team is buzzing, so it’s hard to really complain about their ability to score on the man-advantage. Really strong periods from Brogan Rafferty, Kole Lind, and Nikolay Goldobin; all three were consistently noticeable on every shift. Some concern that the Comets might crash from exhaustion, but they’ve shown strong resolve these past three games, so they might be just fine!

 

3rd Period

 

 

Final Score: 6-2 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Reid Boucher Carter Camper 5v5
1st Syracuse Cory Conacher Dominik Masin Chris Mueller shg
1st Utica Jonah Gadjovich Wacey Hamilton Vincent Arseneau 5v5
1st Syracuse Chris Mueller Alex Barre-Boulet Luke Schenn 5v5
1st Utica Dylan Blujus Sven Baertschi Nikolay Goldobin 5v5
2nd Utica Francis Perron Zack MacEwen Justin Bailey 5v5
2nd Utica Reid Boucher Kole Lind 5v5
2nd Utica Zack MacEwen Nikolay Goldobin Brogan Rafferty 5v5
3rd Utica Vincent Arseneau Nikolay Goldobin Josh Teves 5v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Despite going 0-for-5 on the powerplay while giving up one short-handed, the Comets managed to absolutely dominate the Syracuse Crunch to make it three in a row. Amazingly, just five players from the Comets roster tonight failed to wind up on the scoresheet, and only one ended up with a big-fat-bagel for a scoreline in Carter Camper. Camper was actually a zone-entry machine tonight, and despite being on the ice for one goal for, he somehow stayed off the scoresheet tonight.
  • The in-house three stars were a bit of a joke lol. Nikolay Goldobin should’ve been first star with his three-assist performance tonight, followed by Zack MacEwen and his 1g 1a with five shots performance. Third star should’ve gone to the French unit, Vinny Arseneau, who was a force alongside Gadjovich and Hamilton.
  • MDP looked pretty good all things considered! He genuinely didn’t get tested often in this game. The first goal was a blown coverage by Juolevi, and the second was an unfortunate redirect of the puck off his blocker. He definitely didn’t look out of place tonight as an AHL goaltender and faced quite a multitude of hard shots from a stacked Syracuse offensive group. Seriously, rewatch that blast from Conacher; MDP takes the shot up high and is quick to pounce on the loose puck to prevent any follow-up.
  • I really hope Juolevi is still rehabbing his knee or something, because oh boy he looked pretty bad tonight. He was directly responsible for the shorthanded goal against and took a penalty to deny a second sure-fire shorthanded attempt. He just doesn’t have the skate speed to hold the blue-line on the powerplay. I’m glad Cull recognized it and swapped him for Rafferty. But for a player that the Canucks are hoping can be a powerplay specialist…he HAS to somehow get better on his feet. Otherwise, I don’t think he even cuts it as a powerplay specialist at the AHL level, let alone the NHL. One of my significant concerns coming into tonight’s game was how the Chatfield/Juolevi pairing would do, and honestly, Chatfield was the difference-maker in the pairing. Chatty’s no-regard for his body on defensive back-checks were the difference between pucks being cleared out of the Comets end and pucks ending up in the back of the net. Big yikes all around for #48 tonight, again…I said it last game, it’s still VERY early in the season… but this is another tick in the concern column.
  • Glad to see Lind, Baertschi and Goldobin have much better games tonight than they did in Wilkes-Barre. The three were dangerous in the neutral zone and created an insane amount of high-danger scoring chances for the Comets tonight.
  • Check out this shot map from tonight’s game I’m not joking when I say they dominated.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Nikolay Goldobin
  • Zack MacEwen
  • Vinny Arseneau

HM: Justin Bailey and Dylan Blujus

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets are back in action this Friday for the 2nd of a four-game home-stand, when they take on the reigning Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers. With a rookie goalie between the pipes and all lines firing on all cylinders, the Comets looked dominant against a strong divisional rival. Hopefully, they can make it four in a row to start the season, and we can officially erase all the awful memories we have of last season.

10/12/19 – Utica Comets (1-0-0-0) vs. WBS Penguins (1-1-0-0)

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Comets Harvest, bringing to you all things good and holy about the 2019-20 Utica Comets season! Sorry for the delay on this one, I had major writers block trying to write two different writeups at the same time, and then the VOD for the game took forever to upload.

 

Last week the Comets won their season opener for the first time since their 2014-15 campaign. Tonight the Comets once again hit the road for their second game of the year. Tonight they faced off against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins., the farm team of, you guessed it! The New York Rangers. I joke. Obviously, they are the affiliate of Pittsburgh; and just like their NHL team, the WBS Penguins have split their results to start the season. First, having won their season opener against the Hershey Bears last Saturday by a score of 4-3, only to lose their second match of the year last night to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 4-1.

 

Last week, Tyler Graovac went down with a knee injury in the 3rd period, and his absence will be quite apparent to this Comets lineup. With Canuck castaways Sven Bärtschi and Nikolay Goldobin joining the ranks, the Comets find themselves once again with an overwhelming number of veteran and veteran-exempt players. Until Graovac or Seamus Malone are ready to return, the pressure will be on Trent Cull and the coaching staff to somehow put together a lineup that guarantees four decent centers, playing time for NHL caliber players, AND opportunity for playing time for the Comets numerous developing youngsters.

 

For those that are unaware, the AHL requires that, in each game, only a maximum of 6 veteran designated players be allowed to suit up for a team, with one of those 6 being a “veteran-exempt” player. Currently, the Comets have for veterans:

  • Wingers: Bärtschi, Boucher, Bancks,
  • Centers: Graovac, Hamilton, Camper,

Then for veteran-exempt players: * Wingers: Goldobin, Bailey,

 

Regardless, the lineup the coaching staff decides to deploy while the Comets center depth remains out with injuries, almost guarantees that, in the short term, one established pro is going to be spending a lot of their time with the Comets watching from the press box. Not sure if that’s a good look for the Canucks organization if, for the 2nd year in a row, a lack of developmental centers in the organization, and an over-reliance on signing veterans to pad their AHL roster once again pushes established pro-hockey players into the press box.

We’ll see tonight if the lineup-blender works in the Comets favor! So, with all that foreboding preamble out of the way, let’s get into tonight’s lineup!

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Baertschi (#47) Bancks (#34) Bailey (#95)
Boucher (#24) Camper (#19) Lind (#13)
Goldobin (#77) Jasek (#9) MacEwen (#15)
Gadjovich (#21) Stevenson (#26) Arseneau (#18)
LD RD
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Teves (#4) Chatfield (#5)
G
McIntyre (#31)

 

Lines aren’t in any particular order to start just how they were in the warm-up skate.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Seamus Malone (arm) Francis Perron (DTD) Tyler Graovac (knee)

 

Healthy Scratches
Dylan Blujus Wacey Hamilton Stefan LeBlanc

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 2-0 Comets

 

Honestly, the scoreline is a bit deceptive as the Comets weren’t too impressive defensively. There is an apparent lack of cohesion and chemistry between the four lines. The lack of chemistry is most evident with the Jasek/MacEwen/Goldobin line; while Jasek is at least successful in his own zone, there is quite clearly a lack of cohesion between the three when they are transitioning from the neutral zone into the offensive zone. Baertschi looks to have the speed and vision to succeed with the Comets, but he is noticeably absent in board battles (injury concern?). Goldobin is pretty much floating in the defensive and neutral zones. His one setup to Sautner was pretty, but he needs to show a bit more if he wants to beat any of these guys for the first callup.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-2 Tie

 

Well, it certainly wasn’t a pretty period by any stretch. The Comets looked awful on their first powerplay, then give up two incredibly soft goals on two of their three penalty kills. Surprisingly Baertschi was the most invisible that period, Jasek looked tired, Lind starting to regress to his cutesy junior style of play that didn’t cut it last season, and the defense just looks laughably out of sorts; with the exception to that being Brogan Rafferty who, of the 6 d-men playing tonight, has looked the most composed throughout two periods of play.

 

3rd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 3rd period: 3-3 Tie

 

Once again, despite being out-chanced and outshot ten to nine, the Comets force overtime off some late-game heroics from their captain Carter Bancks. Comets earning some points in a game they arguably have no business winning haha.

 

Overtime

 

Final Score: 4-3 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Reid Boucher Carter Camper 5v5
1st Utica Reid Boucher Olli Juolevi Nikolay Goldobin ppg
2nd WBS Stefan Noesen David Warsofsky Oula Palve ppg
2nd WBS David Warsofsky Andrew Agozzino Oula Palce ppg
3rd WBS Anthony Angello Jon Lizotte 5v5
3rd Utica Carter Bancks Sven Baertschi Ashton Sautner 5v5
OT Utica Lukas Jasek Brogan Rafferty Sven Baertschi 3v3

 

Takeaways

 

  • The Comets eked out a win here on the road, but the victory in draws more questions than answers regarding this team’s capabilities as a group. Outshot, out-chanced, out-everything’d really. After three periods of play, the MacEwen/Jasek/Goldobin line KIND OF came together a bit; Goldobin and Jasek, in particular, appear to have chemistry, but MacEwen just doesn’t fit the mold and seems like the odd-man-out in that dynamic.
  • Speaking of, MacEwen has had a very rough couple games with the Comets. Last season his breakout was remarkable to watch; his speed on the forecheck and backcheck were the best on the team. Tonight he had nothing about his game that set him apart from the rest of the group. I’m not too worried, as it is still just two games into the season. Just a curiosity that he’s been such a non-factor in the Comets games so far.
  • Again, prefacing this with, its just two games into the season; but I do have to comment on the play of Olli Juolevi, who outside of one nice stretch pass, looked very weak on the puck, had plodding skating, and was generally quite unnoticeable and unremarkable as a defenseman. AND YES, I’m aware he’s likely still rehabbing his knee, but regardless, my hand is beginning to hover over the “concern” button.
  • Wasn’t a fan of seeing Baertschi, or should I say, NOT seeing Baertschi much this game. Despite the 2 assist scoreline, Baertschi was largely invisible throughout the game. Would have thought the demotion to the AHL would warrant Baertschi blazing all over the ice with speed and playmaking, but he was pretty-well coasting most of the evening.
  • Rafferty is the teams best defenseman. I know the coaches and management like Chatfield because of his crash-bang style, but Rafferty, for my money’s worth, is the defensive prospect to watch for the foreseeable future. He’s so calm with the puck and consistently makes the right play over the easy play, gotta love a guy who looks like a pro out there.
  • Zane McIntyre was somehow the reason the Comets were winning and losing this game. He came up huge on I can’t even count, how many, short-handed chances, but on the penalty kill, he let in some brutal softies five-hole. Three goals against on 40 shots though is quite impressive, and given how dominant the Penguins were while maintaining the offensive, it’s a miracle the game wasn’t 8-2 for the Pens.
  • I like his game, but I’m aware he needs to be more dynamic to get notice from the Canucks staff to warrant a look. Lukas Jasek continues to impress with his two-way game at the AHL level. The transition to center hasn’t been that easy for Jasek; I thought he looked better playing between Bailey and Bancks last week than he did between MacEwen and Goldobin. I think Jasek needs someone playing with speed, and since MacEwen isn’t bringing that to start the season, it’s hard for Jasek to utilize his vision and passing game. He and Goldobin did look good together though; if they keep those two together, I can see the kind of success they could have. That would require Goldobin playing with a bit more gusto however.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Reid Boucher
  • Brogan Rafferty
  • Lukas Jasek

 

The Comets Trajectory?

 

The Comets return next Wednesday for their home opener as they take on the Syracuse Crunch for their first of a 12 games series this season. The Crunch are 2w-0l-1otl-1sol to start their season, having beat the Cleveland Monsters 6-3 this Saturday The Comets, jumbled roster and all, managed to pick up two points again on the road. Hopefully, one of Graovac or Malone is ready to return to the lineup by the time Wednesday rolls around, but if not, the lineup blender somehow pulled a rabbit out of the hat tonight here in Wilkes-Barre, and just maybe it’ll work out again in front of the Comets faithful at home.

 

As always, if you want to read up on this Comets Harvest or the 2018-19 Farmies editions, you can find them all at my Comets Harvest Blog here

 

If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

10/5/19 – Utica Comets @ Binghamton Devils

Welcome, all to the Farmies rebrand – the Comets Harvest thank you so much to all that voted and helped me pick out a name! It was a close vote, but it was way easier to rebuild my graphics on the fly, then do a complete rebuild. Also, the name rolls off the tongue better than everything else, so once again, thank you to those who voted and who continue to read Comets content that I write!

 

Also completely unrelated, but MAJOR shout out and props go out to Nate from the Canuck’s discord server for the absolute BDE move of drafting Loui Eriksson in the Canuck’s discord fantasy hockey pool. Seriously check out the Discord channel; if you haven’t already, there’s some fun to be had there!

Now let’s get into some AHL hockey, shall we!

 

After what felt like a lifetime, the longest offseason in Vancouver Canucks history has FINALLY ended, and tonight the Utica Comets 2019-20 AHL season starts anew. The Comets 2018-19 Season was an unmitigated disaster, to say the least; a season mired in injuries. From the get-go, the Comets never seemed to gain any form of traction, despite featuring a lineup that ended with THREE 50+ point-getters, the Comets simply lacked the necessary depth in ALL areas of their lineup to be able to stop pucks from going into their own net adequately.

 

This year, the Canucks management believe they’ve finally cracked the depth code; with NHL properties, Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin and Alex Biega joining the Comets to start the season, the Canucks believe that when injuries occur (and trust us, THEY WILL occur), the healthy competition for spots on both the AHL and NHL roster means they’ll be able to supplement BOTH their NHL and AHL roster in the event another injury-apocalypse occurs, akin to the injury-apocalypse that occurred throughout their 2018-19 campaigns.

 

Optimistically speaking a healthy competition for spots will be good for the AHL club, no one wants to ride the bench in the AHL, nor does anyone want to get demoted to the ECHL either, whether they have healthy competition in the right areas of the lineup though is entirely up for debate.

 

The last time we saw the Comets in the regular season, they were battling their hearts out to win a tightly contested match against the league’s 2nd best team, for their retiring blue liner Jaime Sifers. They split their preseason against Binghamton, going 1-1-0-0, but of course the win wasn’t broadcast so we can only hope that their success in that game is something that can translate over to the regular season, and with a roster of sophomore players looking to re-stake their claim on the tops of the prospect depth charts, the season should be a feisty one, with numerous guys looking to make a name for themselves, and carve out a fulltime position on this 2019-20 Utica Comets roster.

 

With all that preamble aside, let’s get into tonight’s game against the Binghamton Devils. The Comets lost the season head-to-head against the Devils last season, going 3w-5L and getting outscored 27-24 across all 8 contests.

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Lind Camper Boucher
Gadjovich Graovac MacEwen
Bailey Jasek Bancks
Arseneau Hamilton Stevenson
LD RD
Brisebois Rafferty
Juolevi Sautner
Teves Chatfield
G
Zane McIntyre

 

Lines aren’t in any particular order to start just how they were in the warm-up skate. Liking the mixture of vets with the young guns up and down the lineup; REALLY dicey looking defensive group though…the most experienced guy being Ashton Sautner and his 189 AHL and 22 NHL games. The D-corps did alright against the Binghamton B-squad last week in preseason, but the pressure will be on tonight as they face their full AHL squad here tonight.

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Seamus Malone (arm) Francis Perron (DTD)

 

Healthy Scratches
R. Bachman A. Biega D. Blujus S. LeBlanc M. Eliot N. Goldobin S. Baertschi

 

1st period

 

Comets in Blue

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 1-0 Devils

 

A strong start for the Comets, despite the scoreline; impressive, confident play from the sophomore group, and it showed on the stat sheet as the Comets outshot the Devils 13 to 6 over 20 minutes. I’m liking the lines that Trent Cull and go have put together for tonight’s match, hoping that the first line has shaken off the cobwebs and can start getting some more pressure in the offensives zone. The second and third lines were really the story of the period as Jasek, Bailey, Gadjovich, and Arseneau shined in their attempts to set up plays and get pucks in the net.

 

2nd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 4-1 Comets

 

Domination is a phrase that doesn’t even do that period justice. That was 20 minutes straight of the Utica Comets controlling the tempo of play, all three zones…the Devils honestly had no answer and completely turtled the entire period… impressive periods from Kole Lind, Reid Boucher, Justin Bailey, and Brogan Rafferty. I don’t have too much tape on Rafferty, but he plays like a veteran out there, very poised, calm and controlled…rarely has he ever made any kind of rushed decision with the puck, very calculated in his distribution.

 

3rd period

 

 

The exhaustion definitely set in, but the Comets held it together and earn a thrilling 4-3 victory on the road to start off their 2019-20 campaign.

 

Final Score: 4-3 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Binghamton Nathan Bastian Mikhail Maltsev Julian Melchiori 5v5
2nd Utica Carter Camper Kole Lind Olli Juolevi 5v5
2nd Utica Reid Boucher Kole Lind Lukas Jasek 5v5
2nd Utica Justin Bailey Carter Bancks 5v5
2nd Utica Guillaume Brisebois Reid Boucher Kole Lind 5v5
3rd Binghamton Josh Jacobs Michael McLeod 4v4
3rd Binghamton Joey Anderson Brett Seney Chris Conner 6v5

 

Takeaways

 

  • Comets young group of sophomores were playing like they had something to prove and boy did they ever. Impressive two-way games from the sophomore players, Lind, Jasek, and Gadjovich. Lind especially had himself one hell of a night, dazzling in the offensive zone with his calm playmaking under pressure. If Lind can maintain gameplay like he did tonight and he and Boucher find that spark akin to the one Boucher and Kero had last season, then oh boy, it’s going to be a dynamite sophomore season for Kole Lind.
  • Justin Bailey arguably is too good to be playing 2nd line AHL hockey; his speed is miles above the majority of his team, just rewatch some of those breakaway streamable’s, he might actually be able to bump himself up the call-up sheets if he manages to maintain this kind of gameplay over the course of the season.
  • Reid Boucher looks to have not taken a step back from his 31 goal campaign last season, and he seems to have definitely stepped up as a leader on this young squad. Was in every scrum the team got into, had Kole Lind’s back multiple times, had his goalies back, even when arguably he could’ve dialled it back, but I like this Reid Boucher. Consistency for him will always be the key, and like I said for Lind, if they’re able to capture lightning in a bottle with that pairing on the first line, then they will be a force to be reckoned with.
  • Lukas Jasek looked OK at center, he certainly still has some growing pains to go through getting used to face-offs mostly, but he looked dangerous from the circle, rattling off 3 shots on the night, creating some high danger plays and generally being one of the teams better transition players through neutral ice. Looking forward to his deployment as the season progresses to see how he adapts to the new role; I think with a player like Justin Bailey on his wing, a big body who can win face-offs and who can wheel like no other on the team, I think Jasek will be in good hands under his leadership ability.
  • Quiet night from Olli Juolevi, not to say he had a bad game, he did have a few unforced errors in his own end that directly led to scoring chances and goals against for Binghamton, but his passing game never looked better, his ability to find teammates rink wide hasn’t gone away, and his ability to step up into the offensive for a blast on the net is still there… still needs to work on his physicality though, on quite a few occasions he appeared to wilt under the pressure of an aggressive forecheck, that being said, the Binghamton Devils DO run a BIG team relative to the Comets, but given the Comets face off against the Devils 8 times this season , it would be a good idea for OJ48 to start working on his strength to be able to compete against their physical play.

 

Comets Three Stars

  • Kole Lind – three assists and a game worthy of silencing all the critics and doubters that wrote him off at the end of last season
  • Justin Bailey – strong two-way game and speed for days, was a dangerous force every time he was on the ice
  • Brogan Rafferty – a standout in tonight’s game on the blue line, it may not have shown in the number of clips, but Rafferty was solid in all aspects of the game tonight; 2 shots on net, several fantastic outlet passes to his forwards for high danger scoring chances, incredibly calm defensive efforts to deny the Devils from scoring opportunities. Rafferty might be one of the first guys to get a call-up this season
    Honourable Mentions: Reid Boucher, Lukas Jasek, and Carter Camper, who had one goal and led the Comets with shots on net.

 

What’s Next?

 

The Comets are on the road again next Saturday as they visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Penguins are coming off a similar win in their season debut, as they defeated the Hershey Bears 4-3. The Comets might also see the appearances of Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Biega, and Sven Baerstschi next week. The question after tonight’s impressive victory being, who slots out of this squad to make the space? Until that day, though, let us appreciate what was, a great season debut for a Comets team that struggled down the stretch last season.

10/12/19 – Utica Comets vs. Charlotte Checkers

What’s up Canucks fans, Farmies hitting you up with the second REWIND edition while we wait for this weekends triple header! I thought that given the trade of Tanner MacMaster and the call-up of Guillaume Brisebois in the wake of Alex Edlers brutal injury, meant it’d be a good time to revisit some of the Comets earlier games again to look for any noticeable improvements in our prospects games, or see some area’s that maybe they have still yet to figure out.

 

Also given that I’m pretty apprehensive about “Brisebois being better than Pouliot,” a comment or remark I’ve read several times across twitter and other mediums, I thought since I kind of come across really negative or down on Breeze, that it would be fair for me to continue my attempt at revisiting ALL the Comets games of this season so that my impression and opinion, criticisms or praises of him AND others in the Comets lineup be fair and valid so as I dont sound like a massive homer, or sound like I’m just picking favorites.

 

Firstly though, to lay it out there, I get what the Canucks are doing, they want to see what they got in their 2015 3rd rounder…I get it, and it makes sense….I just genuinely believe that if the Canucks are calling up a D-man with a high probability of them being required to play a game or two while Edler’s out, then Evan McEneny would be THAT guy due to how strong he’s been playing the last two months since their other #1 D-man, Ashton Sautner went down with injury…

 

Based on all that I’ve watched, I just want everyones expectations to be put in check, because I think Brisebois could be a third pairing Troy Stecher type of player, but he’s just a few years from that point…he’s fast yes, he can step up into the play, and attempts to be physical, but defensively he still has a lot of brain farts while holding the puck and can have very Gudbranson/Pouliot like passing gaffes…so anyone expecting someone infinitely better than 5 or 44 to step into the lineup, they need to check themselves a bit, because the egg-timer hasn’t gone off yet, at least for me…he could completely prove me wrong and just find another gear and pops off in the NHL but I just needed to put a realistic take out there cause I’ve been reading some head-scratchers

 

And RE: my take on McEneny, clearly his skating is the biggest detriment to his game…I think anyone who goes through a brutal knee repair surgery wont be the quickest guy ever, but his positioning and awareness on the ice makes up for his lack of skating as he rarely puts himself in a position to be caught too far up or in a position that leaves his D partner to cover for him. In fact he is the one doing the coverage for his partner, whether it was Sautner, Blujus, Garham or Sifers. I understand that a lot of Utica fans complain that for a bigger D-man he doesn’t put his body into his checks, which is a criticism I totally get, I also get not wanting to blow out your knee on your last contract before becoming a UFA….just give the guy a chance…he’s fucking 5th on the team in points! He’s got 23 points as a d-man and the next highest is fucking Olli Juolevi who’s been out since November 17th, that means SINCE THEN not a single D-man has even been able to pass Juolevi’s totals… he’s quite literally the ONLY d-man generating offense for this team lol…. for the record, Brisebois sits 19th on the team in points, with 9 points, tied with offensive dyanmo’s Jaime Sifers and Carter Bancks

 

Annnnnyways lets get into this Rewind and see how our prospects looked in the early stages of their AHL games to see if we can highlight any nuggets of gold, or coal!

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
MacMaster Kero Boucher
Archibald Gaudette Dahlen
Bancks Woods Lind
MacEwen Darcy Gadjovich
LD RD
Juolevi Chatfield
McEneny Sautner
Brisebois Sifers
G
Richard Bachman

 

Kind of funny looking at this game 3 of the season’s lineup and comparing to where we’re at now.

 

Benched
Dirk Blujus Jasek Arseneau Palmu Carcone

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Demko Gaunce Hamilton

 

Streamable Clarity Improvement Notice

 

Continuing with last issues theme, going to be Players full name (jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) then every sub sequential play featuring that player it’ll be last name(jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) I’m also going to reduce the amount of hyperlink in the GOAL streamables, since that’s what I think MOST people are here for and don’t want some gaudy blue taking up the screen.

 

1st period

 

Comets in White

 

 

Score at the end of the first period: 2-2 Tie

 

Pretty typical Comets period, come out swinging early, score a couple early, regress a bit and struggle in the neutral zone leading to a lot of breakout opportunities for the opposing team. Comets out shot the Checkers 16 to 10 in that one….now this second period is usually where they completely turtle and get lit up, wonder if things were different earlier this season!

 

2nd Period

 

 

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

 

Well it wasn’t as bad as I thought, not a lot of chances for the Comets, but boy did they have trouble getting out of their own end, like A LOT of trouble. I actually really liked Gadjovich and MacEwen on a line together, they actually didn’t look half bad, some solid passing and breakouts from the two

 

3rd Period

 

 

The Score at the end of the 3rd period: 4-3 Charlotte Checkers

 

Its kind of funny seeing the Comets be the exact opposite of the Canucks, start strong early and then just completely vanish late.. and it looks like they’ve been maintaining this strategy since the beginning. Another brutal 2nd and 3rd from the Comets sees them outshot 21 to 9. The scoreline would imply a tightly contested game, but man they were barely staying afloat in this one.

 

Final Score: 4-3 Utica Comets

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Utica Reid Boucher Tanner MacMaster 5v5
1st Utica Adam Gaudette Kole Lind PPG
1st Charlotte Saku Maenalanen Clark Bishop SHG
1st Charlotte Dennis Robertson Alndrew Poturalski 5v5
2nd Charlotte Morgan Geekie Cliff Pu Spencer Smallman 5v5
3rd Utica Reid Boucher Zack MacEwen 5V5
3rd Charlotte Dennis Robertson Julian Gauthier Saku Maenalanen 5v5

 

Takeaways

  • Not much to say really, Gadjovich looked a lot better than I really expected him to in the early part of the season…his compete was there, he played hard along the boards, created chances…not quite sure where the “lack of compete” and “adapting to the AHL” thing came from, because he was game man, and now that we’re 45 games deep into the season, its clear the Charlotte Checkers are the best team in the AHL, and here he was tonight being effective on the penalty kill and in the offensive zone against a very game and tough opponent. Not sure why he had to slide out so we could give more ice-time to Arseneau, Woods, Bancks, Hamilton and other defensive, bottom 6 AHL’ers. …that being said Gadj is a consummate pro and said in interviews since the start of the season that adapting to the mens league would be the hardest for him…but still…the guy should have been given games after this performance…he looked good with MacEwen and benching him every second game for the rest of the month seemed like a huge mistake.
  • I think the most disappointing thing for me was seeing the stark contrast in the Tanner MacMaster of December/January and the October MacMaster…he looked sharp, head up, good on the offensive, fast on his skates…the guy as of late must ‘ve had his confidence absolutely rattled after getting shafted on the bench for the better part of December and leading into January…given the comments from Palmu after returning to the Liiga, I can’t say I’m surprised that MacMaster’s ability may have dipped…hard to tolerate being benched if you don’t know when you’re going to slide back in, and even when you do, you have no idea what kind of game you’re expected to play….not every prospect/rookie has to play like Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton and Brendan Woods to earn their ice time, players have their own style of play, and I really hope molding Canucks rookies to be like AHL depth plugs isn’t the over-arching game plan for the development squad because that shit just isn’t going to work for some of these kids styles of play
  • Defensive gaffes and compete/energy level aside, I cant help but be so dissappointed watching Olli Juolevi play…I really think he’d have come into his own in the latter half of this season, just like Gadjovich and Lind have… His passing is just so crisp and smooth… get this kid working with the same skating/explosiveness coach that Zack MacEwen worked with and this kid will prove everybody wrong and be a force in the NHL. Even based on this game alone, I can confidently say his passing and vision are head and shoulders above all other d-men. I pump McEneny’s tires a lot based on his reliable play, but he and everyone else has got nothing on Juolevi’s offensive potential. Juolevi will most likely be working on his skating regardless, post-knee injury recovery, so I can’t wait to see what he’ll look like fully healthy at next years camp.

 

Comets Three Stars

  1. Zack MacEwen
  2. Adam Gaudette
  3. Kole Lind

 

What’s Next?

 

The Regular Farmies will return this weekend, when the Comets return for a BRUTAL triple header against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Rochester Americans and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In theory, I should’ve been resting my wrists for the weekend, but I needed to flex my writing muscles, even if there wasn’t much to write home about!

 

Until then, I Hope you guys enjoyed this REWIND edition of the Farmies, and as always any feedback, improvement suggestions, content or highlights you’d like me to focus/pick out during games, let me know and I’ll do my best to provide during the next Farmies!

 

10/6/18 – Utica Comets vs. Belleville Senators

2nd Part of my Farmies:Rewind series where I look over games that happened pre-Farmies. Due to the nature of revieiwing multiple games in one night, these are a bit more stripped down than the usual Farmies.

Comets in White

  1st Period

2nd Period

3rd Period

Score at the end of the third period: 3-1 Comets

Well this was a fun game to watch. Utica was dominant, and had a nasty penalty kill, going 3/3 on the PK with the 1 7 minute long penalty being the most impressive kill I’ve seen from any team. Was interesting to see Lind get subbed out as I thought he had a pretty impressive first game with the Comets, and looked great on a line with Gaudette and Archibald…kind of the same case tonight as well, where Palmu looked really good playing with Gaudette and Archibald…things kinda went funky in the 3rd period when Brendan Woods got tossed from the game, so lines started to get jumbled pretty quickly and went off the rails a bit…but honestly Palmu specifically showed good hustle on his shifts, was leading a lot of zone entry attempts, and was controlling the puck quite well minus a few shifts where he looked gassed.