It’s been another exciting week for Canucks prospects as the Comets played 3 games in less than 72 hours, but they weren’t going to throw out "schedule loss" as an excuse two days before the game has already started. The Comets are now officially 1/3 of the way through their inagural season. Things are starting to slow down for the WHL, OHL and NCAA but despite the holiday season there is still plenty of hockey to get updated on.
As always, follow me @nuckprospects on Twitter for the latest in prospect news and feed free to send me any feedback on anything prospect related you wish me to cover.
Without further ado..
Friday evening the Comets played in Utica vs. the Binghamton Senators (15th (50.29%) in Possession, 101.1% PDO, 7th in the East), the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators. They won the Calder Cup three seasons ago and have recently been known, at least around Ottawa, to have done a good job of developing top prospects. The first period was completely dominated by the BSens and Eriksson kept Utica in the game. The Comets managed to strike first 7:48 in. Three minutes later the BSens scored, also on the PP, to tie it up. It was 1-1 at the end of the first.
At the beginning of the second the Senators quickly scored but then after that it was all Comets as Cal O’Reilly notched his first of the game and then Colin Stuart scored three more times earning the Comet’s first franchise hat trick and 4-goal night. One of the goals was initially credited to Darren Archibald but was later changed on review. Assists came from Pascal Pelletier (3), Archibald, Nik Jensen, Benn Ferriero, Frank Corrado, Patrick Mullen, and O’Reilly. The final score was 5-2 for the Comets with shots in favour of the Senators 44-33. Mallet was much more noticeable in this game, he needs to be more consistent and he will do well. Grenier lead the team with 7 SOG while Jensen had 0. The Comets were 2 for 5 on the PP and 3 for 4 on the #POWERKILL. Eriksson made 42 of 44 saves to nicely increase his save percentage.
Saturday night the Comets played again, this time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton against the Penguins (3rd in the East, 8th (52.10%) in Possession, 102% PDO), the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a much less heated affair. Utica remained in charge of possession through the first two periods but they kept finding themselves on the receiving end of penalties. It cost them in the end as the Comets lost 0-1 with the lone goal coming with a man down. Joe Cannata was in net for this game making 17 of 18 saves. The final shot tally was 22-18 for the Comets with Lain and Pelletier receiving 3 SOG each while Jensen had 2 SOG. The PP went 0-for-4 and the PK went 5-for-6. Cannata was the third star.
Sunday afternoon the Comets headed back to Utica to play their third game in three days, second game in less than 18 hours as they faced the Lake Erie Monsters (8th in the West, 9th (51.69%) in Possession and 99% PDO), the AHL Affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, in what initally looked like a "schedule loss". Possession and goals were traded back and forth all night with the score being tied 2-2 at the end of the third period sending the game to OT. Archibald laid another monster hit on Stollery. Interesting to note who was to start on the ice for OT was: Huskins, Mullen, O’Reilly and Ferriero, all non-Canuck prospects.
In the SO the Comets used Ferriero, Pelletier, Grenier and Jensen. Grenier and Jensen both scored and Jensen finally scored his first goal for the Comets in the second period on the PP, as well as earned the first star of the night. Canucks fans who are over-reacting, on a small sample size, can finally breath a sigh of relief. The Comets ended up winning in the SO for a final score of 3-2 with the other goal scored by Kellen Lain. Assists went to Peter Andersson, Alex Biega, O’Reilly and Grenier. Shots on Goal were in favour of the Comets 31-28 with Ferriero leading the team with 4. Eriksson made 26 of 28 saves, and the Comets were 1-for-4 on the PP and 3-for-4 on the PK.
Players stats who have played at least one game with the Comets, (X) indicates not currently on the active roster, so far are:
|6||Yannick Weber (X)||D||25||7||2||5||7||1.00||15||2.14||-5||0||13.3|
|20||Zac Dalpe (X)||R||24||6||0||3||3||0.50||14||2.33||-6||2||0|
|42||David Booth (X)||F||28||3||0||1||1||0.33||6||2.00||-1||0||0|
Goalies so far:
- In a surprise move, Zach Hamill was placed on unconditional waivers by the Vancouver Canucks. It sounds like he has a new agent and is looking to go to Europe. Comets don’t have much firepower so to lose a guy who has produced a few points hurts them. He has played every game so far, scored 2G, 6P (0.32 PPG at a 4.8% Sh% which was bound to regress). He’s in the middle of the pack for SOG/G PPG and ice time. He has a 47% Ev Strength GoalFor%. Hamill sees no future with the Canucks and is looking at Europe for more money, most likely the KHL. Hopefully the Comets can find another guy like Cal O’Reilly to help them.
Currently the Comets are in 15th place with 18 points (8-15-1-1). Shy of 14th by 3 points. They have been out-scored 56 to 78 (-22), and have been outshot 684 to 746 (-62). They are controlling 47.83% (acknowledging score effects) of the shots with a shooting percentage of 8.1% and a save percentage of 89.7%. A simple version of PDO puts them at 97.8%. Their PP is currently at 19.57% (11th place) and their PK is 75.00% (30th place). While their PP keeps improving, their PK continues to get worse and is now officially the worst in the league. Puck possession-close rankings at the beginning of the week put them at 21st (48.30%) which is not as bad as they have been playing, their low PDO is not helping.
Henrik Tommernes was injured last weekend and did not play any of games this week. He is not officially on the IR yet so it might not be a long term injury. Adam Polasek was called up to have an extra defencemen but he has not played. It is a similar situation with the Canucks where they wont call up Corrado because they won’t play him, so why even call him up at all if he won’t get a hance.
The Comets play twice this week at home, both times against the Abbotsford Heat. Tonight and on Friday night. Then they have the week off till after Christmas.
Here’s the current #fancystats of the Utica Comets compared to the rest of the league:
Brendan Gaunce continues his strong production with the Erie Otters. He is playing alongside Conner Brown, pick of the Maple Leafs, and Dane Fox, a unsigned overage free agent who is producing at 2 PPG. @glitch80 spent the weekend tweeting all the Canucks players in hopes of getting their attention and sharing the name of the player with GM Mike Gillis. The problem is, unsigned overagers rarely (ed note: almost never) pan out in the NHL.
Make sure to watch the Quest for the Cup Episode 3 with the London Knights which should be online soon. See more of Bo Horvat’s play and Miles Liberati’s trade. Horvat hasn’t been playing with London this week as he is off to the WJC selection camp. He didn’t play in the CIS/WJC game as it is believed he is a lock to make the team.
Cole Cassels week was nothing special for the year he has had. Jordan Subban continues to contribute offence in Belleville and will likely stay with them another year. Evan McEneny is doing well in Kingston and scored another goal on the year.
In the OHL East, Oshawa is first with 50 points. Kingston is third with 38 points, North Bay is 5th with 36 points and Belleville is in 10th with 20 points. In the West Erie is first with 59 points (they also maintain a 57% Possession-Close and a 105% PDO) and London is third with 53 points.
And so far this year the stats of these players are:
|Miles Liberati||D||North Bay||10||1||0||1||0.10||-1||6|
Hunter Shinkaruk did not play for Medicine Hat again this week as he was also at the Team Canada selection camp. He notched an assist off of McDavid’s goal in the 3-0 win over the CIS team. Yahoo’s Buzzing the Net wrote a good article on him. Bodog is currently giving 5/2 odds on Shinkaruk being the scoring leader at the WJC this year.
Portland is currently second in the West with 50 points while Medicine Hat is 4th in the East with 45 points.
And so far this season the players stats in the WHL are:
|Hunter Shinkaruk||L||Medicine Hat||18||5||11||16||0.89||-2||29|
The University of Maine had a strong weekend against American International winning 7-1 and 5-1. In their first game Maine was up 7-1 before earning their first power play. In the two games Hutton earned 2A and registered 5 SOG. He still is producing at over 3.0 SOG/G. Maine is now on Christmas break until Dec 28 vs Princeton.
The University of Wisconsin played another two games this weekend against Colorado College winning 4-1 and 4-3 in OT. They are also on Christmas break until December 27th. Joseph LaBate played in both games earning a single goal and placing 6 SOG.
Penn State, Yale and Harvard are already on their Christmas breaks and have not played a game this week.
Statistics of NCAA players:
|Mike Williamson||D||Penn State||6||1||2||3||0.50||1||8||1.33||11|
The Kalamazoo Wings played three times this week with Ludwig Blomstrand scoring two goals and David Pacan scoring one as well. Jeremy Blain did not play, nor did Polasek (as he has been recalled to Utica). Kalamazoo plays two games this week on Friday and Saturday.
Gwinnett played twice this week with Sacha Guimond earning his second ECHL goal of the year. Gwinnett will play twice this week of Friday and Saturday
Steven Anthony’s production dipped this week as he earned 0 points in the last three games and didnt even record a SOG in two of them. Hopefully it’s just a small blip on the road and he will recover back to what he was before (rather than riding high percentages before). The Chill play four times in the upcoming week, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Wheeling Nailers played three games this week, in their Friday game their starter was pulled after letting in 4 goals on 16 shots in the first 33 minutes. Corbeil played the last 25 minutes and stopped 5 of 5 shots. Wheeling plays twice this week on Friday and Saturday.
Statistics of players in the ECHL so far are:
|Anthony||F||CHL St Charles||12||2||6||8||0.67||-4||27||2.25||4|
Statistics of Corbeil on the year:
|Mathieu Corbeil||ECHL Wheeling||G||2||86||0||0||1||0||0||44||1.00%|
|Mathieu Corbeil||CHL St. Charles||G||6||236||21||5.35||0||2||1||103||0.831|
Neither Anton Rodin nor Ronalds Kenins played a game this week. The latter due to his broken jaw.
|Anton Rodin||W||SHL Brynas||22||26||9||16||25||0.96||0||22|
|Ronalds Kenins||LW||Swiss ZSC||22||25||5||11||16||0.64||9||12|
Some extra reading for you.
- Comets a Hit in Utica [AHL]
This week has been slower than others as we start to head towards Christmas. It is good to see the Comets are doing better than at the beginning of the year. Despite hockey starting to slow down I will continue blogging what is happening. Make sure to watch the World Junior Championships to see Shinkaruk and Horvat and don’t forget to follow me at @nuckprospects for all the latest in Canucks Prospect news. Until next week!