Comets Militia: Down on the Farm – October 24th, 2014

14_1017-Markstrom

Courtesy of UticaComets.com

Welcome to
this week’s Comets Militia where we review all the action from the Utica
Comets.  The year is continuing quite
well for the Canucks AHL affiliate as they went 2-1 in the last week, and the
success looks like it could continue for some time.  Should anything happen to the Canucks that
causes lineup changes for the Comets they have capable ECHL depth ready to call on.

Read past
the jump for all the latest analysis on the Utica Comets.

The Comets are currently in 1st in the North Division with 7 points in 5
games.  They have a record of 3-1-1-0
which places them 2nd place in the Western Conference.  The Milwaukee Admirals are currently the only team ahead of them
with 8 points in 4 games. 

The Utica
Comets have out-scored their opposition 10 to 5 (+5 differential) while
outshooting them 148 to 139 (+9 differential). 
This time last year, the Comets were already in the negative for both of
those statistics allowing 19 goals in the first 5 games.  The Comets shot differential is likely being dragged down by score effects, as they have controlled 59.18% of the shots in the first and second periods. While this team is unlikely to be that dominant for the
entire year, even after regression to the mean we should continue to expect the
Comets to be a strong team. 

A big flaw
for the Comets right now is their PDO which has increased to 103.16% which will
regress towards the mean.  When we look
at the component parts we can see the Shooting Percentage is a very low 6.76%
while the Save Percentage is a very high .964. 
Last year league Sv% was .910, so it is unlikely that Jacob Markstrom can post
shutouts forever but the shooting percentage should rise as well.

The special
teams have seen some regression in the past week as the power-play went 1 for
14, dropping them 9 places to 19th in powerplay efficiency at
13.64%.  The penalty-kill has continued
to be perfect at 18 for 18.  Neither one
of those numbers the team can maintain for the season: the penalty-kill is due
to drop, but the power-play, which went 2 for 10 in the first 2 games, is
likely to see some success as the Comets are getting great chances while on the
man-advantage. 

Friday’s
3-0 Win @ San Antonio

The Forwards:

Jones-O’Reilly-Jensen
Shinkaruk – Jeffrey – Grenier
DeFazio-Lain-Archibald
Gaunce-Hamilton-Bancks

The Defence:

Huskins – Corrado
Andersson – Sanguinetti
Ehrhardt – Biega

Tommernes was sitting out to allow Ehrhardt to get a look.  Friesen is still hurt and did not play for any of the three games this week.  Shane O’Brien was in the opponents lineup and hitting Comets like it was a Friday night at the Roxy.  The best line from the Play-by-Play guy this game came when he said that Gaunce was welcome for his intangibles such as the fitness numbers he puts up (which aren’t really intangible at all…).

The Utica Comets started off their playing week by facing Jacob
Markstrom’s old team, the San Antonio Rampage (affiliate of the Florida
Panthers).  The Comets controlled most of
the game and were able to walk away with a 3-0 Win.  Shots were in favour of the Rampage
28-24.  The three Comets goals were
scored by Alex Biega, Brendan Gaunce and Carter Bancks.  Assists were credited to Hunter Shinkaruk,
Dustin Jeffrey and Carter Bancks. 
Gaunce, Jensen and DeFazio lead the team in SOG with 3 each.  Jacob Markstrom put up a
shutout making 28 saves and earning the first star on the night.  Gaunce and Bancks were given the second and
third stars respectively.  The power-play
went 0 for 1 while the penalty-kill was perfect at 4-for-4.

Saturday’s
0-1 Loss @ Texas

The Forwards:

Shinkaruk-O’Reilly-Jensen
Gaunce-Hamilton-Bancks
Archibald-Jeffrey-DeFazio
Jones-Lain-Kenins

The Defence:

Ehrhardt-Biega
Sanguinetti-Andersson
Tommernes-Huskins

On Saturday
night, a fatigued Utica played again the Texas Stars (affiliate of the Dallas
Stars), Willie Desjardins’ old team. 
Despite outplaying the Stars for most of the game, Utica could not get
one by Star’s netminder Jussi Rynnas, and a single goal from Brendan Gaunce’s
older brother Cameron was the difference.  The Comets lost
0-1 and the shots on goal were tied at 29. 
Nicklas Jensen and Brandon DeFazio lead the Comets in SOG with 4
each.  Joacim Eriksson played this game
making 28 saves on 29 shots.  The
power-play went 0 for 4 while the penalty-kill went 4 for 4.  Eriksson did earn himself the third star of
the game.

Wednesday’s
3-0 Win vs Adirondack

The Forwards:

Jones-Horvat-DeFazio
Jensen-O’Reilly-Kenins
Archibald-Jeffrey-Shinkaruk
Zalewski-Gaunce-Bancks

The Defence:

Andersson-Sanguinetti
Ehrhardt-Biega
Huskins-Tommernes

On
Wednesday, the Comets played their first home game of the year against the
Adirondack Flames (affiliate of the Calgary Flames).  Grenier, Friesen and Lain are still hurt.  Comets controlled the entire game and were
able to walk away with a 3-0 win, outshooting Adirondack 34-29.  Utica goals came from Hunter Shinkaruk
(originally credited to Darren Archibald), Nicklas Jensen and Brandon DeFazio
(shorthanded).  Assists went to Ehrhardt,
Cal O’Reilly, Ryan Jones, and Dustin Jeffrey.  Jensen led the team with 8 shots on goal. 
Jacob Markstrom was perfect on 29 shots and earned himself another
shutout and the first star of the game. 
DeFazio and Shinkaruk earned the second and third stars.  The power-play went 1 for 7 while the
penalty-kill was perfect, again, on all 3 attempts. 

Bo Horvat
played in this game; it was his first game in the AHL and of the regular
season.  GM Pat Conachar didn’t have
great things to say about him, saying he was watching a little too much instead
of moving, and in the faceoff circle he struggled.  But this could be expected since he hadn’t played in a
while.

Best PxP line from Brendan M. Burke: “The key to the game is to use the crowd to score the first goal”.

Transactions

  • Frank Corrado has been called up to
    Vancouver.  Tommernes has taking
    Corrado’s place with Kent Huskins allowing Travis Ehrhardt to earn regular
    shifts. 
  • Bo Horvat was assigned to the Utica
    Comets where he will be for a maximum of 6 games (or two-weeks) to get back
    into game shape and be given his NHL 9-game tryout.
  • Kane Lafranchise was sent to Kalamazoo
    and then recalled to Utica to be the team’s 7th defencemen.
  • Jeremie Blain has still yet to play
    and was sent to Kalamazoo to earn some playing time.
  • John Negrin (Kalamazoo) and Patrick
    Kennedy (Evansville) were sent to the ECHL. 
    The K-Wing’s roster now mainly consists of Comets and ex-Comets property.
  • Not a Comet, but interesting to see
    that Nathan Longpre, once invited to Vancouver’s prospect camp, and written
    about here on
    Canucks Army, has also been sent to Kalamazoo
    from the Chicago Wolves.

Player
Stats

# Name POS GP G A Pts +/- PIM PPG SOG SoG/G Sh%
21 Dustin Jeffrey C 5 2 2 4 0 2 0.80 9 1.80 22.22%
28 Alexandre Grenier RW 3 1 2 3 2 0 1.00 5 1.67 20.00%
10 Brendan Gaunce LW 5 1 2 3 3 0 0.60 5 1.00 20.00%
9 Hunter Shinkaruk LW 5 1 2 3 0 0 0.60 10 2.00 10.00%
16 Cal O’Reilly C 5 0 3 3 -1 2 0.60 7 1.40 0.00%
24 Brandon DeFazio RW 5 2 0 2 -1 8 0.40 16 3.20 12.50%
34 Carter Bancks RW 5 1 1 2 2 2 0.40 6 1.20 16.67%
36 Wacey Hamilton C 4 0 2 2 2 2 0.50 7 1.75 0.00%
3 Alex Biega D 5 1 0 1 0 0 0.20 9 1.80 11.11%
17 Nicklas Jensen RW 5 1 0 1 -2 2 0.20 20 4.00 5.00%
2 Travis Ehrhardt D 3 0 1 1 1 0 0.33 1 0.33 0.00%
18 Ryan Jones LW 3 0 1 1 -1 7 0.33 4 1.33 0.00%
6 Bobby Sanguinetti D 5 0 1 1 3 0 0.20 8 1.60 0.00%
8 Alex Friesen C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1 1.00 0.00%
22 Bo Horvat C 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 2 2.00 0.00%
30 Joacim Eriksson G 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0.00 0.00%
19 Kellan Lain C 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 4 2.00 0.00%
14 Mike Zalewski LW 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 1 0.50 0.00%
26 Frank Corrado D 3 0 0 0 -1 2 0.00 3 1.00 0.00%
33 Jacob Markstrom G 3 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 0 0.00 0.00%
15 Ronalds Kenins LW 4 0 0 0 1 2 0.00 4 1.00 0.00%
7 Henrik Tommernes D 4 0 0 0 -2 0 0.00 10 2.50 0.00%
40 Peter Andersson D 5 0 0 0 4 4 0.00 2 0.40 0.00%
25 Darren Archibald LW 5 0 0 0 0 20 0.00 11 2.20 0.00%
29 Kent Huskins D 5 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 3 0.60 0.00%

Goaltenders

Name GP Min GA SO GAA W L OT SA
1 Jacob Markstrom 3 179:58:00 1 2 0.33 3 0 0 82
2 Joacim Eriksson 2 125:45:00 4 0 1.91 0 1 1 57


Jacob
Markstrom is leading the way in most goalie statistics down in the AHL with a
0.33 GAA and a .988 Sv%. 

Schedule

The next
week sees Utica playing three games with two at home.  On Friday and Saturday, the Comets will
play San Antonio and Toronto in the Aud, and then Utica will go on the road to
Binghamton to play on Wednesday. 

If all
works out, I will be in Utica this weekend to do some more scouting of these
players.