Courtesy of UticaComets.com
It’s been another week for the Utica Comets as the Canucks
farm team has been busy in playing another three games. This week they went 2-0-1 and walked away with 5 of possible 6 as they maintain a grasp as one of the top teams in the
Read past the jump to get the details on what just went down
on the farm.
The Utica Comets are currently sitting 1st in
their division with 18 points in 11 games, 6 points ahead of 2nd
place Rochester, who has one game in hand.
Their 8-1-2-0 record has placed them first in the conference, 1 point
ahead of Rockford. That success has led
the Comets to be cleanly sitting in first place in the league.
So far this season the Comets have outscored their opponents
31-17 (+14) and have outshot them as well 344-308 (+36). Their possession data continues to be very
strong with the Comets sitting at an Est. Fenwick Close of 58.92%, which has
them sitting first in the league, so far their success looks it should continue
PDO is a bit worrisome for the Comets (thought in the
grand scheme of things it’s not that great).
The Comets are currently sitting with a 103.5% PDO which is regressing
to the mean. In its component parts the
Comets shooing percent is 9.01% which is sitting right at the league
average. Thir Sv% is at 94.48%. While we would expect Markstrom and Eriksson
to be good enough to be above league average it’s not likely they are that good
and will continue to stop shots at a level that high.
The Special Teams Index (PP% + PK%) for the Comets has moved much closer
to the mean especially over the last week.
The Penalty Kill has taken the biggest hit as it is no longer perfect
and had three goals against in one game.
At an 89.13% efficiency, the Comets went 11 for 15 this week and have
dropped four places to 5th place.
The power-play is so far the team’s weakest area; the team went 2 for 9
this week good for a 15.91% efficiency on the year and 19th in the
league (dropping down 5 places).
Friday’s 5-4 OT Loss vs Binghamton
Friday’s game was important to Markstrom as he tried to
continue his shutout streak and break AHL records. That did not last long as the Comets were
scored against within the first 6 minutes; after that the floodgates were
opened. (If Markstrom can’t handle the
pressure of trying to break a shutout record then how will he handle the
pressure of Vancouver media? CLEARLY he
needs to be traded.) Markstrom now has
the league’s third longest
shutout streak, going 238 minutes and 8 seconds without being scored on.
For the first time all year the Comets were trailing after
the first and second periods. The game was 3-0
for Binghamton (Ottawa affiliate) towards the end of the 2nd but
then the Comets started scoring to tie it up 3-3 where eventually they lost in
OT. The Comets won the possession game
and the shots (44 to 27) largely in thanks to early score effects. Utica goals came from Travis Ehrhardt, Henrik
Tommernes, and Frank Corrado. Assists
came from Tommernes, Ronalds Kenins, and Cal O’Reilly (2x). Corrado lead the team in shots with 6. The penalty-kill let in 3 goals on 6 attempts
tonight while the power-play went 1 for 4.
Markstrom made 23 of 27 saves to bring his sv% back to earth a bit while Cal
O’Reilly earned the third star.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) October 31, 2014
Markstrom also received his award pre-game for being the AHL
player of the month. Apparently the
players actually receive a physical award.
Saturday’s 5-4 Win @ Adirondack
On Saturday the Comets headed off to Glens Falls to play
their favourite team: the Adirondack Flames (Calgary affiliate). Oprah must have been in the crowd because
everyone was scoring goals. The Comets
controlled the game and won the shot count 31-26 and despite being up by 3,
twice. The Comets held on to win 5-4.
Utica goals came from Nicklas Jensen, Brandon DeFazio, Alexandre
Grenier, Carter Bancks, and Peter Andersson.
Assists came from Alex Biega, Bobby Sanguinetti, Cal O’Reilly (2x), Nicklas Jensen, Darren Archibald and Wacey Hamilton.
In net was Joacim Eriksson who made 22 of 26 stops. The Comets went 7 for 8 against the Flames’
top-ranked power-play while Utica went 1 for 5 themselves. Bancks and O’Reilly earned the first and
third stars while the Flames prospect Emile Poirier scored 2 goals and earned
the second star. Flames goalie Joni Ortio was pulled after 15
minutes. O’Reilly and Jensen lead the
team with 4 shots each.
Wednesday’s 1-0 Win vs Binghamton
On Wednesday, the Comets returned home to face Binghamton
again in much more low-key affair. The
Comets controlled possession and ended up winning 1-0 with shots in their
favour 34-19. The lone goal came from
Nicklas Jensen and was assisted by Dustin Jeffrey and Bobby Sanguinetti. Hunter Shinkaruk led the team with 5 shots on
goal. Jacob Markstrom was back in net
making a perfect 19 saves on 19 shots for his 4th shutout of the
year. The penalty-kill was a perfect 1
for 1 while the power-play was 0 for 1.
Markstrom, Jensen and Jeffrey received the first, second and third
- Bo Horvat ends his conditioning stint and
returns to the NHL.
Ryan Jones was released from his PTO. In 5 games he had 6 SOG, 1 Assist, a -2 and 9
PIM. He saw time on all four lines. He was sent to Utica by the Canucks who had
interest in signing him for depth but were questioning his conditioning
levels. GM Pat Conacher said: “Unfortunately
he did not have a training camp, he had further to go than we had time”
Kane Lafranchise was returned to the ECHL in
- John Negrin was called up from Kalamazoo.
- Nicklas Jensen was recalled to Vancouver.
Travis Ehrhardt has been quite impressive this season which
is surprising given that he couldn’t stay in the AHL last year and was playing
in Norway. He’s made his way up the line
up and is now a regular and playing in the top pairing with Alex Biega. He has 3 points in 9 games, though it’s
likely his Portland connection with Travis Green doesn’t hurt his chances at playing some big minutes.
There’s little surprise to the fact that Markstrom was named
the AHL Goaltender
of the Month for October.
The Utica Comets go on the road this weekend playing on
Friday and Saturday at Lake Erie and Rochester.
On Wednesday the Comets head back home to face the old Canucks affiliate:
The Chicago Wolves.
- More from the Utica’s GM: though Jensen,
Gaunce, and Shinkaruk are not lighting it up offensively in Utica, all 3 are helping
Comets win games. Same for Horvat, it
may not be on scoresheet but they are competing hard and learning pro game.
- Shinkaruk in particular is having trouble scoring goals, but his 4.35% shooting percentage should regress positively, and he’s playing big minutes on one of the AHL’s top possession teams so far. This is a good sign.
Rollie Melanson was back
in Utica, most likely to try and take Markstrom’s award from him.
- Last year’s backup Mathieu Corbeil has
officially joined the LNAH, a professional beer league.
- There’s still talks
of making a much more expanded AHL Western Conference.