Angry Joacim Eriksson – Courtesy @CometsInGame
Comets are back for the weekly Comets Militia report on all the activities
relating to the Canucks American Hockey League affiliate. It has not been the best week for the Comets;
despite controlling both games and looking like they would walk away with 4
points, their opponents were able to beat them at the last second.
the jump to see what has happened this week.
rough week, the Comets are still at the top of the league, though
barely. With a record of 17-5-5-0, good
for 39 points in 27 games, Utica is currently sitting in first in
their division, the Western Conference, and the league. The Comets are tied with second place the
Rockford IceHogs in terms of points, but the Comets have two games in hand. In the East, the Manchester Monarchs have
jumped to the top of the conference, but are still 1 point behind the Comets
with 1 game in hand.
The Comets have outscored their opponents 74
to 59 (+15), while out-shooting them 795 to 702 (+92). Having won the possession battle in both
games, the Comets saw their Estimated Fenwick Close rise to 57.36%, meaning that they are
sitting first in the fancystats standings
The PDO for the Comets continues to regress as the team sits
well within the normal range. Sitting at
100.92% the Comet’s PDO split into its relative parts see them posting a 9.31%
shooting percentage (above average) with a .917 team save percentage (above
average).These numbers are likely to
continue through the season.
The special teams did quite well this week with the penalty
kill having gone a perfect 6 for 6 while the powerplay scored a goal in one of
their 5 attempts. Respectively the team
is sitting in 6th and 14th place for their special teams, which are converting at rates of 86.27% and 16.67%.
Loss vs Toronto
started off their week by playing the Toronto Marlies (affiliate of the Toronto
Maple Leafs), the last ranked team in AHL possession statistics. The Comets absolutely destroyed the Marlies
on teh shot clock, outshooting them 15-7 and 14-5 in the first two periods, with the
final shot count at 49-18, a record high for the Comets. Despite that, the Comets ended up blowing a
3-1 lead and lost in overtime.
started off with a Toronto goal halfway through the second period. 8 minutes later, with only 12 seconds
remaining, the Comets tied it up with a power play goal from Nicklas
Jensen. Cal O’Reilly passed Jensen the
puck from the boards who took a quick shot at the Marlies goaltender Antoine
Bibeau, beating him far side.
into the third period, the Comets scored again when Alex Friesen grabbed the
puck from behind the net, set up the play by sending the puck to Wacey Hamilton
who then passed it to Bobby Sanguinetti at the point taking a hard shot from
the slot right past the Marlies goaltender. 4 minutes later, the Comets scored again when
Sanguinetti sent a slapshot from the left point to the net and Jensen and
Brendan Gaunce fought in the crease to jam the puck passed Bibeau.
Comets leading 3-1 halfway through the third period, they only had to
hold on for a few minutes. They were not
able to do so as the Marlies scored twice more in the period to send the game
into overtime. Just seconds after switching to 3-on-3, the Marlies scored again
snatching victory out of the Comets’ hands.
were credited to Bobby Sanguinetti, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce, Cal
O’Reilly,Dustin Jeffrey and Wacey Hamilton.
Hunter Shinkaruk lead the team with 5 shots on goal while Joacim
Eriksson was only able to stop 14 of 18 shots good for a .780 sv% on the
night. The penalty kill went 2 for 2
while the powerplay went 1 for 2. For
his two goal effort of the year, Nicklas Jensen earned the second star of the night.
1-2 OT Loss vs Syracuse
was not a great goaltender in the AHL last year, posting a slightly below average .907 save percentage. Since playing in
the ECHL for the first few months of this season he has been absolutely
dominant. This year in the AHL, in his
one game, Cannata had a .917 sv% which is currently comparable to Joacim
Eriksson, granted this is a tiny sample.
For whatever reason, Comets fans are fairly vocal against Cannata, and
management does not seem to want to play him. Whether it is because they wish to ride
the “hot hand” or Travis Green does not trust him isn’t clear. This has been a common trend the last two
seasons with the Comets despite the fact a goaltender on a back-to-back is about as good as a replacement level
goaltender (.885 sv%).
said, with tonight being a back-to-back it is no surprise the Utica Comets
played Joacim Eriksson again.
Syracuse Crunch (affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning) the Comets out-shot the Crunch for most of the night, but it was not until there were 5 minutes left
in the game that the Comets were able to finally get on the board. With the Comets having won an offensive zone
faceoff, Henrik Tommernes passed the puck to Brandon DeFazio who sent the puck
past the Crunch goaltender. Bobby Sanguinetti earned the second assist.
Comets looking like they would win, the script from the previous night played
out again as the Crunch scored against the Comets with only two minutes left
into the game. Following up in overtime
during the 3-on-3 portion, the Crunch scored once more, taking away the extra point from the Comets.
the game 2-1 and lost the shot count 31-29.
Bobby Sanguinetti lead the team with 4 shots on goal while Joacim
Eriksson made 29 of 31 saves, good for a bounce-back .935 on the night. The penalty kill and powerplay went 4 for 4
and 0 for 4 respectively, and Eriksson earned the 3rd star of the
been no new news on Jacob Markstrom. The
initial reports was that it was a slightly injury and would only last the
weekend, but that was three weeks ago. Jason
Botchford did assert that Markstrom had broken his hand, and that looks to be a likely diagnosis.
- Alex Biega
was called up to the NHL for the first time.
When Jim Benning was in Utica, he made comments about Biega standing out
in a good way. Hopefully he will
actually get to play as Beiga has been a standout since last year.
- Tom Sestito
has been recalled to the NHL in a move that will help the Utica Comets.
Holmberg has been sent to the ECHL on loan to Elmira where he exploded with a 4
point night in his first game, including a hat-trick.
schedule for the upcoming week is fairly light with Utica facing Texas on
Friday and then traveling to Adirondack on Saturday. Against these two teams this year, Utica is
currently 1-1-0-0 against Willie Desjardins’ old team, the Texas Stars, while
having won all three games against Adirondack.
O’Reilly is the 8th leading scorer in the AHL with 3 goals and 23 assists in 27 games. To score at around one point per game in the AHL usually suggests you should be getting some time in the
Tales: Jim Benning visits the Aud.
Tales: Being One – Hunter Shinkaruk
- Bo Horvat is staying with the big club because of his “homegrown grit“
not renewing their AHL aggrement with Oklahoma City, who will now be ceasing operations next season. This looks to be the beginning of movements towards an AHL “Pacific Division” – I have my doubts that we will see Vancouver move for a while though, as they are happy with the Comets in New York.
— Comets Army (@CometsArmy) December 19, 2014
- Mediocre Beer for a Mediocre Powerplay