Comets Militia: Down on the Farm – March 6th, 2015

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Courtesy: Lindsay A. Moggle

We are back
with this week’s Comets Militia report, where we review all the latest in news,
statistics, rumours, gossip and made up narratives regarding the Vancouver Canucks
farm team: The Utica Comets.  It has not been a great week for the Comets as PDO has been hurting them; despite outshooting and out playing the opponents, their goaltending was not good enough and the Comets returned home with 2 of 8 points and as a result have seen them fall in the standings.

Read past
the jump to see what went down.

The Statistics

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The Comets have not had a good week and everything seems to have fallen.  The biggest driver of their lack of success this week appears to be a large part because of the lack of special teams success.  With their special teams efficiencies dropping they have allowed more goals against causing them to lose 3 straight games and drop in the standings.  The small moral victory is that their possession numbers did improve though there are still 2 better teams ahead of them.

Friday’s 0-4 Loss vs Adirondack

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[ Highlights ] [ Utica Comets Review ]

This was the 10th time the Comets and Adirondack met this year with the Comets winning all 9 previous meetings.  Of course for the 10th game of the year the Flames earned the shutout – a rare game for the Comets to not score a single goal.  Brendan Gaunce tried his best to at least get the Comets on the board, while fights from Acton, Pedan and Bancks tried to bring bring the momentum back to the Comets.  With some heavy PDO in the Flames favour, a Really Bad Start from Joacim Eriksson and unlucky bounces on the special teams the Comets had no chance.

Saturday’s 1-4 Loss @ Syracuse

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[ Highlights ] [ Utica Comets Review ]

With a back-to-back game on the road the Comets had another schedule loss and the script followed similar to the night prior.  Syracuse’s goalie stood on his head while the Comets goalie did not play well enough.  At least PTO goalie Pat Nagle did not earn a Really Bad Start.  The special teams were not good enough but at least Hunter Shinkaruk prevented a second shut out.

Sunday’s 3-6 Loss vs Hamilton

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[ Highlights ] [ Utica Comets Review ]

If the second game in a back-to-back on the road is considered a schedule loss, then the third game is considered a scheduled forfeit.  Even so, the Comets spent most of the game controlling the Hamilton Bulldogs but with another Really Bad Start from a rested Joacim Eriksson, the Comets offence were chasing the Bulldogs the entire game.  At least the Comets scored more than once.

Wednesday’s 3-2 SO Win vs Rochester

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[ Highlights ] [ Utica Comets Review ]

With a few days off the rested Comets faced the Rochester Americans at home and controlled the majority of the game to be up 2 – 0 by the end of the first (the most dangerous lead in hockey).  The Amerks came back, fueled by score effects, to tie up the game and go to overtime and eventually the shootout where goals from Grenier and Sanguinetti were able to win the game for the Comets, break the losing streak and earn the first 2 points for the Comets on the week.  Joacim Eriksson put up a Quality Start but did not win earn a star while Grenier, with an assist, the team lead in shots and the shootout winner, should have been considered as well.  New comers Cory Conacher and Sven Baertschi made an immediate impacts themselves with one assist each.

The Players

Name Pos GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SOG SoG/G Sh%
47 Sven Baertschi LW 1 0 1 1 0 0 1.00 2 2.00 0.00%
89 Cory Conacher LW 1 0 1 1 1 0 1.00 4 4.00 0.00%
16 Cal O’Reilly C 57 6 33 39 -6 8 0.68 75 1.32 8.00%
24 Brandon DeFazio RW 56 18 18 36 3 70 0.64 138 2.46 13.04%
6 Bobby Sanguinetti D 46 14 15 29 20 12 0.63 108 2.35 12.96%
28 Alexandre Grenier RW 48 11 18 29 4 53 0.60 121 2.52 9.09%
17 Nicklas Jensen RW 43 11 11 22 -13 27 0.51 125 2.91 8.80%
41 Will Acton C 45 11 9 20 -2 26 0.44 84 1.87 13.10%
36 Wacey Hamilton C 31 4 9 13 4 25 0.42 42 1.35 9.52%
10 Brendan Gaunce LW 56 9 14 23 1 19 0.41 123 2.20 7.32%
8 Alex Friesen C 41 6 11 17 10 47 0.41 61 1.49 9.84%
26 Frank Corrado D 21 4 4 8 3 17 0.38 50 2.38 8.00%
37 Andrey Pedan D 43 3 13 16 6 112 0.37 77 1.79 3.90%
25 Darren Archibald LW 52 8 10 18 7 87 0.35 97 1.87 8.25%
3 Alex Biega D 43 3 12 15 -3 18 0.35 75 1.74 4.00%
42 Adam Clendening D 38 1 12 13 -4 20 0.34 89 2.34 1.12%
15 Ronalds Kenins LW 36 5 7 12 6 23 0.33 61 1.69 8.20%
9 Hunter Shinkaruk LW 56 7 11 18 -7 24 0.32 117 2.09 5.98%
14 Mike Zalewski LW 36 3 6 9 -7 10 0.25 45 1.25 6.67%
34 Carter Bancks RW 45 6 4 10 6 42 0.22 56 1.24 10.71%
2 Travis Ehrhardt D 33 3 4 7 -6 22 0.21 36 1.09 8.33%
29 Kent Huskins D 33 1 5 6 4 6 0.18 19 0.58 5.26%
5 Jeremie Blain D 12 0 2 2 -4 2 0.17 16 1.33 0.00%
40 Peter Andersson D 42 2 4 6 9 18 0.14 52 1.24 3.85%
11 John Negrin D 25 0 2 2 1 6 0.08 20 0.80 0.00%
18 Patrick Kennedy RW 5 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 7 1.40 0.00%

The Goaltenders

Name GP Min GA SO GAA W L OT SA SVS SAV%
Jacob Markstrom 26 1538:37:00 50 4 1.95 17 7 2 732 682 0.932
Joe Cannata 1 59:00:00 2 0 2.03 0 1 0 24 22 0.917
Pat Nagle 1 58:42:00 3 0 3.07 0 1 0 28 25 0.893
Joacim Eriksson 31 1792:52:00 80 0 2.68 16 9 4 837 757 0.904

While Jacob Markstrom has had an excellent year, Joacim Eriksson is performing the opposite of last season.  He started off the year excellent but lately has been regressing worse and worse and is now far below the league average.

The Transactions

Busy week of transactions and paper transactions:

  • Bobby Sanguinetti was returned from Vancouver
  • Kane Lafranchise has been returned to the ECHL with Utica’s surplus of defencemen.  Jeremie Blain has been performing well as of late, leading to this move
  • Sven Baertschi was added to the Comets in a trade
  • Ronalds Kenins, Jacob Markstrom, Alex Biega and Adam Clendening were sent to Utica in paper transactions to make them eligible to compete in the Calder Cup playoffs
  • Comets leading scorer Dustin Jeffrey was removed from the roster in a trade for Cory Conacher.  We’re not sure why this deal was made, since Jeffery was having a very strong season.
  • Alex Biega has been returned to Utica
  • Frank Corrado was returned to Utica, with the intent to play games, but has since been recalled to Vancouver.

With Utica receiving some of their talent back, especially on the defensive end, they will likely see an upturn in performance.

    The Schedule

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    The load for the week is fairly normal.  3 games are all on the road with a back to back make things a bit more difficult for the Comets, but thankfully all three games are against weaker teams.  Hopefully the Comets can rack up the wins again to make their way back up the standings.

    Extra Reading

    • nucksandbolts

      My best guess for the Jeffrey trade was maybe they were trying to create a hole at center in case one of Oshawa or SSM gets eliminated early? The would leave room for Cassels or McCann to step in and get some pro experience. That’s pretty unlikely however, so it is a pretty weird move.

    • nucksandbolts

      Jeffrey is at best a career AHL player – though a good one. Conacher is younger and there stands at least a small chance that he can be an NHL player again. Even if he fails to make it back to the NHL he will be at least as good a career AHL player as Jeffrey.