Utica Comets Postgame Report
Game One | Saturday, October 7th, 2017
Today the Utica Comets kicked off their fifth season in the AHL in Toronto against the hometown Marlies. In eight games last season the series favoured the Marlies by a record of five wins to three, with all five of the Marlies’ victories coming on home ice. New Comets head coach Trent Cull got a good look at his penalty killing units today, but more on that in a minute.
Scratched for Utica today were: Anton Rodin, Patrick Wiercioch, Anton Cederholm, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Danny Moynihan and Jamie Sifers.
Comets Starting Lines
Archibald – Bancks – Hamilton
Goldobin – Megna – LaBate
Boucher – Chaput – D’Aoust
Carcone – Darcy – Molino
Sautner – Chatfield
McEneny – Subban
Holm – Brisebois
The Comets starting lineup consisted of Darren Archibald, second-year captain Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton up front. Archibald and Hamilton were also wearing ‘A’s for the Comets. Philip Holm and first-year pro Jalen Chatfield got the nod as the starters on the back end. Thatcher Demko was named the starter for the first game of the year, and he looked good in his first start of the season.
Happy 22nd Birthday to Goldy
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) October 7, 2017
This game saw its share of special teams work and it was Utica who were the first to give their opponent a leg up when Bancks went off for a slash 37 seconds into the game. Not a great start for the captain but he played a solid game none the less. With his work ethic, you can see why he is one of the leaders of the club. The Comets were able to kill off that penalty kill, along with five more on the day, although Kerby Rychel’s power play goal in the third proved to be a game winner for the Marlies.
It was at the 6:30 mark of the first period when the Comets got their first crack on the power play, and it took Goldobin all of 22 seconds on his 22nd birthday to put the Comets up by one. The goal was set up by Reid Boucher and Alexis D’Aoust on a power play unit that also features Bancks and Philip Holm. Holm was credited with three shots on net for the day, although I’m convinced that “Holm” is Swedish for “high and wide” as he did get a few more shots off that weren’t exactly on target. The remainder of the first period saw the Comets get three more opportunities to work on their penalty killing skills as Joseph LaBate, Jordan Subban and Michael Carcone each took a two-minute rest in the penalty box. The Utica special teams were perfect in the first period, scoring on their only PP and killing off all four penalties that they took.
Trent Cull used several players on the penalty kill today. Archibald, Chaput, Hamilton, Megna, Molino and Bancks all saw some PK time up front. Holm, Brisebois, Sautner and McEneny all saw time on the backend. the power play saw two units get opportunities. The first unit that Cull sent over the boards featuring Goldobin scored on their first chance. The second power play unit for Utica consisted of Megna, Chaput, and LaBate with McEneny and Subban manning the points.
The second period saw the Comets give up a goal three minutes in to Rich Clune to tie the game at one. That was it for the scoring in the second although the Comets did hold a three-to-two advantage in power plays in the middle frame. Neither team would be able to take advantage with the extra man. Toronto was able to put the game away in the third with a game winning power play goal from Rychel while Michael Chaput was in the box for tripping, followed by Nikita Soshnikov’s empty net insurance marker. Demko finished the day with 24 saves on 26 shots and an empty net goal against. He looked sharp and made a couple of lights out saves to keep his team in the game.
- Trent Cull has an active group on the backend. Chatfield, Brisebois, Subban, Holm, McEneny, Sautner… to a man they were jumping up in the play. This was a pretty raw group used by Cull today and although they acquitted themselves fairly well I wouldn’t be surprised if Cull pulls one or two of the young guys in favour of Wiercioch when he joins the team and AHL vet Jaime Sifers who was a scratch today. I thought that the pairing of Holm and Brisebois played well together and it was nice to see that playing on the right side didn’t seem to bother Brisebois all that much.
- Bancks may never be an NHL player but he does seem like a good choice as captain of the team. He hustles every shift and its guys like him who Jake has pointed to as players who opened his eyes as to what it means to be a pro.
- Cam Darcy who is playing on an ATO had a couple of opportunistic chances that nearly ended up in the back of the net. he has history with Cull and may earn an AHL deal at some point or possibly some injury fill in work on another PTO.
- This team can skate. There aren’t many Dana Murzyn types out there lumbering around taking up space.
- Goldobin and Boucher working an AHL power play is going to make for some unhappy goaltenders in the AHL this year. Boucher lead the team with 4 shots on goal for the game and Goldy was threading some sweet passes.
This season I will be passing along to you who the Three Stars were in the building along with my personal Three Stars from the Comets. Today the three stars in the building were
3rd star – Thatcher Demko
2nd star – Garret Sparks
1st star – Kerby Rychel
Canucks Army’s Three Stars:
3rd Star : Philip Holm. He played a steady game and wasn’t afraid to jump up into the rush. He paired well with Brisebois which should help the rookie pro gain confidence. When he starts to get his shot on net more frequently I think we can expect some points to come.
2nd Star : Jalen Chatfield. He was poised in his first pro game. Chatfield used his body well to protect the puck, he jumped into the rush like a guy who has been in the league for a bit and didn’t seem to get rattked when he was under pressure.
1st Star : Thatcher Demko. He played big in the net, faced 7 power plays and did not wilt. Demko made 24 saves and a couple were of the big time variety. I’m looking forward to watching Demko grow this season in Utica.