CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Bounce Back With 6-3 Win Over Charlotte

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game Seven | Sunday, October 28th, 2017

The Utica Comets wrapped up their season-opening seven-game road trip today in Charlotte at the Bojangles Coliseum as they played the second game in less than 24 hours against the Checkers. The Comets were looking for better results as yesterday the hometown Checkers laid a 5-1 beat down on the Comets.

Coming into today, the Checkers were led in scoring by Lucas Wallmark with three goals, nine assists and 12 points. Philip Samuelsson held the points lead on the Checkers back end with two goals and three assists, good for five points. The Comets points leaders are the same as yesterday with Reid Boucher leading the way with eight, followed by Nikolay Goldobin’s seven and Philip Holm’s five points from the back end.

Scratched today for Utica were: Darren Archibald, Cole Cassels, Jordan Subban, Griffen Molino, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Cam Darcy and Jayson Megna. Subban had a tough outing yesterday, so his scratch came as no surprise. Cam Darcy is injured. In other roster news, it was announced just as the game was starting that Jayson Megna has been recalled by the Vancouver Canucks. It was also announced mid-game that Brock Boeser is day-to-day in Vancouver with a foot injury and that Megna was already there taking part in practice.

Trent Talk

When asked in his pregame interview about what went wrong yesterday, Comets head coach Trent Cull said that he felt that his team started well with good habits but then got “too fancy, and that isn’t us.” Cull was then asked what he thought the identity of his team is and he responded with, “We are a tracking team, a straight line team that has to outwork our opponents. It is a demanding style to play and requires a strong work ethic.” Cull also said that he didn’t like sitting Archibald but wanted to get Wacey Hamilton back in. Jamie Sifers was brought back in for his grit and physicality according to the coach.

Comets Starting Lines

36 Wacey Hamilton(A) – 10 Brendan Gaunce – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

16 Joe LaBate – 20 Brendan Woods – 15 Zack MacEwen

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77 Nikolay Goldobin – 21 Michael Chaput – 24 Reid Boucher

17 Alexis D’Aoust – 58 Michael Carcone – 8 Anton Rodin

4 Evan McEneny – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

52 Philip Holm – 55 Guillaume Brisebois

6 Ashton Sautner – 5 Jalen Chatfield

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30 Thatcher Demko

The line combos listed above are somewhat misleading as it took Comets captain Carter Bancks just three seconds to show the home team that the Comets weren’t about to just lay down for them after last night’s 5-1 drubbing. Bancks and Charlotte captain Patrick Brown dropped the gloves right off of the opening faceoff, and both were ejected from the game for “staged fighting”, or “Fighting other than during periods of play.” That fight set the tone early and also threw the lines into the blender for the rest of the game. Just under 1:30 later Checkers forward Zack Stortini took a goaltender interference penalty and sent the Comets to their first power play of the game. Stortini would soon realize that sending the Comets to the power play is not a wise idea. It took Comets leading goal scorer Goldobin all of three seconds to put the puck past Jeremy Smith, who got the start today in goal for the Checkers. It was Goldobin’s fourth goal of the season for Utica. Michael Chaput picked up the lone assist, his second of the season.

Charlotte would tie the game roughly four minutes later when Mike Ferrantino scored his first of the season. Clark Bishop picked up the only helper. The Comets were putting a lot of shots on net today, with 23 in the first period alone. Boucher picked up his 3rd goal of the season on one of those shots when he caused a turnover with a hit at the Checkers blue line and then ripped the puck home. Once again, Goldobin picked up an assist on the Boucher tally. I think these two fellows enjoy playing on the same line.

Evan McEneny would round out the scoring for the first period with his first goal of the season. McEneny snapped one from the blue line and beat Smith. Gaunce picked up his first assist and second point in as many games with Hamilton picking up the other helper.

The first period would come to a close as Joe LaBate and Stortini had a wrestling match and were also levied with the “staged fight” call and were ejected for the remainder of the game. Zack MacEwen had a strong first period with a couple of nice rebound chances and looked promising in his first two games. We would hear more from him in a bit. Reid Boucher also continues to impress with his feistiness and somewhat physical play. Boucher has been finishing his checks and disturbing plays, causing turnovers so far this season, and that continued in the first period of this game.

The second period saw Holm take a hooking call just 1:45 into the frame. The Comets killed the Holm penalty off along with the other five that they gave up on the day. The Comets special teams continue to impress. The Comets have also been getting some shorthanded chances in the last few games, and I would expect to see some exciting short-handed goals coming their way before long. They certainly have players on their PK units who can score. Speaking of special teams, MacEwen notched his first professional goal on the power play when Nicolas Roy was whistled for slashing. McEneny picked up his second assist on the play while Rodin picked up his first.

Just over four minutes later Gaunce picked up his second goal and third point since landing with Utica yesterday for his two-week conditioning stint. With any luck, Gaunce will be able to carry this strong play over at the NHL level when he heads back to Vancouver. Rodin picked up his second assist of the day while Hamilton was awarded the other, his second of the season. The Comets could use some Manny Malhotra in their lives as they were getting killed in the dot throughout this game. The shot totals were much closer in the second with the Checkers holding a 15-12 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame. If you are counting along at home, that makes 35 shots that Utica put on the Charlotte net in the first two periods.

Brendan Woods would pick up his first goal as a Comet as he beat his former club with a five-on-five goal assisted by McEneny with his third helper and Goldobin with his sixth. The Comets would take three penalties in the third, but the Checkers were unable to capitalize and get back into the game. They did, however, get the final two goals of the game as Andrew Poturalski picked up his second goal of the season unassisted while Julien Gautier picked up his first goal of the season, also unassisted with just nine seconds left in the game. Thatcher Demko picked up his fourth win of the season.

Utica put a season-high 45 shots on the Charlotte net today while giving up 34.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Quick Hits

  • Gaunce is all business so far on his conditioning stint. Gaunce could once again be found getting his nose dirty and testing his surgically repaired shoulder. He also picked up two more points.
  • Boucher on the penalty kill is a real thing, and it is a good thing. Not only will this help his two-way game by sharpening his defensive awareness on the ice, but getting these all situation minutes should also improve his conditioning, which has been brought into question in the past. Some games it feels like he never comes off the ice.
  • Rodin is looking better with each game. He needs to get his feet under him and show what he is to this club and today he managed to pick up two helpers while also putting three shots on net. As I hadn’t really seen much of Rodin before his brief appearances in Vancouver last season, I don’t really know what his skating looked like prior to his injury trouble. I do however feel like his skating in his three games in Utica so far has looked decent, and a bit more fluid with each game.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Thatcher Demko. 31 saves on 34 shots.

2nd Star: Evan McEneny. One goal, two assists

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. One goal, two assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Evan McEneny. McEneny put four shots on net today while also picking up a goal and two helpers. McEneny plays the power play and the penalty kill for the Comets. He is generally the defender with the revolving partner as he seems to get one of Subban or Sifers while the pairings of Holm/Brisebois and Sautner/Chatfield have been left mostly untouched. It doesn’t seem to matter who is on his right side, McEneny comes with a steady game and isn’t afraid to jump into the rush when he sees an opening.

2nd Star: Brendan Gaunce. As I mentioned earlier, Gaunce is all business right now. He looks like he wants to get this conditioning stint out of the way so he can take his place on the wing in Vancouver on that Sutter/Dorsett unit. I don’t think Brendan will go scoreless on the season this time around in Vancouver. Not that I expect him to put up double digits this season, but I don’t see him being blanked this time around.

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. “Goldy” just keeps on putting up points in the AHL. He now has ten points in his first seven games this season with four goals and six helpers. Goldobin also managed five shots on net today to lead the Comets. It will be interesting to see how this season plays out with Goldobin and the Canucks. I would like to see him getting some more looks on the PK to help round out his game in the same way and for the same reasons as I mentioned with Boucher. What will have to happen in Vancouver for Goldobin to get fulltime work with the Canucks? Or maybe Goldy becomes a trade piece down the road in the Canucks ongoing search for a high-end power play quarterback or for someone else down the middle to mitigate the impending Henrik Sedin retirement… time will tell.

Next Game

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

4:00 pm Pacific

  • I still have high hopes for Anton Rodin.

    What was or could have been a career ending injury has certainly slowed his progress. I think last year he went at it too early and pushed things too far. This year, it looks like management is easing him into playtime, a sound approach, which would explain why we get so little news about his progress.

    • Break The Canuck's Curse


      Before I felt bad because we couldn’t keep AHLers off of the NHL team. Now I feel bad because we need to keep potential NHLers on the farm.

      It is an embarrassment of riches. I only feel bad for the players of course. This is great for the team

    • Cageyvet

      I will leave it to the professionals to evaluate the “completeness” of his game, but I hope it’s sooner than that. Same with Boucher and Rodin, as they log more AHL games I hope the team rewards them with a callup. Once they’re here, then it’s up to them.

      • NeverWas

        Yeah, but who do you take out? There still down a bit in the depth chart despite them good play. Give me a couple months of this with improvement, then maybe “make room” for a look.