Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game 9 | Friday, November 3rd, 2017
The Utica Comets played just their second home game of their young season, but business is about to pick up. The Comets will play nine of their twelve November games at home after spending all of October on the road. This was the first of eight games that the two teams will face off against each other for the 2017/18 season. Last season the Devils played in Albany, and Utica had a record of six wins, one loss and one overtime loss to show for their efforts.
The well-rested Devils came into today with a record of 4-2-1-0 after a 2-1 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds last Saturday. Meanwhile, the Comets played to an eight round, 4-3 shootout loss to the Rochester Americans in Wednesday’s home opener, bringing their record to 4-3-0-1 for the season.
Coming into today’s action, forward Nick Lappin led the Devils in scoring with seven points. Josh Jacobs was their leading point getter on the blue line with five. Utica, meanwhile, were led by the dynamic duo of Nikolay Goldobin and Reid Boucher with ten points apiece up front. Philip Holm, with six points, led the way on the back end with Evan McEneny right behind him with five.
Scratched today for Utica were: Wacey Hamilton, (lower body injury), Jalen Chatfield, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Griffen Molino, Michael Carcone, (illness), Cam Darcy, (week to week). In other Comets roster news, Anton Rodin has been returned to Utica from his recall.
Canucks Reassign Anton Rodin https://t.co/f15N5Ii5rX
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 3, 2017
During a pre-game interview, Trent Cull said that he thought his team was average last game and that his best players were “just good.” He had high praise for the home crowd, calling them loud and full of energy. Cull wouldn’t rule out “jitters” as something that could have affected his team in their first home game of the season. He called Binghamton a very talented group and expected his team would be facing a challenge today.
Comets Starting Lines
25 Darren Archibald (A) – 21 Michael Chaput – 17 Alexis D’Aoust
77 Nikolay Goldobin – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 24 Reid Boucher
16 Joe LaBate – 20 Brendan Woods – 19 Cole Cassels
15 Zack MacEwen – 10 Brendan Gaunce – 8 Anton Rodin
6 Ashton Sautner – 55 Guillaume Brisebois
4 Evan McEneny – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
52 Philip Holm – 7 Jordan Subban
30 Thatcher Demko
Utica rolled out a different starting lineup today with Darren Archibald on the left side of Michael Chaput and Alexis D’Aoust on the right. Ashton Sautner got the start on defence along with recent healthy scratch, Guillaume Brisebois. Thatcher Demko once again got the start in goal.
The Comets and Devils played a pretty fast opening period of hockey. Unfortunately, a quick period did not result in a whole lot of action. A grand total of 11 shots were taken in the opening frame with Binghamton having a one-shot advantage over Utica.
At around 6:30 into the opening period, Cole Cassels lined up Ryan Kujawinski for a solid hit and Kujawinski took exception. The two dropped their gloves and wrestled to a draw which earned each player five minutes in the box for fighting. Brisebois and Jaime Sifers both had some nice physical play in the opening 20 minutes as well. Joe LaBate took a holding penalty at the halfway mark of the first and once again the Comets penalty kill was up to the task.
The Comets would get their own power play just two minutes later when some shorthanded hustle by Reid Boucher led to a Jacob MacDonald hooking penalty. Unfortunately, the Comets were also unable to capitalize on the man advantage.
Nathan Bastian beat Thatcher Demko for his third goal of the season with under two minutes left in the first when he came down the right side and threw a puck on net. Demko looked to have the harmless play covered, but somehow the puck slipped through. I think Thatcher would like to have that one back. Austin Cangelosi picked up his second assist of the season while Jacob MacDonald was awarded his third.
The period finished with the Goldobin, Bancks, Boucher line putting some good pressure on the Devils but they were unable to even the score.
The Comets would get an early power play opportunity to start the second period as Bracken Kearns was whistled for tripping. The Comets had some pressure but were unable to beat Devils netminder, Ken Appleby. This was another period of hockey where not a whole lot was happening. Binghamton managed to put ten shots on Thatcher Demko, while the Comets only managed to double their shot total to bring their two-period total to ten.
The Comets took back to back penalties in the middle of the period with Jaime Sifers going off first for delay of game when he put the puck over the glass. Brendan Woods followed that penalty up with one of his own when he went off for tripping. Once again, Boucher was on the first unit penalty kill with Carter Bancks, Philip Holm, and Ashton Sautner. After back-to-back penalties were killed off, the Comets lines went into the blender. Goldobin finished the period lined up with Woods and Alexis D’Aoust while Boucher found himself with Rodin on his left side and Brendan Gaunce in the middle.
The Comets were awarded a power play of their own when Ryan Kujawinski was whistled for slashing with less than a minute remaining in the middle frame. Not only were the Comets unable to even the score before the period finished, but Demko was forced to make a shorthanded save to keep the visitors from going up by a pair.
Utica started the third period on the power play that carried over from the second period. Boucher, Goldobin, LaBate, Chaput, and Holm were the first unit over the boards, and they poured it on with sustained pressure but couldn’t beat Appleby for a goal. It was all Utica for the bulk of the third period as Josh Jacobs sent the Comets back to the power play before the period was five minutes old. Once again, the Comets power play was bested by the penalty killing of the Devils. Reid Boucher managed to draw a couple of penalties against his former team, but the Comets power play would go 0-5 on the day.
Things got a little greasy in the Comets end of the ice when a play ended with McEneny and Ben Thomson wrestling with each other until they were given two minutes each for roughing. High and wide seemed to be the theme for the Comets today as that is where many of their shots would end up. It almost seemed as if the Comets were afraid to hit the net after pumping so many shots on net over their last few games.
Blake Pietila would beat Demko for the second Devils goal of the game, his first when a Jacob MacDonald blast would take a fortunate bounce off the glass and catch Demko off guard. MacDonald grabbed his fourth helper of the season while Yaroslav Dyblenko would be awarded his second assist of the year.
The Comets would pull Demko with roughly four minutes left in the period with hopes of tieing the game. They had sustained pressure and made it interesting when McEneny hammered home a cross-ice feed from Holm to get the home team within a goal. Holm earned his sixth assist of the season while Nikolay Goldobin picked up yet another point with his seventh helper of the season.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 4, 2017
Unfortunately, that would be it for the comeback. The Comets were unable to beat Appleby to tie the game, despite a strong finish.
The final shot clock had the shot totals in favour of Utica by a count of 26-20 after the Comets managed to outshoot Binghamton 16-4 in the final frame.
- Jaime Sifers, Guillaume Brisebois, Cole Cassels and Zack MacEwen all had their moments of good physical play in this game. This is for the most part, a blue-collar group of players in Utica and its good to see a few players who can throw their weight around when the need arises.
- Reid Boucher came into today with 29 shots on goal in the Comets first eight games this season to lead the Comets. LaBate, Chaput, Boucher, and Goldobin are tied with two power-play goals each to lead the team in that category, while Carter Bancks had the power play assist lead with four helpers coming into today.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Blake Pietila. One goal.
2nd Star: Thatcher Demko. 18 saves.
1st Star: Ken Appleby. 25 saves.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Evan McEneny. McEneny was moving the puck well today. He scored the Comets lone goal and gave them some spark. He also had a fight/wrestling match that would make Brandon “Huggy Bear” Prust proud. McEneny finished the day with two shots on goal and continues to improve his two-way play in Utica.
2nd Star: Thatcher Demko. Thatcher let in an ugly goal at the end of the first period but was able to shake it off and have a strong outing for the rest of the game. He made several saves throughout the game that kept the home team in it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Richard Bachman back in net for the next game though.
1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Goldy picked up just the one assist today, but this star is being handed out for his fantastic acting in the “Gentlemen’s Corner Barber Shop Clip of the Game” from the Comets home opener. It is pretty well known that Goldy likes to keep his lid looking good, but who knew he had acting chops like this?
ICYMI: Here's Wednesday's Gentlemen's Corner Barber Shop Clip of the Game! pic.twitter.com/PQ5B2CvTAu
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 3, 2017
VS Rochester Americans
Saturday, November 4th, 2017
4:00 pm Pacific