Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game 13 | Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
The Utica Comets made their way to la belle province today to take on the Laval Rocket for the first of three meetings between the two clubs this month. The Comets last played on Saturday when they lost their second straight 5-2 game to the Charlotte Checkers. The Rocket meanwhile, were coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Hartford on Sunday.
The Comets points leaders remain the same as they have for much of this young season. Nikolay Goldobin still leads the team with 14 points in 12 games while Philip Holm remained the points leader on the back end with nine. For the Rocket, it would be defenseman Matt Taormina leading the way with 15 points in his first 15 games and forward Chris Terry with 14 points in his first 12.
The Comets sat 25th overall in the league, not where they’d like to be, while the Rocket’s record was good for 12th overall in the AHL. The Comets power-play was clicking at 21.5%, good for fifth in the league with a penalty-kill operating at 85.5%, which had them sitting seventh overall in that category. The Rocket, meanwhile, had the 6th ranked power-play, running at 21.1% and their penalty-kill was 27th in the league with a 77.2% rate of effectiveness.
Scratched today for Utica were: Wacey Hamilton, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Darren Archibald, (injured), Anton Rodin, (injured), Jalen Chatfield and Griffen Molino.
In other roster news, with Thatcher Demko back with the team, Michael Garteig has been returned to Kalamazoo.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 13, 2017
Trent Cull was happy to be back on the road when asked in a pre-game interview. He cited the fact that his team has had success on the road early this season and that they are comfortable being the visiting team. Cull mentioned the need for his team to compete harder than they have in their past few games and that he’d like to see them cut down on their defensive lapses. He wants his team to create more offensively and pointed to Reid Boucher as a player who should help in that regard. Boucher had been in Vancouver for a recall but has since been returned. Cull also said that he wants his team to be more effective in their five-on-five play and not have to rely so much on their power-play to generate offence.
Comets Starting Lines
77 Nikolay Goldobin – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 24 Reid Boucher (A)
16 Joe LaBate – 11 Cam Darcy – 23 Jayson Megna
58 Michael Carcone – 21 Michael Chaput – 15 Zack MacEwen
9 Yan-Pavel Laplante – 19 Cole Cassels – 17 Alexis D’Aoust
6 Ashton Sautner – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
52 Philip Holm – 55 Guillaume Brisebois
4 Evan McEneny – 7 Jordan Subban
30 Thatcher Demko
The Comets started the game with their familiar line of Carter Bancks between Nikolay Goldobin and Reid Boucher. Boucher would be wearing an “A” on his jersey today. On the back end for the Comets was Jaime Sifers, also wearing an “A” as well as Ashton Sautner.
This would be a penalty-filled period with very little flow, due to the frequency with which the whistle was being blown. Joe LaBate would kick off the penalty parade at 3:36 of the first when he took a hooking call. Daniel Carr would make big Joe pay when he put a puck past Demko for the first goal of the game, his ninth of the season. Peter Holland was credited with his eighth assist of the season on the play while Michale McCarron earned his fourth.
Less than 30 seconds later it would be the Comets turn with the man advantage when Eric Gelinas took a hooking penalty. The once mighty power-play of the Comets has been struggling lately, and that wouldn’t change in the first period. The Comets would go 0-3 on the power-play in the first period.
Michael McCarron would head off next as he took a high-sticking penalty at the 12:22 mark and again the Comets would be unable to take advantage. Three minutes later, on a faceoff, Chris Terry would dump Michael Carcone, and number 58 took exception, and a tussle ensued. Both players were assessed fighting majors, while Terry got an extra two for his initial trip.
Terry appears to kick out Carcone's leg – Carcone is having none of that and starts wailing on him pic.twitter.com/ghPaCxYuOw
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 16, 2017
Three minutes later we would see more offsetting penalties as Yan-Pavel Laplante drew a slashing call on Daniel Carr, only to follow Carr down the ice and take an undisciplined, unsportsmanlike penalty. I would imagine that Cull was not impressed with the play by Laplante. A little over a minute later, Bancks would send the home team back to the power-play when he took a slashing penalty. It took Peter Holland less than 20 seconds to put the home team up by a pair. For Holland, it would be his eighth goal of the season. Matt Taormina picked up his 14th helper of the year while Daniel Audette was awarded his fifth.
The first period saw the shot clock favour the Comets by a count of 9-8. Evan McEneny took a hard hit from Nick Deslauriers and left the game. He would not return for the remainder, forcing the Comets to run with five defensemen for the rest of the game.
The second period would see the Comets come out with some sloppy play. Cull spoke about the team needing to step up their five on five play before the game, but the Comets apparently weren’t listening. They would be awarded the first power-play of the period at 2:44 of the period though when Yannick Veilleux was sent off for boarding. The Comets were once again unable to take advantage. It was interesting to see Carcone getting a look on the power-play. Maybe his coach took notice of his tussle in the first period and thought he would reward the scrappy play.
Two minutes after the Veilleux penalty, he threw down with Laplante. Now I can’t be certain, but I think that Laplante might be French for “jackhammer”… dude can throw them. I would call this fight a draw, but I will give the nod to Laplante for taking on the bigger Veilleux and holding his own.
Rocket goaltender Michael McNiven came into the game posting some pretty lacklustre numbers, but he looked good today against the Comets. Utica would go on the power-play shortly after the scrap when Daniel Carr was whistled for high-sticking. Bancks had a nice opportunity, only to have McNiven close the door once again. Carr would make up for putting his team a man down when he scored his second of the game and 10th of the season a few minutes later. Matt Taormina picked up his 15th helper on the goal while Chris Terry earned his seventh.
Chaput would continue his hot play of late when he buried his fourth goal of the season just a few minutes later. Reid Boucher was awarded his eighth assist of the season on the Chaput marker.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 16, 2017
Joe LaBate would put the home team back onto the power-play when he took a hooking penalty just over a minute after the Chaput goal. It has to be tough to get momentum going when someone is always in the box. The Comets penalty-kill would be able to keep the Rocket from going up by three on the LaBate penalty, as well as the Cam Darcy slashing call that came shortly after to have the Comets finishing yet another period down a man.
The second-period shot clock once again favoured the Comets, this time by a count of 11-8.
The third period had a little more flow as the two teams managed to stay out of the penalty box, save for the too many men call that the Comets were whistled for halfway through the frame. Boucher started the period off with a shot off the iron. McNiven was good today, but he also found himself thanking his posts and crossbar at times.
Antoine Waked scored his first goal of the season not long after the Boucher bar ringer. Jakub Jerabek picked up his 10th assist of the season on the play while Matt Taormina was awarded his 16th.
Alexis D’Aoust continued his good rookie season with another strong game and his third goal of the season when he beat McNiven to get the Comets to within two. Zack MacEwen earned his second helper of the year while Cole Cassels picked up his first assist of the season.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 16, 2017
It was less than a minute after the D’Aoust marker when the Comets were called for too many men. Carcone served the penalty, and the Comets were able to kill it off.
The last two minutes of the game got very interesting. With Thatcher Demko on the bench for the extra attacker, Jordan Boucher was able to bring the score to 5-2 as he scored an empty net goal. It was Boucher’s second goal of the season, while Jeremy Gregoire picked up his fourth helper of the year on the goal. The Comets, however, weren’t going down without a fight.
With just 16 seconds remaining in the period, Carcone would get a puck past McNiven to get the Comets back within two goals. It was Carcone’s first of the season. Jaime Sifers picked up his second helper of the year on the timely goal, while Cam Darcy earned his first assist.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 16, 2017
That wasn’t it from the Comets… see… I told you the last two minutes were exciting. Just 10 seconds after the Carcone goal, Reid Boucher jammed in a puck off a goalmouth scramble to put the visitors within a goal. For Boucher, it was goal number four on the year. Chaput picked up his fifth assist of the season on the Boucher goal while Jayson Megna was awarded his second.
The comeback would fall short as that was all the Comets could muster in the final seconds. The shots for the third period ended up 11-9 in the Comets favour, for a final tally of 31 Utica shots to 25 from Laval.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Michael McNiven. 27 saves.
2nd Star: Matt Taormina. Three assists
1st Star: Daniel Carr. Two goals.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Alexis D’Aoust. D’Aoust picked up another goal and put a couple of shots on the Rocket net today. Once again, D’Aoust was hard on the forecheck and used his speed to his advantage. I am interested in seeing if Cull starts to give him some special teams work soon. I feel like he is earning some extra looks with the way he has played this season.
2nd Star: Reid Boucher. Cull spoke about Boucher’s value on the power-play before the game, citing his shot and playmaking ability. Sure, Reid isn’t the best skater on the ice, but there are plenty of players in the NHL who skate worse than he does…pretty sure there are a few in Vancouver, but he has come to play every game this season in Utica. He finished the game today with a goal, and assist and six shots on net.
1st Star: Michael Chaput. Chaput came into the game today with five points in his previous six games and added to those totals today. Chaput had four shots on net today and once again played in all situations. With his goal and assist today, Chaput now has nine points in 12 games for Utica.
VS Belleville Senators
Friday, November 17th, 2017