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CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Get Back on Track, Bury Baby Sens 7-1

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #14 | Friday, November 17th, 2017

The Utica Comets made their way back to the rowdy confines of the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica today to take on the Belleville Senators for the first time this season. Last season the baby Sens played out of Binghamton, where the Devils prospects now play.

The 18th place Senators were coming off a 6-2 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The 25th place Comets, on the other hand, last played to a 5-4 loss to Laval on Wednesday.

The Belleville power-play came into the day with a success rate of 13.2%, which had them sitting in 27th place in that category. Their penalty-kill fared a little better, sitting at 16th in the league, killing off 82.2% of their opponents’ chances. The Comets special teams have taken a bit of a hit of late. Utica had their power-play operating at 20%, good enough for 8th place in the league. Their penalty kill had dropped to 11th in the league, showing an 83.6% effective rate.

Ethan Werek, with nine points in his first 13 games led the way offensively for the Senators, while defenseman Thomas Chabot was their leader on the blueline with seven points in his first 11 games played. The Comets leaders are the same as they have been for much of the season. Nikolay Goldobin was still the Comets overall points leader with 14 in 13 games. Philip Holm was still the big cheese on the back end with nine points in 13 games. Michael Chaput is slowly making his way up the points board, sitting third on the team, right behind Reid Boucher, with nine points in 12 games.

The Comets revealed earlier today that Darren Archibald would be out of action for a while after having successful surgery for a facial fracture. Get well soon Arch. With Archibald expected to be out for a bit, someone will need to step up in his absence. The big fella is a staple on both the power play and penalty kill and brings a physical element.

Speaking of physical play and in other roster news, I neglected to mention in my previous post-game report that Comets try-out Brendan Woods, who had been with the team on a PTO, has been signed to an AHL deal by the club. Congratulations, Brendan.

With Evan McEneny unable to finish the last game after sustaining an injury in the first period, the Comets announced today that Anton Cederholm had been recalled from Kalamazoo.

Speaking of that McEneny injury…

Scratched today for Utica were: Darren Archibald, (injured), Anton Rodin, (injured), Wacey Hamilton, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Yan-Pavel Laplante and the freshly recalled Anton Cederholm.

Comets Staring Lines

16 Joe LaBate – 21 Michael Chaput (A) – 23 Jayson Megna

24 Reid Boucher – 11 Cam Darcy – 15 Zack MacEwen

58 Michael Carcone – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

13 Griffen Molino – 19 Cole Cassels – 17 Alexis D’Aoust

6 Ashton Sautner – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

52 Philip Holm – 7 Jordan Subban

30 Thatcher Demko

Trent Cull put the lines in a blender today, no surprise as the Comets have lost three straight games. Something had to change. The game started with Michael Chaput between Joe LaBate and Jayson Megna up front and Ashton Sautner and Jalen Chatfield on the blueline. Thatcher Demko not only got the start in goal tonight, but he also received his award for Goaltender of the Month for the month of October prior to the game. Nice work Thatch!

The first period of play went by pretty quickly in what was a fast-paced 20 minutes. This one wouldn’t be the penalty-filled first frame that we saw last game. There weren’t a pile of shots to get this game going, but we did see Michael Carcone rip one off the bar early on. Carcone is looking pretty good for a guy who has missed so many games this season, having only played six games so far.

The Comets “had” an early power-play 5:13 into the first when Erik Burgdoerfer was sent off for high-sticking Carter Bancks. I say “had” because both of  Michael Chaput and Jayson Megna were tossed from the ensuing faceoff, which earned them an even up call. Megna served the delay of game penalty.

Chatfield broke up a play at his blueline and then broke up the ice shortly after. He dropped a nice pass to Reid Boucher, but the sharpshooter couldn’t score.

Thatcher Demko made a tidy glove save midway through the opening frame on Max McCormick to keep the game knotted at zero. Alexis D’Aoust was once again making himself noticeable with his aggressive play. D’Aoust was hard on the puck again and showing good hustle.

The Comets would get their first real power-play shortly after when Patrick Sieloff was whistled for tripping. Zack MacEwen had a nice chance but Sens goalie Danny Taylor flashed the leather to keep the game tied. Michael Carcone was playing the left point like he did in the previous game. Looks like he will be one of the players who will get to try soaking up some of Archibald’s minutes. The Comets power-play was unable to convert.

Moments after the Sieloff penalty ended, Jaime Sifers took a slashing call. The Comets penalty-kill was up to the task. Not only would they keep the Sens off the board, but Reid Boucher managed a short-handed chance.

The period ended with the Comets pouring on the pressure. Ashton Sautner was especially strong in the final seconds of the first frame. Unfortunately, Sautner would not get to play the entirety of the game. More on that later. The period would finish up with the shot clock favoring the Comets by a count of 8-6.

The second period was a beauty. Jim O’Brien thought he would give the Comets power-play a chance to get back to clicking when he took a slashing call just 52 seconds into the period. Reid Boucher would make him pay when he buried his fifth goal of the season and third on the power play. Goldobin picked up his ninth assist of the year on the play while Jordan Subban earned his second helper of the season.

Just over two minutes later, Philip Holm would put the home team up by two. Holm’s goal was his second of the season. Bancks was awarded his eighth assist of the season while Goldobin picked up his 10th.

20 seconds after the Holm goal, Sieloff was whistled for elbowing. This time it would be Chaput who would make the penalized player feel shame when he picked up his fifth goal of the season. Chaput has been coming on of late in Utica. Jayson Megna earned an assist on the play, as did Subban, his second of the day.

Following the Chaput goal, the Sens took their timeout. Maybe that worked because Joe LaBate immediately took a slashing penalty. The Sens power play was unable to beat Demko. That would become a common theme in the second period as Thatcher stopped all 11 shots he faced in the middle frame.

Holm was back to the box when he took a holding penalty at the 10:56 mark. Demko was excellent on this kill as he made a few saves on goalmouth scrambles to keep the home team ahead by three.

O’Brien was sent off shortly after for slashing, a popular call by the officials today. The Comets power-play went to work again but were unable to convert.

With just over a minute remaining in the middle frame, Sautner took a Cam Darcy pass and put it behind the Sens netminder. It was Sautner’s first of the season, and it was well earned. Ashton has been a steady player for the Comets this year. Zack MacEwen picked up the other helper, his third of the season.

The period would finish with Jaime Sifers and Filip Chlapik being sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct after Megna put a puck on net after the whistle had blown. The second period shot clock showed the Comets with a lead of 18-11.

If you think the Comets were happy to call the goal scoring quits at four… well, you’d be mistaken. With the final frame opening with the teams playing four on four, it took Megna just 39 seconds to bury a beauty behind the Sens goalie. Megna looked a little like a young Mason Raymond on the goal, his second of the season. Chaput would pick up his sixth helper of the year with the lone assist.

Goldobin was sent off for slashing a minute after the Megna goal, and the Sens would take advantage. Gabriel Gagne scored his eighth goal of the year while Filip Chlapik picked up his seventh helper of the year and goaltender Danny Taylor earned his first.

With the visiting team down by four goals, and the hometown fans giving them the gears for it, the third period saw plenty of penalties called a total of 14 penalties were called in the final frame, some of them offsetting.

Ashton Sautner was injured on a play and did not return for the game. The Comets have been hit by the injury bug and may need to make another call to K-Zoo or possibly sign another defenseman to a PTO. No update was available on Sautner post-game.

Midway through the period, we saw Boucher pick up his sixth goal of the season to put the good guys up 6-1 when he protected the puck and drove hard to the net and buried it. Guillaume Brisebois earned his first helper of the season on the play while Cam Darcy was awarded his third.

Not long after the Boucher goal, Chaput took exception to the extra whack that Max McCormick gave to Demko when he froze a puck, and a small melee ensued. Both players were sent off for roughing. The third period was a physical affair. Holm took a couple of trips to the box in this game, and with the Comets already down McEneny and Sautner, Cull decided to tap Brisebois to help on the penalty kill, and the rookie fared well.

Sifers and Chlapik decided to throw down which led to another Andy Zilch gem of a quote. Sifers manhandled Chlapik in the fight and slammed him to the ice and the crowd went wild. As Sifers skated to the box, Zilch came out with, “If you run up against number 26, bad things will happen.” Zilch then went on to explain that while Sifers isn’t known for fighting, the veteran is always ready to come to the aid of a teammate.

We also saw Vincent Dunn take a misconduct penalty after he tried to fight Cam Darcy. Darcy, seeing his team up 6-1 saw no need to fight which enraged Dunn even more. As the referee was breaking the two up, Darcy gave Dunn a Max Lapierre-esque sly grin an pointed at the scoreboard.

Three minutes later, Justin Vaive, son of former Canuck Rick, took an interference penalty and the Comets rolled out an unfamiliar looking power-play that featured the likes of Griffen Molino. Well… Molino would score his first professional goal. Jordan Subban earned his third helper of the day while Alexis D’Aoust earned his third of the season.

That would be it for the scoring today as the Comets skated to a 7-1 victory over the Senators. The final tally on the score clock today was 34-27 in favour of Utica. The Comets also tied a franchise record today when they scored seven goals.

[Today’s Official Boxscore]

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Ashton Sautner. One Goal

2nd Star: Jordan Subban. Three assists

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Two Goals

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Jordan Subban. While putting up points has never been an issue for Jordan, getting three assists in a game is still noteworthy. Jordan still has his struggles in his own end but he had a pretty solid overall game today. With McEneny already out and Sautner injured in the second period, it meant more ice time for guys who don’t usually get those minutes. Add to that the fact that Sifers spent his share of time in the box today and Subban acquitted himself well.

2nd Star: Michael Chaput. As I said earlier, Chaput has been playing well of late and today was no different. He scored a goal, picked up an assist and he got scrappy when someone took liberties with Demko. Chaput is a solid citizen for the Comets and he was rewarded with an “A” on his jersey tonight.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. I would imagine that by now, some of you may be getting sick of seeing me give game stars to Boucher. “Give someone else a turn for a change Cory.” Well, when you score two goals, look dangerous all game and put nine shots on the opposing goal…you will probably end up getting a game star from me. Boucher has been nothing short of great this season in Utica, and I have been reminded that he has usually looked good at this level, however, I see a better overall player this season than I saw last season in Vancouver. He looks like he is genuinely trying to improve his game.

Next Game

VS Hartford Wolf Pack

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

4:00 pm Pacific