Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game #16 | Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
This Comets post-game report will be a little bit different as I had troubles with AHL Live yesterday which made watching the entire game impossible. I was hoping to log in this morning and watch the replay with no issues and bring you a proper report, just a day late. That was not to be the case as I was experiencing the same issues this morning.
What you will get today instead is a hybrid report of sorts. I started writing this post yesterday and as such, I will finish it as if it were all written yesterday to save me from going back and making a multitude of changes. The information given in the first-period portion of this post will be taken from info that I have gathered and not my own first-hand account as the first-period wasn’t available for me to watch. I did, however. watch the second and third periods so they will be business as usual.
Now, with all of that out of the way, let’s get to it, shall we?
The Utica Comets have been busy with roster moves since they last played on Saturday. There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it. First up, we have Patrick Wiercioch coming back to Utica after being returned from recall by the parent club. Wiercioch was bumping up against his allowable number of days on the Canucks roster before he would require waivers to be sent back down. With Wiercioch coming back, and the Canucks close, but not quite healthy on the blueline, Vancouver rewarded Philip Holm for his fine play early on with his first recall of the season. Ryan Biech of CanucksArmy did a great job of breaking down the ins and outs of how this recall affects the Canucks and Comets.
Canucks recall Philip Holm and reassign Patrick Wiercioch https://t.co/weei2t4CUz
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 20, 2017
Following the Wiercioch/Holm transactions, we learned that the Canucks had put Anton Rodin on unconditional waivers in order to mutually terminate his one year contract. Once Rodin cleared waivers it was announced that he had agreed to terms with Davos in Switzerland. I wish Anton all the best with both his hockey career and his health. It has been a bizarre situation for Rodin almost since the day he was drafted and I’m sure that he just wants to move on and get back to playing hockey.
Canucks Place Anton Rodin on Unconditional Waivers for Purpose of Contract Termination https://t.co/BPfKmujhOL
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 20, 2017
— swisshockeynews.ch (@SwissHockeyNews) November 21, 2017
Once that situation was sorted out, the Comets turned their attention to their defense. With Evan McEneny and Ashton Sautner already out with injuries and Jaime Sifers with his right hand/wrist in a cast, the Comets put in another call to Kalamazoo. Last week it was Anton Cederholm getting the call, this time it would be 6’4″, 215lbs defenseman Mackenze Stewart getting the call-up from the Wings. In 11 games so far this season with the Wings, Stewart has recorded three points, all assists, and 32 penalty minutes.
Utica Comets Recall MacKenze Stewart From Kalamazoo Wings https://t.co/bFLbmC0Wew
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 20, 2017
After the Stewart recall was completed, the Comets went the PTO route and signed defenseman Joe Faust to a try-out pact. Faust is a 6’0″, 209lbs, right shot defenseman. The former fourth-round pick of the New Jersey Devils has been with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL most recently, picking up eight assists in 15 games this season. More info on Faust in the link below.
Banged Up Comets Add Defenseman Joe Faust on a PTO. https://t.co/kis2U3IQlf
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 21, 2017
Once the ink was dry on the Faust PTO, the Comets reached out to forward Brian Ward and signed him to a PTO as well. Ward is a 6’1″, 202lbs forward who went undrafted. The 25-year-old has bounced between the AHL and ECHL over the last couple of seasons and has been playing this season with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. In 17 games with the Thunder this season, Ward has five goals and six helpers, for 11 points to go along with 23 penalty minutes. More on Ward in the link below.
Comets Add Forward Brian Ward on PTO https://t.co/bV060lOTSR
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 22, 2017
When a player signs a PTO, or Professional Try-Out, they get up to 25 games to either earn a contract or one more 25 game look if both the team and player are of the mind to continue the relationship. A PTO can be terminated by either the player or the team at any time.
Whew….now that all of that is out of the way…
The Comets came into today’s game having sold out 85 consecutive regular season home games. The record for the most consecutive sell out regular season games is 120. Well done Comets fans, it will be great to hear that crowd when they undoubtedly break that record.
With Saturday's game, the Comets have sold out 85 consecutive regular-season home contests.
The AHL record is 120 regular-season games.
— O-D Comets (@OD_Comets) November 21, 2017
The red-hot second place Toronto Marlies came into town today after having steamrolled their way to four straight victories. The 25th place Comets, on the other hand, have just one win in their last five games. To date, the Marlies have outscored their competition by a count of 55-33. The Comets, however, have been outscored by a 46-44 margin coming into today.
Ben Smith was the Marlies leading scorer before puck drop today with 16 points in his first 17 games. Martin Marincin was their blueline leader with seven points in 11 games. For the Comets, once again, it was Nikolay Goldobin with 17 points in 15 games and the recently recalled Philip Holm with 10 points in 15 games this season.
Scratched today for Utica were: Darren Archibald, (injured), Wacey Hamilton, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Ashton Sautner, (injured), Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Jaime Sifers, (injured), Brian Ward and Mackenze Stewart.
Stick tap to @cometstalk on Twitter for giving me the early heads up with line combos and who was wearing the letters today.
Comets Starting Lines
16 Joe LaBate – 34 Carter Bancks, (C) – 23 Jayson Megna (A)
58 Michael Carcone- 11 Cam Darcy – 77 Nikolay Goldobin
24 Reid Boucher – 21 Michael Chaput (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen
13 Griffen Molino – 19 Cole Cassels – 17 Alexis D’Aoust
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 7 Jordan Subban
2 Anton Cederholm – 3 Joe Faust
28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield
30 Thatcher Demko
The first period saw the Comets and Marlies take two penalties apiece. First off the ice would be Martin Marincin, taking an interference penalty at the 5:31 mark. The Comets were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. Cam Darcy was next up, getting whistled for slashing at 9:04 of the first. The Comets penalty kill did their job and kept the Marlies off the board.
Justin Holl went off for interference at 15:01 and once again the Marlies’ penalty killers came out on top. Patrick Wiercioch was sent off for holding at 17:46, but he would make up for that infraction in the second period. More on that in a minute.
Unfortunately for Wiercioch, Miro Aaltonen would pick up his third goal of the season as the Marlies would take advantage of the extra man. Timothy Liljegren earned his fifth assist on the power-play goal while Mason Marchment picked up his seventh.
By all accounts, Boucher, Carcone, and Goldobin all had very good chances in the first period but Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks was having a strong outing and kept them at bay.
Shots on goal for the first period favored the Marlies by a 16-15 margin.
Thatcher Demko would be busy in the second period but it would be the home team that would get on the scoreboard first. Carter Bancks took a slashing penalty at the 4:44 mark and sent the Marlies to the power-play. The Comets would surprise the Marlies with a shorthanded goal. Cam Darcy sprung Michael Chaput, getting the puck to him along the boards and Chaput spotted a streaking Wiercioch who buried one past Sparks to tie the game and make up for his earlier penalty. For Wiercioch, it was his second goal of the season. Darcy was awarded his fourth helper of the season while Chaput earned his seventh.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 23, 2017
I noticed Wiercioch jumping up into the play a few times today, which should work well on this team as they want to keep their defense active. Jalen Chatfield and Zack MacEwen were showing a physical element in the middle frame today, something that will help both players get noticed by their coaching staff. Anton Cederholm, while not a prospect who is likely to play above the AHL level, has been showing that he could possibly be a more permanent option in Utica. Cederholm dished a nice breakout pass in the second, showed a hard shot, (which he needs to use more), was physical and kept his game simple.
Calle Rosen would be whistled for interference at the 8:30 mark and just over a minute later, Colin Greening would put the Comets up by two men when he was sent off for tripping. The Comets power-play went to work but were unable to beat Sparks. The Marlies netminder was playing well today.
Guillaume Brisebois got some second unit power-play time today with Holm, McEneny, and Sautner out of the lineup and I was happy to see it. Brisebois is still getting accustomed to the pro game but I have seen some improvement. He is starting to get some pucks through and I would like to see him use his shot a little more. Guillaume would finish the day with three shots on net.
Just after Greening left the box the Marlies went up by a pair when Justin Holl beat Demko for his second goal of the season. Ben Smith was awarded his eighth assist of the season while Trevor Moore picked up his first helper of the year on the play.
Demko was doing his best to keep the Comets in this one as he faced 20 shots in the period. However, he couldn’t keep the Marlies from scoring another. As the period was coming to a close, Dmytro Timashov would score his fifth goal of the season. Chris Mueller picked up his ninth helper of the year on the play while Andreas Johnsson earned his seventh.
The shot totals for the second period were 20-6 in favor of the Marlies.
The third period got underway with some back and forth action before Justin Holl was sent off for holding four and a half minutes in. The Comets power-play was once again stymied by the Marlies’ penalty killers. In fact, just as Holl came out of the box he was sprung loose for a breakaway by Travis Dermott. Demko went down early and Holl beat him high to the glove. For Holl, it was his third goal of the season and second of the game. Dermott earned his fifth helper of the season while Andrew Nielsen picked up his seventh on the goal.
With the Comets down by a count of 4-1, I would have liked to see Joe LaBate impose himself on the Marlies a little more. Make life more difficult for them. LaBate has been seeing steady power-play time and good linemates five on five. I would like to see him do a little more with that ice-time, or alternatively, I would like to see a guy like Alexis D’Aoust moved back up the lineup as he showed well there earlier in the season.
Four minutes after Holl scored, it would be Chris Mueller who would beat Demko to put the Marlies up 5-1. Demko wasn’t happy with the play as he had lost his stick and Mueller beat him low. It was goal number three of the season for Mueller. Timashov was awarded his seventh assist of the season on the play while Johnsson earned his eighth.
As time wound down in the game, I noticed a bit of “Alex Burrows” come out in Michael Carcone. The feisty winger was skating in on the forecheck and as he passed Liljegren from behind, he pushed the defenseman’s helmet over his eyes. It was a cheeky play by Carcone, he definitely has a bit of that agitator element to his game.
Reid Boucher would round out the scoring in the game, although it was too little, too late. With just five seconds remaining, Jalen Chatfield let a shot go from the point and Boucher tipped it past Sparks for his team-leading seventh goal of the season. If you are following along at home, that would be Chatfield’s second assist in as many games. I said earlier in the season that points would start coming for Chatfield and with minute munchers McEneny, Sautner, and Holm out of the way, they finally are. I like Chatfield’s game and it is nice to see him start to get some points on the board. Zack MacEwen, another fine rookie, earned the other helper on the Boucher goal. For MacEwen, it would be his fourth helper of the season, giving him a share of the rookie points lead on the Comets with Alexis D’Aoust with six.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) November 23, 2017
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Dmytro Timashov. One goal, one assist
2nd Star: Garret Sparks. 28 saves.
1st Star: Justin Holl. Two Goals
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Thatcher Demko. Thatcher made 35 saves today and faced 20 shots in the second period alone. This game could have been all kinds of ugly if not for Demko’s play in the middle frame. With back to back games coming up against Laval, I would imagine Demko gets the night off for game one and looks to get himself back into the win column as the starter in game two of the doubleheader this weekend.
2nd Star: Guillaume Brisebois. These stars aren’t always about who was the best player on the ice. Sometimes I just like to acknowledge when a player is getting extra responsibility and handling it well. This is the case today for Brisebois. With other defenders injured, Brisebois is getting more minutes and being put in situations that he hasn’t been put in much this year. Brisebois saw second unit power-play time today and managed to get a few shots through. His physical game is picking up as well.
1st Star: Jalen Chatfield. As with Brisebois, Chatfield is getting some extra minutes and using them well. While I don’t expect Chatfield to be a big point producer, it is nice to see him starting to put up some points. The rookie plays a steady game and looks extremely calm for a rookie. The Canucks don’t have a pile of high-end defense prospects, heck, they may not have any outside of Juolevi, but they do have something in Chatfield. I am enjoying watching Jalen develop in Utica this season and look forward to seeing him score his first professional goal soon.
VS Laval Rocket
Friday, November 24th, 2017
4:30 pm Pacific