CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Lose Heart Breaker 7-6 In Overtime.

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #20 | Friday, December 1st, 2017

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The 21st place Utica Comets welcomed the ninth place Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Adirondack Bank Center today for their home portion of a weekend back to back series that will wrap up tomorrow in Bridgeport.

The Sound Tigers were led in scoring by forward Tanner Fritz with 19 points in 17 games. Sebastian Aho was Bridgepoint’s blueline leader with 13 points in 18 games. For the Comets it was much the same as it has been since the start of the season, with Nikolay Goldobin still sitting atop the points lead with 19 in 18 games, while Reid Boucher was hot on his heels with 18 points in 17 games.  Philip Holm was still the blueline leader with 11 points in 17 games.

The Bridgeport power-play was operating at 14.8%, which had them sitting 23rd overall in that category league-wide. Their penalty-kill fared better with an 84.3% effective rate, which had them sitting 11th in the league. The Comets power-play was sitting seventh in the league with a 19.8% rate of effectiveness while their penalty-kill had improved to sixth in the league with an 84.9% rate.

The Sound Tigers have outscored their opponents 62-50 this season, while the Comets were still trying to right the ship that saw them being outscored 56-54 since the start of the season.

The Comets last played on Wednesday when they defeated Rochester 2-1 in overtime. Bridgeport, for their part, most recently defeated Hershey in a 3-2 shootout win after losing 4-3 in overtime to Lehigh Valley. Previous to those two games, the Sound Tigers had rattled off four straight wins.

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The Comets had made a couple of roster moves since their last game. Cam Darcy who had been with the team since camp on a PTO was rewarded for his work so far with the Comets when the team announced that they had signed the forward to an AHL deal.

We also found out this morning that Michael Garteig had been summoned from Kalamazoo as Richard Bachman is out with what is said to be a minor knee injury. Thanks to Rick Dhaliwal for digging up the Bachman info just as I had finished writing my post on the Garteig recall. Garteig was wearing the number 41 on his jersey, for all the number geeks out there like me.

In other news of interest to Comets fans, we learned yesterday morning that Goldobin would make his season debut with the Canucks last night vs the Predators.

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Goldy was given a plum assignment on the top line left wing along with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser….and Goldy didn’t disappoint. Utica’s top scorer showed some silky mitts with a sweet pass to Canucks’ leading scorer, Brock Boeser to set up a goal. Nice work Goldy.

Scratched for the Comets today were: Darren Archibald, (injured), Wacey Hamilton, (injured), Jaime Sifers, (injured), Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Richard Bachman, (injured), MacKenze Stewart, Brian Ward, and Anton Cederholm.

Comets Starting Lines

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16 Joe LaBate – 11 Cam Darcy – 23 Jayson Megna (A)

24 Reid Boucher – 21 Michael Chaput (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen

 12 Danny Moynihan – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 17 Alexis D’Aoust

13 Griffen Molino – 19 Cole Cassels – 58 Michael Carcone

52 Philip Holm – 7 Jordan Subban

28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield

6 Ashton Sautner – 55 Guillaume Brisebois

30 Thatcher Demko

Trent Cull mentioned in a pregame interview that Richard Bachman was originally going to get the start in this game until getting injured in practice, which led to the Garteig recall. With these two teams getting right back at it tomorrow, it is possible that we could see Garteig get the start in Bridgeport.

REID BOUCHER SCORES!! Yes, folks, it was that quick today. It seemed as if the puck had barely hit the ice before Boucher had his arms in the air to celebrate his 10th goal of the season. In reality, it took Boucher 44 seconds to put the biscuit in the basket. Jordan Subban did great work to keep the puck in at the blueline and fired a puck on net, where Boucher finished it off to beat Bridgeport goaltender Christopher Gibson. Subban earned his fifth assist of the season on the play and the newly signed Darcy picked up his seventh.

Connor Jones would give the Comets a chance to go up by a pair three minutes later when he was sent off for tripping. The Comets rolled out a first unit power-play of Chaput, Bancks, and MacEwen up front with Holm and Boucher manning the points. That unit couldn’t get much going and was replaced by the second unit of LaBate with Megna and D’Aoust up front and Wiercioch and Subban on the blueline. LaBate had the best chance while playing a net-front position but couldn’t squeeze the puck through Gibson.

Carter Bancks was playing a physical first period and some of his teammates were following the captain’s lead. MacEwen, Brisebois, and D’Aoust were all hard on the puck and their opponents bodies in the opening frame.

Griffen Molino and Michael Carcone had a nice chance mid-way through the period but were denied by Gibson.

Former Canuck, Steve Bernier tied the game at one at 11:37 when he beat Demko for his eighth goal of the season. Bernier was also wearing an “A” for the Sound Tigers. Tanner Fritz earned his 16th helper of the season on the goal, while former Comet, Kane Lafranchise picked up his sixth.

Just 10 seconds after the Bernier marker, we saw Jordan Subban throw down with Stephen Gionta. The two diminutive scrappers had a spirited tilt which saw Subban looking like he wants to fill part of the void left by Dorsett in Vancouver as he laid a solid beat down on Gionta.

Cam Darcy was sent off for interference less than a minute later when he leveled Kyle Burroughs with an open-ice hit. The Tigers would take just over a minute to go up 2-1 when Scott Eansor scored his ninth of the season. Sebastian Aho earned his seventh assist of the season while Tanner Fritz earned his 17th on the play.

The first half of the period was all Comets and the second half was all Tigers. The shots for the opening period favored Utica by a count of 10-9. The physical play picked up as this period went on.

The second period kicked off with Connor Jones taking a holding penalty just 30 seconds in. A minute later the game was tied at two when Boucher beat Gibson for his second of the game and 11th of the season. Jayson Megna picked up his fifth helper of the year on the power-play marker.

Two minutes later it was Joe LaBate taking advantage of a Sound Tiger miscue and he walked in on Gibson and blew one past him. For big Joe, it was just his third goal of the season. Let’s hope this is the start of a good run for LaBate. I like his game and would like to see him start putting up some points. The LaBate goal was unassisted.

With the Comets up 3-2, the feisty play between the two teams continued. Once again, it was the Comets with the early momentum, but again, it would swing back into the favor of Bridgeport.

It took Tanner Fritz less than a minute and a half to tie the game at three when he beat Demko for his fifth goal of the season. Lafranchise picked up his second assist of the day against his former team on the play.

The action went end to end for a couple of shifts and the physical play continued. Philip Holm was rocked by an open ice hit in the Bridgeport end and he left the ice and headed down the tunnel. Holm did not return in the period.

Steve Bernier would be sent off for interference at the 9:06 mark and by the 9:13 mark Chaput had put the Comets up 4-3. It was Chaput’s seventh goal of the year. Boucher picked up his third point of the game on his 10th assist of the year. Wiercioch earned his third helper of the season on the power-play goal.

The Chaput goal got the ire up on the Bridgeport bench enough to earn them a bench minor, putting the Comets right back onto the power-play. The Comets would be unable to capitalize on this one.

Brisebois was sent off for hooking with a little over five minutes remaining in the period and the visitors would make him feel shame. Casey Bailey tied the game at four when he beat Demko for the power-play marker. For Bailey, it was his fourth goal of the season. Michael Dal Colle earned his seventh assist of the season on the play while Mitchell Vande Sompel was awarded his ninth.

Joe LaBate would be sent off for elbowing and the Comets would kill the penalty. Cam Darcy is proving to be another good option on the penalty-kill for Cull.

The second-period shot clock would favor the Sound Tigers by a 14-13 margin.

Neither of Philip Holm or Jordan Subban was out for the third period for the Comets. For Holm, it would obviously be resulting from this hit.

For Subban, I can only assume that he was traded mid-game….okay, probably not. I will take a guess that it may have had something to do with his fight earlier in the game. (It was revealed after the game that Subban had suffered an upper-body injury).

The third period started in similar fashion to the previous two, with the Sound Tigers taking an early penalty. This time it was Devon Toews who would be sent off for tripping. It would be no dice for the Comets on this power-play, however, shortly after it ended, Chaput put the Comets up 5-4 when he beat Gibson for his second of the game and eighth of the season. Boucher picked up his fourth point of the day and 11th assist of the season, however, it was MacEwen who put in the work on this one. The rookie picked up his sixth helper of the year on the play.

Barely 30 seconds after the Chaput goal, Seth Helgeson evened the game at six when he beat Demko for his second goal of the season. Fritz was once again in on the Bridgeport scoring, picking up his third point of the day with an assist. We would be hearing from Fritz again before the day was done. Bernier was awarded the other helper on the Helgeson goal.

Zack MacEwen was showing that he can lay the body when required. The big rookie was having another physical game today.

Five minutes after the Helgeson goal, Chaput was sent off for hooking. It took the Sound Tigers roughly 16 seconds to go up 6-5. This time it was Toews putting the puck past Demko. For Toews, it was his fifth goal of the season. Sebastian Aho earned his eighth helper of the year on the power-play goal, while Fritz added his 18th assist.

With just over three minutes remaining, Patrick Wiercioch tied the game with his third goal of the season. I know, it is the AHL, but Wiercioch now has three goals, and three assists, for six points in seven games. That’s a pretty solid depth signing by Jim Benning. Once again, it was MacEwen with the good hustle getting the helper on the Wiercioch marker.

The Wiercioch goal would stand up to send the game to overtime. In the extra period, we would see both teams use their timeouts and Cam Darcy would take an ill-advised tripping penalty. It was on that power-play that Fritz would score to end the game. For Fritz, it was point number five on the day. Toews and Aho were awarded the helpers on the game-winning, power-play goal.

The shot clock read 40-31 in favor of Bridgeport by the time the game had ended. If I had to guess, I would say we will see Michael Garteig get his first start of the season for Utica tomorrow after Demko saw 40 shots today.

The Comets power-play went two for five today, while their penalty-kill finished a heinous one for five. Utica will need better results from their penalty-kill tomorrow. The Comets were fortunate to make it to overtime today after playing the entire third period with only four defensemen. I would imagine that Anton Cederholm gets back in tomorrow with Subban and Holm questionable. Who knows, we may even see Mackenze Stewart make his Comets season debut.

Today’s Official Boxscore

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Steve Bernier. One goal, two assists.

2nd Star: Reid Boucher. Two goals, two assists.

1st Star: Tanner Fritz. Two goals, three assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

Let’s face it, with two goals, and two assists, Reid Boucher could have been one of the stars tonight, heck, I could have given him all three stars tonight and not felt bad about it. But this is an equal opportunity space for giving out praise to players when they earn it. So today I am spreading the accolades around a little.

3rd Star: Patrick Wiercioch. The tall, lanky defenseman finished the day with one goal, one assist and two shots on net. He also barely left the ice in the third period. With both of Holm and Subban injured, the whole team had to step up, especially the blueliners. Wiercioch sent the game to overtime with his goal, and that alone should earn him a star today.

2nd Star: Michael Chaput. Chaput put up two goals today and continued his hot start. That makes 15 points in 19 games for the man who has been wearing an “A” on his jersey since Darren Archibald went down with a broken face. With Goldobin recalled to Vancouver for who knows how long, the Comets will need other players to pick up the scoring slack. Chaput has shown this season that he can be one of those players as well as being a key cog on both special teams.

1st Star: Zack MacEwen. MacEwen picked up two more assists today and worked hard for both of them. The rookie now has nine points in 15 games this season. MacEwen has more layers to his game than I expected when he was signed. He is a big fella, and the physical game seems to come naturally for him. But that isn’t all there is to MacEwen, he is also becoming a staple on the first unit power-play. The big fella has hands and can get around the ice too. Jim Benning may have unearthed a guy who can be a solid contributor in a bottom six role in Vancouver after putting in some more time in Utica. I don’t expect to see MacEwen in Vancouver this season, but it’s possible that he could make a cameo as soon as next season.

Next Game

 VS Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

4:00 pm Pacific





  • wojohowitz

    Utica had a lousy PK game giving up 4/5. Maybe Goldobin was a key PK guy so maybe switch Horvat out and Goldy in on the PK tomorrow. Also lost two D-men – Subban and Holm. Burden fell on Chatfield +2 and Wiercioch +3 but Sautner and Brisebois had their problems.

  • LTFan

    Wiercioch has played well in the few games that he has been in. I would like to see him get a chance with the Canucks whenever there is another injury. A big guy with pretty good speed. The problem is he would have to clear waivers if he comes up again and then is sent back to the Comets.

  • Cageyvet

    Not much mention of Demko in this, obviously not a star performance with 7 GA, but was he subpar? Or was it just that loose a game, that’s a lot of offense for a lineup that was just stripped of its leading scorer.

    Is Boucher going to get a shot at the Canucks? It seems to me he was good for about half a point a game in his stint last season, and I’d like to see him fail before condemning his lack of speed. Kessel and some others seem to get it done when they have talent around them, and some guy named Brett Hull was still finding a way to score as a bit of a chunky, slower guy.

    Cole Cassels…..is he ever going to amount to anything? Is there a chance he becomes a potential bottom 6 guy or is he done? He’s not in the picture at all when I envision the Canucks in the future, and I see them making room for a more physical player like MacEwen than many other Comets.

    I’m not surprised Chaput is contributing, he’s a solid depth signing and was always better at his role with the Canucks than Megna in my opinion. He’s a smart player who can kill penalties as well, handy to have around and obviously a key player for the Comets.

    • Cory Hergott

      Demko did make 33 saves, so he wasn’t subpar. It just wasn’t a stand out game for him.
      I agree with you about Boucher. I think he is an NHL player and I don’t think he is as “slow and lazy” as other people think he is.
      With Cassels, I’m not sure if he will get another NHL contract with the Canucks. I could however, see him earning an AHL deal and being a guy who they keep around as an AHL depth piece/leader for their young prospects.
      I also agree with your take on Chaput.