Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Give Up Two Goal Lead, Lose 5-4 in the Shootout to Bruins

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #31 | Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

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The 20th place Utica Comets got back at it today as the 4th overall Providence Bruins rolled into town fresh off the Christmas break. The Comets were coming off of a 2-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch, while the Bruins last played to a 2-1 shoot-out win over the Springfield Falcons.

The Bruins had gone 8-2-0-0 over their previous 10 games while the Comets had gone 4-3-3-0 over that same span. So far this season, the Bruins had outscored their competition by a 90-73 margin, while the Comets had been outscored by a total of 91-83 thus far in the season.

The Comets had the better special teams stats coming into today, with their power-play sitting 13th in the league after scoring 25 goals on 140 opportunities, while their penalty-kill had given up 22 goals on 143 kill attempts. That record had their penalty-kill sitting in 10th place league-wide. The Bruins power-play had scored 18 goals on 126 opportunities, while their penalty-kill had given up 27 goals while shorthanded 142 times.

Austin Czarnik was the Bruins leading point getter with 26 points in 23 games. Tommy Cross was their leader on the back end with 11 points in 29 games. Michael Chaput led active Comets in points with 16 in 22 games, while Philip Holm was their blue-line leader with 14 points in 23 games.

With Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin both in Vancouver and a lengthy list of injuries on the Comets roster, the team was once again going the PTO route to flesh out their roster. This time the Comets have added two players, as forward David Dziurzynski and defenseman Adam Comrie have been summoned from separate ECHL teams.

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Dziurzynski had been playing with the Florida Everblades, while Comrie had been with Reading Royals and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season. You can read more about the two latest PTO signings in the link below. It appears that Dziurzynski will be wearing number 22, while Comrie will be wearing number 44 for the Comets.

Scratched today for the Comets were: Darren Archibald, (injured), Jaime Sifers, (injured), Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Cam Darcy, (injured), Jayson Megna, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Wacey Hamilton, (injured), Anton Cederholm, Brady Brassart, Griffen Molino, and Vincent Arseneau.

16 Joe LaBate  (A) – 21 Michael Chaput (A)  – 58 Michael Carcone

44 Adam Comrie – 19 Cole Cassels – 17 Alexis D’Aoust

34 Carter Bancks (C) – 27 Tony Cameranesi – 15 Zack MacEwen

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22 David Dziurzynski – 12 Danny Moynihan – 29 Cliff Watson

28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield

52 Philip Holm – 55 Guillaume Brisebois

6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus

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30 Thatcher Demko

Trent Cull made some interesting choices when laying out his lines today. He was playing two defensemen as forwards and healthy scratched Griffen Molino and Brady Brassart. We may find out later that one or both forwards were injured.

Michael Carcone picked up right where he left off last game when he got after a rebound off a Jalen Chatfield point shot, but Bruins goalie Zayne McIntyre was there with the early save. McIntyre would soon find himself fishing a puck out of his net though.

Just 53 seconds into the period, Ashton Sautner sent a point shot on net and it beat McIntyre high. For Sautner, it was goal number two of the season. Tony Cameranesi picked up his first assist of the year on the play, while Zack MacEwen earned his 11th.

Shortly after the Sautner goal, Thatcher Demko was forced into making a nice save off of the stick of Kenny Agostino. Thatcher would stop all 11 shots sent his way in the opening frame.

Sautner looked like he was going to pick up his second goal of the game when he rushed into the Bruins’ end and let fly with a shot, but he put the puck off the side of the net.

Patrick Wiercioch would be sent off for high-sticking at the 7:11 mark of the first. The Comets managed a good penalty-kill, using Bancks, Cassels, Chaput, and Cameranesi up front, and Sautner, Blujus, Holm, and Chatfield on the back end. Demko had to make one big save on the kill, but otherwise, the Comets did a great job of keeping the Bruins to the outside.

Wiercioch had barely exited the box and David Dziurzynski was whistled for slashing. The Comets were doing a nice job on the kill when Carter Bancks drew an interference penalty on Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. The two teams would play four aside for 1:04. Alexis D’Aoust had a nice chance in the four on four, but once again, McIntyre was equal to the task.

Jalen Chatfield fired a bomb on the net, but McIntyre was there with the save.

The two teams would go back and forth, with Demko making a nice save off of a Zach Senyshyun point shot. In the final minute, we would see a few chances. First, it was Demko with a big save just as the final minute started to wind down, then it was McIntyre with a save off of Chaput. Carcone had taken the puck hard to the net and Chaput was there to bang away at the rebound, but McIntyre was there. Demko made back to back saves in the dying seconds to keep the home team up 1-0.

The first-period shot clock showed 14 shots for Utica and 11 for Providence.

Tony Cameranesi was having another decent game for the Comets today. He had a great chance early with a wraparound, but McIntyre was ready with another save.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson would even the score at one when he hammered a one-timer past Demko at the 4:09 mark of the middle frame. It was the 10th goal of the season for Forsbacka Karlsson. Kenny Agostino earned his 12th assist of the season on the play, while Austin Czarnik picked up his 19th.

Just over a minute later, Dylan Blujus would be sent off for holding. The Comets were using Danny Moynihan on the first part of this kill. You can’t say that players aren’t getting opportunities in Utica this season. Demko would just get enough of a Colton Hargrove shot to keep it from trickling into the net and the Comets would come up with another good kill.

Right after the penalty ended, Demko came up with a beauty save as he stretched out to stop a Czarnik breakaway.

The Bruins were all over the Comets in the middle of this period, but the home team was doing their best to keep the visitors from going up a goal. D’Aoust was having another hard-working game, showing some great work along the boards, using his body to protect the puck in the offensive zone. MacEwen came bustling into the Bruins zone looking like he would get a good chance, but he was unable to get the puck to settle down.

Jalen Chatfield was showing his effortless skating again as he flew down the boards and got a nice pass into the slot, but the puck was tipped out of harm’s way by a Bruins defenseman.

Michael Carcone continued his red-hot play of late when he put the Comets up 2-1 at the 15:46 mark. Carcone streaked into the Bruins zone and skated behind the net, flipping the puck towards the crease as he rounded the back of the net. The puck banked in off of Josh Hennessy’s stick and beat McIntyre. Dylan Blujus picked up the lone assist, his third of the season on the play.

The two teams would go back and forth as the period wound down, but neither would add to the score. Chatfield and Justi Hickman got in each other’s faces as the period came to a close, but the refs separated them without the need for any penalties.

The shot clock for the middle frame favored nobody, as the teams were tied with nine shots apiece for the period.

The third period would start with Tony Cameransei being assessed with a five minute major and a game misconduct at the 1:25 mark for interference. The Comets would do great work and would kill the five-minute penalty, only to have Adam Payerl score his second goal of the season, just after the penalty expired at the 6:28 mark. Colton Hargrove earned his sixth helper of the season on the play, while Forsbacka Karlsson picked up his 11th. Demko did make more than one big save on the Bruins power-play to keep his team in the game.

Ashton Sautner left the ice in obvious pain after the goal, but he stayed on the bench. The Comets don’t need any more injuries, so it was good to see Sautner return later in the game.

Joe LaBate would put the Comets up 3-2 at the 7:55 mark when he went low, glove side on McIntyre. It was LaBate’s sixth goal of the season. Patrick Wiercioch picked up his seventh assist of the season on the play, while Carcone earned his third.

At the 8:59 mark, Dylan Blujus would put the Comets up by a pair when launched a point shot clapper past McIntyre. It was the first goal of the season for Blujus, who has been playing well for the Comets since signing his PTO. Alexis D’Aoust earned an assist on the Blujus goal, his sixth of the season. Cole Cassels should have earned one as well, but as of the time of this writing, only the D’Aoust helper shows in the boxscore. *Edit: Cassels did end up getting credited with an assist on the goal, to earn his sixth of the season.

At the 9:40 mark, Justin Hickman picked up his fourth goal of the season to get the Bruins back within one. That made four goals scored in a little over three minutes between the two teams. Adam Payerl picked up his second helper of the season on the play, while Chris Porter earned his fifth.

David Dziurzynski was sent off for slashing at the 11:59 mark and the Comets penalty-killers would get down to work once again. The Bruins would have six power-plays on the day and would score on none of them. Dziurzynski was sent in on a beak as he came out of the box, but it looked like he was skating through tar to get to the net. He is not exactly fleet of foot. He would not score.

Dylan Blujus was having a solid game for Utica. He picked up a goal and an assist today and seems to have the trust of the coaching staff, being used on both special teams’ units.

Chaput was showing his physical side again in the third, laying a big hit along the boards. Demko was forced to make a save off of a sneaky spinning backhander with about five minutes remaining in the third.

With 3:16 showing on the clock, Joe LaBate looked to have scored to put the Comets up 5-3. It was a nice play where Carcone broke in with speed and got a shot off, pulling McIntyre out of position, leaving yawning cage for LaBate to deposit the puck into. The refs reviewed the play and found the net to be off its moorings and the goal was disallowed. There was no contact made to the net during the play, so it appears that the net had been off for some time. The boo-birds came out in full force to let the refs know that they weren’t impressed with the call.

That disallowed goal would come back to haunt the Comets when the Bruins would pull McIntyre for the extra attacker at the 1:20 mark and Matt Beleskey would score his second of the season to tie the game at four. Forsbacka Karlsson would earn his 12th helper of the season on the play.

In the dying seconds of the third period, Blujus would fire a shot on net and Carter Bancks and Cole Cassels would scrum it up with a couple of Bruins. We would be hearing from Cassels and Bancks and their scrum abilities again before this one would end.

The third period would end with the game tied at four apiece and with Providence showing a commanding 16-7 lead in shots for the period.

Demko had to be big in the extra frame, making five saves during the extra time, but none was bigger than this one with 3.1 seconds left.

Demko did the splits on another save in overtime and he looked a little uncomfortable when he got up. That might be something to keep an eye on, as well as LaBate, who was sent hard into the net on a partial break and ended up crashing into the boards. I will say it again, the Comets do not need any more injuries.

The overtime period would end with Cassels and Bancks getting into it with Forsbacka Karlsson and Tommy Cross. All four men would receive 10-minute misconduct penalties for their actions. The extra frame would solve nothing and we were off to the shootout.

Demko would give up a goal on the first shot by Kenny Agostino, and that was all it would take as none of Holm, Carcone or Wiercioch were able to beat McIntyre. The game would end with the Bruins pulling out a 5-4 shootout win and they would also win on the shot clock, putting up 41 shots to the Comets’ 30.

Today’s Official Boxscore

The Three Stars in the Building today were:

3rd Star: Austin Czarnik. One assist

2nd Star: Cole Cassels. One assist

1st Star: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Dylan Blujus. Blujus is with Utica on a Pro Try-Out contract and has now played six games for the Comets, picking up one goal and three assists along the way. That is a pretty solid contribution from a guy on a PTO. Blujus is a 6’3″, 207lbs, right shot defenseman. Maybe the Comets should look into keeping him around beyond his 25 game try-out if this kind of production keeps up. He has been used on both special teams while with the Comets, so it looks like he is earning the trust of the coaching staff. Blujus finished the day with one goal and one assist, to go along with three shots on net.

2nd Star: Cole Cassels. Cassels once again had a strong game, picking up an assist on the Blujus goal to go along with his 10 minute major in overtime. Cassels has really stepped up in the absence of so many quality players in Utica this season. So much so, that I am starting to think that it might even be possible that we could see him called up to Vancouver at some point this season, or possibly become a deal sweetener in a trade for the Canucks. Cassels now has eight points in 25 games for the Comets this season. His career high with Utica is 11 points scored over 66 games last season. He has already cleared his first-year totals of seven points, which took him 67 games to accumulate. Not staggering numbers by any means, but Cassels is having a very good run of games of late.

1st Star: Michael Carcone. Carcone just keeps on doing what he does and he is being rewarded for it in both points and in ice-time from his coaches. Carcone put up five goals in 61 games last season. He now has six this season, in 24 games. Carcone earned a goal and an assist in today’s game, to go along with six shots on goal. I say he earned those points and I want to emphasize that. Carcone is the kind of player that coaches like. His motor never seems to stop running. I never really knew what the Canucks had in Carcone, and maybe I still don’t, but he impresses me with his work ethic every single game. He has speed to burn, he can play a gritty, physical game and he has decent hands. Is it possible that he could see time in Vancouver at some point? I can’t say for sure, but he certainly has my attention in Utica.

Next Game

VS Providence Bruins

Friday, December 29th, 2017

4:00 pm Pacific