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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: The Comets Down The Rochester Americans 2-1 in Overtime

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #39 | Monday, January 15th, 2018

Pre-Game

The 20th place Comets rolled into Rochester today to take on the fourth overall Americans. It took 53 points to land the Americans in fourth place in the AHL. It took 41 points to have the Comets sitting 20th.

The two teams had already played seven of the 10 games that they would face off against each other this season. The Comets had the edge in the season series with four wins to the Americans three. Each team had a shootout loss and an overtime win in the series. Thus far in this series, it would appear that the two teams had been a closer match than the standings would indicate.

The Comets power-play had them sitting ninth in the AHL in that category, having gone 33 for 171 with the man advantage. Their penalty-kill had moved up to sixth overall, giving up just 25 goals while down a man 180 times.

The Americans’ power-play sat 14th, having gone 32 for 186. Their penalty-kill sat third, being shorthanded 162 times and giving up just 21 goals. Would it be a special teams battle today? Stay tuned to find out.

Reid Boucher was still the Comets points leader with 17 goals and 16 assists, to give him 33 points in 29 games. Philip Holm led the Comets blue-line with seven goals and 12 assists, good for 20 points in 31 games. The Comets would welcome back their third overall scorer today as Nikolay Goldobin was back from his most recent stint in Vancouver. Goldobin, for his part, had seven goals and 12 assists to give him 19 points in 18 games before being summoned to Vancouver on a recall.

C.J. Smith was the big cheese in Rochester with 12 goals and 21 assists to give him 33 points in 39 games. Zach Redmond was their blue-line leader with eight goals and 16 assists, good for 24 points in 31 games this season.

The Comets won their last game, a 3-2 overtime win over the Devils, while the Americans lost 4-0 to Syracuse in their last contest. Utica had gone 5-3-0-2 over their last 10 games, while Rochester had gone 6-3-1-0 over the same span.

The Comets had been outscored 111-110 so far this season, while the Americans had outscored their opponents this season by a count of 120-104.

Thatcher Demko sat second in the AHL in saves with 755, fourth in save percentage with a 0.926% mark, eighth in goals against average with a 2:37 GAA, and fourth in minutes played with 1521:24 minutes to his credit.

Philip Holm sat 17th in the league amongst defensemen with 20 points, second in power-play goals with six and second in game-winning goals with three.

Adam Comrie had the league’s fourth-best points streak with four goals and two assists to give him six points over his last three outings.

Dylan Blujus had the league’s fourth-best assist streak with four helpers over his last four games.

Scratched today for the Comets were: Carter Bancks, (injured), Jaime Sifers, (injured), Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Jayson Megna, (injured), Joe LaBate, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Griffen Molino, (injured), Alexis D’Aoust, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Patrick Wiercioch, (injured), Tony Cameranesi, Anton Cederholm, and Vincent Arseneau

Comets Starting Lines

22 David Dziurzynski – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 11 Cam Darcy – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

25 Darren Archibald (A) – 19 Cole Cassels – 58 Michael Carcone

82 Andrew Cherniwchan – 39 Marco Roy – 14 Brady Brassart

52 Philip Holm – 55 Guillaume Brisebois

6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus

44 Adam Comrie – 5 Jalen Chatfield

30 Thatcher Demko

First Period

This game would get off to a quick start today, with Reid Boucher getting a shot off right away but Linus Ullmark was ready with the save. Ullmark was busy in the opening frame and he was very good.

Kyle Criscuolo would send the Comets to an early power-play when he was whistled for tripping at the 1:16 mark. Just under a minute later Zack MacEwen had his arms raised in the air in celebration of his fourth goal of the season. Nikolay Goldobin picked up his 13th assist in his first game back with the Comets. Reid Boucher had the other helper, his 17th of the season.

Shortly after the MacEwen goal, Michael Carcone used his wheels to skate the puck in behind the Amerks net, dishing the puck into the slot for Cassels, but Cole’s backhander was turned aside by Ullmark.

Thatcher Demko wasn’t going to be outdone by Ullmark as he was making some pretty nice saves of his own. Zach Redmond had a point shot gloved down by Demko, then Thatcher made a heady shoulder save on a sneaky backhander by Justin Bailey.

The two teams played a pretty good period of back and forth hockey in the first. Adam Comrie continued firing bombs, looking to up his impressive point totals.

Jalen Chatfield showed some nice defensive awareness when he picked off a pass in his own end and quickly skated it up ice and out of danger.

Cam Darcy was sent off for tripping at the 9:47 mark and the Comets penalty-kill would get down to work. The Comets did a nice job of keeping the Rochester players to the outside on the kill. Darren Archibald and Nikolay Goldobin were paired up on the kill and the two would get a shorthanded chance, but Archibald’s shot was turned aside.

Demko made another pair of saves after the Archibald chance. Demko was doing Demko things once again today.

Goldobin showed some slick passing skills when he sent Boucher in with a nice stretch pass, but Reid was unable to capitalize.

Demko made another nice save off of the stick of Eric Cornell to keep his team up by a goal.

Ashton Sautner set Cam Darcy up for a nice one-timer chance, but Ullmark was equal to the task. Wacey Hamilton let fly with a quick blast from the faceoff circle, but once again, Ullmark had the answer.

Michael “Crazy Legs” Carcone used his wheels to break into the Rochester zone with speed, blowing by the Amerks defenseman like he was standing still. Carcone whipped out a nice little dangle, but Ullmark stayed with him and shut him down.

Marco Roy would give the Comets penalty-killers another chance to hone their craft when he was sent off for slashing at the 14:31 mark. Demko would be one of the Comets best killers as he made a few nice saves to keep his team in the game.

Wacey Hamilton would get a nice chance late, but the period would end with the Comets ad Americans tied at one on the scoreboard and the Comets with a 13-12 edge on the shot clock.

Second Period

The Americans came out flying to start the second period and Demko was ready with an early save.

The Comets would once again get an early power-play when Nicholas Baptiste was sent off for holding at the 1:35 mark. The Comets weren’t able to score on this one, but it was fun watching Boucher and Goldobin set up on the boards, opposite each other, and dishing to Holm who was launching shots toward the net. This power-play could be deadly once everyone is up to speed again.

Carcone wheeled into the Rochester zone, darted behind the net and threw the puck into the slot where it was deflected by an Americans’ player, forcing Ullmark into another save. Carcone was engaged in this one today.

Wacey Hamilton dished to David Dziurzynski, whose shot was tipped wide. Ullmark would be busier than Demko in the middle frame.

Brendan Guhle was whistled for hooking at the 5:47 mark when he hauled down a speedy Carcone. Dylan Blujus got a nice point shot off while waiting for the delayed Guhle penalty to be called, but once again, Ullmark made the save.

Before the Guhle penalty was finished, Kyle Criscuolo was sent off for a hooking penalty of his own. The Comets managed a few chances with the extended man advantage, but they were unable to get anything past Ulmark.

Jalen Chatfield was showing some heads-up play in his own end again when Ashton Sautner was beaten by a Rochester player, but Chatfield was able to strip the puck off of his stick before any damage could be done.

Dylan Blujus was once again blocking shots to help his netminder out. Blujus is a shot blocking machine.

Cam Darcy would send the Comets back to the penalty-kill at the 13:33 mark when he was sent off for high-sticking. This time the Americans would answer with a goal. Seth Griffith beat Demko with a one-timer for his seventh goal of the season. Brendan Guhle picked up his 14th assist of the season on the play, while Zach Redmond earned his 17th.

Darcy nearly made up for his penalty when he stole a puck and sped into the Rochester zone for a scoring chance, only to be turned aside by Ullmark.

The two teams went back and forth with Ullmark making a save off of Goldobin in the dying seconds of the period.

Utica would have a 10-5 advantage on the shot clock in the second period.

Third Period

The third period kicked off with the two teams going back and forth. The Americans were getting shots but were putting many of them wide of the net. Demko did have to be sharp to make a save on a shot tipped by Eric Cornell though.

Zack MacEwen was seen skating to the bench hunched over and had the trainer spending some time with him, but the big fella would be back in the game before long.

Wacey Hamilton had an early shot denied by Ullmark, but the Comets came out flat to start the third period. The Americans were getting some good pressure in the Comets zone, but they were unable to capitalize.

Kevin Porter beat Demko with a shot but it clanged off the iron and out of harm’s way. Andrew Cherniwchan went the other way and had his backhand chance stopped by Ullmark. Ullmark was good today, have I mentioned that yet?

Demko was also good in this one. Thatcher robbed Sean Malone when the centerman went in alone with a backhand-forehand deke, but Thatcher laid out with the splits to deny him.

Ashton Sautner had a hot point shot gloved down by Ullmark at the other end.

The Comets would get another power-play at the 11:23 mark when Seth Griffith was sent off for interference. Boucher set up Holm for a shot, but Ullmark had his number. Before the Comets could get anything more going, Zack MacEwen took an interference penalty of his own.

The two teams would play 40 seconds of four on four, during which, Demko committed larceny on C.J. Smith when the Americans’ leading scorer went glove high from the hash marks, but Demko whipped out the mitt and crushed his dreams.

The Comets would kill off the remaining five on four play, but Demko had to make another save off of the stick of Zach Redmond just after the penalty expired.

Rookie, Zack MacEwen had back to back chances turned aside by Ullmark and the first one blew the stick right out of the netminder’s hand. MacEwen would then bully his way back into the Rochester zone, causing Taylor Fedun to take a holding penalty on him. The Comets, however, would not get a power-play because MacEwen kept on going and plowed into netminder, Linus Ullmark for a penalty of his own.

During the four on four play, Boucher created a chance out of nothing when he lifted Nathan Paetsch’s stick and stole the puck from him, heading the other way and getting a shot off. Ullmark, however, wasn’t going down without a fight and he denied Boucher of his 18th goal of the year.

Demko also had to be sharp, making a save on a redirected Hudson Fasching shot.

With time winding down, Seth Griffith had a break on Demko and Dylan Blujus held him up a little too much, resulting in a Griffiths penalty shot. The winger came in on Demko and duffed his shot and the game would go to overtime.

The third period finished with the Comets showing a slight 10-9 edge in shots.

Overtime

By taking this game to overtime, the Comets have earned at least one point in their last six road games. Demko would only have to make two saves in the extra frame, but they were big saves. Ullmark, on the other hand, saw no fewer than eight shots sent his way in the overtime period.

Boucher had a breakaway, but Ullmark stoned him. Adam Comrie had two big bombs on net and Ullmark was equal to the task for both of them. Overtime would solve nothing and we were off to the shootout.

The Comets would finish the game with a 41-28 advantage on the shot clock. Did I mention that Ullmark had a good game?

The Comets went 1-5 on the power-play and killed three of the four power-plays that they gave up today.

Shootout

Rochester sent Eric Cornell, C.J. Smith, and Seth Griffith over the boards for the shootout, but none would beat Demko for a goal, although Griffith did ring iron on his attempt.

Trent Cull tapped Goldobin, Boucher, and Archibald for his shooters and although Goldobin and Boucher couldn’t bury one, Archibald did and the Comets came away with the 2-1 overtime win.

Today’s Official Boxscore

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Darren Archibald. Shootout winner

2nd Star: Linus Ullmark. 40 saves.

1st Star: Thatcher Demko. 27 saves.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Michael Carcone. Carcone didn’t pick up any points in this one, but the speedy winger was definitely engaged in the game today. He used his wheels a couple of times to skate the puck deep into the Rochester end and dished the puck into the slot for scoring chances.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen: The big winger picked up a power-play goal today to give him four goals on the season. MacEwen also has 15 assists this year. The big man put five shots on net today and had a couple of nice rushes. MacEwen also takes his share of faceoffs while playing as a winger, and not just when his centerman has been thrown out of the circle. Keep an eye on MacEwen in the second half, I feel like he will pick up his production as the season goes on.

1st Star: Darren Archibald. “The Gooch” put four shots on net today and he was the lone goal scorer in the shootout. The Comets look like they have a new swagger to their game now that Archibald is back from his injury. He is still wearing the bubble to protect his face, but that hasn’t stopped him from folding a dude in half with a big hit in nearly every game since his return.

Comets Next Game

VS Rochester Americans

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

4:00 pm Pacific