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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Get Back to Back Shootout Wins Over Rochester, Downing The Americans 3-2

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #40 | Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

The fourth overall Rochester Americans rolled into Utica today to take on the 20th ranked Comets for the second game of their home-and-home series. The Comets won Monday’s game 2-1 in the shootout.

C.J. Smith was still the Americans’ leading scorer with 33 points in 40 games this season, while Zach Redmond was their leading rearguard with 25 points in 32 games.

The Comets were led up front by Reid Boucher with 34 points in 30 games. Boucher is now just four points shy of his career high of 38 points in the AHL, which he posted with the Albany Devils in the 2013/14 season. Philip Holm was still the Comets blue-line leader with 20 points in 32 games.

The Comets power-play came into the day ranked eighth in the AHL with a 19.3% success rate. Their penalty-kill sat seventh with an 85.9% rate of success. The Americans power-play was sitting 12th overall, having converted on 17.4% of their chances, while their penalty-kill sat fourth overall with an 86.8% success rate.

The Americans had gone 5-3-1-1 over their last 10 games, while the Comets had gone 6-2-0-2 over the same span.

Rochester brought an impressive 12-2-4-2 road record into the game today, while the Comets had a record of 6-9-2-2 at home.

The Americans had scored 121 goals coming into the day while giving up 106. The Comets, for their part, had finally brought their goals-for differential to even with 112 goals given up and 112 goals scored.

In other Comets news, it was announced today that defenseman Dylan Blujus had been signed to an AHL deal after having been with the team since December 14th on a tryout deal. Nice work Dylan, you have earned it. I have mentioned in this space previously that Blujus had been playing well enough to earn an AHL deal. Could Adam Comrie be next? I think he should be.

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

Comets Starting Lines

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

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

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

44 Adam Comrie – 82 Andrew Cherniwchan – 14 Brady Brassart

28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield

6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus

52 Philip Holm – 55 Guillaume Brisebois

30 Thatcher Demko

First Period

Darren Archibald became the Comets all-time leader in games played today when he laced up for his 274th contest in a Comets sweater, surpassing the 273 game mark set by former Comet, Alex Grenier.

Reid Boucher was skating in his 200th AHL game today. In his previous 199 contests, Boucher had put up 80 goals and 64 assists, good for 144 points.

This one got off to a quick start and we saw a pretty good period of hockey. Nicholas Baptiste stepped in off the opening faceoff and fired a puck on net. Thatcher Demko quickly swallowed it up and froze the puck.

Cam Darcy and Reid Boucher went the other way and Darcy dished a pass to Boucher, but the Comets’ sniper was turned aside by Linus Ullmark.

Demko was sharp to turn aside a Garret Ross offering and the game would remain scoreless.

Boucher was at it again, making a nifty move just inside the Rochester blue-line to get into a scoring position, but the winger put the puck wide.

Nathan Paetsch had the next good chance for the Americans but had his shot tipped off the iron.

Andrew Cherniwchan sent the Comets to the penalty-kill at the 6:45 mark when he was whistled for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass.

Zach Redmond had a PP shot tipped wide, and Stuart Percy had his one-timer stopped by Demko.

The Comets were unable to keep the Americans from scoring though, as Kevin Porter beat Demko for his 10th goal of the season with just two seconds remaining in the power-play. Seth Griffith earned his 14th helper of the year on the play, while Zach Redmond picked up his 18th.

Nikolay Goldobin fired a shot on net and Boucher pounced on the rebound but was unable to bury it. Adam Comrie had a heavy shot turned aside by Ullmark as well.

Thatcher Demko was turning pucks aside at the other end as well, stopping a bouncing point shot from getting past him.

Philip Holm showed a sweet stutter-step just inside the Amerks’ blue-line to get a scoring chance. Holm continues to impress.

Alex Nylander was sent off for holding at the 12:35 mark to send the Comets to the power-play. The Power-play would be short lived though as Philip Holm was whistled for interference just under a minute later.

Neither team would do anything with their short power-play, but Darren Archibald did even the score at one at the 15:53 mark when he ripped a shot past the glove of Ullmark. For Archibald, it was goal number five of the season. Cole Cassels earned his 11th assist of the season on the play, while Michael Carcone picked up his sixth. It was good to see the three pick up points in this one as they had gone somewhat cold over the previous few games.

That was it for the first period. The first frame ended with the Americans showing a 14-10 advantage on the shot clock.

Second Period

Nikolay Goldobin had the early chance in the middle frame, going in with a shot, but Ullmark was quick with the mitt.

The Comets got an early power-play when Hudson Fasching was sent off for boarding Ashton Sautner at the 1:28 mark. Boucher had a quick shot turned aside, then it was back to back shots by Goldobin that Ullmark turned away. Both goalies were good in this one.

Reid Boucher would take the Comets off the power-play when he got a little too lippy with the officials after Cam Darcy didn’t get a call.

Cole Cassels and Michael Carcone hooked up for a goal at the 3:01 mark when Carcone pulled off some slick moves to set Cassels up for his fourth goal of the season. Carcone earned his seventh assist of the season on the play. Cassels has surpassed his career high of 11 points and now has 15 on the season. Carcone now sits just two points back of his career high of 18.

Jalen Chatfield and Matt Tennyson got greasy at the 4:19 mark and both men were sent off. Chatfield for roughing, and Tennyson for cross-checking.

Guillaume Brisebois was having a pretty solid game today and he had a couple of nice chances turned aside. First up was a shot from the slot that Ullmark stopped. Next, it was a big point shot which turned into a rebound chance for Carcone and another for Archibald.

Demko was staying sharp in this one, stopping a Tennyson point shot.

Adam Comrie was showing his physical side again as a winger. The big fella dished out a couple of board-rattling hits in the middle frame.

Brisebois and Boucher both had nice chances turned away by Ullmark in this goaltender’s duel.

Demko came up big with his blocker, sending an Eric Knodel shot into the corner. The Comets were looking a little tired when Seth Griffith wired a shot on net. Demko made the save and froze the puck to get a line change for his mates.

Andrew Cherniwchan was showing his wheels again in this one. This dude can fly out there. He quickly made his way up ice with speed to get a scoring chance. Unfortunately, Ullmark was ready with another save.

Griffith tried his best to drop Philip Holm with a big open ice hit, but he just bounced off the smooth-skating defenseman.

Eric Knodel was sent off for interference at the 17:29 mark and the Comets would finish the period with all but the last 31 seconds on the power-play.

The Comets were unable to score and in fact, they gave up a shorthanded chance to Sean Malone, but Demko was there with the save.

Demko had another sprawling save in the dying seconds. This kid is a beauty.

Adam Comrie and Kevin Porter were sent off for roughing at the 19:55 mark and that would be it for the period. The two teams were tied at 12 shots apiece in the middle frame.

Third Period

Jalen Chatfield got the third period off to a quick start with a nice shot on Ullmark, but the Amerks’ netminder was ready with another save.

Philip Holm followed up the Chatfield chance with a sneaky shot from a weird angle with Cassels lurking for a rebound, but Ullmark made the save.

Andrew Cherniwchan is proving to be pretty handy in the faceoff circle. He is being trusted more and more with some defensive zone work of late.

The line of Dziurzynski, Hamilton, and MacEwen were playing a pretty heavy period of hockey. All three men were laying the body every chance they got.

Justin Bailey looked like he had a good chance coming his way, but Demko dashed out and poked the puck away from danger before he could do any damage.

The Americans tied the game at two at the 7:11 mark when C.J. Smith went in all alone and beat Demko with a nifty deke. The goal was number 13 of the season for Smith, while Stuart Percy picked up his 19th assist of the season on the play.

Carcone and Archibald looked like they might get the goal back quickly when they went into the Rochester zone with speed. Carcone dished to Archibald, but the big winger sent his shot wide.

Goldobin and Boucher also looked like they might get the go-ahead goal when Goldobin sent a pass to Boucher, who fired it on the net. Ullmark made the save, but he looked awkward doing it.

The two teams were going back and forth in what voice of the Comets, Andy Zilch aptly described as a chess match. What was once a fast pace, slowed to a crawl as neither team wanted to give the other any chance at a go-ahead goal.

Dylan Blujus set up Ashton Sautner, but Ullmark was equal to the task on the Sautner chance. Carcone, Archibald, and Cassels followed that up with a great shift where they put the pressure on in the Americans’ end, but they were unable to capitalize.

Zack MacEwen came up with a nice shot block in his own end and quickly headed the other way with the puck to take it out of harm’s way. MacEwen’s game is starting to round out, and all of the ice time that he has had since the start of the season is starting to show in his game.

That was it for a grinding third period of hockey. The Comets would have a 9-5 edge in shots, but it was the Americans who would score the only goal, so we were off to overtime.

Overtime

Both teams would get quality chances in the extra frame. Demko stoned Griffith on a breakaway, in fact, I think Griffith may lose sleep over the chances that Demko stole from him over the last two games.

Carcone used his wheels again in the overtime period, flying down the ice for a chance, only to see Ullmark make another save. It was a battle of All-Star goalies in this one.

Tennyson had a shot on Demko, which was turned aside, sending Archibald the other way for another chance, which he shot wide.

Demko made a big save on a Taylor Fedun backhander and then Boucher went the other way, dishing a shot towards the net for Wacey Hamilton to redirect, unfortunately, the tipped puck rang iron.

Patrick Wiercioch leaned into a late shot with 52 seconds remaining, but Ullmark swallowed it up.

Ashton Sautner had a collision with Kyle Criscuolo with 19 seconds left and the defenseman was seen to on the ice by the trainer before heading off under his own steam. Sautner stayed on the bench to watch his team take the game to a shootout.

Shootout

Kevin Porter was first up for Rochester and he beat Demko.

Philip Holm was next for the Comets and he did not score.

Sahir Gill was up next for Rochester and he fanned on his shot, no goal.

Darren Archibald, who won the game in the shootout for the Comets on Monday was up next. Archibald was turned aside.

Seth Griffith was next up for Rochester and Demko crushed his dreams once again.

Reid Boucher was up next for the Comets and he had to score to keep the Comets in it. Good thing then that Reid had gone three for four this year when Cull has tapped him for the job. Boucher scored to improve to four for five and that meant that the American’s leading scorer was up next. Demko “Demko’d” C.J. Smith and it was no dice for him.

Nikolay Goldobin was up next, for all the marbles, the game was on his stick and Goldy would not disappoint the home crowd. He went in and lit Ullmark up like a roman candle.

That was it for this one. The Comets won 3-2 in the shootout and outshot the Americans 37-35 for the day.

Today’s Official Boxscore

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Linus Ullmark. 35 saves.

2nd Star: Thatcher Demko. 33 saves.

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Shootout winner.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Okay, I’m going to cheat here a little again. My third star is the Dynamic Duo, (1.0) of Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin. Both players looked dangerous at times in this game and both scored in the shootout to get the win. Boucher scored the “must-score goal” to keep the Comets alive in the shootout. Goldobin scored the winner. Having the duo back is huge for the Comets bid to make the playoffs this season.

2nd Star: Dynamic Duo, (2.0). The duo of “MikeCole CarCassels” is proving to be a key cog in the Comets success this season. The two stepped up their games while the big fish on the team were either injured or called up to Vancouver, but they haven’t taken their foot off the gas now that some of those big fish are making their way back onto the roster. Carcone picked up another two assists today and also put six shots on net. Cassels scored a goal and picked up an assist. Not a bad day’s work fellas, nice job.

1st Star: Thatcher Demko. Demko came up with a 33 save outing and he once again played his calm and steady game. The Comets had back to back games go to the shootout this week and somehow, in both, you just felt like the Comets would win, no matter how well Demko’s counterpart, Linus Ullmark played. He’s the real deal folks. Let him keep doing what he’s doing in Utica. He will be well worth the wait after he has marinated a little longer.

Comets Next Game

VS Hartford Wolf Pack

Friday, January 19th, 2018

4:15 pm Pacific