Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game #41 | Friday, January 19th, 2018
4:15 pm Pacific
The 16th overall Utica Comets rolled into Hartford today to take on the 28th ranked Wolf Pack. That’s right folks, the Comets came into today sitting in 16th place overall in the AHL, a nice jump from 20th, which is where they sat at the beginning of their game on Wednesday.
The Comets power-play was ranked eighth overall coming into the game, while their penalty-kill sat seventh. The Wolf Pack, for their part, carried the league’s ninth-best power-play, while their penalty-kill sat 13th.
Reid Boucher still sat atop the Comets scoring leaders with 34 points in 31 games, while Philip Holm was still the team’s points leader from the back end with 20 in 33 games played. Cole Schneider was the Wolf Pack’s active points leader with 24 in 41 games, while defenseman John Gilmour led the Hartford blue-line with 22 points in 36 games.
The Comets were coming off of a 3-2 shootout win over Rochester, while the Wolf Pack were coming off of a 5-1 loss to Springfield.
Utica had gone 6-2-0-2 over their previous 10 games and had been riding a three-game win streak. Hartford had gone 2-8-0-0 over the same span and had been on a three-game losing streak.
The Comets had a road record of 12-5-2-1, while the Wolf Pack showed a home record of 7-10-2-0.
The Comets came into today having outscored their opponents 115-114 this season, while the Wolf Pack had scored 112 goals while giving up 148.
Let’s talk a little Thatcher Demko for a moment, shall we? Coming into today’s action, Demko sat eighth overall in the league with a goals-against average of 2.29. He was the league’s second busiest goaltender in both saves with 815, and minutes played with 1651:24. He was tied for fourth overall with 15 wins, tied for first in the league with four wins in the shootout, and finally, he sat fifth overall with a 0.928 save percentage.
The Comets are starting to get healthy, and so are the parent Canucks. With Bo Horvat set to rejoin the Canucks soon, expect corresponding roster moves in Utica. It will be interesting to see how the Canucks handle the situation as Michael Chaput will require waivers to make his way back to Utica. I don’t imagine that Chaput is a hot commodity as far as NHL rosters are concerned, but it still wouldn’t be good to lose him.
The Canucks wouldn’t send Jake Virtanen down just because he doesn’t require waivers…would they? Time will tell, but we will know soon enough.
If the Canucks do send Chaput down, and he clears waivers, the Comets roster will be very crowded, likely leading to a player or two being released from their PTO deals, and/or Anton Cederholm and Danny Moynihan being sent back to Kalamazoo.
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), Tony Cameranesi, (injured), Anton Cederholm, Danny Moynihan, 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
44 Adam Comrie – 82 Andrew Cherniwchan – 14 Brady Brassart
28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield
52 Philip Holm – 55 Guillaume Brisebois
6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus
32 Richard Bachman
This period was a quick one. Neither team took a penalty, making time fly by in the opening frame.
Ryan Sproul got things started, sending a shot in on Bachman, which the Comets’ netminder blockered away. Adam Tambellini followed that shot up with back-to-back, point blank shots. The first of which Bachman turned aside, but the rebound came right back to Tambellini, who shot the puck wide.
Defenseman, Neal Pionk had his point shot turned aside by Bachman as well. The Comets’ goaltender had to be sharp early in this one, and he was.
Michael Carcone had two quick chances turned aside as well. Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec wasn’t about to let Bachman show him up. Cam Darcy and Nikolay Goldobin nearly hooked up for a goal when Darcy dished to Goldobin, who found a seam and got into shooting position. The Goldobin offering went off Mazanec’s glove and hit the post.
Adam Comrie, he of the booming shot, let fly with a shot that Mazanec blockered away.
Neal Pionk took a shot and his rebound went to Eric Selleck, who got a shot away. Bachman was quick to absorb the shot and get a whistle.
Zack MacEwen had a nice wrist shot denied by Mazanec and Ryan Graves went the other way, taking a shot from the hash marks that Bachman was ready for.
The Wolf Pack were doing a nice job of blocking shots in the period, keeping their netminder from being overworked.
Blue-liner Philip Holm was putting pucks to the net today. He had one shot go wide and ended up getting a rebound chance, which he buried into Mazanec’s logo on his jersey.
Bachman made nice back to back saves on Scott Kosmachuk and Ryan Graves, but the netminder would not stop everything that came his way in the first.
Ryan Sproul put the home team up 1-0 at the 12:26 mark when he beat Bachman from the bottom of the faceoff circle. It was goal number five of the season for Sproul. Adam Chapie earned his fifth assist of the season on the play, while Filip Chytil picked up his eighth helper.
Bachman had to make a quick save off of the stick of Cristoval Nieves from in close not long after the Sproul goal. Ryan Gropp was next to test Bachman, letting fly with a shot from the slot, but Bachman turned it aside.
Wacey Hamilton would send a sneaky wrist shot on net late and Zack MacEwen pounced on the rebound, banging away at it before it squirted loose to the corner. That was as close as the Comets would get to evening this one up in the first.
The period ended with the Comets showing a 14-12 advantage on the shot clock.
Goldobin got this period kicked off with a quick shot which went off Mazanec and out of play.
Utica would get an early power-play when Adam Tambellini was whistled for tripping. The Comets power-play was not looking dangerous. Adam Comrie had a shot turned aside, but that was about the extent of the Comets chances.
Wacey Hamilton skated a puck into the Hartford zone, taking the puck straight to the net, where Andrew Cherniwchan dug away for a rebound, but Mazanec stood tall.
Michael Carcone set Darren Archbald up with a cross-ice feed for a one-timer. Mazanec got a piece of it to keep the Wolf Pack up by a goal.
Dylan Blujus was once again showing his shot-blocking prowess, helping to keep the shots down on Bachman. Blujus also showed that he can play at the other end of the ice, taking a shot that set up a rebound chance for Boucher, but Mazanec was equal to the task.
Wacey Hamilton was whistled for interference at the 7:05 mark, sending the Comets to their first penalty-kill of the day.
Filip Chytil ripped a shot on net, only to see it go off of Bachman’s glove and ring iron, similar to a play at the other end in the opening period.
The Comets would kill the Hamilton minor and would get their own power-play at the 10:13 mark when Vince Pedrie was sent off for boarding. Once again, the Comets power-play would come up lame.
Goldobin showed something that the coaches will like when he made a nice defensive play in his own end, swiping the puck from Chytil and heading the other way for a chance.
Philip Holm was sent off for interference at the 14:15 mark and the Comets penalty-killers would be put to work.
Pionk had a point shot smothered by Bachman, then Chytil had a chance blocked by Jalen Chatfield. Bachman made another pair of back-to-back saves before Ryan Sproul beat him for his second goal of the game and sixth of the season. Cristoval Nieves picked up his second assist of the season on the play, while Joe Whitney earned his 10th.
The Comets would get a chance to get back in this one at the 16:43 mark when Ryan Graves was sent off for hooking, a penalty drawn after Goldobin dangled nearly the entire Hartford team.
Comrie and Holm each had chances stopped, but the Comets power-play was sloppy and unable to convert.
The period would finish with the Wolf Pack showing a 10-8 advantage in shots for the middle frame, which had the two teams tied with 22 shots apiece going into the third period.
The Wolf Pack were not going to make this an easy game for Bachman. This period opened with Filip Chytil getting a point-blank shot on Bachman from the high slot. The goalkeeper got a piece of it and the puck went wide. We would be hearing from Chytil again before the end of this one.
Adam Tambellini came in hard and cut to the net with a chance, but Bachman was not going down without a fight. Nieves looked to beat Bachman to put the Wolf Pack up 3-0, but his shot rang iron.
Neal Pionk was busy today, putting seven shots Bachman’s way. He fired a point shot which Bachman steered to the corner with a pad save.
The Comets didn’t get their first shot on goal until we were nearly five minutes in. Cole Cassels looked confident, using a sneaky, spinning shot through traffic that Mazanec was somehow able to stop.
Ryan Graves was also pretty busy, putting five shots on net today. He had a chance with a heavy point shot, but Bachman swallowed it up and got the whistle.
Cam Darcy and Scott Kosmachuk were jawing at each other pretty good after the Bachman save.
Reid Boucher continued to put up the points, getting himself to within three of his career high of 38 when he hammered home a one-kneed, one-timer to pick up his 18th goal of the season. Nikolay Goldobin set Boucher up for that sweet one-timer when he threaded the needle through a few Hartford players to get the puck to him. It was assist number 14 of the season for Goldobin. Cam Darcy earned the other helper, his 11th of the season.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) January 20, 2018
Adam Tambellini nearly got the goal back quickly for Hartford when he forced an Ashton Sautner turnover for a quick shot on net, but Bachman flashed the leather to keep his team within a goal.
Patrick Wiercicoh leaned into a point shot, looking to tie the game, but Mazanec came up with a big save.
Dylan Blujus continued his impressive play when he ripped home a one-timer to beat Mazanec and tie the game at two. The goal was Blujus’ second of the season and ninth point in 16 games with the Comets. You can see why he was signed to an AHL deal this week. Ashton Sautner picked up his seventh assist of the season on the Blujus tally, while Goldobin picked up his second helper of the game and 15th assist of the season. Goldobin now has 22 points in 21 games this season with the Comets.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) January 20, 2018
Roughly halfway through the third period, Philip Holm fired a shot on net that caught Mazanec off guard. The netminder made an awkward save that saw him stay down on the ice for an extended time. He had to be helped off the ice and his night was done. Alexandar Georgiev entered the game and the Comets would try to take advantage of the netminder who came in cold.
Before the Comets would get a chance, however, Bachman would be forced into making a big save on a two on one break by Sproul and Nieves.
Carcone sent Archibald in with a pass, but the winger fired his shot wide. The Comets would get some good pressure late, but they would not be able to get anything to go.
Bachman made another save late and this one would need overtime. The third-period shot clock showed Hartford with a slight advantage of eight shots to seven.
This overtime would end quickly. The Comets would get two chances, one off the stick of Carcone and one from Holm, but Georgiev stopped the pair of them.
Filip Chytil would end the game just 1:10 into the extra frame for his seventh goal of the season. Neal Pionk earned his 13th assist of the season on the play, while Cole Schneider picked up his 18th.
That was it in Hartford as the Comets were able to come back from a two-goal deficit to score a pair in the third to tie the game and send it to overtime, earning a single point.
The Three Stars in the Building today were:
3rd Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Two assists.
2nd Star: Ryan Sproul. Two goals.
1st Star: Filip Chytil. Game-winning OT goal. One assist.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Dylan Blujus. Blujus picked up his second goal of the season and his ninth point in 16 games. He definitely has earned his AHL deal with the Comets. He continues to show well at both ends of the ice, making good defensive plays and blocking shots in his own end, and contributing points at the other end. Blujus could stand to take a fewer penalties, but his game since joining the Comets has been very good overall.
2nd Star: Michael Carcone. Carcone did not pick up any points today, but that wasn’t for a lack of effort. He continues to be the motor that drives that line with Cassels and Archibald. Carcone made a few nice plays today that, unfortunately, didn’t turn into goals, and he also had five shots on net. I have said it before, but this kid is fun to watch.
1st Star. Goldobin has been back with the Comets for three-game and he has three assists and an overtime winner. There is no denying that he can put up points in the AHL. It’s the defensive side of his game that the Canucks want him to continue working on. Well, Goldy made a few nice defensive plays in this game, so he is trying to do the things that the team is asking of him. I don’t expect Goldobin to be in Utica beyond the trade deadline this season. I feel like he will either be called up after the Canucks have made their deals, (ie Vanek), or he will have been traded. Goldobin will require waivers to get to Utica next season, so its either Vancouver or another NHL team for Goldy next season. Somehow, I don’t think he would pass through waivers and the Canucks cannot afford to see him scooped up for nothing.
Comets Next Game
VS Syracuse Crunch
Saturday, January 20th, 2018
4:00 pm Pacific