Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game #63 | Saturday, March 17th, 2018
4:00 pm Pacific
The 17th overall Utica Comets rolled into Belleville today to take on the 30th ranked Senators, (Ottawa affiliate) for game number 63 of the Comets season. The Comets had 70 points coming into today’s game, while the Sens had 51.
The Comets special teams were pretty horrific yesterday, giving up three power play goals and one shorthanded tally. As such, their power play had dropped to 11th in the AHL, operating at 18.4%, while their penalty kill had fallen from third in the league to fourth with an 85.5% effective rate. The good news for them, in theory anyway, Belleville’s special teams were anything but special coming into the day. Their power play sat 28th in the league, operating at 14.1%, while their penalty kill was the league’s 29th ranked unit with a 76.9% effective rate.
Michael Chaput was the Comets active points leader with 12 goals and 19 helpers to give him 31 points for the season in 43 games. Zack MacEwen also had 31 points with his nine goals and 22 helpers in 57 games. Patrick Wiercioch rounded out the Comets top three with eight goals and 21 assists to give him 29 points in 46 games this season.
For the Sens, it was rookie Filip Chlapik sitting atop the active points leaders with eight goals and 19 helpers to give him 27 points in 49 games this season. Defenseman Ville Pokka was next up with four goals and 22 assists to give him 26 points in 58 games this year. Gabriel Gagne sat third with 18 goals and five helpers to give him 23 points in 60 games.
The Comets were coming off of a 4-2 loss to Laval yesterday, while the Sens last played to a 3-1 loss to Toronto. The Comets had gone 2-8-0-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Sens had gone 2-7-1-0 over the same span. Utica brought a road record of 17-8-3-1 into the game, while Belleville showed a home record of 12-19-1-0 before today’s game.
The Comets had been outscored 180-173 by their opponents this season, while the Sens had put up 154 goals while giving up 231. The two clubs had faced off in four games already this season with the Comets holding a three-games-to-one advantage in the season series, having outscored the Sens 16-9 in the process. The Sens did win the last meeting, however, by a score of 1-0.
Scratched today for Utica were: Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Joe LaBate, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Jayson Megna, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Alex D’Aoust, (injured), Adam Comrie, (sick), Frankie Simonelli, Zac Lynch, and David Dziurzynski, (veteran rule).
Comets Starting Lines
11 Cam Darcy – 21 Michael Chaput – 15 Zack MacEwen
13 Griffen Molino – 34 Carter Bancks – 82 Andrew Cherniwchan
18 Vincent Arseneau – 19 Cole Cassels – 27 Tony Cameranesi
36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 7 Tanner MacMaster – 58 Michael Carcone
6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus
28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
32 Richard Bachman
As this game got underway, it was clear that this was going to be another gem of a video feed from AHL Live. Their product is pretty terrible if you haven’t gathered that from my post-game reports this season. Today, the sound was behind the video feed, which was also brutal. The Comets players were blending into the ice and it was difficult at times to even see the black puck on the white ice. All of this said I will do my best to cover this game for you.
Richard Bachman got the start in this one and he was forced into an early blocker save off the stick of Erik Burgdoerfer. At the other end of the ice, Sens netminder Danny Taylor made a save off a shot from the corner and he held for a whistle.
The Comets were not getting off to a good start in this one as Sens rookie Filip Chlapik was sprung for a breakaway and beat Bachman to make it 1-0 just 2:38 into the game. The goal was Chlapik’s ninth of the season, while Daniel Ciampini grabbed his eighth helper of the year on the play.
Ethan Werek came looking for more when he sent a hot-shot off the wing Bachman’s way that the netminder turned aside. The two clubs would go back and forth as Wacey Hamilton hit newcomer Tanner MacMaster with a pass and he quickly dished to Michael Carcone who saw his shot denied by Taylor. The puck went the other way and Bachman came up with a nifty poke check to break up a scoring chance in the Comets zone.
Daniel Ciampini put the Sens up 2-0 at the 8:57 mark when he beat Bachman for his sixth goal of the season. Filip Chlapik picked up his 20th helper of the year on the play, while Patrick Sieloff earned his fifth.
Dylan Blujus was looking to get that one right back when he sent a wrister from the point on net that Taylor gloved down. It was at this point in the game that I notice wrestler Mick Foley in the Belleville crowd. He even jammed Mr. Socko down some dude’s yap who was wearing a Canucks jersey.
Back to the game, Michael Carcone sent a quick snapper on the net, but Taylor once again said no. Wiercioch teed up a point shot that was tipped wide by Vincent Arseneau before the Sens went the other way with a point shot that Bachman grabbed up and held for the whistle.
Carcone tried a wrist shot next that gave Taylor some trouble, but the netminder was able to make the save. Chaput followed up with a shot on net and MacEwen jumped on the rebound, but Taylor had his number.
Jaime Sifers would put the Comets down a man at the 14:57 mark when he was sent off for cross-checking. During the power play, Ben Sexton sent a shot on net that Dylan Blujus blocked before Sexton let fly with a point shot that Bachman denied with a quick glove.
Jack Rodewald would take the Sens off the power play at the 15:49 mark when he was fingered for hooking and we would see some four-on-four play for 1:08. Neither team would make anything happen during the four aside play, but the Comets would get within a goal just after the Rodewald penalty ended.
Andrew Cherniwchan picked up his fifth goal of the season as he put a Griffen Molino rebound past Taylor to make it a 2-1 game. Molino picked up his seventh helper of the season on the play, while Guillaume Brisebois earned his 11th.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 17, 2018
Wacey Hamilton was looking to keep the good times rolling when he sent a wrister on the net that Taylor turned aside.
Ben Sexton would put the Sens a man down at the 18:38 mark when he was sent off for a cross-check. Wiercioch would send a shot on the net and see it gobbled up by Taylor and that would be it for the opening frame. The Comets showed a 13-12 advantage on the shot clock for the first period.
The Comets started the middle frame with a brief 38-second power play that they would be unable to take advantage of. Eric Selleck would lend them a hand though, as he was sent off for tripping just 1:06 into the second period to send the Comets right back to the power play.
It would take Cam Darcy less than a minute to tie the game at two when he beat Taylor for his sixth goal of the season. Patrick Wiercicoh earned his 22nd helper of the year on the play, while Dylan Blujus grabbed his 10th.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 18, 2018
Jordan Murray looked like he may have put the Sens back up by a goal when he sent a shot on net that beat Bachman but didn’t beat that fat, red post behind him. The officials went to the video review, but it was no goal and we were still knotted at two.
Michael Carcone had a chance from in close but Taylor was ready with the save. Wiercioch grabbed the rebound but had his shot blocked. Wiercioch followed up with another chance off the ensuing faceoff that was tipped wide of the net.
Andrew Cherniwchan took a pass from Molino and got a shot away that Taylor was ready for. Ashton Sautner followed up with a wrister that was tipped wide. Blujus grabbed the puck and had his shot blocked before Vincent Arseneau followed up with his own shot that was denied by Taylor. The Comets were pouring on the pressure and they were looking about as good as they have since they were on that great points streak.
At the other end, Daniel Ciampini had a shot blockered away by Bachman before we saw Zack MacEwen get rocked with a big open ice hit by Andreas Englund. The big fella picked himself up off the ice and had some words for Englund on his way to the bench. MacEwen would be back in the game, no worse for wear…Englund, however, was not seen again for the rest of the game. The lesson here, don’t take a run at Zack MacEwen.
The two teams would go back and forth with a few chances as newcomer Tanner MacMaster was set up for a one-timer by Wacey Hamilton and Taylor was once again equal to the task. Erik Burgdoerfer uncorked a heavy shot at the other end that Bachman denied before Comets rookie Jalen Chatfield saw his shot turned aside by Taylor.
Patrick Sieloff was sent off for slashing at the 10:17 mark and the Comets would head to the power play. Zack MacEwen had a shot denied before Wiercioch saw a shot of his own turned aside by Taylor. Guillaume Brisebois was getting some power play time and the rookie did some nice work to hold the puck in at the blueline on a play, but once again, the Comets power play would come up with nothing.
Rookie defender Jalen Chatfield has yet to score his first pro goal, but he came close in this one. He sent the puck on net from a bad angle and nearly fooled Taylor, but the Sens netminder managed to make the save. Michael Carcone took a hard hit into the boards on the following play and he headed to the bench in obvious pain. Now, with the poor quality of the video feed, it was hard for me to say for sure what was going on, but play-by-play man Andy Zilch said that Carcone was getting attention on the bench for a gash on his forehead. The feisty Comets winger never missed a shift and he would be back out to finish the game.
Cole Cassels tried to give the Comets some life when he sent a wrister on net, but Taylor flashed the leather to make the save.
Patrick Wiercioch would send the Comets back to the penalty kill at the 16:39 mark when he was whistled for tripping. The Comets did great work to keep the Sens to the outside and would come up with a good kill. The only shot that looked dangerous was a Maxime Lajoie wrister that came late, but Bachman was ready with the save.
Not quite 20 seconds after the Wiercioch penalty expired, Jack Rodewald beat Bachman with a low shot to put the Sens up 3-2. The goal was Rodewald’s 11th of the season, while Lajoie picked up his 11th helper of the year on the play, and Max Reinhart earned his 10th.
Bachman would come up with one more save on a late wrister and that would be it for the middle frame. The Comets showed an edge of 11-7 on the shot clock for the second period.
The third period got underway and the Comets would see some action in their end before Bachman covered a loose puck with a crowd forming in his crease.
Tanner MacMaster was showing pretty well for his first pro game, sending a nice pass to Wacey Hamilton for a chance that was tipped wide of the net. Ben Sexton went the other way and forced Bachman into a sprawling save before Tony Cameranesi headed back into the Sens zone on a breakaway. Cameranesi made his move and Taylor came up with yet another save.
Michael Carcone sent a hot-shot right off the lid of Danny Taylor and Colin White went the other way and got a shot away that Bachman turned aside with the blocker.
Dylan Blujus came up with yet another shot block, this one off of the stick of Filip Chlapik. I have said this before, but Blujus is like the second coming of Craig Ludwig. It’s like the man lives for the shot block.
The Comets kept coming as Wiercioch sent another wrister on net that Taylor denied. At the other end of the ice, Eric “don’t call me Tom” Selleck tried to fool Bachman with a shot from an odd angle, but Bacher wasn’t about to be tricked by that one.
Carter Bancks sent a low shot in on Taylor that was denied, he grabbed his rebound and put it back on net and Taylor had that one too. Vincent Arseneau tried to beat Taylor with a one-timer, but once again the netminder said no. Arseneau used his body to force a turnover, unloading with a hit that led to a Tony Cameranesi one-timer that was also turned aside. Taylor was on his game in this one.
Ryan Scarfo nearly beat Bachman with a shot that gave him some trouble, but the Comets keeper grabbed the puck and held for the whistle.
Jordan Murray decided to run Bachman down in his crease and he would be sent off for charging at the 13:06 mark. The Comets power play would be short-lived, however, as Michael Carcone took a tripping penalty just 32 seconds later.
During the four-on-four play, Daniel Ciampini split the Comets defence and sent a shot off Bachman and out of play. Cam Darcy was robbed at the other end by Taylor on back-to-back chances. The Comets would manage to kill off the brief Sens power play, but Bachman was still forced into a save off Ville Pokka as Carcone was getting out of the box.
Guillaume Brisebois got a point shot away that was blocked as time was winding down. With two minutes remaining, Bachman was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker but the Sens would score on the empty net. It would be Filip Chlapik picking up his 10th goal of the season, while Colin White earned his 14th assist of the year on the play and netminder Danny Taylor picked up his second.
Andrew Cherniwchan made it interesting when he scored his second goal of the game and sixth of the season just 44 seconds later. Jaime Sifers grabbed his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Wacey Hamilton picked up his 10th.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 18, 2018
That would be all that the Comets would muster, however, as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Sens. The Comets showed a 15-11 advantage in shots for the final frame and a 39-30 advantage for the game.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Danny Taylor. 36 saves.
2nd Star: Daniel Ciampini. One goal, one assist.
1st Star: Filip Chlapik: Two goals, one assist.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Patrick Wiercioch. Wiercioch picked up another helper today and now has 30 points in 47 games. He is now just one point behind Zack MacEwen and Michael Chaput for a share of the Comets points lead by active players. Wiercioch has put up 0.64 points per game this season. Is that good? I think that’s good…
2nd Star: Cam Darcy. Darcy grabbed another goal today and now has 23 points in 43 games this season. He is putting up 0.53 points per game this year, not bad for a guy who started the year on a PTO with the Comets. Darcy just turned 24, so he isn’t an “old” player, but he does fall outside of the age group that most consider prospect material. I’m not advocating for him to get a two-way deal with the team, but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him back on an AHL deal as a depth guy next season in Utica. He has put up four points in his last four games with the Comets.
1st Star: Andrew Cherniwchan. Cherniwchan picked up a pair of goals today and now has six on the season. He has yet to tally an assist with the Comets, however. Cherniwchan was one of the best players in the game today for Utica, and to paraphrase John Tortorella, while that is great news for Andrew, it is not so great for the rest of the team. Cherniwchan has been with the team on a pair of PTO deals this year and has now suited up in 27 games for the club. He brings a physical edge for a guy who isn’t close to being the biggest player on the ice at 5’11” and 172 lbs. The man is a gamer.
At Toronto Marlies
Sunday, March 18th, 2018
12:00 noon Pacific