Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game #69 | Friday, March 30th, 2018
4:00 pm Pacific
The 25th overall Hershey Bears, (Washington affiliate) rolled into Utica today to take on the 16th ranked Comets for game number 69 of the Comets season. The Bears had 65 points coming into today, while the Comets had 78 points to their credit.
The Bears had the league’s 25th best power play, operating at 15.1%, while their penalty kill sat 13th in the AHL with an 83.6% effective rate. The Comets power play was sitting 11th in the league with an 18.2% effective rate, while their penalty kill was still the AHL’s second-best, running at 85.8%.
Chris Bourque led the Bears offence with 48 points in 57 games, while Travis Boyd was second with 45 points in 59 games. Wayne Simpson rounded out their top three with 39 points in 69 games.
For the Comets, it was Michael Chaput at the top of the heap amongst active players with 38 points in 49 games, while Patrick Wiercioch was second with 35 points in 52 games. Rookie winger Zack MacEwen sat third with 32 points in 63 games. Wiercioch’s 35 points had him ranked as the league’s eighth-leading scorer amongst defensemen.
The Bears were coming off of a 6-4 loss to Bridgeport, while the Comets last played to a 3-2 overtime win over Rochester on Sunday. The Comets had gone 5-5-0-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Bears showed a record of 4-5-0-1 over that same span.
The Comets had a home record of 14-14-3-3 coming into the game today, while the Bears had a road record of 13-19-0-2. The Bears had been outscored by a 224-183 margin, while the Comets had scored 191 times while giving up 196 goals this season.
The two clubs had squared off once this season, with the Bears coming away with a 3-0 win.
In other Comets news, it looks like they will be getting Kole Lind soon, as his Kelowna Rockets have been eliminated from the WHL playoffs. Whether Lind gets into games or not, just being around the team and getting into practices would be a huge head start for him with the coaching staff for next season. He will have a better understanding of what work will need to be done over the offseason to best prepare him for next year. That said, I hope that head coach Trent Cull plays the skates off of him the rest of the way.
#Canucks prospect Kole Lind ends his WHL playoffs with two assists tonight
He had 8 PTS (3-5-8) in Kelowna’s 4-0 series loss to Tri-City
Expect him to sign an ATO (or PTO) with Utica in the coming days
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) March 30, 2018
Shortly before game time today, the Comets also announced that they had signed the Canucks sixth-round pick from the 2015 NHL draft to an ATO, (amateur tryout) deal with the club. Jasek is a 20-year-old, right-shot, right winger who stands 6’1″ and weighs in at 172lbs. I am a fan of this move as the Comets currently have a handful of forwards playing on tryout deals. I feel like taking a look at their own players when they become available is a wise move. You can read more about Jasek in the link below.
Comets sign forward Lukas Jasek to an amateur tryout contract.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 30, 2018
As I was typing up the above signing, the team also announced the PTO, (professional tryout) signing of goaltender Adam Dekker. Ben Birnell of the Utica Observer-Dispatch sent out a tweet shortly after, letting us know that Dekker, 34, is an assistant coach with Utica College who does some fill-in work for the Comets from time to time. Thatcher Demko was in the building earlier today according to Birnell, so either Thatcher is banged up, or maybe, just maybe he will be jetting off to Vancouver for a cup of coffee with the Canucks.
AHL transactions have the Comets signing Adam Dekker to a PTO.
Dekker fills in for the Comets when needed.
So, that's interesting.
— Ben Birnell (@OD_Birnell) March 30, 2018
And here we have it folks…moments before game time, the team announced that Demko was being recalled on an emergency basis to Vancouver.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 30, 2018
Scratched today for the Comets were: Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Joe LaBate, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Jayson Megna, (injured), Cam Darcy, (injured), Tony Cameranesi, (injured), Dylan Blujus, (injured), Thatcher Demko, (recalled to Vancouver), Lukas Jasek, and Vincent Arseneau.
Comets Starting Lines
7 Tanner MacMaster – 21 Michael Chaput – 15 Zack MacEwen
34 Carter Bancks (C) – 10 Matt Leitner – 82 Andrew Cherniwchan
17 Alex D’Aoust – 19 Cole Cassels – 13 Griffen Molino
58 Michael Carcone – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 39 Zac Lynch
28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
44 Adam Comrie – 29 Frankie Simonelli
32 Richard Bachman
The opening period went by quickly in this one, but there was not a pile of action. There was also no sound for the home feed for the first five minutes or so. Thanks again, AHL Live.
The Comets started things off by sending an early shot on net that Bears netminder Adam Carlson gobbled up and held for a whistle. The Bears came back the other way and Joe Whitney sent a shot on net that Richard Bachman gloved down.
Hampus Gustafsson was up next for the Bears, cutting hard to the net with a shot and Bachman said no. Andrew Cherniwchan had a chance turned aside at the other end before Gustafsson came back into the Comets zone and charged hard to the net once more. Bachman came up with a big save to keep the game tied at zero.
The two teams would go back and forth before the Bears were whistled for having too many men on the ice. Chris Bourque served the bench minor.
The penalty would prove costly as Alex D’Aoust managed to tip a Guillaume Brisebois point shot past Carlson to put the Comets up 1-0. The goal was D’Aoust’s ninth of the season, while Brisebois picked up his 13th helper of the year on the play and Adam Comrie grabbed his 11th.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 30, 2018
Patrick Wiercioch was seen heading down the tunnel with the trainer after the goal and he was holding a towel to his face. Wiercioch would not be seen for the remainder of the period.
Bachman followed up the D’Aoust goal by making a save and covering up for a whistle with the Bears coming in hot towards his crease.
D’Aoust came looking for more when he sent another shot on net that Carlson soaked up.
Zack MacEwen got absolutely crushed by Colby Williams with a mid-ice hit and the big fella was down on the ice for a bit. The trainer came out and checked him out and Zack was able to get up and skate off under his own power. The big fella did not return in the opening frame.
Bachman turned aside another shot before Cole Cassels and Griffen Molino both unloaded with big hits along the boards in the Comets zone. The Molino hit resulted in a short wrestling match between Molino and Tyler Lewington. Each man was assessed with a five-minute major for fighting, while Lewington also received an extra two for instigating.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 30, 2018
With the Comets on the power play, Frankie Simonelli sent a point shot on net that was tipped out of play before Michael Chaput and Wacey Hamilton each had chances turned aside. The Comets finished the period up 1-0 and the two clubs were tied with seven shot apiece for the opening frame.
The second period got underway and there was no sign of Wiercioch or MacEwen on the bench. The Comets would finish the game down a forward and a defenseman.
The Comets still had 1:06 of power play time to start the middle frame and they would get nothing going with the man advantage. In fact, just as the penalty ended Chris Bourque would tie the game at one. Bourque picked up a loose puck and rifled it past Bachman for his 14th goal of the season. The Bourque marker was unassisted.
Cole Cassels was sent off for tripping just eight seconds after the Bourque goal to send the Comets back to the penalty kill.
Madison Bowey unloaded a point shot that Bachman snatched up and held for the whistle. Bourque followed up with another shot that Bachman was ready for and the Comets had a good kill.
The two clubs would go back and forth without much happening before Tanner MacMaster had a wrister swallowed up by Carlson. Adam Comrie followed up with a slapper from the point that felled Bears defenseman, Connor Hobbs.
The Comets were doing some shot blocking of their own when the puck was back in their zone, but they wouldn’t block all of them. Bachman had to come up with a save on Bourque from in close, getting a pad on a shot and sending it to the corner. The Comets netminder followed up with another save on a quick shot from Tim McGauley.
At the other end of the ice, Michael Chaput dished to Tanner MacMaster for a shot that Carlson denied.
Connor Hobbs faked a slapper and then let fly with a shot but Bachman was wise to his move and made the save.
Zac Lynch had a shot turned aside by Carlson before Adam Comrie was blanked on back-to-back chances. Matt Leitner followed up with a shot from the circle and Carlson stopped his shot and held on with Carter Bancks looking to pounce on a rebound.
Comrie was back with another pair of chances that were turned aside before Guillaume Brisebois had a point shot gobbled up by Carlson.
Alex D’Aoust picked up his second goal of the game to put the Comets up 2-1 when he buried a Brisebois rebound behind Carlson for his 10th of the season. Brisbois picked up his 14th helper of the year on the play, while Cole Cassels earned his 18th. For both of D’Aoust and Brisebois, it would be their first multiple-point game in the AHL.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 31, 2018
It didn’t take long after the second D’Aoust goal before Williams and Bancks threw down for a fight. Bancks buckled Williams’ knees with a blow and he eventually got the takedown. Score this one in favour of the Comets captain.
Bachman turned aside another Madison Bowie shot before stoning Jeremy Langlois on a redirected Jonas Siegenthaler point shot. Bachman was up to the task today with another strong performance.
Aaron Ness was sent off for interference at the 18:17 mark and the Comets would finish up the period on the power play. Utica couldn’t get anything going with the extra man and ended up giving up a shorthanded chance to Bowie, which Bachman gloved down and held for the whistle.
That was it for the middle frame. The Comets were up 2-1 and outshot the Bears 13-10 for the period.
The Comets started the third period with what remained of their power play to end the second and they would not capitalize.
Andrew Cherniwchan wasn’t ready to start the third period as he was still receiving attention from the trainer from a second period incident, but he was back out for the Comets second shift.
Colby Williams put the puck off the iron early in the final frame and Bachman was thanking his little red buddies behind him once again. The Comets netminder wasn’t only relying on his posts to make saves as he made another save before Griffen Molino flipped the puck over the glass and was sent off for delay of game just 1:44 in.
Wacey Hamilton came up with a good shot block on Aaron Ness and Adam Comrie followed up with a block of his own. Bachman would have to make a save on a Connor Hobbs shot and the Comets would have another good kill to their credit.
This third period was not exactly what you would call more fun than a barrel of monkeys. There was not a lot of action to be had. Frankie Simonelli sent a one-timer on net that was denied by Carlson before Lucas Johansson went the other way with a shot from in close that Bachman was ready for.
Jalen Chatfield unloaded with a clapper that Carlson blockered to the corner before Tanner MacMaster was whistled for holding to send the Comets back to the penalty kill.
Joe Whitney tried a shot that Bachman steered to the corner with a pad save before the Comets netminder did his best Thatcher Demko impression going post-to-post with some quick legs to stymie Whitney once more. Nice work Bacher.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 31, 2018
In a 2-1 game with less than 10-minutes remaining, you could say that was a big save…huge even.
The save must have frustrated the Bears because seconds later they were once again whistled for having too many men on the ice. Chris Bourque served the bench minor.
With the Comets on the power play, Chaput had a one-timer chance tipped wide of the net. The Bears were doing great work to tip pucks wide or block them from getting through. The Comets came up empty again.
Cole Cassels sent a shot wide of the net and got the puck back for another chance, this time Carlson said no. Michael Carcone followed up with a chance that rolled through the crease and out the other side.
With time running down on them, the Bears took their timeout with 1:27 left in the game and they summoned Carlson to the bench for the extra attacker.
Bachman had to make one more save on a shot through traffic before Andrew Cherniwchan scored into the empty net to give the Comets a 3-1 win. The goal was the eighth of the season for Cherniwchan, while Wacey Hamilton earned the lone assist on the play with his 13th.
The Bears finished with a 9-3 advantage in shots for the third period and a 26-23 advantage for the game.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Richard Bachman. 25 saves.
2nd Star: Guillaume Brisebois. Two assists.
1st Star: Alex D’Aoust. Two goals.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Richard Bachman. As I have established once before in this space, I generally try to pick different stars than who gets picked in the building. Partly because I like to pick my own stars based on what I view in the game, but also because I think it can come off lazy if I just go with the same three. Today, however, I can’t really argue with the stars in the building. Bachman wasn’t super busy, but boy was he good when he needed to be. With Demko called up to Vancouver, I would expect Bachman to be a busy fellow the rest of the way while Thatcher is absent. Bachman put up 25 saves today and played well.
2nd Star: Guillaume Brisebois. I have been saying for a while now that the points could start coming for Brisebois and recently, they have. I am starting to like Brisebois as a player and I am becoming a fan of his game. He still makes mistakes, but he has improved from the start of the season until now and it is looking like Breezy Gui may have more to offer in terms of offence than what he was showing early on. I look forward to seeing what he can do in the playoffs this season.
1st Star: Alex D’Aoust. D’Aoust picked up a pair of goals today and now has 10 on the year to go with his 11 assists to give him 21 points on the season. It was only a matter of time before Alex broke out offensively and it was nice to see him grab two goals today. I have all kinds of time for the way he plays the game. He is fast, he is physical, and he can chip in with some goals. His game is made for the playoffs and he could be a sneaky good player for the Comets in the postseason.
At Springfield Thunderbirds
Saturday, March 31st, 2018
4:05 pm Pacific