Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game #74 | Friday, April 13th, 2018
4:00 pm Pacific
First up, I noticed after the fact that my graphic for today’s game says that it is taking place in March…oops, my bad. It’s April folks, no matter how many times I type March. On to the game.
The third overall Syracuse Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) rolled into Utica today to take on the 15th ranked Comets for game number 74 of the season. The Crunch had 98 points coming into the day, while the Comets had 85.
The Syracuse power play was ranked 24th overall in the AHL with a success rate of 15.7%, while their penalty kill sat third in the league, operating at 84.6%. The Comets, for their part, showed the 10th best power play in the league with an 18.5% success rate, while their penalty kill was the league’s second-best with an 85.4% success rate.
Mathieu Joseph led all Crunch players with 53 points in 70 games this season. Matthew Peca sat second with 46 points in 63 games, while Carter Verhaeghe rounded out their top three with 45 points in 56 games. Michael Chaput led all Comets active scorers with 41 points in 52 games this season, while Patrick Wiercioch sat second with 36 in 56 games. The returning Nikolay Goldobin sat third with 30 points in 28 games.
The Crunch last played to a 1-0 win over Rochester, while the Comets last played to a 1-0 loss to the Crunch. Syracuse had a record of 7-2-0-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Comets had a record of 7-2-1-0 over the same span. The Crunch had a road record of 21-11-1-4 this season, while the Comets had a home record of 16-14-3-3.
The Crunch had outscored their competition this season by a count of 230-184, while the Comets had scored 205 times and had given up 208 goals. This is the 12th and final regular season game between the two clubs, with the Crunch holding a six-games-to-five advantage in the season series.
The Comets received some reinforcements this week as the parent Canucks announced that they were sending forwards Nikolay Goldobin, and Tyler Motte, along with defenseman Ashton Sautner back to the Comets.
Canucks assign Nikolay Goldobin, Tyler Motte and Ashton Sautner to Utica https://t.co/7Xv3elVHE0
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) April 9, 2018
The roster additions didn’t end there as the Canucks also sent Jonathan Dahlen to Utica now that his season is over with Timra.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) April 12, 2018
The Comets also made a few additions of their own as they have added some fresh PTOs to the pile along with recalling goaltender Michael Garteig from Kalamazoo as well.
Comets announce roster moves.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 10, 2018
Scratched for the Comets today were: Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Joe LaBate, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Zack MacEwen, (injured), Frankie Simonelli, (injured), Guillaume Brisebois, (injured), Michael Garteig, Caleb Herbert, Aaron Irving, Willie Corrin, Tony Cameranesi, Griffen Molino, Jayson Megna, (vet rule), Jonathan Dahlen, Andrew Cherniwchan, Nolan Valleau, and Alex D’Aoust.
Comets Starting Lines
58 Michael Carcone – 21 Michael Chaput – 14 Tyler Motte
77 Nikolay Goldobin – 11 Cam Darcy – 40 Lukas Jasek
7 Tanner Macmaster – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 37 Kole Lind
34 Carter Bancks (C) – 19 Cole Cassels – 18 Vincent Arseneau
6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus
28 Patrick Wiercioch – 5 Jalen Chatfield
44 Adam Comrie – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
30 Thatcher Demko
The Comets were wearing special name bars on their jerseys today in honour of the Humboldt Broncos and I thought I would share this with you.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 13, 2018
Comets’ captain, Carter Bancks set the tone early in this one with a solid hit in the Comets zone on Crunch winger Josh Pitt before Wacey Hamilton was sent off for slashing.
Thatcher Demko had to turn aside a late point shot from Alexey Lipanov, but otherwise, the Crunch power play looked weak. The Comets would come up with a good kill.
Crunch rookie Cal Foote followed up the power play with a heavy point shot that Demko steered over the glass with his shoulder. Thatcher came up with a glove save from the shot that came off of the ensuing faceoff win as well.
The two clubs had some back and forth for a bit where not a lot happened. Cole Cassels sent a shot on net with Vincent Arseneau sitting on the doorstep but Crunch netminder Eddie Pasquale was ready with the save.
Cal Foote was whistled for holding at the 9:50 mark and the Comets were headed to the power play…or were they? The Comets would get dinged for delay of game/faceoff violation and the power play would have to wait. Vincent Arseneau served the bench minor for the Comets.
During the ensuing four-on-four play, Jalen Chatfield sent a nice wrister on net that was blockered out of play by Pasquale before Matt Petgrave was sent off for hooking. The Comets four-on-three man advantage would also be short lived as Patrick Wiercioch was sent off for tripping just 47 seconds later.
During the three aside play, Michael Carcone used his wheels to cut hard to the net with the puck, but Pasquale was equal to the task. The penalties expired and we were all at evens again. That was when we saw Tyler Motte ring the iron at one end before T.J. Melancon clanged the post at the other.
Vincent Arseneau let fly with a shot that was denied by Pasquale but the rebound was there for Cam Darcy and Pasquale kicked out the leg for a big save. Pasquale made back-to-back saves before Ben Wilson was sent off for a cross-check.
The Comets rolled out a power play unit of Tanner MacMaster, Lukas Jasek, Kole Lind, Cole Cassels, and Dylan Blujus. Jasek skated across the high slot and fired a shot on net against the flow of play that nearly fooled Pasquale, but the netminder managed to come up with the save. Michael Chaput saw his shot blockered away and the Comets would come up empty with the extra man.
Vincent Arseneau followed up the power play with a big hit on Brandon Marino that led to a Ben Wilson slashing penalty and the Comets would finish the period on the power play. Shane Conacher would get a shorthanded chance that Demko turned aside before Cam Darcy saw his offering gloved down. Dylan Blujus had a shot denied as well. That was it for the opening frame. The Comets had a 9-6 advantage on the shot clock.
The Comets had 54 seconds of power play time carry over from the first period but they would get nothing going.
Alex Gallant sent a knuckler in on Demko and the Comets netminder juggled the puck but managed to keep it out of the net.
Daniel Walcott put the Crunch up 1-0 at the 3:29 mark when he beat Demko glove side, for his fifth goal of the season. Jonne Tammela picked up his third helper of the year on the play, while Carter Verhaeghe earned his 30th.
Jalen Chatfield continued his strong play of late. He has been putting more shots on the net lately and the Comets can use it. Chatfield sent a shot on net that was turned aside by Pasquale before Tanner MacMaster was denied on back-to-back chances.
Michael Carcone and Tyler Motte worked a nice give-and-go but Carcone’s shot was tipped wide of the net. Jalen Chatfield followed up by jumping into a seam to take a nice pass from Lukas Jasek, but the Chatfield shot was blocked.
The Comets kept coming as Dylan Blujus fired a shot from the top of the circle that was denied before MacMaster was back in for another chance that Pasquale shut down. Kole Lind followed up with a sneaky backhander from the slot and Pasquale gobbled it up and held for the whistle with the Comets pouring on the pressure.
At the other end of the ice, Demko swallowed up a shot from Brendan Bradley and held for the faceoff. Chatfield followed up with a pair of heady stick plays to break up Syracuse scoring chances. Chatfield continues to impress in his own end of the ice.
Josh Pitt let fly with another shot off the left side boards and Demko grabbed it up.
The Crunch were issued a too-many-men penalty at the 15:09 mark and it was back to the power play for the Comets. Alexey Lipanov served the bench minor. Lukas Jasek had a backhander turned aside by Pasquale and the Comets power play would come up empty again. That is something that they will want to get going if they want to have success in the playoffs.
The two teams would have some more back and forth before Michael Carcone tied the game at one in the dying seconds of the middle frame. Carcone streaked in and looked like he ran himself out of room, but he managed to get his backhander to go. The unassisted goal was Carcone’s 15th of the season. That isn’t bad secondary scoring from the second year forward.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 14, 2018
The Carcone goal came with 25 seconds remaining in the period and that was it for the middle frame. The Comets showed an 8-7 edge in shots for the period.
The third period was only six seconds old when Matt Petgrave was sent off for a cross-check. Patrick Wiercioch had a shot from the high slot gobbled up and the Comets power play would come up empty again. They did manage some nice puck movement though, so maybe they are starting to get somewhere in the post-Philip Holm landscape.
There would be some more back and forth as Cam Darcy unloaded with a one-timer but Pasquale came up with another save. Brandon Marino sent a shot off the wing that Demko turned aside with a stick save. Tyler Motte came down the left side with speed and sent a shot on net that landed squarely in the middle of the logo on the front of Pasquale’s jersey. Carter Bancks followed up with a backhander through traffic and Pasquale said no.
Kole Lind has looked a little better with each game and today he showed some signs of promise as he broke down the right side boards and side-stepped a hit from Cal Foote, cutting hard to the net but losing the puck along the way. The fact that he tried what he tried shows that his confidence is starting to come as he gets used to the speed and pace of the pro game. He will take time, but today’s game showed glimpses of what the payoff could be like down the road.
Michael Chaput ripped a shot on net and Pasquale dove out to cover it up with Lukas Jasek lurking close by looking for garbage.
At the other end of the ice, Troy Bourke came down the wing with speed and sent a high shot on net that Demko denied before shutting down Shane Conacher and a brief scrum ensued. Cooler heads would prevail and nobody was headed to the box.
Lind showed some speed and shifty skating when he got in behind the Crunch defence to get a backhander away that Pasquale denied.
Troy Bourke was whistled for tripping at the 12:53 mark and it was back to the power play once more for the Comets. Once again, the results were less than spectacular as we saw a Patrick Wiercioch point shot swallowed up before the penalty expired. The Comets went 0/6 on the power play for the day.
The time was winding down in this one and we saw Kole Lind on the ice in the final minute. I would have to say that Trent Cull was impressed by the rookie’s play for the day. Many other players looked flat today, but Lind came to play.
The period would finish up with the game still knotted at one. The Comets showed a 10-6 advantage in shots for the period.
Demko was the busier goaltender in the extra frame, facing three shots to Pasquale’s one. The first shot was a backhander from Olivier Archambault that Thatcher turned aside before he made a ridiculous splits save on Daniel Walcott.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 14, 2018
Micael Carcone took the puck the other way for a chance and Pasquale shut him down. Carter Verhaeghe would end this one with 39 seconds left on the clock to break the hearts of the Comets fans. The goal was Verhaeghe’s 17th of the season, while Alexander Volkov picked up his 22nd helper of the year on the play. Ben Thomas was awarded the other assist to give him 18 on the season.
That was it in Utica as the Crunch went home with a 2-1 overtime win.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Thatcher Demko. 20 saves.
2nd Star: Eddie Pasquale. 27 saves.
1st Star: Carter Verhaeghe. One goal, (overtime winner), one assist.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Jalen Chatfield. Chatfield had another strong game on the defensive side of the puck, and at this point with him, I expect nothing less. He really is an all-around steady defender. I have talked at length in this space over the course of the season about his silky smooth skating, and it has only looked better as the season has gone on. It is the offensive side where things are starting to get intriguing for me. He is using his skating more often now to find scoring lanes and he is shooting the puck more as well. I see good things coming for Chatfield as his career continues.
2nd Star: Kole Lind. This was Lind’s best game with the Comets, at least to my eyes. He looked more confident, trying some passes that he wasn’t trying in the last few games. Not all of those passes worked, but that will come. He was side-stepping hits at speed and trying some plays with the puck that nearly led to goals. He has looked a little better with each game and he may have earned some prime minutes for tomorrow’s game with his effort today. Word is that the Comets may rest a bunch of players tomorrow and go with the kids and PTO guys.
1st Star: Michael Carcone. Carcone picked up the lone Comets goal today, in fact, he picked up the only point by a Comets player as his goal was unassisted. Carcone can tend to hang onto the puck a little too long at times, but it looked to be an advantage on his goal today. He is up to 15 goals on the season now, which is 10 goals better than his rookie total from last season. He is now sitting third behind Reid Boucher (25) and Michael Chaput (16) for goals by Comets players this season. I enjoy Carcone’s game and hope to see him take another step in the playoffs this year.
AT Belleville Senators
Saturday, April 14th, 2018
4:00 pm Pacific