Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Game #75 | Saturday, April 14th, 2018
4:00 pm Pacific
The 15th overall Utica Comets rolled into Belleville today to take on the Senators, (Ottawa affiliate) for the second to last game of the Comets regular season. The Comets had 86 points coming into the day, while the Sens had 61.
The Comets power play was now sitting 13th in the AHL with a success rate of 18.2%, while their penalty kill was the league’s second-best, operating at 85.5%. The Sens, for their part, had the worst power play in the AHL, operating at 13.6%, while their penalty kill didn’t fare much better, sitting second to last with a 77.4% success rate.
Michael Chaput was the Comets points leader amongst active players with 41 points in 54 games this season. Patrick Wiercioch sat second with 36 in 57, while Nikolay Goldobin rounded out the top three with 30 points in 29 games. Filip Chlapik was the Sens leader with 32 points in 51 games, while Ville Pokka sat second with 31 in 67 games. Jim O’Brien sat third with 29 points in 60 games.
The Comets were coming off of a 2-1 overtime loss to Syracuse, while the Sens last played to a 6-4 loss to Rochester. The Sens had gone 5-5-0-0 over their last 10 games, while the Comets showed a record of 6-2-2-0 over the same span.
Belleville had a home record of 15-21-1-0 this season, while Utica had gone 21-11-4-1 on the road.
The Comets had scored 206 goals coming into today’s game while giving up 210. The Sens had been outscored 261-188 by their competition so far this year. The two clubs had squared off in five games already this season with the Comets holding a three-games-to-two advantage in the season series, however, the Sens had won the two most recent contests.
Scratched today for the Comets were: Yan-Pavel Laplante, (injured), Brendan Woods, (injured), Joe LaBate, (injured), Evan McEneny, (injured), Frankie Simonelli, (injured), Guillaume Brisebois, (injured), Ashton Sautner, Thatcher Demko, Cam Darcy, Tyler Motte, Tanner MacMaster, Michael Chaput, Jaime Sifers, Patrick Wiercioch, Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton, Lukas Jasek, and Nikolay Goldobin.
Comets Starting Lines
13 Griffen Molino – 43 Caleb Herbert – 23 Jayson Megna (A)
54 Jonathan Dahlen – 19 Cole Cassels (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen
18 Vincent Arseneau – 27 Tony Cameranesi – 17 Alex D’Aoust
58 Michael Carcone – 82 Andrew Cherniwchan – 37 Kole Lind
44 Adam Comrie – 5 Jalen Chatfield
12 Nolan Valleau – 8 Dylan Blujus
57 Willie Corrin – 2 Aaron Irving
32 Richard Bachman
As you can see by the list of scratches for today’s game, Trent Cull and his staff thought it wise to rest a sizable chunk of the players who will be leading the way in the playoffs. It is a smart move. Imagine if a guy like Goldobin had gone down with an injury today? With the way the injury bug has been dining on the Comets this season, I can’t say that I blame the coaches for this move today.
The first period started off with some good back and forth between the two clubs but there weren’t a lot of shots early. Nick Paul came at Richard Bachman with an early shot that the Comets netminder turned aside.
Newcomer Willie Corrin, who joined the team on a PTO this week, was whistled for hooking at the 3:44 mark and the Comets penalty kill got down to work once again. The Comets rested plenty of their veteran players today and as such, we saw a couple of new faces on the kill. Alex D’Aoust was out on the first unit and we saw Zack MacEwen get a look near the tail end of the kill. The Comets did great work to keep the Sens to the outside and their power play came up empty-handed.
Sens captain, Mike Blunden put the home team up 1-0 at the 7:11 mark with his sixth goal of the season. Ville Pokka earned his 25th helper of the year on the play, while Eric Selleck picked up his second.
The Comets followed up the goal with a couple of chances of their own. Willie Corrin sent a shot on net that was redirected off goaltender Marcus Hogberg before Arron Irving ripped a shot that Hogberg scooped up and held for the whistle.
At the other end of the ice, Nick Moutery came in hot off the wing with a shot that Bachman turned aside.
Zack MacEwen was playing in his first game back after taking a big hit that saw him miss a few games, well, the big fella got clocked again, this time by Patrick Sieloff. MacEwen was able to shake it off and continue in the game.
Jalen Chatfield keeps bringing the shots and today was no different as he cruised down the right side and put a shot on net that was gobbled up by Hogberg for a whistle. Maxime Lajoie went the other way with a chance that Bachman redirected out of play.
Ville Pokka followed up by letting fly with a shot from the circle that Bachman soaked up for a faceoff.
Kole Lind continued to show some nifty playmaking with a sweet pass to a streaking Michael Carcone that led to Macoy Erkamps taking a hooking penalty on Carcone.
Newcomer Aaron Irving has a bomb of a shot and he uncorked one from the right point that Hogberg swallowed up for a whistle. Dylan Blujus followed up with a heavy shot of his own that Hogberg sent over the glass. Irving came back with another shot that Hogberg denied before Michael Carcone saw his offering turned aside as well. The Comets would come up empty with the man advantage.
Jonathan Dahlen was getting his AHL feet wet in this game and he had a pair of chances denied by Hogberg as well.
At the other end of the ice, Parker Kelly unloaded with a shot from just inside the Comets blueline that Bachman swallowed up for a whistle.
Willie Corrin tied the game at one with his second goal of the season. Corrin had also played some games this season with the Sens, so you know that goal had to feel good for the Comets PTO player. Andrew Cherniwchan earned his first assist of the season on the play, while rookie winger, Kole Lind earned his first pro point with the other.
— x – Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 14, 2018
There would be some back and forth to finish the period as we ended the opening frame tied at one. The Comets showed a 13-10 edge in shots on goal.
The second period got underway with Kole Lind setting up Dylan Blujus for a one-timer that was soaked up by Hogberg.
Jonathan Dahlen showed that he can play on the defensive side of the puck as he was the first forward back on a couple of plays today. This type of commitment to the defensive zone will only endear him to his coaching staff. The line of Dahlen – Cassels – MacEwen looked good together today and might be worth keeping together going into the playoffs…or maybe put Chaput between the two wingers and try a line of Carcone – Cassels – Lind.
MacEwen uncorked a one-timer that was turned aside before Cole Cassels followed up with a shot that was denied as well.
Eric Selleck had a chance on Bachman that the Comets netminder blockered away to the corner before Mike Blunden was whistled for high-sticking at the 7:30 mark and the Comets were headed to the power play. The Comets would manage a grand total of zero shots with this man advantage, so unsurprisingly, they came up empty once more.
Jalen Chatfield continued his strong play in his own end with some deft work with his stick along the boards to break up an Eric Selleck chance. Selleck broke back in with another chance that Bachman turned aside. Parker Kelly followed up with a chance of his own and Bachman gloved it down for the whistle.
Jayson Megna headed the other way with a shot that Hogberg got a glove on and he held for the whistle. Zack MacEwen followed up with a heavy hit in the Sens zone that rattled the boards.
Ryan Scarfo went the other way and beat Bachman with a rebound chance for his second goal of the season. Former Comets PTO player, David Dziurzynski earned his sixth helper of the year on the play, while Ville Pokka picked up his 26th.
Vincent Arseneau tried to get that one right back when he cut hard to the net with the puck, only to have Hogberg say no.
Michael Carcone continues to be one of my favourite Comets forwards to watch this season. He used his ample wheels to split the Sens defence for a chance that was turned aside by Hogberg before Kole Lind jumped on the rebound for a chance that was denied as well. Hogberg was having a good game today.
Zack MacEwen came charging down the right side with a good head of speed, he cut to the slot with a shot and Hogberg gobbled it up for a whistle. Keep those power moves coming, big fella, they will start going in.
The period would finish up in the Comets zone as Gabriel Gagne got a shot off that Bachman gloved down before kicking out a leg to stymie Mike Blunden on his scoring chance. Blunden had another chance that he was convinced that he scored on, but after a lengthy review, it was determined that there was no goal.
Adam Comrie was whistled for interference at the 19:24 mark and the Comets would finish the middle frame on the kill. The shots for the second period were tied at 10 apiece.
The Comets had the remainder of the Adam Comrie minor to kill off and they did just that. Shortly after he got out of the box, Adam Comrie stepped into a shot and Hogberg whipped out the mitt to make the save. Jonathan Dahlen set up Dylan Blujus for a one-timer that was tipped wide. Dahlen had a solid first game today. It will likely take him a few games to get comfortable at this level, but he didn’t look outmatched in his first outing and looked like a nice bookend to Zack MacEwen. I’d like to see Trent Cull slide Michael Chaput in between the two for tomorrow’s game.
Caleb Herbert got a shot away that Hogberg was ready for and the game remained 2-1 in Belleville’s favour.
Mike Blunden was sent off for holding the stick at the 6:06 mark and the Comets headed back to the power play. Adam Comrie had a point shot soaked up by Hogberg with Andrew Cherniwchan parked in front looking for a rebound that didn’t materialize. The Comets would come up empty once more.
Ville Pokka followed up a strong penalty kill by hammering a shot on net that Bachman swallowed up for a whistle. Bachman may have been regretting that whistle as Jack Rodewald beat him for his 14th goal of the season off the ensuing faceoff win. Ryan Scarfo picked up his second assist of the season with his faceoff win. The Sens were now up 3-1.
Hogberg followed up the Rodewald goal with a pair of saves and things were looking tough for a Comets comeback.
Maxime Lajoie tried his luck with a backdoor play but Bachman was equal to the task. Lajoie came back with another chance and Bachman said no, once more.
At the other end of the ice, Michael Carcone dished to Jalen Chatfield for a chance and the rookie rearguard saw Hogberg shut the door and hold for the whistle.
Trent Cull summoned Richard Bachman to the bench for an extra attacker with 2:25 left on the clock. Aaron Irving fired another bomb on the net with a crowd in front and Hogberg tracked it down for the save. Adam Comrie and Dylan Blujus each had one-timers denied and time was running out.
Kole Lind danced around Andreas Englund for a chance that was rebuffed before Jonathan Dahlen was thwarted as well. That was it in Belleville as the Sens took a 3-1 win over the Comets.
Utica finished with a 15-7 advantage in shots for the third period and a 38-27 advantage for the game.
The Comets loss sets up a Marlies/Comets first round that will start on Saturday, April 21st in Toronto and game two will be the next day on Sunday, April 22nd. The first round will be a best of five series and game three will be held in Utica on Wednesday, April 25th.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Ville Pokka. Two assists.
2nd Star: Ryan Scarfo. One goal, one assist.
1st Star: Marcus Hogberg. 37 saves.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. It was good to see the big fella back in the lineup today after missing games due to an injury of late. MacEwen took another solid hit early in this one and he was able to shake it off and continue playing. He also tried a couple of power moves in the game and looked like he had some decent early chemistry with Jonathan Dahlen. I would like to see Cull keep those two on the same line going forward.
2nd Star: Michael Carcone. I have said it a few times this season, but I have all kinds of time for the game that Carcone brings to the table. His motor is always going and he thrives in the dirty areas of the ice. He put six shots on net today to bring his shot total to 147 on the season, second on the Comets only to Reid Boucher’s 181. Carcone’s 15 goals on the season place him third behind Reid Boucher and Michael Chaput.
1st Star: Kole Lind. Lind picked up his first pro point today with the secondary assist on Willie Corrin’s goal. While the point was nice, it was Lind’s slick passing that caught my eye today. He dished a few beauties today and if he can keep that up, he will be picking up some points. Lind showed some wheels today as well. The young man has looked a little better with each game and I’m looking forward to seeing what he will do with whatever opportunity that he may get in the playoffs this year.
VS Binghamton Senators
Sunday, April 15th, 2018
12:00 noon Pacific