Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game Report: Boucher Brings The Bombs As Comets Take Down Marlies 7-4

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #4

At Toronto Marlies

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

4:00 pm Eastern/1:00 pm Pacific


The 23rd ranked Utica Comets rolled into Toronto today to take on the 21st overall Marlies for game number four of the season. The Marlies were coming off of a 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Monsters, while the Comets last played to a 4-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers.

This will be the Comets first game on the road this season, while the Marlies have already played once at home, losing to the Monsters. The Comets have scored nine goals so far this season while giving up 12. The Marlies, for their part, have scored 15 times while giving up the same number of goals against.

The Marlies power play was clicking along at 20.0%, scoring just three times on 15 opportunities, while their penalty kill had given up four goals while down a man 15 times, giving them a 73.3% success rate. The Comets power play fared a little better, going four for 12, giving them a 33.3% success rate, while their penalty kill had given up just one goal while being shorthanded 12 times, giving them a 91.7% success rate.

Reid Boucher was the Comets leading scorer coming into the day with five points, all goals, in three games. Boucher’s five goals lead the AHL. Zack MacEwen sat second with one goal and four helpers, giving him five points as well. Rookie forward, Tanner MacMaster rounded out the Comets top three with three assists in three games.

For the Marlies, it was Canucks property, Sam Gagner leading the club with three goals and two helpers, giving him five points in three games, while Chris Mueller sat second with a pair of goals and a pair of assists to give himself four points in three games. Calle Rosen rounded out their top three with one goal and three helpers to give himself four points in three games.

The Comets have averaged 19 minutes in penalties per game this season, while the Marlies have averaged 11.3 per game.

The Comets have reduced their roster with the announcement today that Jagger Dirk is headed to the Kalamazoo Wings in the ECHL. I expect the club to trim another player or two after they get this weekend out of the way.

In other roster news, the parent Vancouver Canucks had to make room in their lineup for the returning Antoine Roussel, and today they announced that former Comets captain, Alex Biega will be hitting the waiver wire tomorrow. If Biega clears, he will tip the scales with the veteran rule, meaning that one of Boucher, Bancks, Archibald, Sifers, Hamilton, or Biega will have to sit out for each game.

Scratched Today For Utica

Wacey Hamilton, (injured) Brendan Gaunce (injured) Evan McEneny, Vincent Arseneau, Jaime Sifers, Kole Lind, Cam Darcy, and Jonah Gadjovich.

Comets Starting Lines

52 Petrus Palmu – 21 Brendan Woods – 15 Zack MacEwen

19 Tanner MacMaster – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 17 Adam Gaudette –  25 Darren Archibald (A)

58 Michael Carcone – 34 Carter Bancks (C)  – 9 Lukas Jasek

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

6 Ashton Sautner (A) – 8 Dylan Blujus

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 64 Jesse Graham

31 Ivan Kulbakov

32 Richard Bachman (Backing Up)

First Period

The Comets got off to another quick start in this one. First up, it was Ivan Kulbakov making a pair of big saves early, before Darren Archibald opened the scoring at the 1:59 mark. Archibald took a nice feed from Adam Gaudette and buried it behind Marlies netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo for his second goal of the season. Gaudette and newcomer Jesse Graham each earned their first helper of the season on the play.

Kaskisuo came up with a save on a Reid Boucher chance following the goal before Gaudette stole a puck in the Marlies zone and dished to Olli Juolevi, who lost the handle on the play. The Comets were bringing it in the opening frame.

Jalen Chatfield kept it coming with a point shot that was swallowed up by Kaskisuo with traffic in front.

Ashton Sautner was decked by Emerson Clark and had a difficult time getting up after the play. Carter Bancks took exception to the Clark hit and asked him to dance. Clark got a quick takedown on Bancks before we saw Sautner head down the tunnel. He did not return in the first period. Bancks and Clark were each assessed with a five minute major for fighting, while Bancks also received an extra two minutes for instigating, as well as another 10 minutes for “misconduct-instigating.” Tanner MacMaster served the extra two.

Ivan Kulbakov was having a strong period for the Comets, shutting down a rebound chance to keep the Comets up by a goal. The Comets would come up with a good kill.

Brendan Woods and Zack MacEwen were lined up together again in this one and the pair of them were throwing the body often on their shifts.

Kulbakov kept his good thing going, showing some confidence in his puck handling ability when he cleared a puck from behind the Comets net before following up with an active stick to pick off a Marlies play. He made another nice save on an Adam Cracknell tip that sent Tanner MacMaster the other way with speed for a backhand chance that was denied by Kaskisuo.

Kulbakov came up with another big save after Jesse Graham blew a tire, leading to an odd-man rush for the Marlies.

Guillaume Brisebois dished a nice pass to Archibald for a chance that was turned aside before Lukas Jasek and Jonathan Dahlen broke in for a chance that Kaskisuo also got a piece of. Calle Rosen would unload a point shot that Kulbakov shouldered out of trouble’s way before Tanner MacMaster put the Comets up 2-0, burying a Reid Boucher feed top shelf over the blocker of Kaskisuo. The goal was the first of the year for Tanner MacMitts, while Boucher picked up his first helper of the season and Tanner Kero earned his third.

Vincent LoVerde was then whistled for interference and the Comets were headed to the power play. The Comets rolled through both of their power play units before Colin Greening broke in with a shorthanded chance that Kulbakov shut down.

Trent Cull started to shuffle the lines a little and we saw Reid Boucher clang the puck off the iron. No worries though, as Brendan Woods put the Comets up 3-0 when he redirected a Guillaume Brisebois offering to pick up his first goal of the season. The assist was the first of the year for Brisebois, while Jalen Chatfield also picked up his first helper of the campaign.

The Comets didn’t stop there, though as Adam Gaudette put his team up 4-0 after burying his own rebound off of a Darren Archibald set up. It was Gaudette’s second goal in as many games, while Archibald picked up his first helper of the season on the play.

Jesse Graham would be sent off for holding at the 19:20 mark and the Comets would finish the opening frame down a man and start the second period the same way.

Utica showed a 19-13 advantage on the shot clock in the first period.

Second Period

It was good to see Ashton Sautner back out to start the second period after a hit ended his first period early. The Comets would kill off the Graham minor.

Adam Cracknell was whistled for tripping just 1:21 into the second period and the Comets would head back to the power play.

Reid Boucher had a chance turned aside and we also saw Zack MacEwen steer a chance just wide of the net before Boucher buried his league-leading sixth goal of the year to put the Comets up 5-0. For Boucher, it was yet another one-timer bomb that was set up by Olli Juolevi. Juolevi picked up his second helper of the year, while Tanner Kero earned his fourth assist in four games on the play.

Dylan Blujus was playing his first game of the season and the right shot blueliner was whistled for hooking early in the middle frame.

Former Comets defender, Jordan Subban uncorked a shot through traffic that Kulbakov gobbled up and held for a whistle. Adam Gaudette was showing well on the penalty kill again, using his stick and his body well to disrupt plays. The Comets would come up with another good kill.

Lukas Jasek, playing in his first game of the season, put the Comets up 6-0 with his first goal of the year. The winger rolled out from the corner in the Marlies end and parked himself at the side of the net, taking a Carter Bancks feed and putting it behind Kaskisuo. For Bancks, it was assist number two on the season.

Adam Cracknell didn’t help his team take back any momentum when he was whistled for tripping just 13 seconds later. The Marlies coaching staff also summoned Kaskisuo to the bench in favour of Jeff Glass for the remainder of the game. Once again, the Comets gave up a shorthanded chance, this time to Calle Rosen, but Kulbakov said no.

The Comets were having a tough time getting things going, and with five seconds remaining in their man advantage, Zack MacEwen absolutely obliterated Vincent LoVerde with a hit, unfortunately, the officials dinged TheBigFella for interference on the play and the Comets were headed back to the penalty kill.

Carter Bancks and Michael Carcone did some solid work on the kill and Kulbakov came up with another big save before Aston Sautner was fingered for a cross-check. Sautner has been using his stick to make life uncomfortable for anyone who has come across his path this season and the officials caught him on this one.

With Sautner in the box, it was time for the Kulbakov show as the netminder came up with a couple of nice saves to ensure another good kill. Archibald and Gaudette were paired together on the kill and the duo looked like they had been PK partners for years. They worked well together once again in this one. The Comets came up with a good kill.

Former Comets defender, Jordan Subban was looking to put a dent in his old team’s lead with a point shot, but Brendan Woods came up with a block. Subban followed up with a wraparound attempt and this time he was stymied by Kulbakov with another big save.

Jonathan Dahlen went the other way for a chance from an odd angle that seemed to stun Marlies goaltender, Jeff Glass, but he was able to come up with a save. Dahlen followed up that play with a slashing penalty to put his team down a man. The Comets once again came up with a good kill.

Andreas Borgman let fly with a point shot that Kulbakov blockered away to send MacEwen and MacMaster down the ice for a chance. They were unable to capitalize, but MacMaster drew a penalty on Subban when the defender was sent off for checking to the head.

The Comets power play gave up yet another pair of shorthanded chances before Dmytro Timashov scored shorthanded in the dying seconds to make it a 6-1 game. The goal was Timashov’s first of the season, while Trevor Moore grabbed his fourth helper of the year on the play and Calle Rosen earned his first.

The Marlies showed a 13-8 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The third period didn’t get off to a good start for Utica as just 15 seconds in, Jeremy Bracco scored to make it a 6-2 game. Andreas Borgman picked up his second assist of the year on the play, while Sam Gagner earned his third.

It didn’t stop there as Darren Archibald blocked a shot and struggled to the bench before former Comets forward, Griffen Molino beat Kulbakov for his first of the year to make it a 6-3 game. Andrew Nielsen picked up the lone assist on the play for his second of the year.

Trent Cull called a timeout after the Molino marker to settle his group down. The timeout seemed to work as the Comets looked a little more ready after their coaching staff had words with them at the bench.

Brendan Woods and Petrus Palmu worked a give and go, but Palmu fired his offering off the side of the net. Darren Archibald was seen back out on the ice after a shot block looked to sting him earlier. Michael Carcone followed up with speed, breaking into the Marlies zone and hitting Boucher with a pass. Unfortunately, Boucher’s shot went off a Marlies player and wide of the net.

Kulbakov showed more nice stick work as he whipped out a poke check to foil a Timashov chance before the Marlies forward and Jalen Chatfield were sent off for coincidental minors. Timashov was whistled for unsportsmanlike-embellishment, while Chatfield was fingered for holding.

With the teams playing at four-aside, Kulbakov came up with another save on Borgman before lunging to cover the loose puck. On the ensuing play, the Comets turned the puck the other way and MacEwen had a chance off the rush denied by Glass before MacMaster stole a puck, got a quick shot away and saw his offering denied as well.

Tanner Kero hit MacMaster with a stretch pass and the winger entered the Marlies zone with speed but was unable to split the defence.

Andreas Borgman didn’t make things easy for his teammates when he was sent off for boarding at the 7:39 mark of the final frame. With the Comets back on the power play, Reid Boucher did Reid Boucher things, burying his seventh goal of the season past Glass. Boucher is on a ridiculous 133 goal pace for the season. I think we can all agree that he won’t be hitting those numbers, but I’m starting to think that a 40 goal season isn’t unrealistic for the Comets sniper. Jonathan Dahlen earned his third helper of the year on the play, while Adam Gaudette picked up his second.

Boucher’s scoring to start this season is unlike anything that we have seen in some time.

Michael Carcone kept the pressure on, showing his ample wheels to streak in with a shot that was denied by Glass.

Ashton Sautner would give the Marlies a glimmer of hope when he was sent off for high-sticking at the 11:59 mark. This was the seventh time in the game that the Comets found themselves shorthanded and they went to work. Bancks came up with a big shot block and Chatfield cleared the puck. Then it was Gaudette and Archibald putting in good work before Emerson Clark fired a puck off of Dylan Blujus’ skate and past a surprised Kulbakov. The Marlies were back within three. The goal was the first of the season for Clark, while Trevor Moore picked up his second helper of the year on the play and Andrew Nielsen grabbed his third.

Adam Gaudette looks more comfortable with each game and in this one, he made a play from his knees to set up a Darren Archibald chance that was denied by Glass.

With the puck back in the Comets end, Subban unloaded with a shot that Kulbakov shrugged away with his shoulder for a save. Zack MacEwen went the other way and showed some dogged work on the forecheck. Borgman lined Boucher up for a big hit, but the Comets sharpshooter sidestepped the hit and Borgman crashed into the boards with a thud.

As the game wound down, Ashton Sautner streaked into the Marlies zone and let fly with a shot from the top of the circle that Glass kicked aside.

Adam Cracknell was whistled for holding with three seconds remaining and that was it for this one. The shots were tied at eight in the final frame, while the Comets showed a 35-34 advantage for the game. The Comets came away with a 7-4 victory over the Marlies.

Today’s Official Boxscore

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Trevor Moore. Two assists.

2nd Star: Adam Gaudette. One goal, two assists.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Two goals, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Ivan Kulbakov. Kulbakov had a rough season last year, bouncing between the ECHL and AHL. This was his first regular season game for the Comets and the 22-year-old netminder showed well, making several big saves. He also showed that he has confidence handling the puck, making a couple of clearing plays as well as whipping out a timely poke check. Kulbakov isn’t likely to see a lot of time in Utica this season with Thatcher Demko and Richard Bachman ahead of him on the depth chart, but from what I have seen to this point from him, he looks like an upgrade over the departed Michael Garteig.

2nd Star: Adam Gaudette. Gaudette picked up his second goal in as many games and added a pair of helpers as well. He did excellent work on the penalty kill with Archibald and showed poise on the power play. Gaudette was blanked in his first two games with the Comets but now has four points in his last two. He has put up 11 shots over his first four contests and has played well in all situations for Trent Cull and his staff.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Boucher now has seven goals in four games this year…SEVEN! He just continues to unleash bombs into the back of the net. It isn’t just about the goals with Reid either, as he is still getting minutes on the penalty kill and can often be seen throwing his body at his opponents. He is an all situations player again this year in Utica and has earned the trust of his coaching staff. You would have to think that the Utica coaching staff has to appreciate the ability to throw Boucher over the boards when they need a goal and be pretty sure that they will get one. I have heard that Boucher puts a ridiculous amount of time into his sticks, going so far as to get involved in the manufacturing process to make sure that he is getting what he wants out of his weapon of choice. I would say that kind of dedication to the tools of his craft has paid off for him.

Next Game

At Toronto Marlies

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

4:00 pm Eastern/1:00 pm Pacific




  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    Boucher really is the ultimate tweener: can’t quite stick in the NHL, but plainly too good for the A.

    Nice to see Lukas Jasek getting in on the action too. Corey, any idea why it took them 4 games to put him in? There are shinier prospects ahead of him on the Canucks depth chart right now but I figured in Utica he’d feature high to start the year owing to his hot late season audition last year.

    • Rodeobill

      I have been watching these games too and I think Boucher, much like Boesor, has a very specific and visible NHL level skillset. The difference being last year, all complimentary skillsets were marginally better in Boeser and marginally worse in Boucher. This year looks to be the opposite. Both have elite level shots, but the other parts of the game seem to have reversed. This year Boucher seems to be a game breaker whereas (at least until his issues have sorted out) Brock seems to drag on the play, second guess, etc. Don’t crucify me yet, BB is still one of our best chances of winning, but I also think that Boucher should have a real chance to play in the bigs on a good line, he looks to have finally come into his prime and we should seize that. Dahlen, Gaudette, and many others all have looked quite good this year so far. OJ is dominating and looks ready too. Will he be perfect? Of course not. Will he be our worst D man? Not by a strech, on any game. He is ready. His confidence and conditioning is starting to catch up to his IQ. Kulbakov looked great this game, I want to see more.
      With Demko and one or two good more good D prospects the Comets would start to look like the AHL version on the TB lightning. Good work boys, and good work Cory!

    • Cory Hergott

      CTC: Archibald, MacEwen, Boucher, Dahlen, Lind, Gaunce, Carcone, MacMaster, Palmu, Gadjovich, Bancks, Jasek…you can only play eight of those wingers in a given game…which ones sit to make room? Bancks is the team captain, he will be playing, MacMaster is only on an AHL deal, but he’s got four points in four games and has been one of their best forwards since joining the club at the end of last season. Carcone scored 15 goals last year to sit third on the team in that category. Sure, Gaunce and MacMaster can move to the middle to push out Darcy and Woods, but those players are both PK guys for Trent Cull and they have earned his trust already.
      I think that a lot of it has to do with getting these younger players up to speed with team systems etc. with a lot of practice time as well.

  • Fred-65

    I note that Brendan Woods has 29 PIM’s in 4 games, surely they can’t all be 2 min penalties. Maybe we’ll see him in February when the Panthers return 🙂

    • Cory Hergott

      Woods is on an AHL deal, he can’t be called up without signing him to a two-way deal and I don’t think that is the best use of one of the team’s 50 contracts. They have Schaller, Roussel, Gudbranson, and Archibald already under contract who can handle that role. No need to add another.