CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Set AHL Sellout Record But Fall 4-3 To Cleveland

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Vs Cleveland Monsters

Friday, October 19th, 2018

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


The 13th overall Cleveland Monsters, (Columbus Affiliate) rolled into Utica today to take on the 15th ranked Comets for game number seven of the season. Today was also the day that the Comets set a new AHL record with their 121st consecutive sellout. Hats off to those fans in Utica who support their club better than any other team in the league. The thought that the Canucks could possibly pull out of Utica after this season still baffles me after the strong showing of support that the club continues to get in central New York. These fans have earned an extension with the Canucks.

The Monsters showed a record of 3-2-0-0 coming into today’s game, giving themselves six points on the season. The Comets, for their part, had gone 3-3-0-0 to start the season, giving themselves six points as well.

Cleveland’s power play was ranked 25th in the AHL, scoring just twice on 21 chances to give themselves a 9.5% success rate. Their penalty kill fared a little better, sitting 19th in the league after giving up five goals while down a man 24 times for a success rate of 79.2%.

Utica’s power play was ranked sixth in the league, scoring seven times on 23 opportunities for a success rate of 30.4%. Their penalty kill took a beating last game, giving up four goals while down a man five times. They sat 22nd in the league in that category, having given up 6 goals while shorthanded 24 times for a success rate of 75.0%.

The Monsters were coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, while the Comets dropped their last game 6-1 to the Rochester Americans.

Utica had gone 1-3-0-0 at home this season, while the Monsters had played just once on the road, picking up a win. Cleveland had outscored their competition by a count of 15-13 coming into today’s action, while the Comets had been outscored 25-22 before today’s match.

Eric Robinson led all Monsters rookies with three goals and two assists, giving himself five points through five games, while Tanner MacMaster led the Comets rookie crew with one goal and four helpers in six games played.

Overall, Cleveland was led in scoring by former Canucks forward, and big Sarah McLachlan fan, Zac Dalpe with four goals and two helpers, giving him six points in five games. Rookie Eric Robinson sat second with his five points, while Nathan Gerbe rounded out their top-three with four helpers in five games.

Reid Boucher was still on top for the Comets with eight goals and two assists, giving him 10 points in six games, while Zack MacEwen sat second with two goals and four assists to give himself six points in six contests. Tanner Kero sat third with six assists through his first six games with the Comets.

Alex BullDog Biega was available for Trent Cull today…would the Comets former captain play? Find out below.

Scratched Today For The Comets

Wacey Hamilton, (injured, week-to-week) Brendan Gaunce, (injured, day-to-day) Lukas Jasek, Tanner MacMaster, Evan McEneny, Jesse Graham, Dylan Blujus, and Michael Carcone.

Comets Starting Lines

25 Darren Archibald – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 11 Cam Darcy – 15 Zack MacEwen

52 Petrus Palmu – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 13 Kole Lind

18 Vincent Arseneau – 21 Brendan Woods – 22 Jonah Gadjovich

6 Ashton Sautner (A) – 3 Alex Biega

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers

31 Ivan Kulbakov

32 Richard Bachman (Backing Up)

First Period

Yes indeed, Alex Biega did get into the game today and started on the right side of Ashton Sautner. This was a pretty solid period of hockey between the two clubs with some good back and forth.

Biega made his presence felt early when he pinched down the right side boards to keep possession in the Monsters zone. He followed up with a shot that led to a Jonah Gadjovich chance that was denied by Cleveland netminder J.F. Berube.

Comets rookie blueliner, Olli Juolevi showed a nice play, using the boards to his advantage to make a pass from the blueline to the side of the net.

Jonah Gadjovich was back in the lineup today and he was having himself a very good first period. He came in on a play with Vincent Arseneau and the pair drew a slashing penalty on Vitali Abramov.

Trent Cull sent Jonathan Dahlen, Tanner Kero, Zack MacEwen, Olli Juolevi, and Reid Boucher over the boards, but the first unit would be unable to grab a goal. Archibald, Cam Darcy, Kole Lind, Petrus Palmu, and Alex Biega formed the second unit and they didn’t fare any better.

Gadjovich followed up with another nice forecheck before Abramov was sprung for a chance that Kulbakov got his glove on.

Jaime Sifers took a seat at the seven-minute mark when he was whistled for boarding and the Comets penalty kill went to work. Carter Bancks and Brendan Woods started the kill up front, while Sautner and Biega handled duties on the backend. Sautner and Bancks both came up with big shot blocks before Kulbakov kicked out a leg to deny a Mark Letestu offering.

The second unit penalty kill showed Archibald and Gadjovich up front, with Brisebois and Juolevi on the backend. The Comets would come up with a good kill.

Brisebois followed up the kill by taking a hit to make a nice pass to MacEwen, getting the puck out of the Comets end.

Alex Broadhurst put the Monsters up 1-0 at the 10:34 mark when he beat Kulbakov for his first goal of the season. Nathan Gerbe picked up his fifth helper of the year on the play, while Gabriel Carlsson earned his first.

Vincent Arseneau was playing his first game of the season and Big Vinny was bringing the hits, one of which led to a nice turnover in the Comets favour right after the goal.

Ryan Collins was dinged for a cross-check and his pal Ryan MacInnis let the officials know that he didn’t agree with the call, so he joined his buddy in the box with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The Comets power play went back to work with a five-on-three man advantage.

Boucher hammered a one-timer and Archibald tried to bury the rebound but couldn’t get it to go. Boucher followed up with another one-timer that was turned aside by Berube. The second unit saw Gadjovich in the net-front position while Zack MacEwen was set up in a shooting role. I feel like someone may have mentioned moving Zack out of the net-front in order to take advantage of his shot recently…

The Comets power play would come up empty on this one.

Jalen Chatfield always impresses me with the way he uses his stick and he showed a nice play to break up a Monsters play at the Comets blueline.

Gadjovich continued to show good energy on the forecheck with some good pressure behind the Cleveland net before the puck went the other way for a chance that Kulbakov gobbled up and held for a whistle.

MacEwen followed up looking like a man possessed with a dogged shift on the puck. Zack came to play tonight.

Guillaume Brisebois has dished a few nice passes so far this season and he did it again, springing Kole Lind from the Comets zone with a stretch pass that led to some Comets zone time in the Monsters end.

The two clubs kept up some nice back and forth with Arseneau bringing another big hit, while Gadjovich drew another penalty. This time it was Doyle Somerby getting dinged for a cross-check.

The Comets finished up the period on a man advantage that saw MacEwen set up Dahlen from behind the net, but the young winger couldn’t bury his chance with a Cleveland defender draped all over him.

The Monsters showed an 11-8 advantage on the shot clock for the opening frame.

Second Period

The Comets still had 29 seconds remaining in their man advantage to start the third, but couldn’t get anything to go.

Zac Dalpe could be heard singing Sarah McLachlan songs as he broke in and ripped the puck off the iron for an early chance.

Maybe Zack MacEwen was singing along too as he danced into the Monsters zone soon after and put the puck on net where he and Kero whipped out the shovels looking for a goal, none would come on the play as Berube had the puck covered.

Ivan Kulbakov was showing that he likes to play the puck, coming out of his net to pick off a play and sending the puck out of harm’s way.

Brendan Woods hit a trailing Gadjovich for a chance that was blocked before Kulbakov shut down a Carlsson chance at the other end of the ice. Jalen Chatfield followed up with a nice pinch to keep possession of the puck behind the Monsters net.

Reid Boucher set up Tanner Kero for a one-timer, but the pivot fired wide of the net.

Zac Dalpe put the Monsters up 2-0 at the 3:19 mark, working a nice give-and-go with Paul Bittner for his fifth goal of the season. Bittner earned his third helper of the year on the play, while Carlsson picked up his second.

Ryan Collins followed up that goal by ripping the puck off the bar and the Comets found themselves hemmed in a little.

At the other end of the ice, Tanner Kero grabbed a loose puck at the side of the Monsters net and took a few stabs at it, but Berube said no. The Cleveland netminder was turning in a solid performance today.

Ivan Kulbakov denied another Dalpe offering before Mark Letestu tipped in his first goal of the season to put the Monsters up 3-0. Ryan MacInnes earned his second assist of the season on the play, while Carlsson grabbed his third.

The Comets were in a 3-0 hole and they were about to get their chance to start digging themselves out of it as Nathan Gerbe was whistled for tripping at the 9:21 mark.

Utica went to work as MacEwen sent a nice backhand feed to Kero for a chance that was denied before Boucher saw a chance of his own turned aside. That wouldn’t matter, however, as Jonathan Dahlen scored his first of the season to get the home team to within two. Zack MacEwen with his fifth and Olli Juolevi with his third grabbed the assists.

MacEwen followed up that goal with another excellent shift of hard work in the Monsters zone.

Sam Vigneault was sent off for hooking roughly three minutes later and the Comets power play got another chance to pull themselves closer. Boucher unloaded with a one-timer and Dahlen was looking for some garbage but could find none. The Comets kept coming with the pressure until Darren Archibald scored to get the team to within a goal.

The Archibald tally was his 67th in a Comets uniform, tying him with Alex Grenier for the team’s all-time lead in goals. Archibald’s third of the season was assisted by Cam Darcy and Alex Biega with their third and first assists of the season respectively.

Brendan Woods was playing a solid game today on what would be the fourth line with Gadjovich and Arseneau. He drew another penalty when his stick was slashed while staring down an open net. Justin Scott was the culprit, heading off for slashing at the 19:16 mark. The game froze up on me for the final 19 seconds of the period, so I can’t tell you what happened during that time.

The Comets showed a 16-6 advantage in shots for the middle frame.

Third Period

The Comets started the final frame with what was left of their power play, seeing a Dahlen chance denied before they would come up empty.

Kulbakov continued to show a desire to handle pucks when he cleared a puck from beside his net, out to Arseneau for a chance that was gobbled up by Berube. Petrus Palmu was playing on a line with Carter Bancks and beat Letestu on a faceoff after the Comets captain was tossed from the dot.

Kole Lind and Palmu hooked up for a chance that saw a Palmu offering gloved down by Berube.

The third-period action slowed down considerably after what was a pretty well-paced opening two periods.

Kulbakov did well to blocker down a chance through traffic before getting beat by a Letestu one-timer that put the Monsters up 4-2. It was the second goal of the season for Letestu, while Ryan MacInnes picked up his third helper of the year on the play. Doyle Somerby earned the other assist for his first of the year.

Palmu was showing some nice work along the boards, digging for pucks and using his body well to push his way into crowds.

Erik Robinson ran over Kulbakov at the 9:52 mark for a goaltender interference penalty and the Comets were back to the power play. Dalpe had a shorthanded chance turned aside before Kulbakov went full Hase mode when he charged way out of his net to successfully break up a Monsters chance from the circle.

Palmu was tripped up in the Monsters end while carrying the puck and did well to complete his pass to the point to keep the play going. No penalty was called on the play. The Comets came up empty with the man advantage.

Utica had some good pressure before the puck was sent toward the Comets zone. Nathan Gerbe chased in after it, only to see a replay of the Kulbakov Hasek manoeuvre, which sent the Monsters forward flying. Kulbakov tried it twice and got away with it both times. The fans loved it, though I’d imagine the coaches might prefer that he stays a little closer to his crease.

It was at this point in the game, with six minutes remaining, that the AHLTV feed dropped out for the remainder of the game. Thanks, AHLTV…

I swapped quickly over to the KROCK radio app and listened to Comets play-by-play man, Joe Roberts call the rest of the game.

Ashton Sautner was whistled for roughing at the 14:38 mark and the Comets were back to the kill.

Trent Cull summoned Kulbakov to the bench for the extra man with 3:10 remaining in the game and Boucher would get the team back within a goal. It was Boucher’s league-leading ninth tally of the year, while Tanner Kero continued to put up points with his seventh assist of the season.

That was as close as the Comets would get as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Monsters. Utica showed an 11-7 advantage in shots in the third period and a 35-24 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

Jonathan Dahlen: (1) from Zack MacEwen (5), and Olli Juolevi (3). Power play goal.

Darren Archibald: (3) from Cam Darcy (3), and Alex Biega (1). Power play goal.

Reid Boucher: (9) from Tanner Kero (7).

The Three Stars in the building today were

3rd Star: Darren Archibald. One goal.

2nd Star: Mark Letestu. Two goals.

1st Star: Gabriel Carlsson. Three assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella had another strong game today. He was doing excellent work on the forecheck and was moving his body around the ice really well. He was showing his physical side with some hits in all three zones. MacEwen had some shifts in the Cleveland end that had to have his coaching staff smiling. Every game I see him play in, I see something that impresses me.

2nd Star: Jonah Gadjovich. Gadjovich didn’t show up on the score sheet, but the big winger was a force at times today. He showed great work on the forecheck and was able to help draw a couple of penalties on what looked like a pretty effective energy line with Brendan Woods and Vincent Arseneau. I thought the line had a solid game and Gadjovich was a big part of that. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trent Cull goes back to that line again this season when he’s looking for some energy from his team. Gadjovich saw time on both special teams for the Comets again today.

1st Star: The Fans In Utica121 consecutive sellouts! These fans just keep showing up for what haven’t always been great teams. They are as loud a group as you will find in an AHL building, which is saying something, considering that they also have the smallest building in the league. The crowd is rowdy and by all accounts, make it a fantastic place for the home team to play, and not so much for their opponents. I have made my thoughts clear on the Utica situation. I want the team to stay put and reward these rabid fans for their dedication to the team over the last six seasons.

Next Game

At Syracuse

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific











  • Kanuckhotep

    Perhaps there may be too many AHL contracts signed that prevents the young fresh prospects getting in the line up. Obviously the “A” is much culturally different from the NHL AND Junior and College. Here I thought it was a simple case of just throwing in newly minted draft choices cart Blanche but Cory has pointed out this is just not so. In the half world between amateur and major league hockey I suppose that very young guys will take a little longer to make the Big Clubs because of this. Not too long I hope.

  • Regarding Canucks possibly pulling out of Utica, I think it’s going to be a sad end for Utica fans. Yes, on all accounts Utica is a success story, but the economic spinoff benefits a US market. The flow of money is very important, it’s a business after all, but that money should be made here where local fans can visit one of Francesco’s restaurants.
    Lower Mainland hockey fans I’m sure would embrace an AHL team locally, and I’m also sure it would make money here. Sorry Utica.