Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Vs Laval Rocket
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
The 27th overall Laval Rocket, (Montreal affiliate) rolled into Utica today to take on the 20th ranked Comets for game number 13 of the season. The Rocket showed a record of 4-7-1-0 coming into today’s action, giving them nine points on the season. The Comets, for their part, had a record of 5-6-1-0, giving themselves 11 points.
The Laval special teams were at opposite ends of the spectrum with their power play sitting 28th in the league, while their penalty kill was the league’s best. Their power play had converted just seven times while having the man advantage 57 times for a success rate of 12.3%. Their penalty kill, meanwhile, had given up just three goals while shorthanded 50 times for a 94.0% success rate.
Utica had the league’s 11th ranked power play, scoring 11 times on 52 tries for a 21.2% success rate. They had also given up a league-high six shorthanded goals. The Comets penalty kill was ranked 15th in the league, giving up 10 goals while shorthanded 57 times for a success rate of 80.8%.
Laval had gone 3-6-1-0 over their previous 10 contests, while the Comets had gone 4-5-1-0 over that same span. Laval brought a 1-2-1-0 road record into the game today, while the Comets had gone 1-5-0-0 at home this season.
The Comets had been outscored by a 42-34 margin this season, while the Rocket had scored 27 times and had given up 31 goals.
Jake Evans led all Rocket rookies with three goals and three helpers through 12 games played this year. Olli Juolevi was the rookie leader for Utica with one goal and six assists in 12 games played.
Brett Lernout was the penalty minute leader for Laval with 17 minutes spent in the box, while Brendan Woods held that crown for the Comets, having spent 43 minutes in the sin bin this year.
Laval was led in scoring by Kenny Agostino with four goals and six assists to give himself 10 points through 12 games. Alex Belzile sat second with nine points in 12 contests, while Brett Kulak rounded out their top three with seven points in the same number of games. Agostino was called up to Montreal ahead of this game, so the Comets wouldn’t have him to deal with today.
Reid Boucher was still the man on top in Utica with nine goals and three helpers through eight games. Zack MacEwen was still sitting second with four goals and six assists, good for 10 points in 12 games, while Tanner Kero sat third with one goal and eight helpers through 12 contests.
If you are wondering when you might see Thatcher Demko start getting some game action…and let’s face it, who isn’t? This will be a good bit of news for you, dropped by Canucks GM, Jim Benning earlier today.
Benning on Demko (concussion) : "His timetable is he is going to get back up and playing next week sometime." #Canucks
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) November 7, 2018
The Comets got some good news when it was annoucned that Jalen Chatfield is on his way back to Utica after being recalled to Vancouver recenlty. Would Chatfield make it to Utica in time to suit up for the Comets today? Find out below…
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 7, 2018
Reid Boucher, (injured, week-to-week) Kole Lind, (injured, week-to-week) Wacey Hamilton, (injury set back, day-to-day) Jesse Graham, Reid Gardiner, and Dylan Blujus.
Comets Staring Lines
54 Jonathan Dahlen – 11 Cam Darcy – 15 Zack MacEwen
19 Tanner MacMaster – 10 Tanner Kero (A) – 58 Micheal Carcone
22 Jonah Gadjovich – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 9 Lukas Jasek
52 Petrus Palmu- 21 Brendan Woods – 18 Vincent Arseneau
6 Ashton Sautner – 5 Jalen Chatfield
48 Olli Juolevi – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 2 Evan McEneny
31 Ivan Kulbakov
33 Connor LaCouvee (backing up)
Jalen Chatfield was indeed playing in this game and he had a new partner on his left side in Ashton Sautner. Both men play a physical brand of hockey, so maybe Trent Cull was looking to make somebody’s night miserable on the Laval bench.
Chatfield was active early with a point shot that was gloved down by Laval netminder, Michael McNiven.
Trent Cull came back with his line of Jonah Gadjovich, Carter Bancks, and Lukas Jasek and the trio paid dividends early with an extended shift in the Laval zone due to some very nice board work from all three.
The Comets kept the pressure coming as Tanner Kero hit Carcone for a chance that was denied by McNiven. Petrus Palmu followed up with a nice feed to Vicnent Arseneau, who dished to Brendan Woods for a chance that McNiven shut down.
There was more good pressure as Carcone returned the favour and dished to Kero for a chance off the rush that was tipped wide.
At the other end of the ice, Palmu showed a good stick, once again, to break up a play in the Comets zone before Ivan Kulbakov gloved down a shot for the whistle. Palmu seems to be adept at breaking up plays with his stick.
Jalen Chatfiled skates so well, and he used that to his advantage, breaking into the Laval zone and dishing a pass into the slot, but there was no play to be made for the Comets. Jaime Sifers followed up with a point shot that would ring the iron and McNiven thanked his stars and covered up for the whistle.
Kulbakov followed up with a pair of saves of his own to keep the game knotted at zero. The young goaltender would get a blocker on a Hunter Shinkaruk offering before Gadjovich was whistled for hooking at the 10:56 mark and the Comets were headed to the penalty kill.
Laval had an early chance but the net came off after Michael Chaput crashed into it. Cam Darcy, Brendan Woods, Ashton Sautner, and Jalen Chatfield were the killers of choice to kick this one off for the Comets.
Kulbakov came up with a save on a Brett Kulak one-timer that resulted in a brief scrum involving Sautner, Chatfield, Woods and Chaput, and somehow Chaput ended up being the only man sent to the box and we had some four aside play.
Evan McEneny had a tough time trying to get the puck out of the Comets zone before MacEwen gave him a hand to get things going the other way. Alex Grenier came back in and danced around Olli Juolevi for a scoring chance that Kulbakov denied.
Zack MacEwen was hit hard from behind by Byron Froese and the Laval forward was assessed with a five-minute major for boarding. We saw Gadjovich, Kero, Dahlen, Juolevi, and McEneny on the first unit out and McEneny was getting pucks through. McNiven swallowed one up before turning aside a Gadjovich chance from in close. McEneny had another chance denied before he left the ice.
The good news was that MacEwen was out to help out the next power play unit.
Alex Grenier was sent off for a high-stick at the 15:26 mark and the Comets would have a five-on-three for a full two minutes and they would make the Rocket pay.
Tanner Kero scored his first of two goals at the 15:36 mark when he put his second of the season past McNiven. Joanthan Dahlen picked up his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Juolevi earned his seventh.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 8, 2018
Just 54 seconds later, Kero earned his third goal of the season, assisted by Guillaume Brisebois with his third, and Michael Carcone with his fourth.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 8, 2018
Tanner MacMaster kept the pressure coming with a shot that McNiven blockered away before Evan McEneny followed up with a shot off the iron. Carter Bancks wanted to get in on the action and took the puck hard to the net as the penalties ended, but saw his chance thwarted by McNiven.
Jaime Sifers did his best Alex Edler impersonation when he came up with a couple of shot blocks in close while playing like a goaltender.
Zack MacEwen was sent off for roughing with five seconds remaining in the opening period and the Comets would start the middle frame a man down.
Utica held a 14-9 advantage in shots for the first period.
With MacEwen in the box to start the second, we saw Trent Cull roll out Brisebois, Sautner, Chatfield, and Kero as a penatly kill unit. That’s a different look. Kulbakov came up with a save off an Alex Grenier shot and the Comets would have a good kill.
It wasn’t long after, however, that Grenier woud get the Rocket to within one, when he potted a rebound goal for his third of the season. Byron Froese…the guy who buried MacEwen from behind into the boards earlier, picked up his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Maxim Lamarche earned his fourth as well.
At the other end of the ice, Kero and Carcone got after it for another chance, but Carcone had the puck bounce off his stick.
Ashton Sautner was whistled for cross-checking at the 5:34 mark and the Comets were headed back to the penalty kill. Brendan Woods would come up with a big shot block early and he would leave the game for the remaider of the period, putting the forward lines into the blender for a bit.
Daniel Audette tied the game at two with a power play marker when he beat Kulbakov for his first goal of the season. Alex Grenier picked up his second assist of the season on the play, while Froese…yeah, that guy again, grabbed his fifth.
Laval kept it coming as Alex Alain scored his first of the season as well just 14 seconds later. Lukas Vejdemo picked up his second assist of the season on the play and the Rocket were up 3-2.
It was a little over a minute later when Zack MacEwen answered back. Olli Juolevi sent a shot through traffic that was stopped, but TheBigFella jumped on the loose puck, corralled it and put it top shelf, where Mama Mac keeps the Zesty Cheese Doritos. The goal was the fifth of the season for Zack, while Juolevi earned his eighth helper of the year on the play and Jonathan Dahlen grabbed his fifth.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 8, 2018
That was the end of the night for Michael McNiven as he was pulled in favour of Charlie Lindgren for the remainder of the game. The Comets chased Lindgren from their game last week as well.
Alex Grenier and Jalen Chatfield got acquainted for a moment and both men were sent off for roughing at the 9:13 mark after a scrum broke out following a Kulbakov save.
With the teams playing four aside hockey, Kulbakov came up with another save that was followed by another scrum. With this being the third straight game between the two teams since last Friday, there was almost a playoff series level of edge starting to creep into the game.
Evan McEneny showed some of that edge with a nice hipcheck in the Comets zone. McEneny dished one of those in the last game as well, I believe. Keep that kind of hockey coming, Evan.
The Comets put on a little bit of pressure in the Laval zone as Dahlen did some nice work along the boards before Carcone whistled a shot wide from the high slot.
Guillaume Brisebois followed up with a physical shift in his own end that helped send the Comets the other way. Brisebois had a solid game today with three shots on net and an assist.
The period finished off with some pretty scrambly play between the two clubs before Brett Kulak had a partial break for a nice scoring chance, but Kulbakov whipped out the mitt to stymie him.
Laval showed an 11-4 edge in shots for the middle frame.
The third period was not of the action packed variety as the teams would manage just eight shots between them in the final frame. The Comets did get an early power play though as Jake Evans clipped Olli Juolevi with a high-stick and sat for two minutes.
Guillaume Brisebois saw some time on this power play, which is good for the young defender. I think he has a little more offence to explore in his game still at this level. The Comets would unfortunately come up empty with the man advantage.
The Comets can’t afford to be down too many more bodies, so it was a welcome sight when Brendan Woods was sent back over the boards and got back into the game after a shot block saw him miss an extended chunk of the second period.
There was some back and forth between the two clubs and more post-whistle scrums until Vincent Arseneau was sent off for high-sticking.
Zack MacEwen and Brendan Woods were sent out early on the kill and the duo nearly hooked up for a goal as they broke into the Laval zone and MacEwen hit Woods with a sweet pass, leading to a chance that was denied by Lindgren.
Former Comets forward, Michael Chaput put the Rocket up 4-3 at the 8:21 mark when he redirected the puck past Kulbakov for his fourth goal of the season. Jake Evans earned his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Brett Kulak picked up his fifth.
To make matters worse for the Comets, Evan McEneny was whistled for interference just nine seconds after the Chaput goal. Lukas Jasek saw some time on this kill with Carcone at his side. The Comets came up with another good penalty kill.
Guillaume Brisebois had a glorious chance from the left circle, but Lindgren said, no. MacEwen followed up with a stiff hit behind the Laval net before McEneny let fly with a point shot, but Lindgren flashed the leather to deny a goal.
Time was running out and the Comets were looking a little sloppy before Brisebois showed a quick few steps to take control of the puck in his own end.
Jalen Chatfield doesn’t bring a ton of offense, but he unloaded with a big point shot through traffic that forced Lindgren into another save.
Kulabkov came up with another big save to keep his team in the game before being summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with about 1:17 to go in the game.
Tanner MacMaster was dinged for a high-stick at the 18:50 mark and that was that for the Comets in this one.
Utica showed a 6-2 advantage in shots for the final frame, and a 24-22 advantage overall in the game but came up short.
Tanner Kero (2) from Jonathan Dahlen (4) and Olli Juolevi (7) PP.
Tanner Kero (3) from Guillaume Brisebois (3) and Michael Carcone (4) PP.
Zack MacEwen (5) from Olli Juolevi (8) and Jonathan Dahlen (5).
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Jonathan Dahlen. Two assists.
2nd Star: Tanner Kero. Two goals.
1st Star: Michael Chaput. Game winning goal.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:
3rd Star: Evan McEneny. McEneny had another solid game today. He dished another nice hipcheck and was credited with a game-high six shots on goal. McEneny put up seven points in 11 games last year before his season-ending injury. If he keeps getting pucks through to the net, the offence should start coming for him again. He played with Guillaume Brisebois again today ad the pair handled themselves well.
2nd Star: Jonathan Dahlen. Dahlen grabbed another pair of helpers tonight and displayed his nifty passing on a few plays that didn’t end up in the back of the Laval net as well. I saw Dahlen going to the hard areas a little more again today and if he keeps that up, things will go his way a little more often. The young winger is getting more minutes in prime situations and he is starting to take advantage.
1st Star: Tanner Kero. In the absence of Reid Boucher, Brendan Gaunce, Adam Gaudette, and Darren Archibald, somebody has to step up each game and pick up the offensive slack, along with a lot of the heavy lifting on the defesive side of things. Kero has been doing just that for Trent Cull and his staff. Most of Kero’s points have come in the form of assists this season, so it’s nice to see him rewarded with a couple of pucks hitting the back of the net for himself as well. He’s up to 11 points in 13 games now.
Vs Hartford Wolf Pack
Friday, November 9th, 2018
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific