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CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Win 4-3 Thriller in Shootout Win Over Hartford

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #14

Vs Hartford Wolf Pack

Friday, November 9th, 2018

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

The 20th overall Hartford Wolf Pack, (New York Rangers affiliate) rolled into Utica today to take on the 22nd ranked Comets for game number 14 of the season. Hartford brought a record of 5-7-1-1 into today’s contest, giving them 12 points on the season. The Comets, for their part, had a record of 5-7-1-0, to give themselves 11 points so far this year.

The Wolf Pack power play was ranked 16th in the league, going 12/63, good for a 19.0% success rate. Their penalty kill sat 18th in the AHL, having given up 13 goals while shorthanded 65 times to give them a success rate of 80.0%.

The Comets special teams have been a bit of a work in progress with many of the team’s big contributors for both units either injured or called up to Vancouver. Their power play was ranked 10th in the AHL, going 13/57 for a success rate of 22.8%. Their penalty kill, meanwhile, was sitting 15th with a success rate of 81.0% after giving up 11 goals while down a man 58 times.

Hartford had gone 3-6-0-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Comets had a record of 4-5-1-0 over that same span. The Wolf Pack showed a road record of 3-5-0-1, while the Comets home record was a disappointing 1-6-0-0. Hartford was coming off of a 2-1 shootout loss to Hershey, while Utica last played to a 4-3 loss to Laval.

Through 13 games this season, Utica had been outscored by a 46-37 margin. Hartford, for their part, had been outscored 53-41 through 14 games played.

Peter Holland led all Hartford players with 27 penalty minutes, while Brendan Woods was still the leader in Utica with 43. That total hasn’t changed for a few games, so Woods has been doing a better job of keeping out of the box of late.

Tim Gettinger led the rookie crew in Hartford with four goals and three helpers to give himself seven points through 14 games. Olli Juolevi was the top dog amongst Comets rookies with one goal and eight assists in his first 13 AHL games.

Steven Fogerty was the overall points leader for the Pack with seven goals and 13 points in 14 games. Lias Andersson sat second with four goals and 12 points, while Peter Holland rounded out their top three with one goal and nine helpers.

Reid Boucher was still the points leader in Utica with nine goals and three helpers through eight games. Zack MacEwen sat second with five goals and six assists to give himself 11 points in 13 contests, while Tanner Kero had put up three goals and 11 points to tie MacEwen and round out the top three.

Comets Scratches

Reid Boucher, (injured, week-to-week) Kole Lind, (injured, week-to-week) Wacey Hamilton, (injury setback, day-to-day) Jesse Graham, Dylan Blujus, and Reid Gardiner.

Comets Starting Lines

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 10 Tanner Kero (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen

19 Tanner MacMaster – 11 Cam Darcy – 58 Michael Carcone

52 Petrus Palmu – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 9 Lukas Jasek

22 Jonah Gadjovich – 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)

First Period

This was a pretty solid first period of hockey, even if there were no goals scored by the time it had wrapped up.

Zack MacEwen had an early chance when he let fly with a shot through traffic off a Tanner Kero faceoff win, but saw his chance denied by Wolf Pack netminder Marek Mazanec. Jaime Sifers followed up with a shot from the blueline that Mazanec swallowed up for a whistle.

The Comets were looking a little quicker today than they did on Wednesday. Tanner MacMaster blocked a shot in his own end and chased it down for a clapper from the left circle that was gobbled up by Mazanec for another save.

Vincent Arseneau doesn’t often pass up a chance for a hit and that didn’t change when he mowed over Ryan Lindgren at the Comets blueline.

At the other end of the ice, Tanner Kero sent a nice cross-ice feed to Jalen Chatfield, but the defender saw the puck bounce off the heel of his stick. Michael Carcone and Evan McEneny followed up with chances that were denied by the Hartford netminder as the Comets had some nice pressure.

McEneny came up with a nice, calm zone exit out of the Comets end that ultimately resulted in a chance for Lukas Jasek from the left circle, but Mazanec flashed the leather for the save.

Shawn O’Donnell was whistled for slashing at the 7:33 mark and the Comets were headed to the power play. Trent Cull rolled Carcone, Kero, MacEwen, Dahlen and Juolevi over the boards, but Cole Schnieder would be the one getting the scoring chance. Kulbakov shut down the shorthanded offering.

The Comets were looking sloppy and weren’t getting anything set up when Gabriel Fontaine was whistled for a high-stick to give the Comets a 47-second, five-on-three man advantage. Evan McEneny had a shot from the circle blocked, and Jasek and MacMaster worked a fruitless give-and-go before MacMaster was stymied from the slot. They would come up empty.

Jonah Gadjovich had a learning moment when he turned over the puck in his own zone, but Kulbakov bailed him out with a sprawling save. MacEwen deftly picked off a pass in the neutral zone and sent it up ice as he headed off for a line change.

Michael Carcone had a chance off the left boards kicked aside before Olli Juolevi saw a chance of his own denied. Kulbakov came up with a save off the rush before the line of Arseneau, Gadjovich, and Woods came back with a heavy shift in the Hartford zone.

Carcone was dinged for high-sticking at the 16:39 mark and the Comets were headed back to the kill. Sautner and Chatfield each came up with nice shot blocks and Brendan Woods had a pair of good clears on this one and the Comets came away with a good kill.

There was some back and forth as time wound down and Evan McEneny saw another chance denied as the horn sounded.

The Comets showed an 11-6 advantage on the shot clock in the opening frame, and the period finished with the game knotted at zero.

Second Period

The second period kicked off with a nice cross-ice feed from Cam Darcy to Jonathan Dahlen, but Mazanec said, no. Darcy followed up with a chance out of the corner but the puck was poked off of his stick as he went to the crease.

Carter Bancks came up with a nice redirect of a Jalen Chatfield shot, but once again, Mazanec was equal to the task. Chatfield followed up with another point shot that felled teammate, Vincent Arseneau.

Ivan Kulbakov has been something of a revelation for the Comets, playing much better than many expected. He came up with a beauty of a save on Steven Fogarty early in the middle frame to keep his team in this one.

Vincent Arseneau and Shawn O’Donnell threw down for a quick tilt and I’m going to give this one to BigVinny. Arseneau went to the room, rather than the box after the fight and did not return for the game. It looked like he dinged up one of his mitts in the scuffle.

Tanner Kero followed up the fight with a scoring chance that was denied before Zack MacEwen put the Comets up 1-0 with his sixth goal of the season. MacEwen took a feed from Jonathan Dahlen and sent a hot wrister behind Mazanec. Dahlen earned his sixth helper of the year on the play, while Olli Juolevi picked up his ninth.

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Tim Gettinger let fly with a shot through traffic that beat Kulbakov for his fifth goal of the season. Steven Fogarty picked up his seventh assist on the play as well.

Hartford nearly went up 2-1 moments later when Cole Schnieder broke in with a chance that Kulbakov denied. Guillaume Brisebois did some nice work on the play as well. Kulbakov followed up by gloving down another chance and he held for the whistle.

Tanner MacMaster was the next man headed to the box when he was sent off for a cross-check at the 11:07 mark and the Comets were back to the kill. I should mention that Vincent Arseneau was done for the night at this point and the Comets would finish the game without him.

The Comets had a shorthanded chance when Cam Darcy and Michael Carcone broke in, but Carcone had the puck knocked off his stick at the last moment. The Comets would come up with a good kill.

It wasn’t long after, however, when Ville Meskanen redirected a Libor Hajek point shot to go up 2-1. The goal was the third of the year for Meskanen, while Hajek earned his second helper of the year on the play.

The Comets were hemmed in their own end for a bit after the goal, but Kulbakov kept his team in it.

At the other end of the ice, Cam Darcy had a great rebound chance that was turned aside by Mazanec before Sautner stepped up with a stiff hit at the Hartford blueline and stormed in for a chance that Mazanec denied.

Michael Carcone erupted from a scrum with the puck in the Hartford zone and dished to Woods for a chance in close that Mazanec shut down.

The Comets found themselves hemmed in again before Carter Bancks came up with another big shot block. The captain blocks a ton of shots for the Comets. He couldn’t block all of them though, as Ville Meskanen hammered home his second of the game and fourth of the season to put his team up 3-1. Peter Holland earned his 10th helper of the year on the play. The goal came in the dying seconds of the period and the Comets would head to the third, down a pair of goals.

Hartford showed a 12-8 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The Comets came out hungry and had good pressure early before Ryan Lindgren was sent off for holding at the 1:24 mark of the third.

MacEwen hit Carcone with a nice feed, but the Comets speedster put his offering wide of the net. The Comets would come up empty without even registering a shot on goal for this power play.

The Kero, MacEwen, Dahlen line had some nice zone time following the power play before Guillaume Brisebois put some Snap, Crackle, and Pop on a sweet stretch pass to Michael Carcone, but the winger was unable to make anything happen on the play. We would be hearing from Mr. Carcone again before this one would end.

The two clubs had some good back and forth for a couple of shifts before Dahlen would cough up the puck in his own end, leading to a nervous moment or two, but the Comets would clear their zone.

At the other end, Jonah Gadjovich did nice work to hold the puck in the Hartford zone at their blueline for some extended pressure. Gadjovich had another strong game today. The young winger is starting to find his way with this club. Jonathan Dahlen followed up the Gadjovich play with a nice takeaway of his own.

Back in the Comets zone, Kulbakov made a save and a brief scrum ensued. By the time the smoke had cleared, Cam Darcy was headed to the Comets room with the trainer and his night was over.

Kulbakov came up with another save…yeah, he made a few today, and Carcone and MacMaster went the other way for a scoring chance. Carcone fed MacMaster and the winger saw his offering denied by Mazanec.

Guillaume Brisebois was having another solid game today and he showed some nice work along the boards, leading to the Comets coming up with another controlled zone exit.

Lukas Jasek would get the Comets to within a goal with five minutes remaining in the third when he unloaded with a quick shot from the slot off a nice feed from Tanner MacMaster. The goal was the third of the season for Jasek, while MacMaster earned his sixth helper of the year on the play and Ashton Sautner grabbed his second.

The Comets kept coming as Brisebois showed a timely pinch to keep possession in the Hartford zone before John Gilmour went the other way for a chance that was turned aside by Kulbakov. The Comets young netminder came up with another save before we saw Jonah Gadjovich score his first goal as a pro.

Gadjovich was causing havoc in the net front and got a piece of a Brendan Woods shot to tie the game at three. Woods earned his second helper of the year on the play, while Olli Juolevi picked up his 10th. The Gadjovich marker came at the 18:33 mark.

 

Kulbakov came up with another kick save as time wound down before Michael Carcone was dinged for tripping as the horn sounded and the Comets were headed to overtime down a man.

Hartford had a 9-7 advantage in shots for the third period.

Overtime

Trent Cull started off the extra frame with Tanner Kero, Ashton Sautner, and Jalen Chatfield on the ice and the trio did what they could to help their netminder. This penalty kill was all about Kulbakov though, as the netminder put up eight saves with Carcone in the box, keeping his team in the game.

MacEwen hit McEneny with a pass after the penalty ended but the Comets defender was robbed by Mazanec. Brisebois and MacMaster broke in for a chance of their own that was shut down before Cole Schnieder went the other way for a break that was thwarted by the wall that Kulbakov was putting up in the Comets net.

The teams traded chances late as MacEwen had a break that didn’t go before Kulbakov whipped out a good old-fashioned poke check as time expired. Hartford outshot Utica 10-4 in the extra frame.

Shootout

Ryan Gropp was up first in the shootout and his chance was turned aside by Kulbakov. Jonathan Dahlen followed up for the Comets with an Alex Burrows Special, beating Mazanec with a backhand deke that worked so well for the former Canucks legend so many times, putting the Comets up 1-0.

Hartford’s leading scorer, Steven Fogarty was up next and he too was foiled by Kulbakov. Michael Carcone was next up for the Comets and he had the game on his stick…he scores and the Comets win…well, he did just that, sending his own sweet backhander up over a sprawling Mazanec to give the Comets the win.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

Zack MacEwen (6) from Jonathan Dahlen (6) and Olli Juolevi (9).

Lukas Jasek (3) from Tanner MacMaster (6) and Ashton Sautner (2).

Jonah Gadjovich (1) from Brendan Woods (2) and Olli Juolevi (10).

Shootout

Dahlen: goal.

Carcone: goal.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. One goal.

2nd Star: Petrus Palmu. No points.

1st Star: Michael Carcone. Game winner in the shootout.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Jonah Gadjovich. Gadjovich had another solid game, showing nice work on the forecheck while playing with Woods and Arseneau. The trio plays well together and they bring a heavy game and a relentless forecheck. Gadjovich earned his first pro goal today and it went down as I would have expected for him. He was wreaking havoc in front of the Hartford net and got a piece of the Woods shot to redirect it past Mazanec. Gadjovich has looked a little better with each game and has played well over his last three outings.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen/Jonathan Dahlen. I’m cheating a little here by splitting this second star, but I wanted to give credit to both players for stepping up with offence while the likes of Boucher, Archibald and Gaunce are out of the lineup. MacEwen picked up his sixth goal and 12th point of the year today, while also killing penalties. Dahlen grabbed his sixth assist and eighth point in 13 games. The pair have been linemates for a handful of games now and they look to be building a little bit of chemistry on the ice, finding each other for more scoring chances. They will need to continue to build on that chemistry and keep that offence coming in order for the Comets to weather the injury/call-up storm.

1st Star: Ivan Kulbakov. Kulbakov stopped 34 of 37 shots today and earned his fifth win of the season. He has now put up 262 saves over nine games played and has helped the Comets keep their heads above water with Demko injured and Bachman called up to Vancouver. Kulbakov has seen under 30 shots in just three of his nine games this year and he has been able to keep his team in every game he has played. He’s a bit of a gunslinger if goalies can be considered as such. He loves to play the puck and has a swagger when he’s doing it. Kulbakov plays a very aggressive, athletic style of game, making him an exciting goalie to watch.

Next Game

At Binghamton Devils

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific