Utica Comets Post-Game Report
At Binghamton Devils
Saturday, November 10th, 2018
7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific
The 18th ranked Utica Comets rolled into Binghamton today to take on the 15th overall Devils, (New Jersey affiliate) for game 15 of the season. The Comets showed a record of 6-7-1-0, giving them 13 points on the season, while the Devils had a record of 6-6-2-0, good for 14 points.
The Comets power play was sitting 11th overall in the AHL, going 13/60, giving them a success rate of 21.7%. Their penalty kill was ranked 12th in the league, giving up 11 goals while shorthanded 61 times. The Devils, for their part, had the league’s worst special teams on both sides of the puck, sitting 31st overall on both the power play and penalty kill. The Bingo power play was operating at a 10.0% success rate, while their penalty kill showed a success rate of 72.1%.
The Devils had gone 3-5-2-0 over their previous 10 contests, while the Comets showed a record of 4-5-1-0 over that same span. The Comets last played to a 4-3 shootout win over Hartford, while the Devils were coming off of a 4-3 win over the mighty Charlotte Checkers. Binghamton had a home record of 4-3-1-0 coming into today’s action, while the Comets road record was 4-1-1-0.
Utica had been outscored by a count of 49-41 through their first 14 games, while the Devils had scored 39 times and had given up 53 goals through 14 games.
Olli Juolevi was leading all Comets rookies with 11 points in 14 games, while Brett Seney was the rookie leader in Bingo with 10 points in 10 games played.
Reid Boucher led the Comets with nine goals and 12 points through eight games, while Zack MacEwen had the same number of points off of six goals and six assists in 14 contests to sit second. Tanner Kero sat third with three goals and eight helpers in 14 games.
Brett Seney not only led the Devils rookies, his one goal and nine helpers led the entire team as well. Marian Studenic sat second with six goals and three assists, while Nick Lappin rounded out their top three with eight points through 14 games.
The Comets also announced today that they had signed forward Alex Kile to a PTO, (professional tryout) deal. This comes on the heels of Cam Darcy and Vincent Arseneau leaving yesterday’s game with injuries.
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 10, 2018
Reid Boucher, (injured, week-to-week) Kole Lind, (injured, week-to-week) Wacey Hamilton, (injury setback, week-to-week) Cam Darcy, (injured) Vincent Arseneau, (injured) Jesse Graham, and Dylan Blujus.
Comets Starting Lines
54 Jonathan Dahlen – 10 Tanner Kero (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen
19 Tanner MacMaster – 9 Lukas Jasek – 58 Michael Carcone
22 Jonah Gadjovich – 21 Brendan Woods – 12 Alex Kile
52 Petrus Palmu – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 23 Reid Gardiner
6 Ashton Sautner – 2 Evan McEneny
48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
31 Ivan Kuklbakov
33 Connor LaCouvee (backing up)
Woof! This was a first period to forget for the Comets. The Devils came out of the gate hot and they were dominating the Comets with their speed and stretch passes early.
Nick Lappin put the home team up 1-0 just 1:17 into the opening frame when he beat Ivan Kulbakov for his eighth goal of the season. Kevin Rooney earned his third helper of the year on the play, while Blake Pietila picked up his fifth.
The Devils kept it coming as Michael Kapla unloaded a point shot that was denied by Kulbakov before Marian Studenic came back with a chance off the rush down the left side, but Kulbakov was equal to the task.
Kulbakov followed up by gloving down a Kevin Rooney offering.
Studenic broke down the right side and cut hard to the net with the puck and the end result was John Quenneville’s second goal of the year ending up behind Kulbakov. Studenic earned his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Pavel Zacha picked up his fourth as well.
The Devils speed was killing the Comets early in this one.
Blake Pietila muscled Olli Juolevi off the puck in close and got a shot off that Kulbakov turned aside.
The Devils weren’t done scoring for the first period as Kurtis Gabriel tipped in a shot by Yegor Sharangovich and the Comets were down 3-0 at the 7:29 mark. The goal was the first of the season for Gabriel, while Sharangovich earned his third helper of the year on the play.
That was it for Kulbakov’s day as he was pulled in favour of Connor LaCouvee, who would be making his Comets debut.
The Devils weren’t very welcoming as John Ramage bounced the puck past LaCouvee a minute later to put the home team up 4-0. The goal was Ramage’s second of the season, while Zacha earned his fifth assist of the year and Quenneville picked up his sixth.
The Devils were carrying the play in the first half of this period.
Brendan Woods was looking to change the momentum when he uncorked a big hit on Quenneville, just outside the Devils zone. That seemed to spark Carcone, who hit Jasek with a nice pass in a scoring lane, but Jasek lost the handle with a defender hanging off of his back.
The Comets were outplayed for the first 15 minutes, but they were looking a little more lively in the final five. LaCouvee made a save, though he bobbled the puck in doing so, but it bobbled the right way and no damage was done.
Newcomer, Alex Kile came up with a nice shot block before LaCouvee kicked aside a Quenneville offering.
Lukas Jasek jumped on a rebound and buried it after some nice work from Tanner MacMaster to get the puck to the net. The goal was the fourth of the season for Jasek, while MacMaster picked up his seventh helper of the year on the play. Carcone earned the other assist for his fifth of the season.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 11, 2018
The Comets kept some pressure on after the Jasek marker as Juolevi had a chance denied before Brendan Woods had a late shot gobbled up and that was it for the opening period. The Devils showed a 16-10 advantage in shots and led by a 4-1 margin.
John Quenneville kicked things off with a slashing penalty just 32 seconds in and the Comets had a chance to get another goal.
The Comets had a heck of a time getting anything going before Dahlen let fly with a shot that MacEwen got a piece of, but couldn’t beat Blackwood. Michael Carcone followed up with another chance that appeared to ring the iron. The Comets would come up empty.
The Devils reaped the benefit of having a Comets pass go off the official and right to Michael McLeod, who found Ryan Schmelzer in the slot for his second goal of the season. McLeod earned his fifth assist of the year on the play.
Sharangovich came right back with a chance off the rush and LaCouvee came up with another save. Carcone went the other way and drove the net hard with the puck, but was shut down by Mackenzie Blackwood with Jasek ready to pounce for another goal.
There was some back and forth without a whole lot happening from either side before MacEwen broke down the left side and unloaded a shot that Blackwood denied.
Tariq Hammond was sent off for holding at the 9:14 mark and the Comets were headed back to the power play.
Ryan Schmelzer had a shorthanded chance, but LaCouvee got a piece of it for the save. Eric Gryba interfered with Carter Bancks and LaCouvee was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker during the delayed penalty. The Comets would have a five-on-three man advantage for 10 seconds, but couldn’t get anything to go.
Dahlen drove to the net with a backhand chance that was turned aside by Blackwood. It sure is nice to see Dahlen heading back to those dirty areas for scoring chances. McEneny hit MacEwen with a nice outlet pass to help TheBigFella gain the zone, but the Comets would come up empty with their five-on-four as well.
Brendan Woods came up with a late steal to send Carcone in for another chance. Carcone drove to the net with the puck and Blackwood denied his chance as well. The teams traded chances late as LaCouvee came up with a save at one end before Reid Gardiner forced Blackwood to make a save at the other end as well.
That was it for the middle frame. The Comets showed a 12-4 advantage in shots in the second period.
Connor LaCouvee came up with an early save, gloving down a shot through traffic and holding for a whistle.
The line of MacMaster, Jasek, and Carcone followed up with a great shift of board work in the Devils end and they saw the line of Palmu, Bancks, and Gardiner continue with more of the same for extended time for the Comets in the Bingo zone.
Olli Juolevi has been getting some shots through of late and he sent another on the net that was denied by Blackwood. Carcone found MacMaster with a cross-ice feed and MacMaster saw his chance thwarted by Blackwood as well.
LaCouvee came up with a pair of saves on Brandon Gignac and Tariq Hammond before Ryan Schmelzer was sent off for high-sticking at the 6:23 mark and the Comets had another power play…or did they? The answer to that would be nope, as Zack MacEwen was dinged for an ill-timed tripping penalty just 22 seconds later.
With the teams playing at four aside, Evan McEneny had a shot gloved down by Blackwood before Ashton Sautner saw a chance of his own blockered away by the Devils netminder.
With the clubs back to playing five aside, LaCouvee was forced into an alert save on a quick backhand chance. The Comets tried to turn the tide as Guillaume Brisebois ripped a shot off the iron before Carcone had a chance denied by Blackwood.
McEneny has been bringing the hipchecks lately and he brought another one today, lowering the boom on a Bingo forward along the left side boards in the Comets zone. Jonah Gadjovich was decked with a stiff hit shortly after, but the young winger bounced right up and got back into the play.
LaCouvee followed up with another save on a Gabriel chance before Zack MacEwen let fly with a shot from the point. Blackwood made the save, but Tanner Kero was in the thick of it and drew a cross-checking penalty on Eric Gryba.
McEneny and MacMaster each had chances but the men sent their shots high and wide of the net. Jonathan Dahlen followed up with a one-timer that was denied as well. Olli Juolevi had a chance of his own turned aside before Dahlen came back looking for more, first faking a shot to get a little closer but ultimately, his chance was foiled as well.
At the other end of the ice, and with time winding down, LaCouvee gloved down a point shot before kicking out a quick leg for a save with about four minutes remaining.
Jaime Sifers dished out a heavy hit in the Comets zone before Lukas Jasek was whistled for slashing after taking an uncalled cross-check at the 18:16 mark. The Comets would finish the game a man down. Michael Carcone had a shorthanded chance late, but the winger sent his offering wide of the net.
That was it for this one. Binghamton finished the period with a 12-9 advantage on the shot clock for the final frame and a 32-31 advantage for the game.
Lukas Jasek (4) from Tanner MacMaster (7) and Michael Carcone (5).
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Marian Studenic. One assist.
2nd Star: Pavel Zacha. Two assists.
1st Star: Mackenzie Blackwood. 30 saves.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:
3rd Star: Tanner MacMaster. MacMaster has quietly gone about his business this season with the Comets, putting up one goal and seven helpers to give himself eight points in 14 games to tie Jonathan Dahlen. He picked up another hard-earned assist today by driving hard to the net on the play that landed Lukas Jasek his fourth goal of the season. MacMaster isn’t super flashy, but he can help his line drive play and he knows how to dish a nice pass as well.
2nd Star: Lukas Jasek. Jasek earned his fourth goal today in his 11th game of the season. He is now up to five points. Jasek was pressed into duty as a centre today with Cam Darcy out of the lineup with an injury and the young man fared pretty well. His line did some excellent work in the offensive zone and Jasek’s board work was a big part of that. He has goals in back-to-back games now and looks like he’s finding a bit of a groove.
1st Star: Michael Carcone. Carcone picked up another helper today and is now up to seven points in 11 games. That’s 0.64 points/game for those following along at home. Not bad for an undrafted UFA who moves up and down the lineup and can play in all situations. The speedy winger uses his wheels well to drive play and take pucks hard to the net. Carcone is one of those players who always seems to make you take notice during the game. He led the Comets with five shots on net today.
At Belleville Senators
Wednesday, November 14th, 2018
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific