Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Vs Syracuse Crunch
Friday, November 16th, 2018
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
The 25th overall Utica Comets welcomed the AHL’s 26th ranked team to the Adirondack Bank Center today as the Syracuse Crunch, (Tampa Bay affiliate) rolled into town for game 17 of the season. The Comets were showing a record of 6-8-1-1 coming into today’s action, while the Crunch had a record of 6-5-1-0. The two clubs were separated by just one point as the Crunch had 13 and the Comets had 14.
Syracuse had a road record of 2-2-1-0, while the Comets had gone 2-6-0-0 at home so far this season. The Comets had gone 3-5-1-1 over their last 10 games, while the Crunch had a record of 5-4-1-0 over the same span.
The Comets were coming off of a 5-4 shootout loss to Belleville, while the Crunch last played to a 5-2 win over Binghamton.
Syracuse had outscored their competition by a 43-38 margin this year, while the Comets had been outscored 59-46 by their opponents.
Taylor Raddysh led all Crunch rookies with six goals and four helpers through 10 games, while Olli Juolevi was the Comets rookie leader with 13 points in his first 16 AHL games.
Former Comets forward, Cory Conacher was the top dog in Syracuse with six goals and six assists in 12 games, while Andy Andreoff sat second with seven goals and four helpers in 12 games played. Carter Verhaeghe rounded out their top-three with identical totals to Andreoff.
The Comets had a points leader not named Reid Boucher for the first time this season as Tanner Kero was the new big cheese with five goals and nine assists in 16 games to give himself 14 points. Boucher sat second with nine goals and four helpers in nine games, giving him 13 points on the season. Zack MacEwen rounded out the Comets top-three with seven goals and six assists in 16 games, giving him 13 points as well.
Kole Lind, (injured, week-to-week), Wacey Hamilton, (injured, week-to-week) Cam Darcy, (injured, week-to-week) Vincent Arseneau, (injured, week-to-week) Jesse Graham, Dylan Blujus, Petrus Palmu, and Reid Gardiner, (injured).
Comets Starting Lines
58 Michael Carcone – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher (A)
19 Tanner MacMaster – 27 Tony Cameranesi – 15 Zack MacEwen
54 Jonathan Dahlen – 9 Lukas Jasek – 34 Carter Bancks (C)
22 Jonah Gadjovich – 21 Brendan Woods – 12 Alex Kile
48 Olli Juolevi – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
6 Ashton Sautner – 5 Jalen Chatfield
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 2 Evan McEneny
31 Ivan Kulbakov
33 Connor LaCouvee (backing up)
This was a pretty solid period of hockey to get things started today. Jalen Chatfield came up with a stiff hit early to separate a Crunch forward from the puck in the Comets zone. At the other end of the ice, Tanner Kero saw his shot turned aside by Syracuse netminder, Connor Ingram.
The Comets kept it coming as Carter Bancks tried a spin and fire play, but Ingram was wise to his idea and came up with another save. Guillaume Brisebois followed up with a shot from the left point that was gobbled up for a whistle.
Jonathan Dahlen has dished some sweet passes this season and they kept coming today when he hit Carter Bancks with a nifty feed for another chance that Ingram turned aside. Evan McEneny has been piling up the shots of late and Brisebois fed him for a one-timer that was swallowed up by Ingram for another whistle.
The Comets were carrying the play through the first five minutes of the opening period.
Olli Juolevi has done a nice job this season of getting the puck out of the Comets zone in a controlled manner and he showed that poise again with a nice outlet feed to Michael Carcone, using the boards to his advantage.
Ivan Kulbakov wasn’t busy to this point, but he was ready with a save and held for the whistle for his first shot against.
At the other end of the ice, Zack MacEwen dished a nice pass while in flight to Tanner MacMaster but there was no play to be had.
The Lukas Jasek line followed up with a solid shift along the boards, leading to another big point shot from McEneny that was once again denied. The Brendan Woods line followed up with another solid forechecking shift in the Crunch end, resulting in Jonah Gadjovich hitting Woods with a nice pass for a shot that was soaked up by Ingram for another whistle.
Carter Verhaeghe thought he caught Jalen Chatfield flatfooted along the boards in the neutral zone, but Chatfield showed some fancy footwork and a good stick while skating backwards to foil Verhaeghe’s plans and sent the puck the other way.
The Comets kept the shots coming as McEneny forced another one through that was swallowed up before Zack MacEwen stole a puck and let fly with a shot that Ingram turned aside.
Kulbakov had to come up with a save in the Comets zone before Juolevi snuck another nice shot through from the point that was denied by Ingram. Jonah Gadjovich followed up with a shot from the left side that was turned aside as well.
Ivan Kulbakov showed his athletic side again as he went post-to-post with a great effort to stop a wraparound attempt.
McEneny hasn’t just been getting shots through lately, he has also been bringing the hits and he came up with another solid one on Verhaeghe in the Comets zone. Kulbakov came up with another save before former Comets forward Cory Conacher beat him for his seventh goal of the season off of a faceoff win. Former Comets PTO man, Brady Brassart earned the lone assist for his third of the season.
The Comets were back on their heels a little after the goal before Jaime Sifers was whistled for delay of game for putting the puck over the glass. The Comets were headed to the penalty kill. It took a little over a minute for Alex Barre-Boulet put the Crunch up 2-0 with his fourth goal of the season. Andy Andreoff earned his fifth helper of the year on the play, while Cory Conacher picked up his seventh.
Taylor Raddysh was dinged for a tripping penalty at the 18:39 mark and the Comets were getting a chance on the power play. Tanner Kero had a chance tipped wide of the net before Tanner MacMaster used MacEwen as a screen, and let fly with a shot that was gloved down by Ingram.
That was it for the opening period, the Comets showed a 13-10 advantage in shots.
The Comets still had a bit of power play time to work with and Dahlen connected with MacEwen for a backdoor pass, but TheBigFella put his shot wide of the net. The Comets came up empty on this one.
Dennis Yan unloaded a backhander off the right side boards and Kulbakov swallowed it up for the whistle. Kulbakov followed up with another save before Brady Brassart beat him for his first goal of the season. Taylor Raddysh earned his fifth assist of the year on the play, while Dominik Masin picked up his third.
That was it for Kulbakov as the young netminder was pulled in favour of Connor LaCouvee after making 10 saves on 13 shots.
Tanner MacMaster followed up the Brassart goal with a chance from the slot that Ingram gobbled up and held for the whistle.
Carter Verhaeghe was sent off for slashing Jonah Gadjovich at the 6:45 mark and the Comets would get another opportunity with the man advantage…or would they? Their power play would be brief as both of Tanner MacMaster and Lukas Jasek were tossed from the faceoff circle and the Comets were dinged for the faceoff violation. Four aside hockey it would be.
During the four-on-four play, Carcone unloaded with a solid hit on Ben Thomas before LaCouvee came up with a save with a crease full of traffic.
We saw a bit of back and forth before MacMaster broke into the Syracuse zone with speed and drew a penalty shot opportunity. MacMaster went in for his chance and lost the handle before putting his shot wide of the net.
Jaime Sifers followed up with a point shot that was gloved down by Ingram before we saw a nice forechecking shift from the trio of Gadjovich, Woods, and Jasek.
Jonathan Dahlen can be opportunistic and he pounced on a loose puck in the slot for a chance, but Ingram was equal to the task. McEneny fired another shot through but Ingram was ready with another save.
The lines were shuffled up from about this point on through the rest of the game as Trent Cull was looking for a way to kick-start his group.
Tanner Kero hit Boucher with a pass and the Comets sniper let fly with a shot, but Ingram got a piece of it. Lukas Jasek followed up with a feed to MacMaster from behind the net, but MacMaster couldn’t get it to go.
There was some back and forth before Guillaume Brisebois was whistled for delay of game when he put the puck over the glass at the 14:30 mark. It was back to the penalty kill for the Comets. Carcone and Kero broke in with a shorthanded chance, but Ingram got a piece of Carcone’s shot for another save.
Connor LaCouvee came up with a pair of saves and the Comets had another good kill in the books. LaCouvee followed up the kill with another save before MacMaster hit Chatfield with a nice feed at the other end for a chance that Ingram shut down. Carcone charged to the net with speed for a backhand chance and Ingram was ready with another save.
The Comets looked to have scored as Tanner Kero sent a shot on net that was stopped, but Brisebois jumped on the rebound and put it back into the fray. It looked like Bancks scored, but after a lengthy review, the goal was waived off. There was no explanation why, but Connor Ingram was making a kicking motion, so we will have to assume that the officials ruled that the puck was kicked in.
Ashton Sautner came looking for a goal that would count, but he ripped his offering off the iron. Jaime Sifers followed up with a point shot through traffic that was stopped and covered and that was it for period number two.
The Comets showed a 14-7 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.
There wasn’t as much action in the third period as the two teams managed just 12 shots on goal between them. There also wasn’t any sound on AHLTV to start the final frame. Things have been better with AHLTV of late, but it is still frustrating to have this happen during a game.
The lines were still in the blender as we saw a trio of Dahlen, Cameranesi, and Boucher come over the boards for a shift. There was still no sound at this point when we saw a Comets point shot hit Ben Thomas up high and the Crunch defender sprung a leak and left the ice for repairs.
If there is one thing that I enjoy watching Jaime Sifers do, it is stepping up with a big hit. The Comets veteran hits like a truck and he popped a Crunch player with a beauty in this one.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 17, 2018
Connor LaCouvee followed up with a nice stick save before MacMaster had another chance thwarted by Ingram at the other end of the ice.
Ingram came up with another save on a point shot and the Syracuse goaltender held for the whistle. Dennis Yan went the other way for a chance that LaCouvee was ready for as he soaked up the shot and held for a whistle as well.
Michael Carcone was whistled for high-sticking at the 7:16 mark and the Comets were headed to the kill. Tony Cameranesi had a shorthanded chance denied and Reid Boucher fired another shot wide on the kill and the Comets would come away unscathed.
LaCouvee denied a Conacher offering before making another save through traffic as the teams had a bit of back and forth without a whole lot happening.
Mitch Hults had a chance in the slot kicked aside by LaCouvee in the Comets end before Juolevi felled teammate Brendan Woods with a point shot in the Syracuse zone.
Carter Verhaeghe jumped on a loose puck in the Comets zone and once again, LaCouvee had the answer.
With his team down 3-0, Trent Cull summoned LaCouvee to the bench with 4:06 to go in the final frame. It didn’t take long for Alexander Volkov to put his club up 4-0 with an empty net goal. It was the fifth goal of the season for Volkov, while Cory Conacher picked up his eighth assist and third point of the game.
Jalen Chatfield and Ashton Sautner each saw chances denied and that was it for this one. The Comets held a 7-5 advantage in shots for the third period and a 34-22 advantage for the game but fell 4-0 to Syracuse.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Brady Brassart. One goal, one assist.
2nd Star: Cory Conacher. One goal, two assists.
1st Star: Connor Ingram. 34 saves shutout.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:
3rd Star: Connor LaCouvee. LaCouvee has made two appearances for the Comets since Richard Bachman was called up, both were after Ivan Kulbakov was pulled. He has made 27 saves in his 87 minutes played and has a goals-against average of 1.38 and a save percentage of 0.931. He has been holding the fort for the Comets when they need him.
2nd Star: Evan McEneny. McEneny had another solid game today. He was credited with three shots on net and he dished out another solid hit or two. He has been playing on both special teams for the Comets and if he keeps putting those shots on net, the offence will start to show up a bit more. McEneny plays a pretty well-rounded game for Utica and has looked solid on the right side of Guillaume Brisebois since Jaime Sifers was moved up to play with Juolevi.
1st Star: Tanner MacMaster. MacMaster was also credited with three shots today and the young winger showed some nice playmaking skills throughout the game. I like MacMaster’s game, I think he is a heady player who can make the guys around him a little better. He showed some nice speed today on a few occasions as well. He has nine points in 16 games so far this season and has three points in his last four games.
At Hartford Wolf Pack
Saturday, November 17th, 2018
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific