CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Get Doubled Up In 6-3 Loss To Hartford

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #18

At Hartford Wolf Pack

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

7: pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


The 27th overall Utica Comets rolled into Hartford today to take on the 24th ranked Wolf Pack, (New York Rangers affiliate) for game number 18 of the season.

The Comets had a record of 6-9-1-1 coming into today’s action, giving them 14 points on the season. The Wolf Pack, for their part, showed a record of 6-8-1-2 to give themselves 15 points so far this year. Utica had gone 3-5-1-1 over their previous 10 contests, while Hartford had gone 2-6-0-2 over that same span.

The Pack last played to a 4-3 overtime win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, while the Comets were coming off of a 4-0 shutout loss to Syracuse. The Comets had a road record of 4-2-1-1 this season, while Hartford had gone 3-3-1-0 at home this year.

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The Comets had been outscored by a 63-46 margin coming into today’s game, while Hartford had been outscored 64-49 by their opposition.

Olli Juolevi led all Comets rookies with one goal and 12 assists, giving him 13 points in 17 games. For Hartford, Tim Gettinger was the leading rookie with six goals and three assists in 17 games played.

Steven Fogarty was the leading scorer in Hartford with seven goals and seven assists through 17 games, while Peter Holland sat second with 13 points in 17 contests. Lias Andersson rounded out their top three with 12 points in 14 games. The Comets would not have to contend with Andersson today as he is currently up with the parent Rangers.

Tanner Kero was the points leader in Utica with five goals and nine assists, giving him 14 points in 17 games this year. Reid Boucher sat second with nine goals and four assists, giving him 13 points in 10 games. Zack MacEwen rounded out the Comets top three with seven goals and six helpers, good for 13 points in 17 games.

Comets Scratches

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Kole Lind, (injured, week-to-week) Wacey Hamilton, (injured, week-to-week) Cam Darcy, (injured, week-to-week) Vincent Arseneau, (injured, week-to-week), Reid Gardiner, (injured) Jonah Gadjovich, and Petrus Palmu.

Comets Starting Lines

58 Michael Carcone – 10 Tanner Kero – 15 Zack MacEwen

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 27 Tony Cameranesi – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

19 Tanner MacMaster – 9 Lukas Jasek – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

                                           21 Brendan Woods – 64 Jesse Graham

48 Olli Juolevi – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

6 Ashton Sautner – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 2 Evan McEneny

                                                                                            8 Dylan Blujus

33 Connor LaCouvee

31 Ivan Kulbakov (backing up)

First Period

Your eyes are not deceiving you. The Comets actually did leave Jonah Gadjovich and Petrus Palmu in the press-box today in favour of dressing Jesse Graham as a forward and Dylan Blujus as a seventh defender rotating through. Yeah…it was a head scratcher for me as well.

Jalen Chatfield tried to get things going early for the Comets by sending a shot towards the net that Reid Boucher tipped wide. Zack MacEwen followed up with a setup for Michael Carcone and the speedy winger saw his chance turned aside.

At the other end of the ice, Peter Holland let fly with a shot off the rush that Connor LaCouvee got a piece of. LaCouvee got the start today while workhorse, Ivan Kulbakov got a well-earned rest. LaCouvee came up with another save, this time on Matt Beleskey before the puck went the other way for a Reid Boucher snipe job. The goal was Boucher’s 10th of the season, while Evan McEneny picked up his fourth assist of the year on the play and Lukas Jasek grabbed his second.

It looked like the Wolf Pack tied it up right away, but the officials waived the tally off due to the puck being redirected by a high-stick. Hartford kept it coming, however, as Chris Bigras uncorked a one-timer that was kicked aside by LaCouvee.

Moments later, Ville Meskanen did even things at one when he beat LaCouvee for his fifth goal of the season. Peter Holland picked up his 13th assist of the year on the play, while Ryan Gropp earned his third.

Olli Juolevi was looking to get that lead right back when he stepped up with a shot from the left circle, but Hartford netminder Marek Mazanec gobbled it up for a whistle.

Matt Beleskey was whistled for slashing at the 9:24 mark and the Comets would head to the power play. Both units had good zone time before Ashton Sautner put his team up 2-1 with his first goal of the season. Reid Boucher grabbed his fifth helper of the season on the play, while Jonathan Dahlen picked up his eighth.

Dylan Blujus was soon whistled for hooking and the Comets had to kill a penalty. LaCouvee made an alert save through traffic and the Comets would come up with a good kill.

Jonathan Dahlen followed up the kill with a nice chance as he broke in down the left side with a shot that Mazanec kicked aside. Juolevi came back with a chance of his own that was gloved down by the Hartford goaltender.

Jaime Sifers let fly with a point shot the was deftly redirected by a Michael Carcone skate, but nothing would come of the play. We saw a bit of back and forth before Dylan Blujus was headed back to the box, this time for tripping.

LaCouvee came up with a save on Meskanen before Tim Gettinger beat him for his seventh goal of the season. Boo Nieves picked up his second helper of the year on the play, while Meskanen earned his sixth. The game was tied at two.

Juolevi followed up with a chance that was tipped wide by Boucher before another one of his shots was tipped by Tony Cameranesi. Mazanec was ready with the save. Dahlen tried his luck with a shot that was also turned aside.

Michael Carcone showed some good hustle in the Hartford zone that ended with a MacEwen chance that was denied before Carcone ripped a shot off the iron.

Brandon Crawley was whistled for delay of game at the 18:16 mark and the Comets would finish the period on the man advantage.

Peter Holland broke in with a teammate for a two-on-one and got a shot away, but LaCouvee said no. At the other end, Tanner MacMaster followed up with a cross-ice feed to McEneny for a one-timer that was denied by Mazanec and the period came to an end.

Utica showed a 17-10 advantage in shots on net for the opening frame.

Second Period

The second period did not see as much action as the teams didn’t put up nearly as many shots on net.

LaCouvee looked sharp today and he made an early save in the middle frame before Tanner Kero hit Carcone with a pass that saw the speedy winger blaze into the Hartford zone with a backhand spin-o-rama, but Mazanec was wise to his antics and made the save.

Carter Bancks followed up with some nice work in the offensive zone that forced a turnover in the Comets favour, but they would be unable to capitalize.

The Comets were dinged for having too many men on the ice at the 2:49 mark and it was back to the penalty kill. They put in their work and came away with a good kill.

Tanner MacMaster broke in with speed and got a shot off that Mazanec turned aside before Crawley had a chance gloved down by LaCouvee at the other end of the ice.

Tony Cameranesi came up with a nice second effort play to get the puck to Jonathan Dahlen but the Comets winger had his chance foiled by a Hartford defender. Shawn O’Donnell had a chance denied by LaCouvee before Boucher had a shot of his own kicked aside at the other end of the ice.

Olli Juolevi managed to get another shot through for a tip, but Mazanec was ready with another save. There was a bit of back and forth without much flow before Carter Bancks came up with a solid shot block in the Comets zone.

Rob O’Gara let fly with a shot and LaCouvee was ready with another save and he followed up with another stop on Dawson Leedahl.

LaCouvee couldn’t stop them all, though as Jalen Chatfield jumped into the rush and got tangled up with Lukas Jasek, allowing Boo Nieves a clear shot for his second of the season at the 14:02 mark on a two-on-one. Matt Beleskey earned his second assist of the season on the play, while John Gilmour picked up his sixth.

Shortly after, Michael Carcone took a hard hit and went to the bench in obvious discomfort. He would return for the third period.

Guillaume Brisebois had a chance thwarted by Mazanec, but the Comets were putting on some decent pressure which led to a late hooking penalty by Bobby Butler at the 18:12 mark. Boucher hit Dahlen with a pass that saw him get in behind the Hartford defenders, but Mazanec was ready with yet another save.

Hartford got a shorthanded, two-on-one chance late, but LaCouvee was equal to the task.

Hartford showed a 10-8 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

Tony Cameranesi got the final frame kicked off by whistling a shot right into the crest of Mazanec, who held for a whistle.

There was some early back and forth before Ryan Lindgren had a chance from in close shut down by LaCouvee. Steven Fogarty put his team down a man when he was whistled for tripping at the 3:09 mark.

Michael Carcone got a good shot away, leading to an Evan McEneny chance that was tipped out of play. The Comets would come up empty once more.

As the penalty wound down, Shawn O’Donnell and Gabriel Fontaine broke in for a chance that was denied by LaCouvee. I feel like LaCouvee has done a solid job in his limited action for the Comets so far.

Zack MacEwen showed a burst of speed and some very underrated mitts when he sprinted to a loose puck and fed Jonathan Dahlen with a sick backhand pass through traffic, but Dahlen had the puck knocked off his stick. Boucher followed up with a shot off the shoulder of Mazanec before Ashton Sautner had his point shot shut down by the goaltender as well.

Jesse Graham was sent off for a high-stick at the 9:26 mark and it was back to the kill once again for Utica.

Hartford iced the puck, which led to an offensive zone faceoff for the Comets and the foursome of Boucher, Cameranesi, Sifers, and Brisebois did excellent work to kill a bunch of time in the Hartford end. Sautner would come up with a big shot block and LaCouvee would make another save before the Comets came up with another good kill.

John Gilmour unloaded another shot and LaCouvee came up with another save to keep his team in the game. At the other end of the ice, Lukas Jasek teed up a big shot and Mazanec turned it aside for a save. Jalen Chatfield let fly with a chance of his own and Mazanec had the answer for him as well.

The Comets kept coming as Dahlen had a redirect chance stymied before Sifers unloaded with a shot that was also denied by Mazanec. The Comets were putting on some decent pressure.

The wheels really seemed to fall off the wagon at the 16:36 mark when Jalen Chatfield was sent off for interference. Bancks and Woods did some nice work early on the kill, and LaCouvee came up with an early save, but the Wolf Pack were about to take a large bite out of the Comets.

Cole Schneider buried a goal with a scramble in front of LaCouvee to put his club up 4-2. The goal was the fifth of the season for Schneider while Tim Gettinger earned his fourth assist on the play and Nieves picked up his third.

Trent Cull summoned LaCouvee to the bench for the extra attacker with about 1:30 left in the period and the Pack quickly scored an empty net goal to go up 5-2. Gabriel Fontaine was the man behind the empty-netter for his first goal of the season while Schneider picked up his sixth assist of the year on the play.

The scoring didn’t stop there as Crawley beat LaCouvee for his second goal of the season roughly 40 seconds later. Peter Holland earned his 14th assist of the year on the play, while Ryan Gropp picked up his fourth. The Wolf Pack had scored three goals in a little over a minute.

The Comets would manage to get one back, however, as Lukas Jasek beat Mazanec for his fifth of the season at the 19:50 mark after tipping home a Jaime Sifers shot. For Sifers, it was assist number two this season.

That was it for this one. The Comets have now lost four straight and five of their last seven. Hartford showed a 9-6 advantage in shots for the final frame, but Utica held a 33-29 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

Reid Boucher (10) from Evan McEneny (4) and Lukas Jasek (2).

Ashton Sautner (1) from Reid Boucher (5) and Jonathan Dahlen (8).

Lukas Jasek (5) from Jaime Sifers (2).

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Cole Schneider. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Ville Meskanen. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Boo Nieves. One goal, two assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Jonathan Dahlen. Dahlen picked up an assist today to give himself five points in his last six games. He was credited with three shots today and had his moments where he looked dangerous. The AHL isn’t an easy league to adjust to after spending your life playing a different brand of hockey at a different pace. Dahlen is starting to show that he is adjusting and getting a better feel for this level of hockey.

2nd Star: Reid Boucher. Boucher scored his 10th goal today in his 11th game. He is now up to 15 points on the season with his assist today as well. Boucher played both special teams and had a couple of chances shorthanded. The Comets rely heavily on their power play to score goals and Boucher is a big part of that. Any time that he is on the ice, he is somebody that the other team has to be aware of.

1st Star: Lukas Jasek. Jasek has been used all around the forward ranks this season for Trent Cull’s Comets, mostly stapled to the hip of Carter Bancks. He has been used on the wing as well as the middle, and to his credit, he has looked pretty solid as a pivot. He picked up a goal and an assist today and is up to seven points in 14 games this season. While that isn’t as impressive as the seven points in six games that he put up last season, he has taken on more responsibility this year and is adjusting well to the AHL thus far, in my opinion.

Next Game

Game #19

Vs Laval Rocket

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific









    • Cory Hergott

      Sounds like the team prefers him on the wing right now while he develops his game. He still takes a pile of faceoffs for the Comets, and he keeps track of what the pivots on the team are doing in-game so that he is staying sharp on that side of the game in case he gets asked to take shifts there down the road.

    • janmoh

      MacEwen will have a better shot at wing at the NHL level. We have EP / Bo/ Sutter / Beagle / Gaudette at Centre.
      I know Coach Green wants to win every game but we need to see what McEwen can do at the NHL level. Cory , is there an issue with waivers with Zach?

      • Cory Hergott

        janmoh: I agree with you that MacEwen will have a better shot to make the big club as a winger. Having the ability to swing in to take draws etc will only help his cause. He is in the second year of his three year entry level deal, so no issues for him with waivers.

  • Kanuckhotep

    I’m not even sure if Reid Boucher is in the Canucks plans for the big club and is a bit of a God in the AHL who provides great leadership for the Comets. But IMHO I think he should be given another shot at The Show because Vancouver needs some scoring touch ASAP. Maybe he can do it now. Gaunce and Archibald are grinder types and Gaudette is a work in progress but we already have proven grinders like #26 and #59 and am pleased with Tyler Motte. Leipsig? Nah.Too many of the same type of guy in the line up presently. Maybe Boucher deserves another shot.

    • Kanucked

      I agree with your point re Gaunce & Archibald. I’m okay with Boucher as an injury call up, but he has had many opportunities to succeed in the NHL. I think MacEwen deserves a chance.

    • Cory Hergott

      First-year players Juolevi, Dahlen, MacMaster and Jasek are all in the top 8 in team scoring. Second-year forward, Zack MacEwen is sitting third. Not sure it’s fair to say Cull hasn’t done anything with the kids. You can be upset about Palmu/Gadjovich, but both have had a tough time adapting …Gadjovich has shown better of late, but the coaching staff is working on details with them in practice to get them to the point where they can take a regular shift without hurting the team. The AHL is no joke of a league. It isn’t easy to step in right out of junior or college or even top tier European professional leagues and have success right away. There is an adjustment period and some take longer than others to figure things out.

      • rediiis

        I guess I wasn’t clear in my original post. The Comets have more talent than they have had in a decade. They are not playing well together. Demko’s injury has nothing to do with my analysis as he could have been with the big club. All of the Comets are kids, except Bachman and he wastes a spot. The AHL does have some bigger bodies, but it is just hockey. If you can’t give time to Gadjovich or Palmu, then find a league that will. Getting splinters sitting is not helping development. I don’t like Cull’s deployment or lines. Just my opinion. Saying that Dahlen, Juolevi, MacMaster or Jasek are scoring is a no brainer as at least 2 will be Canucks for years.

    • Cory Hergott

      All that I can tell you about Demko is that he was taking shots from the coaching staff after practice last week and Jim Benning had expected him to back up last Wednesday and possibly get a start in this weekend. That didn’t happen and Thatcher is still in concussion protocol as far as I know.

      • Puck Viking

        What type of cognitive therapy is demko doing? Is he seeing specialists? Honestly it doesnt seem like he is getting the treatment that he needs from outside looking in.

        • Bud Poile

          Nobody in the NHL is ,according to Dan Carcillo,whom is an advocate for concussion education:

          “You need the best information from the best doctors in the world.That’s not happening.
          NHL is the league of denial.
          Proper education is still not being provided.
          Every player is at risk for repetitive head trauma.
          Nobody in the NHL understands the risks of doing their job.That’s dangerous.
          There’s 18 year old kids in the NHL.18 years old.
          Provide proper education.
          Provide proper diagnosis and care-not from an orthopedic surgeon, not from a strength/conditioning coach and definitely not from an athletic therapist.
          Get a functional neurologist on staff or a chiropractic neurologist ,at the very least.”

          • Reality Man

            But why bother with medical expertise?…

            “I was discharged from hospital by a top neurologist WHILE having a stroke” – Bud Poile

            “I was told to drive home after having a concussion” – Bud Poile