Utica Comets Post-Game Report
At Rochester Americans
Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific
The 23rd overall Utica Comets rolled into Rochester today to take on the seventh-ranked Americans, (Buffalo affiliate) for game number 25 of the season. The Comets were showing a record of 10-12-1-1 on the season, while the Amerks were 13-6-2-0 coming into today’s action. Utica had 22 points to their credit, while Rochester had 28.
The Comets were coming off of a 5-4 win over Laval, while the Amerks last played to a 3-0 loss to Binghamton. Utica had a road record of 6-5-1-1 coming into today’s game, while Rochester had a record of 7-4-0-0 at home this year.
The Comets had a record of 4-5-1-1 over their previous 10 games, while the Amerks had gone 6-3-1-0 over that same span.
Jonathan Dahlen was the active leader amongst Comets rookies with three goals and 10 helpers, giving him 13 points in 23 games this year. He has cooled off a bit in recent games. William Borgen was the rookie leader in Rochester with one goal and four helpers through 21 games.
Tanner Kero was the top dog in Utica with eight goals and 11 assists, giving him 19 points in 24 games this year. Reid Boucher sat second with 10 goals and eight helpers, giving him 18 points in 14 games, while Zack MacEwen rounded out the top three with the same totals as Boucher, but in 24 games played.
Zach Redmond was the points leader in Rochester with 13 goals and nine helpers to give himself 22 points in 21 games this year. Victor Olofsson sat second with seven goals and 12 assists, giving him 19 points in 18 games, while Alex Nylander rounded out the top three with six goals and 11 assists on the season.
The Comets have been outscored 89-70 by the opposition this season, while Rochester had outscored their opponents by a 72-65 margin.
Utica’s power play was movin’ on up like George and Weezy, now sitting third in the AHL after going 27/110 for a success rate of 24.5%, while their penalty kill was still trying to round into form, sitting 13th in the league. They have given up 17 goals while shorthanded 97 times this year for a success rate of 82.5%.
Rochester, for their part, sat 14th on the power play, scoring 16 times with 81 opportunities for a 19.8% success rate. Their penalty kill was the league’s 23rd best, giving up 21 goals while down a man 98 times for a 78.6% success rate.
The Comets have had another roster move this week, although it was made with the parent Canucks in mind more than it was made for Utica as Michael Carcone was shipped off to the Leafs in favour of Josh Leivo. Carcone will be a really nice addition for the Toronto Marlies.
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) December 5, 2018
Wacey Hamilton, (week-to-week) Vincent Arseneau (week-to-week) Jalen Chatfield, (week-to-week) Olli Juolevi, (week-to-week), Lukas Jasek, Jonah Gadjovich, Petrus Palmu, and Jagger Dirk.
Comets Starting Lines
25 Darren Archibald (A) – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher
54 Jonathan Dahlen – 11 Cam Darcy – 34 Carter Bancks (C)
19 Tanner MacMaster – Tony Cameranesi – 15 Zack MacEwen
16 Brendan Gaunce – 21 Brendan Woods – 13 Kole Lind
6 Ashton Sautner – 8 Dylan Blujus
55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
2 Evan McEneny – 64 Jesse Graham
30 Thatcher Demko
32 Richard Bachman (backing up)
The first period was a pretty solid period of hockey with both teams getting some chances with some back and forth action.
Zach Redmond let fly with an early point shot and Thatcher Demko came up with an early save and held for the whistle. At the other end of the ice, Brendan Gaunce had a chance of his own gloved down by goaltender Jonas Johansson.
There was some good back and forth before Andrew MacWilliam got a shot off from the left side that Demko gloved down for another save. Thatcher followed up with a shoulder save on Justin Bailey, and then denied him again when he came back in with another chance moments later.
Ashton Sautner has been bringing a physical, nasty game this year and we saw him jawing it up pretty good with Yannik Veilleux after a whistle.
The line of Brendan Gaunce, Brendan Woods, and Kole Lind showed some good hustle with solid pressure in the offensive zone before Lind redirected a Gaunce shot that was denied by Johansson.
Jonathan Dahlen got in behind the Rochester defence for a chance, losing the handle on the puck. Cam Darcy followed up and got a wraparound chance that he couldn’t get to go.
There was more back and forth before Tanner MacMaster showed his nice passing skills with a cross-ice feed to Evan McEneny, who put his shot off the side of the net.
Demko came up with a big save on a CJ Smith one-timer from in close to keep his team in the game. Jonathan Dahlen followed up with a nice steal in the Amerks zone, leading to a Carter Bancks offering that was turned aside by Johansson.
McEneny was sent off for a cross-check at the 15:06 mark and it was off to the penalty kill for Utica. Demko gloved down an early chance from the right point before the Amerks were dinged for having too-many-men on the ice. We had some four aside hockey.
Victor Olofsson put the home team up 1-0 moments later, beating Demko for his eighth goal of the season. Rasmus Asplund earned his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Brendan Guhle picked up his eighth.
The Comets had about a minute of power play time to work with, but came up empty. Danny O’Regan had a late chance shut down by Demko and that was it for the opening period.
Rochester showed an 11-5 lead in shots for the first period.
The middle frame started with Demko gloving down a Brendan Guhle offering before Zack MacEwen came up with a nice move to get around an Amerks defender and dished a slick backhand pass to Tanner MacMaster through traffic, but MacMaster couldn’t get it to go.
The Amerks went up 2-0 early when Matt Tennyson found himself all alone in the right circle to put his first of the season behind Demko. Sean Malone earned his fourth assist of the year on the play, while Alex Nylander grabbed his 12th.
Jonathan Dahlen has been a bit hot and cold this season, and not just game to game, but in-game as well. He had his moments in this one as he tried to stuff the puck in from beside the net but had his chance thwarted by Johansson.
Reid Boucher hasn’t been quite as physical this year as he was last season, but he decked Smith with a stiff hit behind the Comets net in this one.
Kole Lind was also having his moments today, stealing the puck in the Amerks zone before firing his shot over the net. His line with Gaunce and Woods had another heavy shift in the Rochester zone.
Archibald has been known to drop the odd guy with a big hit and he did it again early with an open-ice collision in the Rochester end.
Demko came up with a big save on William Borgen through traffic before Yannick Veilleux was sent off for boarding. Boucher had a chance tipped wide by Kero before the Amerks came back the other way with a two-on-one chance, putting it wide. They came right back in with a three-on-two and this time Demko was ready with the save, losing his bucket in the process.
Kole Lind showed some poise with a nice dipsy-doodle in the Amerks zone, freezing a defender before putting his shot wide. The lines started to get shuffled for a few shifts as Zack MacEwen wasn’t out there for a shift or two.
Andrew MacWilliam unloaded with a point shot blast that Demko steered aside with the Comets hemmed in and looking flat.
Dahlen had a chance at the other end, but his shot was tipped wide of the net.
MacWilliam put his club up 3-0 at the 13:36 mark when he sent a floating point shot on net that beat Demko. It was the first of the season for MacWilliam, while Rasmus Asplund picked up his fifth helper of the year on the play and Victor Olofsson earned his 13th.
Demko followed up the goal by gloving down another shot and holding for the whistle. MacEwen was back out on the ice and he broke in with a burst of speed and ripped his shot wide of the net as well. The Comets were putting their share high and wide today.
Evan McEneny hit Cam Darcy with a one-timer feed but Johansson kicked the Darcy shot aside for another save.
Dylan Blujus was dinged for hooking at the 17:40 mark and it was back to the kill for Utica. Demko steered aside a Danny O’Regan chance and the Comets had a good kill.
The shot clock showed nine shots apiece for the middle frame.
The third period started off with a solid hit by MacEwen that led to Andrew MacWilliam taking exception and the two men threw down for a tilt. MacEwen threw a couple of bombs with the right before swapping to the left to unload a few more. MacWilliam wrestled TheBigFella to the ice and the two were each given five for fighting.
The lines were in the blender again for the Comets as Trent Cull was looking for a solution to the zero on his side of the scoreboard. Tanner MacMaster was now lined up with Tony Cameranesi and Darren Archibald.
In what was a bit of an odd matchup, Matt Tennyson and Tanner MacMaster came to blows after a hit in the corner. MacMaster was wise to hang on in this one. Both players were assessed with roughing penalties.
Cam Darcy followed up with a chance that was kicked out by Johansson before Brendan Gaunce forced a turnover in the neutral zone in favour of the Comets.
Kole Lind was playing in just his fourth game back after missing nearly a month with an upper-body injury and he came up with a solid shot block that sent him to the room briefly, but he would return. Demko followed up the Lind block with a big save with a crowd forming in his crease.
At the other end of the ice, Guillaume Brisebois let fly with a shot from the point that changed directions before Johansson froze it for a whistle. MacEwen followed up with a chance from the slot that was denied before Tony Cameranesi had his wrister blockered away.
Darren Archibald can bring a physical game and he came up with another beauty in the third period. He was hitting guys so hard that their sticks were breaking.
Brisebois lost control of the puck at the Rochester line and two Amerks broke in all alone. Alex Nylander got his shot away and Demko stretched out with the blocker for another big save.
Rochester called their timeout at the 10:34 mark with the Comets putting on some pressure. Dylan Blujus sent a wrister on the net from the point that was kicked aside before Archibald and Dalton Smith got into a shoving match that sent both of them to the box for roughing.
There was some back and forth before MacEwen lost control of the puck in the Comets zone and Demko came up with a save to bail him out.
Trent Cull summoned Demko to the Bench with about five and a half minutes left in the game. That would be short-lived, however, as Demko was quickly back in for a faceoff in the Comets end.
Dahlen tipped a shot wide of the net before Reid Boucher buried a wrister for his 11th of the season to make it a 3-1 game. Evan McEneny kept the points coming with his seventh helper of the year on the play, while Darren Archibald picked up his third.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) December 6, 2018
Dahlen followed up by getting in behind the defence, stop me if you’ve heard that already this season, but put his shot wide.
With Demko back on the bench for the extra attacker, CJ Smith put the Amerks up 4-1 with an empty net goal for his seventh of the season. Wayne Simpson picked up the lone helper for his fifth.
Cull was undeterred, however, as he hauled Demko back to the bench once more and that’s when Jonathan Dahlen threw the puck on the net from the boards and beat Johansson for his fourth goal of the year. Zack MacEwen earned his ninth helper of the year on the play, while Evan McEneny picked up his second of the game and eighth of the season.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) December 6, 2018
Tanner Kero came right back, looking for another, but saw his chance turned aside. MacWilliam was dinged for a cross-check at the 18:12 mark and the Comets would finish the game on the power play. They called their timeout, but the best they could muster was a Boucher shot that was tipped off the iron.
Wayne Simpson sealed the deal at the 19:48 mark with a shorthanded, empty-net goal. It was the seventh of the season for Simpson, while Rasmus Asplund picked up his sixth helper of the year and Matt Tennyson grabbed his second.
That was it in Rochester, the Comets fell 5-2. They were ahead 13-7 in shots for the final frame as the teams finished tied with 27 shots apiece for the game.
Boucher (11) from McEneny (7) and Archibald (3).
Dahlen (4) from MacEwen (9) and McEneny (8).
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Jonas Johansson. 25 saves.
2nd Star: Rasmus Asplund. Three assists.
3rd Star: Victor Olofsson. One goal, one assist.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars: (where is Michael Carcone when you need him?)
3rd Star: Kole Lind. It isn’t always easy to come up with three stars when the team comes out on the wrong side of a 5-2 loss, but I saw a few good things from Kole today. He has missed nearly a month of hockey with an upper-body injury, so there is bound to be some rust to go along with the fact that he is still trying to find his way as a pro hockey player. Lind whipped out a nifty little dangle today that froze a defender in his tracks and he also came up with a big shot block that clearly did not feel very good. Having good moments on both sides of the puck like that will help his case with the coaching staff going forward.
2nd Star: Evan McEneny. Yes, the team gave up five goals and McEneny is one of the defenders who is tasked with keeping that from happening. He did pick up two more assists today and now has nine on the year to go along with his two goals. He is currently on pace for a 33 point season. Those would be welcomed totals from the backend in Utica. He has nine points in his last 10 contests and has done a solid job of providing some of the offence lost on the backend when Olli Juolevi went down with his injury.
1st Star. Zack MacEwen. MacEwen picked up an assist on the Dahlen goal today and now has 19 points in 25 games this year, giving him a share of the team lead with Boucher and Kero. He is currently on a career-high, six-game point streak, picking up three goals and three helpers along the way. MacEwen also got into a solid tilt today and looked fearless in doing so. He took a high-stick to the mumbles recently that did some damage, so throwing down like that took some stones on his part. MacEwen is currently on pace for a 57 point season in his second year of pro hockey.
Vs Springfield Thunderbirds
Friday, December 7th, 2018
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific