Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Come Out On Wrong Side Of 5-2 Score Against Rochester

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #25

At Rochester Americans

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Comets Scratches

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)

First Period

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.

Second 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.

Third Period

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.

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.

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.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

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.

Next Game

Game #26

Vs Springfield Thunderbirds

Friday, December 7th, 2018

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

  • rediiis

    Even with Carcone in a new destination, Jadgovich is still not getting ice time. It really seems as though Cull has his panties in a wad and will not play him. If that is the case, send or loan him to a team that will let him play. Just my opinion.

    • tyhee

      I don’t think it is anything to do with Cull’s panties. According to the reports I’ve seen, Gadjovich and Palmu, somewhat surprisingly given their pedigrees, simply aren’t good enough to play at the AHL level right now. I think they would best be served playing in Kalamazoo with the Wings as sitting in the pressbox isn’t going to develop their games.

  • rediiis

    It seems as if Cull is just trying to keep his job and not develop players. His care level is on the Quinville scale. I guess it is the nature of the game, but if your team sucks at the top lines in the AHL, you have little in the pool. The Comets are sucking with their top lines. At least put McMaster, MacEwen or Lind in the top six and see what you have.

  • Chalister Court Canuck

    Ouch! Demko now has three losses in five games ‘Comet Cory’ and still doesn’t look sharp enough or have the neccessary dominance (.90 SV %) to warrant a callup to the struggling parent club. Unacceptable really when we are so desperate for better goaltending at NHL level.

    Cory, we only have to look at how a competent GM like Jason Botterill can come in and turn a trainwreck franchise around in such a short time. Buffalo is the only club in NHL history to go from worst to first after 25 games and their Rochester club is a similar success story after Botterill completey overhauled them since arriving in upstate New York!

    Why can’t the same be said about Jim Benning in Vancouver/Utica after five seasons!! – both the Canucks and Comets are going backwards. Therefore I believe it’s time for change from top to bottom, surely you can see that as well Cory? Rochester and Buffalo are the blueprint, time for us to follow it.

        • Chalister Court Canuck

          Nah lame excuses – it was ONE lottery win last draft. Other than that the Canucks picked higher in 2016 and 2017 (5th, 5th, ) than Buffalo (8th, 8th).

          Botteril has turned around both losing franchises in two seasons, Benning has failed to do the same in five. Get a clue fella!

          • Kootenaydude

            2018: Buffalo 1st overall
            2018: Vancouver 7th
            2017 Buffalo 8th overall
            2017 Vancouver 5th
            2016 Buffalo 8th overall
            2016 Vancouver 5th
            2015 Buffalo 2nd overall
            2015 Vancouver 23rd
            2014 Buffalo 2nd overall
            2014 Vancouver 6th
            Scott Cullen did an interesting piece on the value of draft picks. Basically the top 3 picks are a shoe in and have an average of over 80% to be top players on their team. The 4,5,6 players average around 60% and 7,8,9 picks average about 35% chance of being top six forwards or top four D. The top two picks end up being top line players 80% of the time. Buffalo has had 3 of these selections. Canucks have never picked higher than fifth. Also every time that the Canucks have drafted recently the lottery balls have knocked them down 8 out of a possible worst 9 spots. Next to Edmonton. Buffalo has had the best draft picks over the last five years. Even then, they have still needed Skinner to make them a competitive team.

          • Kootenaydude

            To be fair Botterill actually turned his team into a LAST place team his first year at the helm. Got lucky and drafted Dahlin. If the lottery balls were cruel, and they dropped three spots, they wouldn’t be where they are now. Lottery ball luck.

          • Chalister Court Canuck

            I am actually talking about Buffalo *and* Rochester here – BOTH have been turned around by a rookie GM in just two seasons – outstanding work.

            Your draft excuses are nullified just by mentioning the Oilers… how have all those number one/high picks, including the best player in the game, worked out for them again?

            You seem to (conveniently) forget that the Sabres still sucked with Eichel, Reinhart, O’Reilly, E Kane, Ristolainen and a few other very good players right up until this season, and Rasmus Dahlin has not been ‘that’ dominant *yet* so no – the biggest factor in turning a trainwreck into superb success at both clubs is the work of JASON BOTERILL. He has made excellent moves and cleared out the garbage and malcontents throughout both franchises in just TWO seasons in charge.

            In comparsion, Jim Benning’s Canucks Vancouver/Utica teams are still sucking after FIVE SEASONS… the evidence in overwhelming, shame some have to laughably deny it.

            Buffalo/Rochester blueprint please Mr Aquilini.

          • Green Bastard

            Chalister PWND again! This time by Kootenay. Outed, humiliated, change names again with your tail between your legs, which must BE tuff with your cranium inserted in your rectal cavity

        • Defenceman Factory

          Hollywood why are you and Kootenaydude engaging in this debate? Do you think you will change this multiheaded troll’s mind? Even if you definitively prove a point he just uses a different name and spouts the same rhetoric.

          Buffalo has been a poor team for longer and has had more high end draft picks. Their new GM came in at the right time, traded out some vets and made astute free agent signings. The Canucks are now or a year away from that point where they need to to do the same thing. For whatever reason (ownership, the Sedins, Benning, Linden) the Canucks have slow played getting to this point but they are clearly where Buffalo was a year or two ago. If Benning fails to make the kind of moves Botterill has made over the next 10 months he should be fired.

          • Kootenaydude

            Agreed. After this season Benning is on a short leash. This team is his now. Eriksson, Schaller, Beagle, Gudbranson, Nilsson and Roussel were his ad ones to the team. The Juolevi pick also rests on him. The Virtanen pick not so much as Benning had only been with the team a couple months. Those two picks have slowed down the development of this team considerably. He’s pretty good at drafting and terrible at signing players.

          • Cageyvet

            You’re right, responding to the multi-headed troll is a waste of time, but fun on occasion.

            As for turning the team(s) around in 2 years, that’s a load of crap. Anyone who knows anything about how this works knows that no GM lights it up without inheriting a solid foundation.

            Lottery luck aside, and it’s a fair point that they’ve had their share of good fortune, it’s the overall draft position year after year that builds depth. The Sabres have missed the playoffs for 7 straight years, you better get some prospects in the system when you’re that bad.

            Stellar GM’s accelerate the process with the other moves they make, and I haven’t seen Buffalo make any earth shattering moves like getting Hall for Larsen, and they haven’t proven it yet this year, it’s still early.

            I’m not saying Benning has been lights out in that regard either, but he didn’t inherit much. He’s been solid at the draft, fair at trades, and poor at free agency. He hasn’t thrown away any prospects I’m losing sleep over, and hasn’t pulled off a Naslund for Stojanov or signed a Tavares.

            So be it, it’s a slower path than is optimal, but it’s not the debacle of the Oilers either.

          • pheenster01

            You can add Philly, Carolina, Florida, Ottawa and the Islanders to the list and the hit and miss Avs too. All teams that have had lots of top picks over the past decade and still not achieved anything of note.

            There is way more to it than just getting high draft picks. Solid goaltending and building a deep balanced supporting cast are massive, as we’ve seen in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington.

            Credit where it’s due, Buffalo’s GM has done a fantastic job clearing up a mess. Hoping Aquaman will do the same here real soon. Tired of losing, Benning has had way too long already.

          • LiborPolasek

            The NHL/NFL is consisted of contenders and pretenders every year because of the cap: just look at NJ last year compared to this year (still early but currently last in the east). Buffalo is doing great so far and the new GM deservingly should be given some credit (Skinner trade) but I would wait a few more years before drawing a conclusion to his legacy as a GM. As stated by one of the poster (Cageyvet) the team and situation that both GM’s inherited are very different: the Canucks were on the down swing with a weak prospect pool and the rebuilding Sabres with a roster consisting of two #2 picks. As a bonus the Sabres also won the lottery with Dahlin as his draft choice. Let see how he handles the next few years when the ELC of those high draft picks are finished; starting next year with Skinner who is a free agent. Although, the cap is increasing quite abit. #bewareofthecap