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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: The Utica Comets Win Second Straight With 7-4 Victory Over The Binghamton Devils

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #27

At Binghamton Devils

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

The 20th overall Utica Comets rolled into Binghamton today to take on the Devils, (New Jersey affiliate) for game number 27 of the season. The Comets brought a record of 11-13-1-1 into today’s action, giving them 24 points on the season. The Devils had a record of 10-12-3-0, to give them 23 points.

The Comets power play was the league’s fourth-ranked unit going into yesterday’s game and it was sitting in the same spot today after going 29/121, giving them a success rate of 24.0% with the extra man. Their penalty kill was sitting 13th after giving up 18 goals while down a man 103 times for an 82.5% success rate.

Binghamton had the second-worst power play in the league, going 13/108 to give themselves a 12.0% success rate. Their penalty kill was even worse after giving up 31 goals while shorthanded 115 times for a success rate of 73.0%, placing them dead last in that category.

The Comets had been outscored by a 96-77 margin this season, while the Devils had given up 89 goals while scoring 67 times.

Utica was showing a road record of 6-6-1-1 heading into today’s contest, while the Devils had gone 7-5-1-0 at home this season. Binghamton last played to a 5-0 loss to Syracuse, while the Comets were coming off of a spirited 5-2 decision over Springfield. The Comets had gone 5-5-0-0 over their previous 10 games, while the Devils had a record of 3-6-1-0 over that same span.

Jonathan Dahlen was coming off a two-goal performance and what looked like his most complete game of the season yesterday, and he was sitting atop the rookie heap for the Comets with six goals and 10 helpers top give himself 16 points in 25 games this year. Marian Studenic wore the rookie crown in Bingo with nine goals and eight assists in 24 games.

Studenic’s 17 points were also good enough to lead the Devils roster in points. Nick Lappin sat second with 10 goals and five assists, giving him 15 points in 25 games, while Blake Pietila rounded out their top three with eight goals and seven assists, giving him 15 points in 24 contests.

Tanner Kero was the big cheese for the Comets with nine goals and 12 assists in 26 games, good enough for 21 points. Reid Boucher was a healthy scratch yesterday but was still sitting second in points with 19 in 15 games, while Zack MacEwen rounded out the top three with 10 goals and nine helpers, giving him 19 points in 26 games.

MacEwen and Kero are the only two players to suit up in every game this year for the Comets.

Comets Scratches

Wacey Hamilton, (week-to-week) Vincent Arseneau, (week-to-week) Jalen Chatfield, (week-to-week) Olli Juolevi, (week-to-week) Jagger Dirk, Kole Lind, Petrus Palmu, and Brendan Woods.

Comets Starting Lines

24 Reid Boucher – 10 Tanner Kero – 9 Lukas Jasek

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 16 Brendan Gaunce – 15 Zack MacEwen

25 Darren Archibald (A) – 11 Cam Darcy – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

19 Tanner MacMaster – 27 Tony Cameranesi – 22 Jonah Gadjovich

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 8 Dylan Blujus

6 Ashton Sautner – 2 Evan McEneny

26 Jaime Sifers (A) – 64 Jesse Graham

32 Richard Bachman

30 Thatcher Demko (backing up)

First Period

Giddy-up folks, this first period was a good one for the Comets. It took all of 17 seconds for Reid Boucher to put the Comets up 1-0 with his 12th goal of the season, working a nice give-and-go with Tanner Kero before burying his 100th AHL goal. Kero picked up the lone assist on the play for his 13th of the year.

At the other end of the ice, Richard Bachman smothered a loose puck in his crease with a crowd forming and held for the whistle. The Comets were hemmed in for a shift and the Devils appeared to score, causing teddy bears to rain down from the fans on Teddy Bear Night in Bingo. The goal was quickly waived off, however, as Kevin Rooney was being assessed with an interference penalty on the play.

It was at this point that my feed dropped out for a moment, it wouldn’t be the last time it would happen in the opening frame.

Jonathan Dahlen kept his hot streak going with his seventh goal of the season after coming off of a pair last night. Dahlen took a sweet feed from Zack MacEwen and deposited it behind Devils netminder Mackenzie Blackwood. MacEwen earned his 10th assist of the year on the play, while Reid Boucher picked up his ninth.

The Comets kept the pressure on before John Quenneville got a break and beat Bachman for his seventh goal of the season. Colton White picked up the lone helper on the play for his seventh of the year.

It took just under a minute for Ashton Sautner to put the Comets back up by a pair when he let fly with a shot from the top of the circle for his second of the season. Jonah Gadjovich picked up his third assist of the season on the play, and his second in as many games. Tanner MacMaster earned the other for his 10th helper of the year.

Marian Studenic didn’t do his club any favours when he was whistled for hooking at the 6:48 mark to send his team to the penalty kill.

Zack MacEwen raised his arms for a goal, but it was quickly waved off because it was deemed to have been kicked in. Dahlen followed up with a feed to McEneny for a shot that was swallowed up by Blackwood, but the Comets had some nice puck movement going.

Michael Kapla was dinged for interference at the 8:38 mark and the Comets had a very brief five-on-three man advantage. They were putting the pressure on as Boucher unloaded what seemed like a handful of one-timers, but the Comets came up empty.

Utica kept the pressure on as Gadjovich outmuscled Studenic in the offensive zone…and that was when my feed dropped out for the second time of the period. When things got fired back up, we saw McEneny have a shot tipped wide before Archibald saw his shot shouldered away by Blackwood.

Archibald wasn’t deterred, however, as he jumped on a loose puck and put it over the shoulder of Blackwood for his sixth goal of the season soon after. Guillaume Brisebois earned his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Cam Darcy picked up his sixth.

The Comets looked like they were still on the power play for a shift before Bachman had to come up with a save through traffic. The Devils started to put on a little pressure of their own.

Jonathan Dahlen and Brendan Gaunce broke in for a chance, but Gaunce saw his offering shut down by Blackwood. Soon after, Gaunce was sent off for tripping.

It was around this point when my feed dropped out once more. When things got back up and running, I saw Ashton Sautner writhing on the ice in pain. It turns out that he was decked by Eric Tangredi with a high hit. Sautner left the ice with the trainer, holding a towel over his right eye area and did not return.

Tangredi was assessed with a five-minute major for boarding and the Comets had a lengthy power play to work with. The first minute ticked off without much happening for the Comets and the period came to a close.

Utica led 12-7 on the shot clock for the opening frame.

Second Period

The Comets still had plenty of time to work with on the power play, but they came out of the gate slowly. Blake Pietila had a shorthanded chance but put his shot high and wide.

McEneny hit MacEwen with a nice stretch pass and TheBigFella split the defence but put his shot wide. Kevin Rooney had another shorthanded chance for the Devils, but Bachman gobbled up his shot and held for the whistle.

It was at this point when my feed dropped out…yet again.

When the game came back on, Cam Darcy hit Carter Bancks for a chance that he put off the outside of the post. The Comets came up empty with the extra man.

Jaime Sifers hits like a truck and Studenic found that out the hard way when the Comets veteran defender corked him with a stiff hit in the Comets end. Zack MacEwen came up with a timely shot block before we saw Bachman make a sliding save, only to have Michael McLeod blaze in and poke in the loose puck. We had a 4-2 game.

Things were getting rough as Guillaume Brisebois was rocked by Ryan Schmelzer and a meeting of the minds erupted briefly. Schmelzer was given two minutes for checking-to-the-head.

Dahlen has dished some filthy passes this year and he came up with a nifty behind the back feed to McEneny, who then teed up a one-timer for Boucher that was denied by Blackwood.

Eric Gryba was sent off for a high-stick at the 7:17 mark and the Comets had a five-on-three for 1:45. The Comets were sending their shots high and wide before Dahlen sent one off the goaltender’s body. Boucher followed up with a shot off the glove of Blackwood before Tanner Kero had his chance shut down as well. The Comets came up empty.

Dylan Blujus got tangled up with a Devils player and headed to the bench in obvious discomfort. He would miss time but eventually returned. The Comets were doing a solid job of keeping the Devils to the outside and we even saw Brendan Gaunce taking shifts on defence until Blujus was able to return.

Eric Gryba was sent off for abuse of the officials at the 13:21 mark after getting a little too mouthy. He was given a 10-minute misconduct, but no power play was awarded.

The Comets would not need the power play, however, as Jaime Sifers sent a point shot through traffic that eluded Blackwood, and the Comets were up 5-2 just 30 or so seconds later. The unassisted goal was the second of the year for the Comets veteran rearguard.

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Tony Cameranesi and Jonah Gadjovich came in with a chance that saw a Gadjovich offering denied. A brief melee broke out between Gadjovich and Josh Jacobs, but cooler heads would prevail.

It was at this point when Dylan Blujus made his return from whatever was ailing him and the Comets were back to only being without one of their defenders with Sautner still out of the game.

I have talked about Lukas Jasek and his fantastic board play since his brief audition with the Comets last season and there was more of that persistent play from him again today. Jasek is a treat to watch when he gets into board battles.

Jonathan Dahlen was having another solid outing again today and he showed off his flashy mitts when he got a backhander away off the rush that was denied by Blackwood.

I have been pumping Evan McEneny’s tires of late over his offensive contributions, and for good reason. He showed some nice work on the other side of the puck today with some good work in his own end to break up a play and get the puck headed the other way.

Tanner MacMaster has been quietly having a nice season for the Comets in his rookie campaign, collecting points along the way and showing some silky mitts with his passing. One thing that we don’t see a lot from with MacMaster would be trips to the penalty box. Well, he got dinged for holding at the 16:27 mark and the Comets had a penalty to kill.

Bachman stood on his lid early on this kill, coming up with a trio of saves in succession before making another save on Nick Lappin for good measure. He wasn’t done there as he gobbled up a John Quenneville wrister and held for the whistle.

The veteran netminder wouldn’t stop them all, however, as Nathan Bastian beat him for his seventh goal of the season. Michael McLeod picked up his ninth helper of the year on the play, while Brandon Gignac earned his eighth.

The Devils were within two.

Jesse Graham was an unheralded AHL depth signing by the Comets this offseason but has been a decent addition as a guy who can fill in and provide a bit of offence. He has six points in 14 games as a right-shooting defender. The offensive side of his game was on full display when he hit Boucher with a nice stretch pass for a break in the Devils zone. Boucher let fly with his shot, but Blackwood kicked it aside.

The physical play continued as time wound down in the period. Tanner Kero came up with a solid hit on Jacobs, only to end up on the receiving end of a solid hit as well soon after.  The Comets held a 12-10 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The final frame got underway and we had no sound for the first few minutes. Yes, it was another quality night from AHLTV. That said, these moments are getting fewer and farther between as the season goes on.

Darren Archibald and I believe Tony Cameranesi each had early chances denied before Zack MacEwen let fly with a quick shot off the right side that Blackwood blockered away. Bachman followed up by fighting off a point shot for a save at the other end and held for the whistle.

Jasek got a nice backhander away that was tipped along the way and Blackwood had another save.

Jaime Sifers was sent off for slashing at the 2:58 mark and the Comets had another penalty to kill. They would be unable to manage that feat, however, as Colton White got the Devils to within a goal at the 3:29 mark with his fourth of the season. John Quenneville teed up the one-timer for White to earn his ninth assist of the season, while Blake Pietila picked up his eighth on the play.

John Ramage came looking for more with a shot off the right side that was kicked aside by Bachman. There was some back and forth between the two clubs before Reid Boucher tried to avoid hitting Schmelzer when a teammate put him in the trolly tracks with a suicide pass. He made contact anyway and ended up getting dinged for roughing.

The Comets did excellent work on this kill and came away on the right side of it after the smoke had cleared.

The Devils were within a goal and were putting on some pressure before MacMaster showed off a shrewd play and nice hands, lifting the stick of Eric Gryba, who was trying to pick off a Jaime Sifers rebound off the boards. MacMaster then whipped out a spin and fire move to put the Comets back up by a pair. The unassisted tally was the second of the season for MacMaster.

Dylan Blujus was looking for another as he sent a wrister on net from the point that was kicked out by Blackwood. There was more back and forth before Bachman made a series of saves with a scramble in his crease. The Devils were putting on the pressure again.

Bachman steered aside a point shot before the Devils used their timeout with 2:14 to go in the period. Blackwood was summoned to the bench for the extra man with just under two minutes remaining and MacEwen salted it away with an empty-net goal for his 11th of the season. Zack scored 10 goals in his 66 game rookie campaign, making that empty-netter represent a new career high for TheBigFella in the AHL. Evan McEneny picked up the lone assist to continue adding to his point totals with his 10th helper of the season.

That was it for this one as the Comets won their second straight game with a 7-4 win over the Devils. The shots were even at six apiece in the final frame, but Utica held a 31-23 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

Boucher (12) from Kero (13).

Dahlen (7) from MacEwen (10) and Boucher (9).

Sautner (2) from Gadjovich (3) and MacMaster (10).

Archibald (6) from Brisebois (4) and Darcy (6).

Sifers (2).

MacMaster (2).

MacEwen (11) from McEneny (10). Empty-net goal.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Tanner MacMaster. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Colton White. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella picked up another helper today on another Jonathan Dahlen goal. It is almost looking like the pair could be building a bit of chemistry together. He also picked up an empty-net goal to earn a career-high 11 in the AHL. MacEwen is now up to 21 points in 27 games this year, or 0.78 points/game. That puts him on pace for 31 goals and 28 assists, good for 59 points this year. MacEwen continues to play in all situations and is showing some jump in his step over the last several games.

2nd Star: Tanner Kero. Kero picked up another assist today and now has nine goals and 13 helpers, giving him 22 points in 27 games to lead the Comets. Like MacEwen, Kero is an all-situations player for the Comets and has been their first-line pivot all season. Kero is on pace for a career season with this year and could be putting himself in consideration for a call-up should the Canucks need someone to play down the middle who can handle some penalty killing duty. He has been both durable and consistent for the Comets and has proven to be a nice addition to the club.

1st Star: Tanner MacMaster. MacMaster picked up a goal and an assist today and now has 12 points in 21 games for the Comets this season. That is a very respectable 0.57 points/game from the rookie. Consider how happy we were with Zack MacEwen and his 0.50 points/game last year in his rookie season. MacMaster’s pace would put him in line for 43 points over a full season and I think most would be thrilled with that from the undrafted winger. MacMaster doesn’t see any time on the penalty kill, but he does see some use on the second unit power play. I have liked MacMaster’s play since he joined the Comets at the end of last season. He is a heady player who has some really underrated passing skills, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season progresses for Tanner.

Comets Next Game

Game #28

Vs Providence Bruins

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm, Pacific

 

 

 

    • Defenceman Factory

      Of course you are correct Sandpaper and hopefully everyone can tell it wasn’t an honest question. Just another lame attempt to throw shade on the Canucks organization.

  • timmay

    yah, fair point that demko didn’t play both games for utica. after such a long layoff he should be starting every game, putting up some big numbers and earning that callup to the Canucks. We’ve been waiting since Ryan Miller’s time for our golden boy to take the reigns. Come on Trent, ride your fresh pony, let’s get this show on the road! go, go, go.

  • I am Ted

    It looks like the MacAttack (MacMaster and MacEwen) are turning into players. It’s nice to see more legit prospects added to the Canucks system. It looks like the Comets are going to have to take a lot of lumps this year as the kids learn the pro game and I am cool with that. It’s why they have a farm team.

    Cory, who would you say are the top 10 prospects in Utica right now? It might be a bit of a tough question but I wouldn’t hold you to anything you noted down. Most of us know it’s very difficult to guess how players will turn out.