Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: The Utica Comets Make It Three Straight Wins With Convincing 6-2 Victory Over Cleveland

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #38

At Cleveland Monsters

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific


Comets Scratches

Olli Juolevi, (out for regular season) Richard Bachman, (out for season) Jalen Chatfield, (month-to-month) Ashton Sautner, (indefinite) Brendan Woods, (day-to-day) Dylan Blujus, (day-to-day) Jagger Dirk, Tanner MacMaster, Lukas Jasek, and Jonah Gadjovich.

Comets Starting Lines

34 Carter Bancks (C) – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 17 Adam Gaudette – 20 Tom Pyatt

16 Brendan Gaunce – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher

18 Vincent Arseneau – 11 Cam Darcy – 13 Kole Lind

 2 Evan McEneny – 64 Jesse Graham

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

38 Craig Wyszomirski – 39 Colton Saucerman

31 Ivan Kulbakov

33 Alex Sakellaropoulos (backing up)

First Period

We saw some pretty solid action in what was a back and forth opening period of hockey. Both teams brought some physical play early.

Kole Lind showed some nice work on an early forecheck, leading to a Vincent Arseneau chance that was put wide of the net before Jesse Graham let fly with a shot off the right side that was soaked up by goaltender JF Berube for a whistle.

Ivan Kulbakov was in the pipes against his former club and he had to gobble up an early chance from Kevin Stenlund to keep the game knotted at one. Kole Lind was having a solid first period, hitting Cam Darcy with a nice feed that led to a shot from the high slot that was denied by Berube.

Wacey Hamilton was dinged for a high-stick at the 9:07 mark and the Comets had a penalty to kill. We saw PK units of Carter Bancks with Zack MacEwen, along with Tanner Kero with Brendan Gaunce and a third forward duo of newcomer Tom Pyatt with Reid Boucher. Guillaume Brisebois was on the ice for what seemed like the entire kill, will being joined separately by Colton Saucerman and Jaime Sifers.

Nathan Gerbe had a one-timer through traffic turned aside by Kulbakov before the netminder shut down the following rebound chance as well. The Comets would come up with a good kill.

The Comets found themselves right back on the kill at the 13:32 mark when Gaunce was whistled for holding and Kero was dinged with a hooking call at the same time. It would be a full two-minute, five-on- kill for the road team.

Guillaume Brisebois came up with a timely shot block before Kulbakov turned aside another one-timer from Gerbe and we saw one of Kulbakov or Wacey Hamilton get in the way of the follow-up rebound attempt. The Comets had another good kill.

Ryan MacInnes was then sent off for a cross-check at the 15:05 mark and it was the Comets turn with the extra man. We saw a power play unit of McEneny, MacEwen, Kero, Boucher, and Dahlen have a chance when Kero tipped a Dahlen offering wide, but the Comets would come up empty.

Ryan Collins put the Monsters back on the kill when he was dinged for a high-stick at the 17:28 mark and we saw a different power play unit come over the boards for the Comets. This time it was a unit of McEneny, Graham, Gaunce, Gaudette, and Lind.

Gaudette had a knuckler denied by Berube before the netminder followed up with another save. The Comets would come up empty as the period came to a close with the clubs knotted at zero. Cleveland showed a 10-7 advantage on the shot clock in the first period.

Second Period

The Comets were flexing hard in the middle frame, scoring five unanswered goals and pouring no fewer than 21 shots on the Cleveland net.

Reid Boucher got things going with a big hit in the Comets’ end early on the much larger Sam Vigneault. Tom Pyatt followed up with a shot off the left side that was gloved down for a whistle.

Kole Lind continued to look more comfortable today, sending a nifty feed to Evan McEneny off a faceoff win that resulted in a point shot that was gloved down as well. The line of Lind, Darcy, and Arseneau was full-value today.

Zack MacEwen sent a nice backhand feed from behind the Monsters’ net that led to a Jaime Sifers shot that was denied by the stick of Berube. The netminder followed up with another save, soaking up a Carter Bancks shot and holding for the whistle.

The Monsters were the first to the penalty box in the middle frame when they took their first of two, too-many-men penalties of the period at the 3:22 mark. Dahlen quickly ripped a shot off the iron before Kulbakov had to soak up a shorthanded chance and he held for a whistle.

Lind kept his strong play going when he deftly knocked down a clearance attempt to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Berube had to kick aside a Gaudette wrister along with another Gaudette chance before TheBigFella got the Comets’ goal-scoring parade going with his 14th of the season off of a Wacey Hamilton faceoff win. The lone assist on the play was the first point of the year for the gritty Hamilton, who was playing in his third game for the club after a long concussion recovery. The goal came after the too-many-men penalty expired.

Gaudette whipped out some filthy moves in the offensive zone to get past a Monsters player before Jesse Graham took a Carter Bancks feed from behind the net to beat Berube for his third goal of the season. Bancks earned his fifth helper of the year on the play, while Wacey Hamilton grabbed his second.

BigVinny came calling next when he grabbed his third goal of the season after pouncing on an Adam Gaudette play. Gaudette picked up his third assist of the season on the play, while newcomer Tom Pyatt earned his first. That’s three goals in his last four games for Arseneau.

The Comets had three goals in roughly five minutes.

The goals kept coming as Gaudette sniped a shot, top shelf to beat Berube for his third of the year. Pyatt picked up his second helper of the game on the play, while Colton Saucerman grabbed his first.

It was at this point when Cleveland took their second too-many-men penalty of the game to put the Comets back on the man advantage. Gaudette was looking for another goal when he drove hard to the net with the puck, forcing Berube into making a series of snow angels on the ice to keep the puck out. The Comets came up empty once more but would score their fifth goal of the game soon after.

It was Gaudette again, this time burying a shot from in close for his fourth of the season. Brendan Gaunce and Kole Lind picked up the assists with their ninth and fourth helpers respectively. It was nice to see Lind rewarded with an assist for his efforts.

Vincent Arseneau was having himself a game today, not that his game was any different than any other night as he tends to bring the same high-energy, heavy hitting brand of hockey, game-in and game out. He came looking for his second goal of the game when he let fly with a shot from the right side that was gloved down by Berube.

The period ended with Kulbakov making a pair of saves and the Comets were up 5-0. Utica showed a commanding 21-9 lead on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

When the teams took to the ice for the final frame, the Monsters did so with Brad Thiessen between the pipes and JF Berube on the bench after a tough second period.

The Comets would see an early power play as Justin Scott was whistled for high-sticking just 21 seconds in. The Comets had some nice puck movement, but there wasn’t a lot happening on this power play, outside of Evan McEneny putting a shot off the glove of Thiessen. The Comets came up empty.

We saw a couple of weird plays today involving Ivan Kulbakov. The first of which came when he went to play the puck, started to scramble and lost his mitt on the play. It is such an unnatural thing to see a fully geared up goalie who is set to make a save with his bare hand if he had to. The play would end up being whistled down and Kulbakov would get his glove back on his hand where it belonged.

The Comets rolled the line of Arseneau, Darcy, and Lind back over the boards and the trio went back to work with another shift of great pressure on the forecheck. Lind playing with guys like Darcy and Arseneau might not be the look that most Vancouver fans want to see for the young rookie, but it is pretty tough to argue with the effect that the two energy players have had on Lind’s game. Kole looks far more engaged of late than he did earlier in the season.

Some of that will come from getting more comfortable in the league and being further away from his month-long injury. I also believe that some of his strong play comes from following the lead of players like Darcy and Arseneau who never take a shift off and play with an edge.

Kulbakov had to make an alert save on a spinning shot through traffic before Reid Boucher went the other way with a shot that was denied before he blew up a Cleveland player with a big hit in the offensive zone.

Nothing gets Big Vinny’s mojo going more than a big hit and he was amped up when he came back over the boards with Lind and Darcy. Lind picked off a puck in the offensive zone and let fly with a shot that Thiessen got a piece of before Arseneau pounced on the rebound and scored his fourth goal of the season…yeah, that’s right…Arseneau has four goals this season, all in his last four games.

MacEwen followed up with a shot that was denied before Brisebois put a point shot through traffic that was turned aside by the stick of Thiessen. Stenlund had a wrister gloved down by Kulbakov before Lind showed some nice mitts with a sweet feed to Jesse Graham just inside the Monsters’ blueline.

Ryan MacInnes, son of Al, had a great chance to get his team on the board when he wired a shot past Kulbakov, only to ring the iron. Veteran Jaime Sifers followed up with a big shot block, as is his way.

Kulbakov wouldn’t be able to stop every shot today as he was beaten for a bizarre goal when it looked like he had the net well covered. Sonny Milano was the man playing spoiler with the netminder’s shutout with his eighth goal of the year. Kole Sherwood grabbed his third helper of the year on the play, while Michael Prapavessis picked up his second.

It wasn’t long before the Monsters had a pair of goals on the board as moments later, Nathan Gerbe took a nice backdoor feed from Mark Letestu and put it behind Kulbakov for his eighth goal of the season. Letestu picked up his 12th assist of the year on the play, while Gabriel Carlsson earned his eighth.

Time was winding down in this one as we saw Gaunce have a shot turned aside by Thiessen before Kulbakov soaked up a shot from the top of the right circle from Dan DeSalvo. Gerbe had a chance through traffic tipped that Kulbakov shut down and that was it for this one. Utica had a 12-11 advantage on the shot clock for the final frame and a 40-30 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

MacEwen (14) from Hamilton (1)

Graham (3) from Bancks (5) and Hamilton (2)

Arseneau (3) from Gaudette (3) and Pyatt (1)

Gaudette (3) from Pyatt (2) and Saucerman (1)

Gaudette (4) from Gaunce (9) and Lind (4)

Arseneau (4) from Lind (5)

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Ivan Kulbakov. 28 saves.

2nd Star: Vincent Arseneau. Two goals.

1st Star: Adam Gaudette. Two goals, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Kole Lind/Vincent Arseneau. I am splitting the third star between Lind and Arseneau today as the pair played exceptionally well together and picked up four points between them. They were forechecking like beasts and spent a good deal of time in the offensive zone in today’s game. Lind likely projects as more of an offensive player than his current energy line role would suggest, but playing with Darcy and Arseneau is having a positive effect on his play. For Arseneau, I am happy to see the man rewarded with some points. He isn’t expected to provide much offence, so any that comes off of his stick is a good thing, but as mentioned, his high energy style of play is rubbing off on Lind and that is a good thing.

2nd Star: Tom Pyatt/Wacey Hamilton. It was nice to see both players pick up a pair of points today as each man was credited with a pair of helpers. For Hamilton, who had a career year last year with 22 points, it was nice to see him pick up points today as it gives him two in three games since coming back from a lengthy concussion recovery. For Pyatt, I was happy to see him pick up points in his first game with the club. He played a solid game today and did some nice work on Gaudette’s flank.

1st Star: Adam Gaudette. Gaudette picked up a pair of goals and a helper today but also dominated the game with eight shots on goal. That is usually Reid Boucher’s domain. Gaudette now has four goals and three assists in his six-game AHL career, giving him a tidy 1.17 points/game. He will gain valuable experience while he is with the Comets and has the potential to pile up some points before making his way back to Vancouver for good. He showed some slick hands, a quick release and some filthy dangles today. Not a bad day’s work.

Next Game

Game #39

At Cleveland Monsters

Sunday, January, 6th, 2019

3:00 pm Eastern/12:00 noon Pacific




  • DJ_44

    I caught the 2nd and 3rd of this game.

    Gaudette was flying out there. When he had the puck on his stick (which was often), he oozed confidence. They put him on the left half boards on PP2, the spot he occupied at Northeastern. Dahlen worked well with him.

    Lind had a noticeable game as well. He is coming along. I would like to see him less chippy. Lots of behind the play stuff with him that is not necessary and should not be his focus.

    MacEwen is just a stud. Size, drive, hands, smarts. Gaunce and Boucher also played well. Great effort from both of them.

  • canuckfan

    It is good for Gaudette’s confidence plus he can start building some chemistry with some of the other younger prospects. Let him do some offensive work and everything he learned in the NHL around being responsible defensibly will make him into a great player. Just as Demko needed to grow a bit and learn the professional game Gaudette will get his chance soon enough lets not rush him back. Canucks will likely trade Sutter around the deadline.

    • canuckfan

      If Pettersson is going to be out for a couple weeks bring Gaudette back up and let him play with Brock lets see if he is put in an offensive role how he would do, and with Beagle possibly being out we may need another center but let Granlund and Sutter be the checkers and unleash Gaudette with some offensive players.

      • Kevlar73

        The earliest Sutter gets moved is this offseason I’d think. Gaudette is looking more and more like a nice upgrade as our third line center. Great write up as usual Cory thank you!

        • Fred-65

          Good gracious Sutter back after a long long absence (30 games ). I see a player that makes few mistakes and player that the coach has great confidence in. He is exactly what play-off hockey is all about and usually scores around the 30 point mark. He may be low key and not a star type but there again he’s never professed to be that kind of player. As I understand more than a few teams are interested in acquiring him which seems to refute your opinion. I like Gaudettes style and attention to both ends of the ice, but he’s where he should be if he’s to grow as a player. He’ll be back and when he retrurns I suspect he’ll be even better than he was

          • timmay

            Naa Fred, and the Pens disagree with you too – as soon as they offloaded Sutter (to us) and replaced him with Bonino they won back-to-back cups. Sutter has no playoff pedigree whatsoever.