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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Kole Lind’s First Pro Goal Stands As Game Winner In Comets 5-4 Victory Over Syracuse

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #43

Vs Syracuse Crunch

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Comets Scratches

Richard Bachman, (out for season) Olli Juolevi, (out for regular season) Jalen Chatfield, (month-to-month) Ashton Sautner, (month-to-month) Brendan Woods, (indefinite) Wacey Hamilton, (day-to-day) Vincent Arseneau, (day-to-day) Lukas Jasek, (illness) and Cliff Watson.

Comets Starting Lines

20 Tom Pyatt – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 16 Brendan Gaunce – 15 Zack MacEwen

 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 17 Adam Gaudette – 13 Kole Lind

19 Tanner MacMaster – 11 Cam Darcy – 22 Jonah Gadjovich

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

2 Evan McEneny – 8 Dylan Blujus

  64 Jesse Graham – 39 Colton Saucerman

31 Ivan Kulbakov

49 Michael Leighton (backing up)

First Period

This one got off to a quick start as the Comets came out flying. We saw a pretty sweet tic-tac-toe play as Reid Boucher, Tanner Kero, and Tom Pyatt hooked up for a goal just 25 seconds into the opening frame. The goal was the second of the season for Pyatt and sixth point in as many games with the club, while Kero picked up his 20th helper of the year on the play and Boucher grabbed his 19th. I am going out on a limb with those assists, as the AHL has it scored without the Kero helper, but I expect that to change.

The Comets kept it coming as MacEwen danced right back in for a chance that he couldn’t get to go. It was all Comets early. The Crunch didn’t get credit for their first shot on goal until much later in the period, but I’m pretty sure that Kulbakov kicked out a leg for a save shortly after the MacEwen chance.

Cal Foote was dinged for tripping at the 5:06 mark and the Comets had the game’s first power play. We saw Jonah Gadjovich get a look in Zack MacEwen’s spot on the first unit as MacEwen shifted to the second group.

Dahlen had a shot from the high circle on the left side turned aside before Eddie Pasquale denied a Tom Pyatt chance and Gadjovich put the rebound off the iron. The Comets were pressuring but would come up empty.

Brendan Gaunce and Zack MacEwen have looked great on a line together recently and the pair broke in for a chance. Gaunce elected to take the shot but saw his attempt blocked by a defender. Cam Darcy came back with a long shot that was turned aside by the blocker of Pasquale and we saw some back and forth.

The Comets kept it coming as Dahlen had a long short blockered away before Tanner MacMaster showed some wheels to get in for a chance that he put wide of the net.

Dennis Yan put his club down a man when he was whistled for elbowing at the 12:21 mark and the Comets had another power play to work with. This one saw TheBigFella back in his traditional net-front position on the first unit.

Evan McEneny had a long shot turned aside before Kero saw his one-timer denied as well. MacEwen followed up with a chance off the iron and the Comets would come up empty.

Carter Verhaeghe came right in with a shot that was denied by Ivan Kulbakov for what was the first shot on net credited to the Crunch in the game. Nolan Valleau followed up with another and Kulbakov soaked it up for a whistle.

Cam Darcy was dinged for slashing at the 15:25 mark to set off a series of penalty calls. Cory Conacher was dinged for holding the stick at the 16:23 mark and got a little bit too mouthy on his way to the bench, earning himself an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Ben Thomas quickly followed at the 16:41 mark when he was sent off for boarding and the Comets had a two-man advantage after Darcy was released from the box.

Reid Boucher had a chance denied before Jonathan Dahlen scored to put the Comets up 2-0 at the 18:41 mark. It was Dahlen’s 10th goal of the season and 14th point on the power play. Tanner Kero earned his 21st assist of the season on the play, while Boucher grabbed his 20th.

That was it for the opening frame as the Comets were up 2-0 and showed a commanding 13-4 lead on the shot clock.

Second Period

The second period was pretty solid in terms of action as the two clubs had some pretty good back and forth. The Comets had an early shot, but I was unable to see who took it as the camera was showing me the crowd rather than the faceoff. Pasquale started the period with a save.

Zack MacEwen followed up the ensuing faceoff by holding the blueline and getting a long shot away that was kicked out by Pasquale before he took a feed from Dahlen for a chance that he put wide of the net. The line of Dahlen, Gaunce and MacEwen were dominating the Crunch on their shifts.

Adam Gaudette put his club up 3-0 at the 3:00-minute mark when he beat Pasquale for his fifth goal of the season. Carter Bancks picked up his seventh helper of the year on the play, while Zack MacEwen earned his 17th.

The Crunch came storming right back and we saw Kulbakov make a flurry of saves before Alex Barre-Boulet beat him for his 19th of the season. Carter Verhaeghe was awarded his 27th helper of the year on the play.

Syracuse wasn’t done there as Gabriel Dumont came right back in for his fourth of the year and they were within a goal. Boris Katchouk picked up his eighth assist of the season on the play, while Barre-Boulet earned his 18th.

Jonathan Dahlen wasn’t having it, though as he was sprung by Brendan Gaunce for a break and the young winger made no mistake, picking up his 11th goal of the season. Gaunce earned his 12th assist of the year on the play.

Kulbakov wasn’t going to have a repeat of what had just happened and was sure to shut down the next chance that came his way.

TheBigFella has been bringing the pain this season by dumping the puck into the opposite corner and following up at speed with a heavy hit on the defender who dares to chase it down and he did it again in this one. Evan McEneny followed up with a shot from a bad angle that was denied by Pasquale.

Adam Gaudette was sent off for slashing at the 9:21 mark and the Comets were back to the kill. Kero and Boucher came with a great shorthanded shift in the Syracuse zone before Kulbakov had to swallow up a Ross Colton offering.

The Comets had a good kill but would be right back to a man-down situation as this time it was Guillaume Brisebois who was sent off for holding at the 12:13 mark. Kulbakov came up with a save on Barre-Boulet before making a pair of saves on Conacher. Boucher and Kero went the other way for a chance they couldn’t get to go. The Crunch came back the other way for a chance and Kulbakov flashed the leather for another save.

Gaudette was out on the kill with Carter Bancks but the rookie ended up getting dinged for a hooking penalty and his team would be down two men for 1:06.

Kulbakov kicked out a pad for a save before shutting down another chance form Barre-Boulet. Brisebois came out of the box and broke in for a chance that he put off the shoulder of Pasquale and the Comets had a good kill.

Kole Lind has been playing a much more effective game of late and he was at it again today. The rookie winger was finally rewarded with his first pro goal. Lind pounced on a rebound and buried it for his first of the season. Gaudette picked up his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Dylan Blujus earned his fifth.

Cory Conacher had already taken one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty earlier and the forward took another at the 17:01 mark for shooting the puck on net after a whistle. The Comets had another power play to work with.

Boris Katchouk came in with a shorthanded chance but was stymied by Kulbakov before Reid Boucher and Hubert Labrie were given coincidental minors and headed to the box for slashing and roughing respectively.

Pasquale would have to shut down late chances from Jesse Graham, Adam Gaudette, and Kole Lind before the period came to a close. Utica showed a 13-12 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The Crunch made things interesting early when Gabriel Dumont beat Kulbakov for his fifth goal of the season just 1:02 in. Taylor Raddysh picked up his 14th helper of the year on the play, while Nolan Valleau earned his eighth. Syracuse was within two.

There were a lot of early whistles, which hampered the flow of the game a bit before things picked up with a Barre-Boulet chance that was denied by Kulbakov. There was some back and forth before Cam Darcy’s line spent extended time in the offensive zone with the puck tied up along the boards.

The Comets were dinged for having too-many-men on the ice at the 5:13 mark and they had another penalty to kill. Dennis Yan had a chance denied, as did Alex Volkov before the latter beat Kulbakov for his ninth of the season to pull his team to within a goal with plenty of time left for another. Cal Foote earned his ninth assist of the season on the Volkov marker, while Yan picked up his fifth.

Syracuse kept it coming as Kulbakov had to steer aside a shot before getting a shoulder on another as the Crunch poured it on.

Carter Bancks was sent off for tripping at the 9:41 mark and the Comets were a man down once more. Kulbakov would glove down a shot off the right side and the Comets had another good kill. We had some back and forth as Gaunce hit MacEwen for a backdoor feed, but TheBigFella was tied up on the play. At the other end, Kulbakov whipped out a flashy mitt to shut down a Carter Verhaeghe offering to keep his club up by a goal.

Kole Lind followed up with some great hustle, drawing a hooking penalty on Nolan Valleau to send his team to another power play. This one wasn’t pretty, folks, as the Comets could barely get out of their own end before Brendan Gaunce sent a late wrister on net that was swallowed up by Martin Ouellette, who had taken over in the third period for Pasquale. The Comets came up empty.

Barre-Boulet had a chance kicked aside before Bancks was headed back to the box, this time for tripping and the Comets had another penalty to kill. Conacher came with a shot that Kulbakov put out of play before Boucher stole a puck and had his shorthanded chance denied.

Ouellette was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with about 1:17 remaining and the Comets came up with a good kill. Carter Bancks blocked a shot almost immediately after getting out of the box and as soon as the zone was cleared the captain was seen heading down the tunnel.

Kulbakov had to whip out a lightning quick leg to thwart another attempt from Barre-Boulet and this one was in the books. Syracuse showed a staggering 16-2 advantage on the shot clock for the third period and a 34-29 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

Pyatt (2) from Boucher (19).

Dahlen (10) from Kero (20) and Boucher (20). Power Play goal.

Gaudette (5) from Bancks (5) and MacEwen (17).

Dahlen (11) from Gaunce (12) and MacEwen (18).

Lind (1) from Gaudette (4) and Blujus (5).

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Kole Lind. One goal, first in pro hockey.

2nd Star: Adam Gaudette. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Jonathan Dahlen. Two goals.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Reid Boucher/Zack MacEwen. Both players picked up a pair of helpers today and also put in work with both special teams. Boucher did as Boucher does and picked up another couple of points, bringing him to 37 in 31 games. Boucher is on pace for what would be a 90 point regular season. MacEwen has now reached 33 points with his pair of helpers today, equaling his rookie season total in 24 fewer games. MacEwen has also taken on a regular role on the penalty kill and is being used late in games. He’s knocking on the door for his NHL chance.

2nd Star: Kole Lind/Adam Gaudette. It finally happened for Lind and I couldn’t be happier for him. A game winner to boot. You could see that a goal was coming for Lind as he has been working his tail off and was finally rewarded. Lind’s game has been improving of late and you can see the steps that he is taking. He is far more engaged in games than he was to start the year and his offence has come from that. Gaudette picked up a goal and an assist today and continues to show well while in Utica. He also saw some time on the penalty kill, which will only help his game. Adam is now up to nine points in eight games. He has one goal and one helper with the man advantage, so he is doing the bulk of his point gathering at five aside.

1st Star: Jonathan Dahlen. Dahlen’s two goals bring his season totals to 11 goals and 11 helpers in 39 games. That would put him on pace for a 43 point regular season of 76 games. Those numbers are eerily similar to his last two seasons of hockey in Sweden, though in fewer games over there. The trio of Dahlen, Gaunce, and MacEwen play well together and seem to be able to feed off of each other well. It would be nice to see them stay together as a group in order to go on a real run for the team.

Next Game

Game #44

Vs Binghamton Devils

Friday, January 18th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific