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Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Get Four Points Each From MacEwen And Boucher In 5-2 Win Over Rochester

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #50

Vs Rochester Americans

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Post-Game

Comets Scratches

Richard Bachman, (out for the season) Olli Juolevi, (out for the season) Jesse Graham, (week-to-week) Dylan Blujus, (week-to-week) Wacey Hamilton, (veteran scratch) Colton Saucerman, (healthy scratch) Vincent Arseneau, (healthy scratch) and Jonah Gadjovich, (healthy scratch).

Comets Starting Lines

34 Carter Bancks (C) – 11 Cam Darcy – 9 Lukas Jasek

24 Reid Boucher (A) – 10 Tanner Kero – 15 Zack MacEwen

16 Brendan Gaunce – 17 Adam Gaudette – 13 Kole Lind

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 21 Brendan Woods – 20 Tom Pyatt

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

6 Ashton Sautner – 23 Luke Schenn

2 Evan McEneny – 5 Jalen Chatfield

49 Michael Leighton

31 Ivan Kulbakov  (backing up)

First Period

This was a pretty solid period of back and forth hockey, unfortunately, the Comets would find themselves in a 2-0 hole by the end of it.

It took Wayne Simpson just one minute to put his club up 1-0, beating Michael Leighton with a backhander. The goal was Simpson’s 15th of the season, while Taylor Leier picked up his 10th helper of the year on the play.

I lost my video feed for about two minutes and when I got things back up and running I saw Casey Nelson have a shot denied by Leighton. Moments later, Leighton was run over by Simpson, but apparently not badly enough to elicit a penalty from the officials. Leighton was fine and popped back up to follow the play.

Matt Tennyson had a chance denied by Leighton and the netminder followed up with another save and held for the whistle with the Amerks pressing.

Adam Gaudette is using his time in Utica wisely. Rather than pouting about being sent to the farm team, the young pivot is soaking up minutes and growing confidence in his game. He is really becoming a fun player to watch and he showed us why when he broke out of the Comets end with a quick series of dangles and continued through the neutral zone before dishing off to Kole Lind.

It was the Comets turn to press a little as Jonathan Dahlen and Tom Pyatt were denied goals by netminder Adam Wilcox in their bid to tie the game at one.

Brendan Woods was whistled for hooking at the 6:19 mark and it was off to the penalty kill for the Comets. Zack MacEwen was used heavily on this one, first showing up with Carter Bancks to kick things off before making a return appearance with Tom Pyatt.

Leighton gobbled up an early chance before Brendan Gaunce did great work with a solo foray into the Amerks zone to run time off the clock. The Comets came up with a good kill.

Kole Lind has come a long way since the start of the season and you can see his confidence growing as well. The young winger looked like an ox, wearing a defender on his back like a name bar behind the Amerks net while dishing a feed to Brendan Gaunce in tight for a pair of chances that Wilcox was able to shut down.

Lind was soon sprung for a break but was unable to get a handle on the bouncing puck. Victor Olofsson went the other way with a shot off the left side that Leighton managed to get a shoulder on for another save.

Luke Schenn has dished some nice stretch passes since joining the Comets and he hit Tanner Kero with a beauty to send the forward in with Boucher. Kero dished a cross-ice feed to Boucher but the winger couldn’t bury his chance from in close.

Woods was sent off for hooking once more at the 13:34 mark and the Comets were back to the kill. It took Carter Bancks 32 seconds to put the Comets down five-on-three when he was dinged for a cross-check.

With the Comets in a hole, Victor Olofsson whipped out the shovel and dug them deeper with his 19th goal of the season on a one-timer that Leighton couldn’t shut down. Danny O’Regan earned his 16th assist of the year on the play, while Matt Tennyson picked up his 10th.

The Comets couldn’t kill off the Woods penalty, but they managed to come away unscathed on what remained of the Bancks penalty.

Tom Pyatt let fly with a shot off the rush that was gloved down by Wilcox and we had more back and forth. Leighton came up with another save before Brandon Hickey was whistled for tripping at the 18:03 mark and the Comets had a late power play to work with. Boucher ripped a shot wide of the net before being robbed by the glove of Wilcox on the bomb that he fired next.

That was it for the opening frame. The Amerks showed an 11-7 advantage on the shot clock.

Second Period

The middle frame was just as exciting as the first one, only this time it would be the Comets who were doing the scoring. Boucher fed Kero for a shot that the pivot put off the side of the net before Leighton came up with a blocker save at the other end from a Scott Wilson offering on a two-on-one rush.

Zack MacEwen got the comeback rolling when he grabbed the puck and skated down the left side with a laser beam of a shot. TheBigFella put the puck up high where Joe Roberts looks for potatoes. It was the 17th of the season for MacEwen, while Evan McEneny picked up his 18th helper of the year on the play, and Boucher grabbed his 24th.

Boucher and MacEwen weren’t done there as TheBigFella showed that his silky mitts can be used for more than scoring when he hit Boucher with a sweet feed for the winger’s 21st goal of the season. MacEwen picked up his 23rd helper of the year on the play, tying his career high in assists, while Luke Schenn earned his 11th.

If you are thinking that the Comets were done there, I’m here to tell you that you would be thinking wrong. Jonathan Dahlen dangled his way to his 13th goal of the season and the Comets had three goals in a 58-second span and a 3-2 lead. Brendan Woods earned his fifth assist of the year on the play for the lone helper.

Were we about to have a replay of last night’s game when the Comets stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to score five unanswered goals for a win? Stay tuned…

The line of Kero, MacEwen, and Boucher spent the next shift wreaking havoc in the Amerks zone, but they couldn’t capitalize with another goal…but once again, stay tuned.

Luke Schenn has been bringing the hits since joining Utica and he dropped another one in the neutral zone before Casey Nelson let fly with a shot off the left side that was soaked up by Leighton, who covered the puck at his net-side with Dalton Smith digging for gold.

Speaking of physical play, Evan McEneny was playing more of a physical game at the start of the season, but he brought that side back today, running over Eric Cornel at the Amerks blueline.

Reid Boucher was looking for his second goal of the game when he stole the puck and ripped his shot off the iron. Don’t worry, we would hear from Boucher again soon enough. Ashton Sautner wasn’t only beating his opponents black and blue today, he also showed some wheels and mitts to get a shot off from the right side that was soaked up for a whistle by Wilcox.

Wayne Simpson sent the Comets back to the power play when he was dinged for a high-stick at the 12:56 mark.

Adam Gaudette had a one-timer shut down before MacEwen followed up with a jam play that he couldn’t get to go. A brief melee ensued, but cooler heads prevailed. The Comets came up empty.

The Amerks looked like they were trying to slow things down before Leighton had to make a pair of timely saves on a spinning shot through traffic as well as the ensuing rebound chance.

Brendan Gaunce fed Kole Lind with a nice pass to send the young winger in for a chance but Wilcox stymied him with a flash of the leather. Sautner followed up with another shot that was swallowed up by Wilcox for a whistle.

We saw some different line combos as Carter Bancks was in the room for repairs before coming back and testing something and ending up calling it a night early. If Bancks can’t go tomorrow, the Comets have his twin Wacey Hamilton at the ready to replace what he brings to the table.

Leighton had to come up with another save and held for the whistle before finishing the period with a couple more off the resulting faceoff. The Comets finished the middle frame up 3-2 and showing a 14-12 advantage on the shot clock.

Third Period

The final frame got going with some early back and forth before Luke Schenn unloaded the type of earth-shaking hit that you would expect to come from the rather larger defender. Keep bringing the boom, Luke.

Jonathan Dahlen has had a tough time putting up points at five aside play this year, but he has spent the last two games playing on a line with Brendan Woods and Tom Pyatt and has picked up a pair of even-strength points. He was looking for more when he hit Woods in the high slot with a pass, but the big pivot ripped his shot off the target.

Evan McEneny had another long shot gloved down before Kole Lind whipped out the moves to set up Gaunce for a chance that he couldn’t get to go. Lind, however, managed to draw a hooking penalty on Andrew MacWilliam on the play. Lind has done a fantastic job of drawing penalties for the Comets this season.

McEneny let fly with a shot that Tanner Kero got a piece of but Wilcox was ready with the save. MacEwen jumped on the rebound chance but was unable to put it past the netminder. TheBigFella kept it coming after Kero fed him on the doorstep, but Wilcox whipped out the mitt for another quick save. The Comets had their chances but came up short with the extra man.

Tom Pyatt tipped a Sautner point shot wide before Rasmus Asplund was whistled for tripping at the 8:10 mark. Boucher had an early shot denied before taking a crisp cross-ice feed from Kero for a one-timer that was gobbled up.

They wouldn’t be able to keep Boucher from scoring on his next shot as he annihilated a one-timer off a Zack MacEwen faceoff win for his 22nd goal of the season. MacEwen picked up his 24th helper of the season for a new career high in assists.

The Comets kept their collective foot on the gas as Sautner sent a great feed to Gaudette in front that the young pivot tipped wide before McEneny had another point shot gloved down for a whistle. Lind and Gaunce followed up with another chance that was denied by Wilcox before the Amerks applied some pressure, hemming the Comets in their own end, but they were unable to get any shots on the net.

Gaunce had another chance off the left side that was swallowed up for a whistle.

Wilcox was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with 2:38 left in the game.

It didn’t take long before MacEwen dished to Boucher for his hatty and the Comets were up 5-2. Boucher had his fourth point of the game and 23rd goal of the season. Zack MacEwen set him up for his 25th helper of the year…also his fourth point of the game and Ashton Sautner picked up the other helper for his fifth apple of the season.

That was it for this one as the Comets stormed back for five unanswered goals for the second straight game to come away with the win. I can remember when the Cardiac Comets were doing this kind of thing on the regular last season…those were good times. Let’s hope this is the start of a similar run.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

MacEwen (17) from McEneny (18) and Boucher (24).

Boucher (21) from MacEwen (23) and Schenn (11).

Dahlen (13) from Woods (5).

Boucher (22) from MacEwen (24). PP goal.

Boucher (23) from MacEwen (25) and Sautner (5). Empty net goal.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Jonathan Dahlen. Game-winning goal.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen. One goal, three assists.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Three goals, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Brendan Gaunce/Adam Gaudette/Kole Lind. This trio has played the last two games together and they have looked dangerous in both games. Lind is becoming more of a factor with each game as his confidence grows. He is staying engaged and is showing a knack for drawing penalties. Gaunce has just gone about his business since coming back to Utica. It doesn’t really matter who he plays with, Gaunce has been an offensive threat while locking down his end of things defensively. Gaudette saw time on both special teams today and once again dazzled with some filthy moves and showed some offensive creativity.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella brought it again. This isn’t new, it’s kind of his thing. MacEwen just gets it, he understands what the coaching staff is asking of him and he keeps bringing it and adding more layers to his game. His four-point night brings him to 42 points on the year. His 17 goals are a career-high, as are his 25 assists and those 42 points that I just told you about. Sure, he has a little extra spring in his step with his father and uncle in town, but this is MacEwen’s game. By the way, they aren’t just there to watch games. Uncle Jeff shared a photo with me of some pretty killer looking meal prep that was done while TheBigFella was at his morning skate today. That ought to help keep that big engine fuelled for a few more days.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Three goals and an assist, ho-hum…just another day at the office for Reid Boucher. All the man does is put up points, but somehow can’t seem to get that prime opportunity at the NHL level. Today he became the first Comets player to post more than one 20-goal season. It’s no wonder that Boucher piles up points when he shoots the puck as often as he does. He was credited with a staggering 11 shots on goal today. Boucher is an offence generating machine for the Comets and has put up 1.24 points per game this year. That is a 76-game pace of 94 points.

Next Game

Game #51

At Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

3:00 pm Eastern/Noon Pacific