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CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Skate Away With 4-1 Win Over Laval

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #52

Vs Laval Rocket

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Comets Scratches

Richard Bachman, (out for the season) Olli Juolevi, (out for the season) Dylan Blujus, (week-to-week) Carter Bancks, (day-to-day) Jesse Graham, (healthy) Colton Saucerman, (healthy), Reid Gardiner, (healthy).

Starting Lines

16 Brendan Gaunce – 11 Cam Darcy – 13 Kole Lind

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

54 Jonathan Dahlen – 21 Brendan Woods – 9 Lukas Jasek

22 Jonah Gadjovich – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 18 Vincent Arseneau

6 Ashton Sautner – 23 Luke Schenn

2 Evan McEneny – 5 Jalen Chatfield

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

49 Michael Leighton

31 Ivan Kulbakov (backing up)

First Period

We saw some new line combos in this one, which is nothing new for an AHL team with an ever-changing roster, but if the opening frame was any indication, Trent Cull pushed the right buttons.

Michael Leighton gloved down an early point shot to get his first feel of the puck in the game and held for the whistle.

Jonathan Dahlen has been playing well of late and he came up with a good stick to force a turnover in the offensive zone but the Comets were unable to take advantage of his work. We saw some back and forth before the Comets started to take the game over for a few shifts.

Karl Alzner is back down with Laval and he left fly with a point shot that was soaked up by Leighton before Jonah Gadjovich redirected a Jaime Sifers point shot for his second goal of the season. Sifers took a nice feed from Stefan LeBlanc to tee up his heavy shot. The veteran defender earned his ninth helper of the year on the play, while newcomer LeBlanc picked up his eighth assist of the season on the play and first point with the Comets.

Vincent Arseneau came right back looking for more with a wrister that was denied by goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Mamouth defenceman Luke Schenn followed up with a heavy hit to keep up his physical brand of hockey.

Lukas Jasek and Jonathan Dahlen were playing on a line together today and looked like a solid duo. Jasek dished a nifty feed to Dahlen in tight, but the winger couldn’t get his stick on the puck.

BigVinny didn’t want to see Schenn having all the fun, so he unloaded with a big hit of his own. The Comets were doing a good job of dictating the play.

Brendan Gaunce hit Cam Darcy in tight with a pass and Darcy saw his chance turned aside by Lindgren. The Comets kept it coming as Ashton Sautner fed Luke Schenn for a point shot that was turned aside as well.

In the Comets end, Jalen Chatfield continued to show well since returning from his injury with some great work to tie up his man on a backdoor play without taking a penalty in the process.

Tom Pyatt has been a solid addition to the Comets forward ranks and he did nice work in close to get the puck to Tanner Kero for a chance that was denied.

Micahel Pezzetta nailed Stefan LeBlanc from behind with a hit to the numbers and was sent to the box for boarding.

We saw a first-unit power play of Gaunce, Dahlen, Kero, Boucher, and McEneny followed up by the second unit of Jasek, Pyatt, Lind, Schenn, and Gadjovich.

It would be Lukas Jasek scoring his eighth goal of the season to put the Comets up 2-0 with a one-timer set up by Luke Schenn for his 12th helper of the year.

It took less than 30 seconds for Karl Alzner to be whistled for holding and it was right back to the man advantage for the Comets. Evan McEneny had a pair of chances denied by Lindgren before Kole Lind had his one-timer tipped and denied as well. The Comets came up empty, but once again, headed right back to the power play when Brett Lernout was dinged for tripping at the 18:11 mark.

Reid Boucher and Tanner Kero play so well together and the pair nearly hooked up for a goal when Kero redirected Boucher’s shot but Lindgren whipped out the mitt to foil the tally. The Comets had some nice puck movement but were unable to score before the period came to a close.

The Comets finished the opening frame with an 11-4 advantage on the shot clock.

Second Period

We saw some early back and forth to get this one going before the Comets power play came to a fruitless close.

Luke Schenn hasn’t just been bringing the pain in Utica with his heavy hits. He has also been dishing some quality stretch passes and he hit Hamilton at distance and the veteran tipped the puck to Jonah Gadjovich on the left side and charged to the net for a tip that didn’t go. Brett Lernout followed up with a chance through traffic at the other end that Leighton shut down.

Brendan Gaunce took a feed in close from Jasek at the other end but was unable to beat the shoulder of Lindgren. Cam Darcy followed up with a play off the rush from Gaunce but had the puck knocked off his stick at the last second. Alex Belzile quickly went the other way for a chance but put his offering over the net and out of play.

Jonah Gadjovich was having another solid outing today and showed a power move, spinning with a backhand chance in close but he put his shot wide of the net.

I have been praising the work that Lukas Jasek does along the boards and the young winger was at it again today, getting down to it before Luke Schenn was able to take advantage with a point shot that was gloved down by Lindgren.

The Comets were moving the puck well and creating some pressure but were unable to get any shots off before Jalen Chatfield skated in with a clapper that was kicked aside by Lindgren.

At the other end of the ice, Michael Leighton showed a good stick to settle a dump-in for his defender. Leighton seems to have a bit of a calming presence between the pipes for the Comets. It’s a good thing that he is able to do so as the Rocket had the Comets hemmed in and we saw Leighton fight off a Karl Alzner shot through traffic and followed up with more saves in a scramble that ended with Evan McEneny heading off for a cross-check.

With the Comets on the kill, Woods and Gaunce went to work with a shorthanded chance that was denied by Lindgren. Leighton ended up turning aside a chance from Lukas Vejdemo at the other end before getting dinged for interference and putting his club two men down for 23 seconds. Ashton Sautner, Luke Schenn, and Wacey Hamilton were rolled over the boards and the trio kept the Rocket at bay until McEneny was released from jail.

With the first penalty killed off, Mogan Adams-Moisan was dinged for hooking and we had 1:09 of four aside play. Trent Cull elected to go with a foursome of Tom Pyatt, Lukas Jasek, Luke Schenn, and Ashton Sautner and the latter showed some wheels with a nice drive to the net for a chance that was denied before Leighton shut down a chance at the other end.

Jonathan Dahlen hit Reid Boucher with a pass and the sniper had his chance turned aside before goaltender Charlie Lindgren was whistled for slashing. What was up with the goalies tonight?

It took Tanner Kero 13 seconds to put his team up 3-0 with his 19th goal of the season. It was a tap-in after Reid Boucher sent a cross-ice pass to Dahlen, who then sent the puck to the net. Brendan Gaunce got a piece of it and it was a gimme for Kero. Gaunce earned his 14th helper of the year on the play, as did Jonathan Dahlen.

Leighton was at it again not long after when he was assessed with a slashing call and it was back to the kill for Utica. The netminder didn’t want to give up a goal on the penalty kill that he foisted onto his team, so he was quick to kick aside a shot through traffic.

Jalen Chatfield followed up with nice work to rub his man off the puck along the boards. Chatfield is adept at separating his check from the puck with both his body and his stick and manages to do it without spending a lot of time in the box.

Unfortunately for Leighton, this penalty would come back to bite him in the britches when Michael Pezzetta beat him for his fourth goal of the season. Cale Fleury earned his ninth helper of the year on the play, while Nikita Jevplaovs picked up his seventh. The Pezzetta marker came at the 19:03 mark and that was it for the middle frame.

Utica showed an 8-7 advantage on the shot clock for the period.

Third Period

Laval started the final frame with some solid pressure before Ashton Sautner shut down an Alex Grenier chance.

Lukas Jasek was sent off for hooking at the 1:03 mark and Laval had an early power play to help them get back into the game. With the Comets on the kill, Jaime Sifers came up with a shot block, as is his way. Laval rookie Jake Evans followed up by ripping a shot off the iron.

Leighton would have to come up with saves on Xavier Ouellet and Alex Belzile before Jasek was sprung from the box and the Comets had another good kill. The Rocket kept the pressure on before getting dinged for having too-many-men on the ice and it was the Comets turn with the extra man.

While on the power play, Luke Schenn had his point shot denied, as wasTom Pyatt’s offering from the right side that was gloved down by Lindgren. Dahlen followed up by teeing up a one-timer for Boucher and Lindgren said no, once more. Tanner Kero nearly gift-wrapped the puck for a Laval shorthanded chance, but he quickly took the puck back to make up for his gaffe. The Comets would come up empty.

No matter, however, as Evan McEneny put his team up 4-1 at the 7:03 mark with his eighth goal of the season. Jalen Chatfield sent a nice feed to McEneny for his second helper of the year, while Wacey Hamilton grabbed the other assist for his fourth of the season.

McEneny is now up to 27 points in 50 games played. The big, left-shot defender is having a nice bounce-back season after missing the bulk of last year with a knee injury.

It took Morgan Adams-Moisan 20 seconds to put his club back down a man when he was fingered for slashing. With the Comets on the power play, Dahlen showed good hustle to gain possession of a loose puck, but no further traction was made. Jonah Gadjovich followed up with a chance from the high slot that was denied by Lindgren, as was Luke Schenn’s follow up opportunity. The Comets were pressing.

At the other end, Schenn made his presence felt with a solid hit on Alzner that dropped the veteran to the ice. Ashton Sautner also made his presence felt, unfortunately, it was in the form of a slash that was picked up by the officials. Back to the PK, the Comets went.

Newcomer Stefan LeBlanc was seeing time on the kill and he was looking like a solid addition to the rotation. Ouellet managed to get a shot away that Leighton steered out of play with his stick. The Rocket kept pressing and Leighton had to come up with a save and covered for a whistle. The netminder would glove down an Alex Alain offering and the Comets had a good kill.

Tom Pyatt and Reid Boucher followed up the kill with a foray into the offensive zone that resulted in Lindgren denying Boucher’s bid for a fifth Comets goal.

Laval took control of the play and we saw Leighton come up with a pair of saves before Cale Fleury took the puck to the net for a chance that was turned aside, as was the follow up try. Leighton wasn’t done there. He had to shut down a chance form Ouellet before picking off a centering feed and freezing the puck for a whistle.

Tanner Kero is having a fine offensive season for the Comets, but his game isn’t all about offence. The pivot showed some of his defensive chops when he took a hit in order to get the puck to Jalen Chatfield for a zone exit.

Cam Darcy’s line followed up with a great shift in the offensive zone before Brendan Woods had a big shot denied by Lindgren. The netminder had to keep the saves coming as the Comets pressured.

Vincent Arseneau unloaded with a heavy hit in the defensive zone and then we saw Jonah Gadjovich throw down with Adams-Moisan. Adams-Moisan is listed at six-foot-two and around 216 pounds. Gadjovich is listed at six-foot-two, 209lbs. So this should be a pretty solid tilt, right? I will let you be the judge.

That right hand of Gadjovich looked like a jackhammer. Jonah TheJackhammer Gadjovich? He was called TheManChild in junior, maybe we should stick with that.

The fight occurred at the 19:19 mark and that was all she wrote for this one. Laval showed a 10-9 edge on the third period shot clock, but Utica held a 28-21 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

Gadjovich (2) from Sifers (9) and LeBlanc (8).

Jasek (8) from Schenn (12).

Kero (19) form Gaunce (14) and Dahlen (14).

McEneny (8) from Chatfield (2) and Hamilton (4).

The Three Stars in the building today were: 

3rd Star: Michael Leighton. 20 saves.

2nd Star: Jonah Gadjovich. One goal.

1st Star: Lukas Jasek. One goal.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Brendan Gaunce. Gaunce picked up another assist today and is now up to 29 points in 36 games. That works out to a pretty solid 61 point season over a regular 76 game AHL schedule. The offensive production is nice from Gaunce, but it’s his work on the defensive side that gives him added value to the coaching staff. Gaunce has been versatile this year, playing all three forward positions and usually having a young player or two on his line.

2nd Star: Lukas Jasek. Jasek had another one of those games where he stood out for his work along the boards. The young winger is a puck hound and looks like he enjoys those battles. He also picked up a power play goal with a pretty nice one-timer. Jasek has put most of his points at evens this season, so if he can find a way to produce on the power play with regularity, he will become a real threat for this club.

1st Star: Jonah Gadjovich. Gadjovich picked up his second goal of the season today with a nice redirect and he had a solid, solid tilt. With Zack MacEwen up with the Canucks, Petrus Palmu overseas, and Tanner MacMaster and Michael Carcone now plying their trade with the Toronto Marlies, spots have opened up on the wings in Utica. Now is the time for Gadjovich to seize his chance and make an impression. He saw time on the power play as the net-front guy and took a good step in the right direction. He dosesn’t need to fight in every game by any means, (he has two tilts recently) but having the ability to go toe-to-toe with some pretty big dudes as he has in recent games is something that gives him a unique element in this rookie crew in Utica.

Next Game

Game #53

At Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific










  • Thanks Cory. Your writings on the Comets is the best source of information on Utica.

    My favourite part of your articles is your version of the 3 stars. You provide some insight there on the overall effectiveness of the players hard to glean from the play by play. Do you plan to or would you consider writing a scouting report/season review on the prospects? Your insights are really the only perspective out there beyond stat sheet summaries.

    I would also like to hear your perspective on the Comets playoff picture, likely match-ups, preferred opponents and moves the team should make to prepare.

    • DF: I am hoping to spread some Comets content out over the offseason that would include some player report cards for the season. I’m hoping to put out a couple of pieces each week throughout the summer so that the Comets news trickles in year round this year. I will dig into the playoff picture once we get a little closer as I expect that things in the standings will be in constant flux the rest of the way.

  • That was quite a tilt between Gadjovich and Adams Moissan . There will always be a place in my lineup for a two way winger that can throw em like that. Next year will be huge in his development so perhaps we see him in 2021 in Vancouver