Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Vs Rochester Americans
Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
There is a little bit of additional content in the pre-game today as I share my opinion on the Dahlen trade and the Canucks’ waivers transactions that affect the Utica Comets.
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) February 27, 2019
Richard Bachman, (out for the season, Achilles’ injury) Olli Juolevi, (out for the season, knee surgery) Dylan Blujus, (week-to-week, upper body injury) Jonah Gadjovich, (day-to-day, upper-body injury) Tanner Kero, (day-to-day, lower body injury) Jalen Chatfield, (day-to-day, sick) Kyle Thomas, (healthy) Mike Szmatula, (healthy) Reid Gardiner, (healthy) Ivan Kulbakov, (healthy) Jake Linhart, (healthy).
Comets Starting Lines
24 Reid Boucher – 11 Cam Darcy – 15 Zack MacEwen
20 Tom Pyatt – 21 Brendan Woods – 9 Lukas Jasek
22 Jonah Gadjovich – 16 Brendan Gaunce – 34 Carter Bancks (C)
18 Vincent Arseneau – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 13 Kole Lind
2 Evan McEneny – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
3 Stefan LeBlanc – 64 Jesse Graham
7 Brandon Anselmini – 39 Colton Saucerman
49 Michael Leighton
33 Marek Mazanec (backing up)
The opening frame started out with a lot of back and forth without many shots, but business would pick up as the period went on.
The Comets brought the physical game early as Evan McEneny stepped up with a stiff hit on Danny O’Regan in the defensive zone before Brendon Woods came up with a board rattler on an Amerks defender in the offensive zone.
The Comets got some good pressure from the Wacey Hamilton line before Lukas Jasek and Brendan Woods followed up with an excellent forechecking shift of their own.
Colton Saucerman has been a nice fit in Utica and the defender showed a good stick to force a turnover in the Comets end that sent Jonah Gadjovich and Brendan Gaunce the other way for a chance. Gadjovich hit Gaunce with a pass, but the Comets forward couldn’t get his shot off. Newcomer, Brendan Anselmini followed up with a shot that was steered aside by the stick of goaltender Scott Wedgewood.
The Gaunce line had a great shift, putting pressure on in the Amerks end of the ice.
We had some back and forth before Cam Darcy showed good hustle in the offensive zone, but was unable to get his shot away. Brendan Woods did, however, and Wedgewood came up with another save.
Lawrence Pilut was sent off for hooking at the 7:19 mark and the Comets had a power play to work with.
We saw the second unit up first and it consisted of Lukas Jasek, Jesse Graham, Jonah Gadjovich, Brendan Gaunce, and Kole Lind. That unit gave up a shorthanded breakaway to Victor Olofsson…uh oh. Fear not, Comets fans, because Michael Leighton came up with the filthiest of mitts to stymie the shorthanded effort.
The first unit of Tom Pyatt, Cam Darcy, Zack MacEwen, Evan McEneny, and Reid Boucher didn’t fair a whole lot better as they let Remi Elie have a free look with a shorthanded chance of his own. This time Leighton went old school and whipped out the poke check for the save.
The Comets came up empty.
Leighton came up with a blocker save on Rasmus Asplund as the Amerks had the Comets hemmed in their end for a bit before Carter Bancks crumpled CJ Smith with a big hit.
At the other end, Kole Lind continued with his steady play of late when he dished to Wacey Hamilton for a chance in tight, but Hamilton fired his offering wide of the net. Dalton Smith tried his luck with a wrister from the high slot and Leighton gloved it down for a whistle. It went back and forth as Wedgewood denied Darcy at one end before Alex Nylander had his chance shut down at the other.
We saw some chirping between Vincent Arseneau and Dalton Smith and that only picked up after Smith blew up Colton Saucerman with a big hit in the Comets end.
Pilut has been dangerous this year and the defender sent a point shot through traffic that Leighton had to be sharp to stop before Taylor Leier followed up with a wrister that Leighton stopped as well.
Matt Tennyson was dinged for high-sticking at the 18:08 mark and the Comets would finally finish a period on the right side of a power play…or would they? Reid Boucher had a point shot kicked aside before Cam Darcy was sent off or slashing at the 19:23 mark and we would finish the period with some four aside action.
Brendan Woods had a late chance shut down by Wedgewood and the period came to a close with the Comets showing a 10-8 advantage on the shot clock.
Would that late penalty by Cam Darcy prove to be a costly one? Indeed it would. CJ Smith would pick up his 19th goal of the season just 55 seconds into the middle frame. Matt Tennyson earned the lone assist for his 12th of the season and the Comets had to get the shovels out to dig themselves out of a 1-0 hole.
Carter Bancks thought he had that tying goal soon after when he was all alone in front, only to fire his shot wide of the net. At the other end, Leighton had to glove down a wrister and held for the whistle.
Kole Lind went the other way for a chance off the right side that was denied, as was the Vincent Arseneau chance that followed. Brandon Anselmini came up with a timely defensive play right in front of Leighton to help keep his club within a goal.
Cam Darcy and Kole Lind broke in two-on-one for a chance. Darcy decided to take the shot himself and Wedgewood came up with a big save. Dalton Smith went the other way for a chance off the rush that Leighton stopped. He would do the same with the chance that followed.
Jonah Gadjovich was playing on a line with Brendan Gaunce today and they looked solid together. They created a scoring chance that was denied before Gaunce had a one-timer shut down as well.
Jaime Sifers was sent off for interference at the 10:52 mark and the Comets had another penalty to kill. Leighton would have to stop and freeze a Tennyson offering and the Comets had a good kill in the books.
The Comets were hemmed in their own end for a shift before BigVinny and Yannick Veilleux threw down for a quick tilt. Arseneau ended up getting jerseyed, so I will have to give this one to Veilleux.
With the two pugilists in the box, Wacey Hamilton absolutely rolled over Brandon Hickey in the offensive zone before Saucerman had a point shot kicked out to Gadjovich for another chance. Wedgewood stopped that one as well.
Dalton Smith was sent off for cross-checking at the 16:33 mark and the Comets power play went to work. Reid Boucher did Reid Boucher things from his office in the right circle and this game was tied at one. Evan McEneny earned his 22nd helper of the year on the play, while TheBigFella grabbed his 26th.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) February 28, 2019
The Comets kept it coming as Saucerman set up MacEwen for a wrister that was soaked up by Wedgewood before Hamilton had his chance steered aside by the stick of the Amerks netminder.
At the other end, Matt Tennyson had his wrister gloved down by Leighton, but the netminder coughed up the puck. He would get away with that one, thankfully. There was a brief scrum after a whistle in the Amerks zone and rookie forward Jonah Gadjovich was right in the thick of it. It’s nice to see that side of Jonah showing up on the regular now.
CJ Smith would get a shot off from the left side that Leighton blockered away and the period came to a close. Rochester showed a 12-11 advantage in shots for the second period.
Not unlike the middle frame, this period saw an early goal from the Amerks and the Comets found themselves facing a 2-1 deficit. It was Victor Olofsson doing the damage with his 21st goal of the year at the 21-second mark. Danny O’Regan earned his 17th helper of the year on the play, while Rasmus Asplund grabbed his 18th.
Leighton didn’t get any relief as he had to come up with back-to-back saves right after the Olofsson tally to keep his team in the game. At the other end, Jaime Sifers got a shot off that was denied before Gaunce jumped on the rebound but couldn’t get it to go.
Remi Elie went the other way for a chance that Leighton shut down before Anselmini had a shot at the other end that went off something and gave Wedgewood trouble. The save was made. Carter Bancks followed up with a spin and fire play off the left side that was denied by Wedgewood.
There would be more back and forth as CJ Smith had his wraparound attempt foiled by Leighton before Lind hit Saucerman for a point shot that the bearded defender couldn’t get through to the net. The Comets were putting on some pressure.
That pressure wouldn’t result in a goal for the Comets, but the Amerks would score soon after when Evan McEneny turned the puck over to Sean Malone. Malone dished to Remi for his fifth goal of the season, earning his ninth helper of the year on the play. The Comets were down 3-1.
There was some sloppy play from both clubs after the goal before Stefan LeBlanc was dinged for a cross-check and headed off to the bin to feel shame. With the ginger-haired LeBlanc in the box, Leighton had to rob Olofsson from in close before blockering the next shot out of harm’s way. He would make one more save through traffic before the Comets came up with a good kill.
Leighton had to stop another CJ Smith chance before flashing the leather on O’Regan for another save.
Dalton Smith was sent off for a high-stick at the 14:54 mark and the Comets had a chance to get back into this one. Evan McEneny had a shot gloved down before MacEwen dished to Tom Pyatt for a chance that was tipped off the target by a defender. Kole Lind had a shot tipped wide by Gadjovich and the Comets came up empty once more.
Trent Cull summoned his goaltender to the bench for the extra attacker with 2:09 remaining in the game.
Gadjovich set up Gaunce for a shot that was blockered aside by Wedgewood for another save and the Comets called their timeout.
The sound dropped out for the rest of the game, thanks AHLTV, and we saw Boucher denied on a shot from the right circle and this one was over. The Amerks finished with a 12-10 advantage on the shot clock for the third period and a 32-31 advantage for the game.
Boucher (25) from McEneny (22) and MacEwen (26). Power play goal.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Reid Boucher. One goal.
2nd Star: Victor Olofsson. One goal.
1st Star: Scott Wedgewood. 30 saves.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:
3rd Star: Kole Lind. Lind didn’t figure into the scoring today, and was only credited with one shot on net, but I felt that he played another solid game. He is staying engaged, forcing turnovers and making some nice plays. Lind’s game has come along this season as his confidence has grown. He is still a ways a way, but positive steps are being made by the young winger.
2nd Star: Jonah Gadjovich. Much like Lind, Gadjovich was held off the scoresheet, though he wasn’t credited with any shots on goal. I have liked what I’ve seen from him lately as he is showing the physical side of his game that we saw more often in junior hockey. Gadjovich was front and center in a few scrums today and showed some nice hands with a few of his passes. It has been a tough year for Gadjovich as far as finding regular minutes with the team, but he has made himself noticable in his most recent games.
1st Star: Reid Boucher. Boucher had a solid game and picked up his 25th goal and 51st point today. In scoring his goal, he tied the Comets single season record of 25 goals that was set by…checks notes…Reid Boucher last season. Boucher dished out a couple of hits today and killed penalties for the club. He is now just 11 points back of the team’s single season points record of 62 that was set by Pascal Pelletier in the 2013/14 season. I feel like that total is well within reach for him.
Vs Hershey Bears
Friday, March 1st, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific