CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets fall 5-3 to Syracuse as Playoff Hopes Take Another Blow

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #60

Vs Syracuse Crunch

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Today’s Comets Scratches

  1. Richard Bachman: G. Out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
  2. Olli Juolevi: LD. Out for the season, knee surgery.
  3. Dylan Blujus: RD. Week-to-week, hand injury.
  4. Stefan LeBlanc: LD. Day-to-day, injured.
  5. Reid Gardiner: F. Healthy scratch.
  6. Vincent Arseneau: F. Healthy scratch.
  7. Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.
  8. Matt Petgrave: LD. Healthy scratch.

Comets Starting Lines

22 Jonah Gadjovich – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

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

20 Tom Pyatt – 11 Cam Darcy – 9 Lukas Jasek

16 Brendan Gaunce – 21 Brendan Woods – 13 Kole Lind

2 Evan McEneny – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

7 Brandon Anselmini – 5 Jalen Chatfield

64 Jesse Graham – 39 Colton Saucerman

49 Michael Leighton

33 Marek Mazanec (backing up)

First Period

Yikes! This was not a great period in terms of giveaways for the Comets. It didn’t start out that way right away, though. Jonah Gadjovich took a feed from Wacey Hamilton for a shot off the left side that was gobbled up by Crunch netminder Eddie Pasquale for an early shot on goal for the youngster.

We saw some back and forth before Brendan Gaunce got a shot away that Pasquale steered aside with his stick.

Cory Conacher was sent off for a high-stick on Brendan Woods and the Comets had the first power play of the game. Unfortunately, they would also give up the game’s first shorthanded goal.

Zack MacEwen and Reid Boucher each had chances turned aside before Evan McEneny saw his shot kicked out as well. Jasek followed up with a shot that handcuffed Pasquale, but he was still able to come up with the save. Cam Darcy had a shot denied as well before the shorthanded goal came.

Gabriel Dumont broke in two-on-one shorthanded with Andy Andreoff and put his club up 1-0 with his eighth goal of the season. Andreoff earned his 20th helper of the year on the play, while Ben Thomas picked up his 14th.

The Comets still had a few seconds left with their man advantage and MacEwen was denied on a great chance with a yawning cage. The Comets came up empty.

Cal Foote quickly gave them another chance with the extra man when he was sent off for interference at the 4:20 mark. Gabriel Dumont and Boris Katchouk broke right in for a shorthanded chance and Leighton had to come up with a big save to keep his team in the game.

The Comets went the other way and Boucher let fly with a shot that was gloved down by Pasquale for the whistle. The Comets had some decent puck movement, but nothing dangerous until Jesse Graham clanged the iron with a shot through traffic. The Comets came up empty again.

The power plays kept coming for Utica as Jan Ruuta was dinged for slashing at the 6:56 mark and it was right back to the man advantage. The Comets gave up another shorthanded chance that went nowhere before Graham had a shot through traffic turned aside. The Comets came up empty once again.

Brandon Anselmini was back in the lineup today and he nearly picked up his first goal with the Comets, but he couldn’t beat the red pipe behind Pasquale. The defender ripped another shot through traffic, but Woods tipped his offering wide.

Jalen Chatfield had a learning moment soon after when he coughed up the puck and Ross Colton went in and made no mistake for his 11th of the season.

The bad times didn’t stop there as Colton Saucerman followed Chatfield’s lead and handed the puck to Carter Verhaeghe for his 26th goal of the season. The Comets were down 3-0.

Trent Cull called his timeout to settle things down, but apparently, Jaime Sifers needed a couple more minutes of rest as he promptly took a tripping penalty. With Sifers in the box, Leighton turned aside a Verhaeghe shot from the high slot and the Comets had a good kill in the books.

Evan McEneny was shaken up behind the Comets net and left the ice without putting any weight on his left leg. He went straight to the room and did not return in the period. McEneny missed the bulk of last season with a brutal knee injury. Let’s hope this is nothing serious.

After the game got back underway, Leighton swallowed up a shot and held for the whistle before the Woods line went the other way and put some pressure on in the offensive zone. The Kero line followed up and we saw Boucher hit MacEwen at speed with a pass and TheBigFella got a backhander away that was thwarted by Pasquale.

Brandon Anselmini blocked a shot at the other end and looked to be shaken up, but he would skate off whatever was ailing him. The Hamilton line followed up with a good shift in the offensive zone but couldn’t capitalize on their pressure.

Brendan Woods followed up with a shot off the left side that was kicked out by Pasquale before Kole Lind did some heavy lifting on the forecheck, leading to a Tanner Kero chance that was denied. The Comets were putting on the pressure.

Former Comets PTO defender, Nolan Valleau was dinged for holding at the 19:00 mute mark and the Comets would finish the period with the man advantage. Pyatt sent a shot on net that was tipped by MacEwen, but Pasquale was ready with the same. Ditto for the Pyatt chance that followed and the period came to a close.

Utica showed a 15-8 advantage on the shot clock but found themselves down 3-0 on the scoreboard.

Second Period

The Comets had a minute of power play time to work with, but still no Evan McEneny as his night appeared to end when he left the ice midway through the opening frame.

The Comets came up empty with the extra man before Carter Verhaeghe let fly with a shot from the high slot that rang the iron. Taylor Raddysh followed up by jumping on a turnover and getting a shot away that Leighton shut down. The Crunch kept it coming as another former Comets PTO player, Brady Brassart came in on the left side with a shot that Leighton gobbled up for another whistle.

The Comets netminder kept the saves coming with one of the sprawling variety with a crowd forming in his crease. Leighton would make one more save on Mitchell Stephens before the shooter was sent off for delay of game after putting the puck over the glass.

The Comets would come up empty with the extra man and in fact, had still not registered a shot on net with a little over 11 minutes remaining in the second frame. Brendan Woods was crushed in his own end and stayed down for a minute before getting back up and staying in the game.

At the other end of the ice, Kero won a faceoff and MacEwen ripped the Comets first shot of the period on the net, but Pasquale was there with a save.

Cal Foote was sent off for slashing at the 12:18 mark and the Comets were off to the power play. Graham teed up a one-timer for Boucher that was swallowed up before the sniper’s next shot was off the shoulder of the Crunch netminder. Anselmini got another point shot through that was tipped, but Pasquale was wise to that and came up with another save. The Comets power play came up empty once more.

Brendan Woods likes to throw his body around and he came up with a big hit in the offensive zone on Ben Thomas before Dennis Yan went the other way with a shot off the right side that was shut down by the mitt of Leighton. The Comets netminder kept that mitt busy as he flashed the leather to stop Jan Rutta next.

At the other end, Lukas Jasek hit Tom Pyatt with a cross-ice feed for a shot that was soaked up by Pasquale for another whistle. Brendan Gaunce was then sprung for a break that saw him split the Syracuse defence, only to have his shot denied. He did, however, draw a high-sticking penalty on former Comet, Brady Brassart.

The was how the period would end as the Comets were still in a 3-0 hole and saw Syracuse holding a 6-5 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

With time still remaining on the power play, we saw Brendan Gaunce take Tom Pyatt’s spot on the first unit. That didn’t really help much as the Comets still came up empty with the extra man.

Chatfield followed up the power play with a shot off the glove of Pasquale before Kole Lind put his shot from the right side off the shoulder of the Syracuse netminder. Gaunce and Woods whipped out their shovels, looking to bury the rebound, but Pasquale covered for the whistle.

Lind followed up with a tasty toe drag before getting his next shot away, but it too was shut down by Pasquale. Zack MacEwen takes his share of faceoffs as a winger for the Comets and he won one back to Kero to set up Bucher for a shot that was denied as well. The Comets were putting on some pressure.

That pressure would pay off when Tanner Kero set up Reid Boucher for his 27th goal of the season. Boucher went five-hole and added to his all-time lead for Comets goals in a single season. Kero earned his 28th helper of the year on the play, while Jalen Chatfield grabbed his third.

Things didn’t look great when soon after, Jan Rutta was sent in alone for a shot, but Leighton came up with a big save to keep his team within a pair.

At the other end, MacEwen put a puck off the glove of Pasquale before Pyatt had his offering off the rush denied as well.

Chatfield stood Verhaeghe up at the Comets blueline, which was good…but Verheaghe proceeded to make his way into the Comets end in time to bury a rebound past Leighton for his 27th goal of the season. Taylor Raddysh picked up his 20th helper of the year on the play, while Nolan Valleau grabbed his 15th.

Pasquale stopped and covered the next shot that came his way, but he couldn’t keep TheBigFella from scoring his 20th goal of the season. Brendan Gaunce picked up his 18th helper of the year on the play, while Kole Lind earned his 10th.

In the offseason, I wrote about the fact that the Comets have never had more than one 20 goal scorer in a single season before. I also took a stab at how many the team might have this season. I was grossly overestimating how well some young players would adjust to the AHL level, as well as how they would be deployed by the coaching staff. That said, I think I did okay with my guess as to how many would hit the mark this year. Brendan Gaunce still has a chance to make it one more as well.

The Comets were within a pair. It was nice to see Kole Lind grab an assist today, The young winger has been dishing some nice passes of late and seeing him rewarded with points is a good thing.

Carter Verhaeghe was trying to grab another quick goal to stymie any momentum that the Comets were building when he let fly with a shot that Leighton got a piece of. Jaime Sifers followed up with a save of his own to help out his netminder.

We saw Trent Cull shorten his bench a little as time was winding down. Jonah Gadjovich wasn’t seeing much time late in the game, but Kole Lind still was. It was a good thing too, as Lind set up Brandon Anselmini for his first goal in the AHL. Anselmini, for his part, ripped a top-shelf beauty. The assist was the second of the game for Lind and 11th of the season, while Carter Bancks picked up his eighth.

Brendan Woods, remember what I said about his desire for throwing his body around? He unloaded with another solid hit in the offensive zone before Anselmini had another shot turned aside by Pasquale.

Trent Cull summoned Leighton to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:32 remaining on the clock. The extra man would not prove to be enough, as Jan Rutta finished things off with an empty net goal with three seconds remaining. The goal was the fourth of the season for Rutta, while Cory Conacher picked up his 35th helper of the year on the play and Dominik Masin earned his seventh.

That was it for this one. The Comets showed an advantage of 13-6 on the third period shot clock and 33-20 for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

Boucher (27) from Kero (28) and Chatfield (3).

MacEwen (20) from Gaunce (18) and Lind (10).

Anselmini (1) from Lind (11) and Bancks (8).

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. One goal.

2nd Star: Brandon Anselmini. One goal.

1st Star: Carter Verhaeghe: Two goals.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Brandon Anselmini. Anselmini had a solid offensive outing today and stepped into a power play role after the team lost Evan McEneny in the first period. He put four shots on the net and scored his first AHL goal. If Guillaume Brisebois and Ashton Sautner are up in Vancouver for any length of time, the Comets will need help from all hands on deck on the backend. Dylan Blujus is listed as week-to-week and Olli Juolevi is done for the year. If Anselmini can step up and play an offensive role for this team, it will be a huge help going forward.

2nd Star: Kole Lind. Lind had another nice outing today and picked up a pair of assists for his efforts. He was seeing time late in the game and rewarded his coach by setting up a late goal. Lind’s physical game keeps coming along and with it has come some points because he has been able to create more time and space for himself on the ice. The young man is starting to figure out what he can and can’t get away with at this level.

1st Star: Zack MacEwen. MacEwen scored his 20th goal of the season today. That doubles his total of 10 last year. He now sits just one point out of eighth on the Comets all-time points list. TheBigFella is now up to 47 points on the season and has 11 in his last six games. Zack continues to improve and grow his game and has become a legitimate prospect in the Canucks system. Not bad for a guy who was never drafted. Absorb coaching and put in the work to get better, kids…it seems like a recipe for success.

Next Game

Game #61

At Syracuse Crunch

Friday, March 8th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    As the mighty ‘A’ doesn’t publish playing time stats, would it be possible Cory to ballpark ice time for the Canucks prospects so fans can have a better idea of whether Ryan Johnson is being truly accurate when he makes statements like Kole Lind is “playing every night”. Cause there’s a big difference in a players development when he’s playing 15mins a night vs somebody playing on the 4th line and eating up 6-8mins per night. (Yes I saw he had 2 assists indeed).

    • Cory Hergott

      JDFB: I am not the kind of person who is able to track ice time for individual players while also doing a post-game report. That said, I am in the process of planning out my summer writing schedule at the moment, and part of that will be going back to watch/track shifts/ice time etc of certain players in the system. As much as I’d like to provide that info to you on a game-by-game basis right now, it isn’t something that I’ve done before and I will have to “train my brain” how to do it effectively. It isn’t something that I will be able to take on, on the fly. Possibly for next season, though. Depending on how it goes for me in the offseason.