Utica Comets Post-Game Report
At Syracuse Crunch
Friday, March 8th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) March 8, 2019
Today’s Comets Scratches
- Richard Bachman: G. Out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
- Olli Juolevi: LD. Out for the season, knee surgery.
- Dylan Blujus: RD. Week-to-week, hand injury.
- Stefan LeBlanc: LD. Day-to-day, injured.
- Evan McEneny: LD. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
- Wacey Hamilton: F. Healthy scratch.
- Reid Boucher: F. Dinged Up.
- Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.
Comets Starting Lines
16 Brendan Gaunce – 10 Tanner Kero (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen
34 Carter Bancks (C) – 11 Cam Darcy – 9 Lukas Jasek
20 Tom Pyatt- 21 Brendan Woods – 13 Kole Lind
22 Jonah Gadjovich – 14 Reid Gardiner – 18 Vincent Arseneau
7 Brandon Anselmini – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)
38 Matt Petgrave – 5 Jalen Chatfield
64 Jesse Graham – 39 Colton Saucerman
33 Marek Mazanec
49 Michael Leighton (backing up)
Well, this one didn’t get off to a good start for the Comets. Ross Colton forced a turnover in the Comets end and set up Taylor Raddysh for his 15th goal of the season just 52 seconds into the opening frame. Colton picked up his 14th helper of the year in the play.
The Comets did put on a little bit of pressure that saw a Tanner Kero chance gobbled up by goaltender Eddie Pasquale for a whistle.
We saw some back and forth before Brandon Anselmini fired a shot through traffic on a scramble play, but the puck deflected out of play. The Comets kept the pressure up as Vincent Arseneau tried to feed Jonah Gadjovich for a one-timer, but was unable to get his pass through the tangle of sticks between them.
Carter Verhaeghe and Alex Barre-Boulet went the other way for a two-on-one that saw Verhaeghe let fly with a shot that he put wide of the net. At the other end of the ice, Brendan Gaunce let fly with a shot of his own that was blocked, but he followed up to grab the puck and get another shot off that was stopped by Pasquale. Gaunce managed to draw a hooking penalty on Cory Conacher in the process.
With the former Comets sniper in the box, we saw Jasek cough up the puck to Boris Katchouk before hooking him down to send the game to four aside play for nine seconds and the Crunch would get their first man advantage of the day.
Jalen Chatfield coughed up a puck for a goal yesterday, and he got into trouble on the first goal today as well, but he bounced back nicely to use his body and stick well to separate his man from the puck to help get the play out of the Comets end.
The Crunch would not be denied, however, as Barre-Boulet found himself wide open and Andy Andreoff hit him with a clean pass for his 28th goal of the season. Andreoff grabbed his 21st helper of the year on the play, while Carter Verhaeghe picked up his 40th.
Oleg Sosunov put the Crunch on the penalty kill soon after and the Comets would get a chance to get back into this game.
Gaunce had a one-timer turned aside from Boucher’sOffice as the Comets were getting some nice puck movement going, but were unable to do much else. Kole Lind hit Lukas Jasek with a cross-ice feed for a shot that was fired wide by the rookie and the Comets came up empty.
Brendan Woods followed up with a backhander that was also put wide before Jonah Gadjovich was sent off for interference at the 17:48 mark…another penalty late in a period by the Comets.
Zack MacEwen saw some PK time and TheBigFella came up with a good shot block before Mazanec had to come up with a save on Barre-Boulet. The Comets would come up with a good kill to close out the period.
Utica showed a 5-4 advantage on the first period shot clock.
Mazanec was busy early to start the middle frame as he had to get a shoulder on a Hubert Labrie offering before coming up with another save on Mitchell Stephens. The Comets were under pressure.
Vincent Arseneau and Zack MacEwen decided to step up the physical game with back to back big hits on Syracuse skaters.
It was the Comets’ turn to get some shots away as Jesse Graham fed Cam Darcy for a shot in tight that was denied, as was the Carter Bancks followup opportunity.
The saves kept coming from Mazanec as he shut down a Cal Foote chance in close with a crowd gathering in front of his net. Dennis Yan was next to have his goal scoring dream crushed by Mazanec before things settled in for a bit of back and forth.
Brendan Gaunce brought a physical shift that also saw Zack MacEwen whip out some moves to get a shot away that was gobbled up by Pasquale before Gaunce had his chance gloved down for a whistle. The Comets kept it coming when Tanner Kero hit MacEwen for another shot that was redirected wide of the target. The Comets were putting on some pressure but were unable to make anything happen.
Jesse Graham showed some fine skating as he wandered around the offensive zone before getting a backhanded wraparound attempt away. Pasquale was ready and said, no.
Tom Pyatt was dinged for hooking at the 10:37 mark and the Comets had a penalty to kill.
Mazanec came up with a big save early on the doorstep before MacEwen came up with a shot block and a clear. Mazanec followed up with a quick leg to kick out another chance before denying a Stephens one-timer. The Comets were getting hemmed in before the penalty came to an end.
Mazanec came up with another save before Colton Saucerman was sent off for slashing seconds after Pyatt came out of the box. Mazanec had to glove down a Nolan Valleau shot and the Comets came up with another good kill.
At the other end of the ice, Lukas Jasek had a chance turned aside from in close before Darcy had a shot through traffic kicked out by Pasquale. The Comets were looking sloppy, but it would be the Crunch finishing this period down a man as they were dinged for having too-many-men on the ice at the 19:44 mark.
That was it for the middle frame. The Crunch showed an edge of 11-8 on the shot clock.
The Comets had a power play to start the third period, but it would be short-lived as Brendan Gaunce was dinged for tripping just 12 seconds in.
This team really needs to cut down on their penalties and dial in those special teams if they want to make the playoffs this season. These types of things have been killing the club in the second half of the season.
With Gaunce and Conacher in the box, Mazanec had to come up with a stop on Nolan Valleau before Brandon Anselmini hit Tanner Kero with a pass all alone in the slot. Kero whipped out one too many moves and Pasquale was able to stymie him with a big save.
We saw a brief 20-second power play for Syracuse that went nowhere before Jonah Gadjovich showed some good hustle to beat out an icing call, leading to him getting a shot away that was tipped wide. The Comets were putting on some pressure but were unable to get anything to go.
Jaime Sifers came with a pair of shots through traffic that were both denied by Pasquale before Gadjovich hit Saucerman with a feed for a shot from the high slot that was denied as well.
Lukas Jasek showed some great work in the offensive zone, as is his way, and it led to some extended pressure from Utica. Woods managed a shot off the left side that was gloved down by Pasquale and time was running out for the Comets.
Alexandre Volkov broke in on the right side and let fly with a shot. Mazanec made the save, but the rebound came right back to Volkov who buried his next shot from an impossible angle to put the Crunch up 3-0. The goal was the 13th of the season for the Syracuse forward, while Nolan Valleau grabbed his 16th helper of the year on the play.
There was some back and forth without a whole lot going on before Cam Darcy had his weak backhander gobbled up for a whistle.
Cal Foote was sent off for holding at the 16:03 mark and the Comets had a late power play to work with. Jesse Graham ripped a shot off the iron and Zack MacEwan saw his redirect of a Tom Pyatt offering stopped by Pasquale.
Trent Cull summoned Mazanec to the bench for the extra attacker with 3:20 remaining in the period and it didn’t take long for Gabriel Dumont to salt this one away with an empty net goal. It was the ninth goal of the season for Dumont, while that Nolan Valleau fellow grabbed yet another point against his former team.
With their troubles on the backend in Utica this year, I’m wondering if Valleau might have been a wise offseason signing for the Comets.
The Comets had some chances late as Lasek, Arseneau, and Lind were each stopped by Pasquale and this one was in the books. The Comets dropped a 4-0 decision to Syracuse. Utica showed a 12-6 advantage in shots for the final frame and a 25-21 advantage for the game.
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Nolan Valleau. Two assists.
2nd Star: Gabriel Dumont. One goal.
1st Star: Eddie Pasquale. 25-save shutout.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:
Yeah…this is as tough as you are thinking it is. No Comets player really stood out today in a ThreeStar kind of way. I always want to be able to tell you that at least three Comets players were ThreeStarWorthy, but for the first time since I started writing these Comets post-game reports, we will not be having any additional stars tonight. As much as it pains me to do so, the team was flat and didn’t really look like a club that is fighting for their playoff lives. I sure hope to see a better performance tomorrow.
I will give an honourable mention to Jonah Gadjovich, however, as he did show a little more of what he’s been bringing of late.
At Laval Rocket
Saturday, March 9th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific