Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Give Up Four Unanswered Goals To Lose Fourth Straight, Drop 5-3 Decision To Laval As Playoffs Hopes Are Dealt Another Blow

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #62

At Laval Rocket

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Scratched Today For Utica

  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. Reid Boucher: W. Day-to-day, injured.
  5. Evan McEneny: LD. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
  6. Stefan LeBlanc: LD. Day-to-day, injured.
  7. Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.
  8. Wacey Hamilton: F. Healthy scratch.

Comets Starting Lines

20 Tom Pyatt – 10 Tanner Kero (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen

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

16 Brendan Gaunce- 21 Brendan Woods – 13 Kole Lind

22 Jonah Gadjovich – 14 Reid Gardiner – 18 Vincent Arseneau

64 Jesse Graham – 39 Colton Saucerman

7 Brandon Anselmini – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

38 Matt Petgrave – 5 Jalen Chatfield

49 Michael Leighton

33 Marek Mazanec (backing up)

First Period

This was a pretty solid period overall for the Comets. We saw a bit of back and forth action and Kole Lind finally scored his third goal of the season. Comets goaltender Michael Leighton was also playing his 500th AHL game today. Congrats, Michael.

The Comets had a good first shift with some pressure in the offensive zone, but they were unable to make anything happen. The Rocket followed up with a good shift of their own when they hemmed the Comets in their own end, but were unable to capitalize.

Tom Pyatt hit Zack MacEwen with a pass and TheBigFella saw his resulting backhander denied by goaltender Charlie Lindgren. At the other end of the ice, Brett Lernout had his wrister stopped by Leighton and the game stayed knotted at zero.

Karl Alzner followed up with a chance of his own that Leighton swallowed up and we had some back and forth.

Reid Gardiner’s line came with a busy shift with some pressure in the offensive zone before Xavier Ouellet got a shot away at the other end that was steered over the glass by Leighton.

The line of Gaunce, Woods and Lind were back together today and they were clicking early. Woods sent Gaunce in and the winger let fly with a shot. Lindgren, however, whipped out the mitt for the save.

If Karl Alzner didn’t know who Zack MacEwen was before this game, he knows who he is now. TheBigFella corked the veteran defender with back to back stiff hits.

Charlie Lindgren was stopping everything that came his way, but all his saves weren’t pretty as he made an awkward looking stop and covered for a whistle.

He also wouldn’t stop the Kole Lind offering that came his way on a two-on-one. Brendan Woods was the fellow supplying the pass and Kole Lind was doing the finishing to put the Comets up 1-0. The goal was Lind’s third of the season, while Woods picked up his seventh helper of the year. Newcomer Matt Petgrave grabbed his first assist of the season on the play as well.

The Comets kept it coming as Brendan Gaunce got a shot away from in close that was denied by Lindgren before the winger was sprung by Anselmini for another chance. Gaunce, however, couldn’t get a shot away after splitting the defence.

David Sklenicka followed up with a shot off the shoulder of Leighton and the Comets were still up a goal.

The Comets netminder had to come up with an alert stick save on Hayden Verbeek before Vincent Arseneau got a shot away from an odd angle at the other end of the ice that was steered aside by Lindgren.

Kole Lind was decked by Sklenicka with a solid hipcheck at the offensive blueline before Cam Darcy followed up with a solid hit of his own. The physicality kept coming as BigVinny brought the hits during some back and forth play.

Zack MacEwen showed a good defensive read and awareness when he held back at the offensive blue line while his mates were in deep. He then grabbed a turnover in the neutral zone and sent his club back in for another crack at some offence.

At the other end, Leighton shut down a Lukas Vejdemo offering before Lukas Jasek sent Cam Darcy into the offensive zone. Darcy drove the net, but Lindgren flashed the leather for the save.

Darcy was soon sent off for tripping and the Comets would finish the period down a man…again.

Brendan Woods showed a good stick to break up a play in the Comets end before Leighton made a trio of saves to keep his team up by a goal. The Comets had the foursome of Woods, Bancks, Chatfield, and Sifers out for nearly the entirety of the penalty. That was how the period would end.

The Comets showed a 9-7 advantage on the shot clock for the opening frame.

Second Period

The Comets still had a few seconds to kill off from the Darcy penalty, and kill it off they did. Colton Saucerman was having a better game today and he did great work to break up a Laval scoring chance with a well-placed stick.

At the other end, MacEwen hit Pyatt with a feed for what looked like a sure goal, but Lindgren was ready with the save and stopped Kero on the follow-up try. The Comets kept the pressure on and Lindgren had to come up with another save.

Vincent Arseneau had to take an offensive zone faceoff and he won it back to Anselmini for a shot that was swallowed up buy Lindgren. Arseneau followed up by picking off a pass and dishing to Anselmini for another shot that he couldn’t get through the tangle of legs in the net-front area.

Jalen Chatfield has been having some tough luck of late and he was pressured off the puck in his own end by former Comets forward Alex Grenier, who set up Vejdemo for a shot that was denied by Leighton.

MacEwen and Kero worked a give-and-go at the other end that ended with Kero dumping a defender onto Lindgren and getting dinged for goaltender interference.

With Kero in the box, Leighton stopped and held a shot from Ouellet before Cale Fleury knotted the game at one with his sixth of the year after sending a wrister through traffic past Leighton. Vejdemo earned his 15th assist of the year on the play.

The Rocket kept the pressure on as Michael Pezzetta let fly with a blast from the point that Leighton kicked out.

Jake Evans was dinged for tripping at the 8:11 mark and the Comets had a power play to work with. The Comets might have wanted to turn this power play down because both units looked pretty sketchy. Laval was actually putting on the pressure before Antoine Waked was sent off for holding to give the Comets a brief five-on-three man advantage to work with.

They wouldn’t get any traction while up two men and the Evans penalty came to an end.

Pyatt tried his luck with a shot through traffic but was unable to get it to the net. Evans came in two-on-one with Joe Cox and Leighton had to come up with a shorthanded save. The Comets came up empty.

Alex Alain followed up with a shot off the rush and Leighton flashed the leather to keep the game knotted at one. At the other end, Lind had a pair of chances denied from the side of the net before Laval went the other way with some pressure and Leighton had to come up with a pad save.

The Comets netminder kept the saves coming when he gloved down a Morgan Adams-Moisen shot from the high slot and held for the whistle. The Cam Darcy line followed up with a solid shift of work along the boards in the offensive zone but they couldn’t take advantage. The Reid Gardiner line came right back with another solid forechecking shift and they would be rewarded for their efforts.

Jalen Chatfield hit Vincent Arseneau with a pass and BigVinny made no mistake in close. The goal was the seventh of the season for Arseneau, while Chatfield picked up his fourth helper of the year on the play and Colton Saucerman grabbed his third.

Alex Grenier and Joe Cox were each denied late in the period, but we would be hearing from both men before this game ended. The Comets showed a 13-10 edge on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The Comets are already without Reid Boucher and Wacey Hamilton up front, due to injuries, and it appears that they may have lost Tom Pyatt now as well as the veteran forward did not come out for the third period.

Kole Lind has been dishing some nice passes this year and he did just that to send Gaunce and Woods in for a chance but the duo was unable to get their chance to go.

Michael Leighton was trying to hold the fort when he gloved a shot down at the other end.

With Pyatt unavailable, we saw some mixed up line combos from the coaching staff. Arseneau came out early with MacEwen and Kero and the line juggling continued for the rest of the game.

Do you remember what I was saying about Lind and his passes? He came up with another nice feed on a two-on-one with Gaunce, but the Gaunce offering was denied by Lindgren. Leighton was doing some denying of his own at the other end when he stymied Brett Lernout on a backdoor play.

This was when we saw a line of Gadjovich, Kero, and MacEwen climb over the boards. We also saw Daniel Audette get dinged for a high-stick on MacEwen. The Comets power play looked a bit better than their previous outing, but they were still unable to take advantage.

That would not matter at this point, however, as Michael Leighton came up with a blocker save in the Comets zone and Lukas Jasek went the other way to set up Brendan Woods for a shot that he put top-shelf, where Dean Priore keeps his complaints about the coaching staff.

The goal was the fourth of the year for Woods, while Jasek finally picked up another point after being held off the score sheet for what seems like an eternity for his 13th helper of the year.

The Comets were up 3-1, but there was still plenty of time for Laval to get back into this one…and boy did they.

Gadjovich followed up the Woods goal with a strong forecheck on the Kero line before Audette was whistled for interference to send the Comets back to the power play. Colton Saucerman would ensure that the power play was an abbreviated one when he was sent off for hooking just under a minute and a half later.

We saw Ouellet have his shot denied before Alexandre Alain scored his eighth of the year to pull his team to within a goal after the Audette penalty expired. Cale Fleury picked up his 10th helper of the year on the play, while Alex Grenier grabbed his ninth.

Jaime Sifers did great work to break up a two-on-one in the Comets end and Leighton helped his own cause by coming up with a save on Maxim Lamarche. Woods followed up with a stiff hit on Antoine Waked in the offensive zone to try to wake his team up.

It looked to work for a minute as the Comets started to put on some pressure until Cam Darcy coughed up the puck and Leighton was forced into a sprawling save while the crowd in front of him played Whack-A-Mole with the loose puck.

We saw the line of Jasek, Gaunce, and MacEwen come out next and we also saw the Rocket tie the game at three. It was former Comets forward Alex Grenier doing the damage with his 11th goal of the season. Joe Cox played set-up man for his second helper of the year, while Cale Fleury picked up his 11th.

Leighton made a big save on Alain following the Grenier tally, but Joe Cox quickly made it a 4-3 game seconds later. The goal was the first of the year for Cox, while Grenier picked up his 10th assist of the season and Jake Evans earned his 23rd.


The Comets were trying to get that one right back when Woods let fly with a shot off the left side that was kicked out by Lindgren before the netminder stopped and covered the Sifers chance that followed.

Trent Cull had Lind out late with Jasek and Woods and summoned Leighton to the bench for the extra attacker with roughly 1:25 remaining on the clock.

Lindgren stopped a Gardiner shot through traffic before shutting down a Tanner Kero chance as well. Gardiner fed Darcy for a one-timer, but the pivot’s shot fluttered toward the net.

The Comets called their timeout with 55 seconds remaining but it didn’t help. Gardiner fed Darcy with another pass and the shot was put wide of the net.

Lukas Vejdemo salted this one away with an empty net goal for his 11th of the season and that was all she wrote for this one. Alex Alain picked up his 17th helper of the year on the play.

Laval showed a 13-12 advantage on the third period shot clock, while the Comets led the game by a 34-30 margin.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

Lind (3) from Woods (7) and Petgrave (1).

Arseneau (7) from Chatfield (4) and Saucerman (3).

Woods (4) from Jasek (13).

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Cale Fleury. One goal, two assists.

2nd Star: Joe Cox. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Alex Grenier. One goal, two assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Vincent Arseneau. Arseneau scored his career-high seventh goal today and continues to play a hard-nosed brand of hockey. BigVinny brings it when he’s in the lineup and makes some space for his linemates. Normally known more for punching faces and blowing dudes up with heavy hits, Arseneau put five shots on the net today.

2nd Star: Brendan Woods. Woods picked up a goal and an assist today and played a steady game. The big man is up to 11 points on the season, a far cry from his 30 point career-high, but he has had his moments for the Comets this year. He’s better suited for more of a checking role than an offensive one and has done some solid work on the penalty kill this year for the Comets.

1st Star: Kole Lind. I think we all expected Lind to have more than three goals by this point in the season, but the young winger continues to grow his game in Utica. He is now up to 14 points in 43 games and continues to show some nice playmaking hands at times for the Comets. Lind also continues to mix it up after whistles and get into the faces of opposing players. His confidence looks to be growing and his game should continue to show improvement as that confidence builds.

Next Game

Game #63

At Rochester Americans

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific


  • wojohowitz

    Something is going on down there like the wheels have fallen off. A lead of 3-1 with 10 minutes left results in another loss. Has Cull managed to alienate all of his players? Benning will insist that all is well, even if they miss the playoffs.

  • GMT+1 !!!!

    Love your ‘post games’ Cory, thanks. This losing streak does appear oddly timed. As someone watching the team religiously, are you able to provide any insight into what we are seeing? Are you able to interview players and Comets Staff? Do you dare to speculate on the current mood in the room and around the team?

    I hope so. It would be a great compliment to the summaries. Thanks

    • Cory Hergott

      GMT: I have been trying unsuccessfully since the beginning of the season to get access to interview Comets players. I spent the offseason planning a “Getting to know your Utica Comets” series that I wanted to make happen, but the team hasn’t granted me the ability to speak with the players, to this point. Hopefully, we will be able to make that happen for next season. As for the current mood of the team, I am not around them, so I would only be speculating, and I don’t think that;’s really fair for me to do.
      The timing of the losig streak has much to do with having five of the club’s top six defenceman either injured or up in Vancouver. They’ve been playing with call ups and PTO guys on the back end. That might be okay for one or two spots on a good team, but not so much for five or six on a team that is fighting for their playoff lives.

  • canuckfan

    Another example of how the injuries have hurt both the Canucks and Comets and how the depth at defense needs to be worked on over the off season and the upcoming draft.