Utica Comets Post-Game Report
Vs Springfield Thunderbirds
Friday, March 15th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific
It’s game day @UticaComets fans! The Springfield Thunderbirds are in town for game 64 today at 4:00 pm Pacific. @CanucksArmy has your pre-game reading. Stay tuned for our post-game report following today’s action. https://t.co/OVtpLkfSm6
— Comets Cory (@CoryHergott) March 15, 2019
Scratched Today For Utica
- Richard Bachman: G. Out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
- Olli Juolevi: LD. Out for the season, knee surgery.
- Evan McEneny: LD. Out for the season, lower-body injury.
- Reid Boucher: RW/LW. Week-to-week, hand injury.
- Wacey Hamilton (AHL deal): F. Week-to-week, neck injury.
- Tom Pyatt: F. Week-to-week, concussion.
- Dylan Blujus (AHL deal): RD. Week-to-week, hand injury.
- Jonah Gadjovich: RW/LW. Day-to-day, upper-body injury.
- Colton Saucerman (PTO): RD. Healthy scratch.
- Dyson Stevenson (PTO): F. Healthy scratch.
Comets Starting Lines
(in no particular order)
34 Carter Bancks (AHL deal) (C) – 11 Cam Darcy (AHL deal) – 28 Kyle Thomas (AHL deal)
16 Brendan Gaunce – 21 Brendan Woods (AHL deal) – 13 Kole Lind
9 Lukas Jasek – 10 Tanner Kero (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen
18 Vincent Arseneau (AHL deal) – 19 Seamus Malone (ATO) – 14 Reid Gardiner (AHL deal)
38 Matt Petgrave (PTO) – 5 Jalen Chatfield
7 Brandon Anselmini (AHL deal) – 26 Jaime Sifers (AHL deal) (A)
3 Stefan LeBlanc (AHL deal) – 64 Jesse Graham (AHL deal)
49 Michael Leighton
33 Marek Mazanec (backing up)
The opening frame of this one saw some decent back and forth hockey…with some sloppy bits stuck in between.
Cam Darcy got the ball rolling with a shot off the right side that was swallowed up by goaltender Chris Driedger for a whistle. The Comets kept the shots coming as a point shot snuck through a tangle of legs, but Driedger was ready with the save.
We had a bit of back and forth before Vincent Arseneau let fly with a long shot that was steered out of play by the Springfield netminder.
At the other end of the ice, Michael Leighton got in on the action when he stopped a point shot that Bobby Farnham got a stick on. The Comets netminder was also showing an active stick early to help out his defence.
Kole Lind took a high-stick in the neutral zone and headed off to the bench, but fear not Comets fans, the rookie winger was back out for his next shift.
Jonathan Ang teed up a one-timer, but Leighton squared himself up to the shot and came up with another save.
Seamus Malone was playing in his first pro game today and he was centring the Comets fourth line between Vincent Arseneau and Reid Gardiner. That trio showed up with a great shift in the offensive zone to apply some pressure before getting a whistle.
Jaime Sifers does some great work in the defensive zone for the Comets, but it was his ability to hold the offensive blueline that led to a point shot that Driedger had to glove down.
Kole Lind was back out on the ice and he did great work to get in behind the Springfield defence but had his stick lifted before he could get his shot away. Brendan Gaunce followed up with a chance of his own and was denied by Driedger as well.
Jake Horton showed some poise to come out of the corner with a nifty backhander, but once again, Leighton was equal to the task. The Comets netminder had to be good because he was suddenly busy, stopping a shot with his shoulder before shutting down a chance from Sebastian Repo. Anthony Greco was next with a spinning shot on a wraparound play, but Leighton said no, once more.
At the other end, MacEwen redirected a Tanner Kero shot on net, but Driedger shut him down. Gaunce let fly with a point shot next, but it was steered over the glass.
Kyle Thomas was dinged for slashing at the 13:07 mark and the Comets were off to the kill. Leighton came up with a blocker save on a shot from the right side before following up with a glove save on the next chance for the whistle.
Blaine Byron got a shot away off the rush and Leighton gloved it down for the whistle. The Comets netminder would have to make a couple of saves during a brief scramble in his crease before a scrum broke out.
The result of that scrum was Juho Lammikko heading off for roughing. We saw 28 seconds of four aside play before the Comets power play went to work. They were a little bit sloppy and they were unable to get any traction. No dice.
Jalen Chatfield had a nice game in his last outing and that carried over to today. The greasy defender did what he does best and used his wheels and his body to rub his check off the puck in the Comets zone before Vincent Arseneau blew up Riley Stillman with a stiff hit.
Lukas Jasek had a late chance denied from the left side and Driedger came up with another save on a Jaime Sifers point shot as the period came to a close. Springfield showed a 10-7 advantage on the shot clock.
We had some early back and forth to start off the period as Matt Mangene let fly with a shot early that Leighton denied before Jasek hit MacEwen on the rush with a sweet pass. TheBigFella tried to get another pass through to Jesse Graham that didn’t pan out.
Brendan Woods enjoys the fisticuffs and he tried to engage TBirds captain Paul Thompson. The two wrestled for a blink before Woods popped his counterpart. Both men were sent off for roughing, rather than fighting, with Woods getting an extra two minutes and Thompson heading down the tunnel for a bit.
As Woods headed to the box, he was taunting the TBirds bench and inviting any of them to try their luck with him today.
Tanner Kero and Zack MacEwen did some great work on this kill, spending a decent portion of it in the offensive zone and the Comets would come away unscathed.
Just as Woods was exiting the box, however, Matt Mangene put the TBirds up 1-0 with his seventh goal of the season. Ludwig Bystrom earned his 23rd assist of the year on the play, while Juho Lammikko picked up his ninth.
Jalen Chatfield must not have been pleased with that goal because he quickly dropped Bobby Farnham with a heavy hit on the next play.
Stefan LeBlanc got a shot through traffic that was denied before Driedger stoned Jesse Graham on the resulting rebound chance. Driedger was having a game today. The netminder kept the saves coming with a huge save on Darcy with the puck trickling along the goal line.
Brendan Woods came up with another big hit before Reid Gardiner was dinged for tripping at the 9:54 mark to send the Comets back to the kill. Jacob MacDonald started his own personal parade of shots as Leighton spent the next bit of action shutting down the defender’s point shots. The Comets came up with a good kill.
Chatfield followed up the kill with a heavy shot from the point that was gobbled up before Matt Petgrave had his shot denied as well.
The TBirds went the other way and we saw Leighton stymie Sebastian Repo on a two-on-one. There was more back and forth before Gardiner had his chance off the rush kicked right to Arseneau, whose shot was also turned aside by Driedger.
Leighton had to come up with an alert save before TheBigFella had his chance shut down at the other end. Brendan Woods followed up with a chance off of a Kole Lind rebound, only to see Driedger come up with another save. Jesse Graham made like Johnny Cash and walked the line in order to get a shot away from the high slot that was gloved down by the Springfield netminder.
Sebastian Repo was sent off for interference at the 16:29 mark after twisting up Vincent Arseneau. Arseneau headed down the tunnel for a spell, but would eventually return in the third period. MacEwen, Darcy, and Gardiner hooked up for a chance that was denied by a quick leg before Jasek and Lind were both denied as well. The Comets came up empty.
Matt Petgrave came with a shot through traffic that was blockered away before Kyle Thomas corked a TBird in the offensive zone with a heavy hit that led to another chance for the Comets that didn’t go.
That was it for the middle frame. The Comets showed a 13-8 advantage on the shot clock.
The Comets came out firing as Cam Darcy unloaded from the high slot and saw his shot gobbled up by Driedger. The Malone line followed up with a solid shift in the offensive zone to keep the pressure on.
Kole Lind dropped a pass to Brendan Woods and Driedger came up with another save. Petgrave and Lind were both shut down on their resulting chances as well.
In what had become a regular thing by this point, another scrum broke out after a whistle as these two clubs showed a distaste for each other.
Michael Leighton was solid today and he had to kick out a leg for an early save before getting his blocker on another shot through traffic that followed.
At the other end, the Comets were getting some chances but were unable to bury them. Jaime Sifers had another point shot through traffic denied before Kole Lind got greasy after another whistle. Jesse Graham fired a shot through traffic with MacEwen wreaking havoc in front of the net, but Driedger was ready with the save.
The Comets kept their collective foot on the gas as Lukas Jasek was robbed in front before Jalen Chatfield was denied as well. Driedger made like Stretch Armstrong when he used every inch of his reach to pull the puck off the goal line for another save. Brandon Anselmini was denied from a tight angle before Paul Thompson had his shot off the right side denied by Leighton at the other end.
Seamus Malone…how’s that for a hockey name? The newest Comet was playing in his first pro game today and his line was doing some nice work in the offensive zone to create pressure. He found himself out at the same time as Zack MacEwen and Tanner Kero and the rookie took advantage. MacEwen let fly with a shot and Malone jumped on the rebound for his first pro goal.
MacEwen picked up his 28th assist of the year on the play, bringing him to 48 points on the season, while Tanner Kero earned his 29th helper of the year, giving him 50 points this season. Congrats to all three players for this one.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) March 16, 2019
Cam Darcy was clipped up high shortly after the goal, but it went undetected by the officials as he left the ice clutching his face. The gritty pivot would return.
Brendan Gaunce let fly with a high shot that was gloved down before Kero unloaded a heavy shot off of a Zack MacEwen faceoff win. Driedger said, no. Woods followed up by picking off a pass and ripping a shot that Driedger denied. MacEwen picked off a puck in the neutral zone and got it to Kero, who set up Jasek for a chance but the rookie winger couldn’t get enough on his shot.
Jesse Graham fired another one on net that was kicked out by Driedger before Jacob MacDonald went the other way with a shot that Leighton swallowed up for the whistle. We saw some back and forth as Anselmini ripped one on the net that was denied before TheBigFella came up with a heavy hit in front of the player’s benches.
Petgrave followed up with a shot through traffic that was kicked out by Driedger.
Time was running out in regulation as Anselmini had a late try turned aside and we would need the extra frame. Utica showed an advantage of 16-6 on the third period shot clock.
The Thunderbirds had control early and looked dangerous before Brendan Gaunce showed a smart stick to break up a scoring chance on an odd-man rush.
MacEwen and Kero both had chances foiled by Driedger before Leighton had to come up with a stick save on a two-on-one.
Lukas Jasek had his one-timer gobbled up by Driedger before Anthony Greco was sprung for a break the other way. Greco has wheels and he turned on the jets enough to earn a penalty shot as the officials deemed that he was hampered on his way to the net by Gaunce.
Greco proved to be up to the task as he beat Leighton for his 23rd of the season. That was it for this one as the Comets showed a 3-1 edge on the overtime shot clock and a 39-25 advantage for the game.
Today’s Comets Goal
Malone (1) from MacEwen (28) and Kero (29).
The Three Stars in the building today were:
3rd Star: Matt Mangene. One goal.
2nd Star: Seamus Malone. First pro goal.
1st Star: Anthony Greco. One goal.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:
3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella picked up his 28th assist and 48th point today, but it was his work away from the puck that I am rewarding. Zack did great work on the penalty kill and dished out a couple of very solid hits. He was moving around the ice really well today and forced a couple of turnovers as well. It’s possible that MacEwen could find himself back up with the big club again this year as the team up top has players dropping likes flies right now.
2nd Star: Tanner Kero. Kero picked up his 50th point of the season today as he continues to put his previous career-high totals in the rearview mirror. Kero has done everything that this team has asked of him this year. He’s been their best pivot since day one, has been in the team’s top three in scoring all season and has eaten up minutes on the penalty kill as well. I am a little bit concerned about what will happen with him this offseason. He is a pending restricted free agent and the fact that the big club hasn’t given him a sniff this season makes me wonder if he might want to move on after this year. I’d like to see him stick around, for what it’s worth.
1st Star: Seamus Malone. Malone spent the bulk of this game with Reid Gardiner and Vincent Arseneau on his flanks, but he sure took advantage when he found himself out there with MacEwen and Kero, picking up his first pro goal in the process. While he was out with Arseneau and Gardiner, the trio did solid work of keeping the puck in the offensive zone. If Malone can do something similar to what Tanner MacMaster did when he came to Utica in a similar role late last season, it will go a long way in getting him an AHL deal with the club for next year. The Comets desperately need players who can play down the middle, and if those players can be playmakers…all the better.
Vs Hartford Wolf Pack
Saturday, March 16th, 2019
7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific