Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Give Up Six Goals To Syracuse As Playoff Hopes Take Another Blow In 6-2 Loss

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #68

At Syracuse Crunch

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Scratched Today For Utica

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  1. Richard Bachman: G. Out for the season, Achilles’ injury.
  2. Olli Juolevi: LD. Out for the season, knee surgery.
  3. Evan McEneny: LD. Out for the season, lower-body injury.
  4. Wacey Hamilton: F. Week-to-week, neck injury.
  5. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
  6. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW. Week-to-week, injured.
  7. Kole Lind: RW. Dinged up.
  8. Jalen Chatfield: RD. Dinged up.
  9. Colton Saucerman: RD. Healthy scratch.
  10. Kyle Thomas: F. Healthy scratch.

Today’s Starting Lines

(The first forward line/defensive pair listed, started the game. The rest are in no particular order)

19 Seamus Malone – 21 Brendan Woods – 15 Zack MacEwen

20 Tom Pyatt – 10 Tanner Kero – 24 Reid Boucher

16 Brendan Gaunce – 11 Cam Darcy – 9 Lukas Jasek

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34 Carter Bancks (C) – 14 Reid Gardiner – 37 Dyson Stevenson

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 26 Jamie Sifers (A)

7 Brandon Anselmini – 8 Dylan Blujus

38 Matt Petgrave – 64 Jesse Graham

49 Michael Leighton

33 Marek Mazanec (backing up)

First Period

The opening period of this one was a bit of an odd one that saw the Comets down 3-1 by the time the horn sounded to end the frame.

The Comets started out well as Matt Petgrave and Brendan Gaunce both had early chances, but goaltender Eddie Pasquale was equal to the task. After some back and forth, Taylor Raddysh had a chance kicked out at the other end by Michael Leighton.

Carter Verhaeghe followed up by feeding Ben Thomas for a one-timer that Leighton soaked up for a whistle. After the puck was dropped, the Reid Gardiner line did some nice work to put on some pressure that led to another chance for Petgrave, but Pasquale was ready for his wrister.

The Gardiner line was spent after their shift, so Carter Bancks fired the puck into Pasquale’s guts to get a whistle and a line change.

Brandon Anselmini was dinged for hooking at the 6:17 mark and two seconds later the Comets were down 1-0 on Cory Conacher’s 20th goal of the season. I’d like to describe the goal for you, but it happened as we were coming back from a commercial, so I didn’t really see it. Andy Andreoff picked up his 25th assist of the year on the play.

It took Conacher 25 seconds to score his second goal of the game and 21st of the season when he wired one past Leighton to put the Crunch up 2-0 quickly. Gabriel Dumont picked up his 24th assist of the season on the play, while Alex Volkov grabbed his 22nd.

Jaime Sifers looked a bit upset at being down 2-0 when he lit up Carter Verhaeghe with a heavy hit off of the ensuing faceoff before Pasquale denied Cam Darcy with a stick save.

Ross Colton was sent off for slashing at the 7:47 mark and the Comets had a power play to work with.

Boucher had a quick shot denied on the first unit that consisted of himself, MacEwen, Kero, Malone, and Petgrave. The second unit of Pyatt, Darcy, Gaunce, Jasek, and Graham didn’t fare any better. The Comets came up empty.

Hubert Labrie let fly with a shot through traffic that Leighton got a piece of and that was when we lost our audio feed for almost two minutes. During that time, Leighton absolutely robbed Dennis Yan with a flash of the leather to keep his team in this game.

When the audio came back on, we saw Blujus have a shot kicked aside by Pasquale before the netminder did the same with a Brendan Woods offering off the left side.

In the defensive zone, Malone took a solid hit to make a play and bounced back up before heading to the bench when his lid popped off.

The Kero line followed up with some good pressure that led to a Reid Boucher goal…welcome back, Reid! The goal was the 28th of the season for Boucher, while Stefan LeBlanc earned his 11th helper of the year on the play and Tanner Kero grabbed his 30th.

Dylan Blujus was looking to even the game at two with a shot off the blocker of Pasquale and followed up with another that the Syracuse netminder swallowed up for the whistle.

Daniel Walcott was playing in his first game of the season after missing time with an injury, but that didn’t stop him from absolutely blowing up Brandon Anselmini with a big hit. After a little bit of back and forth, we saw a LeBlanc shot gloved down by Pasquale.

The two teams were playing a bit of sloppy hockey to end the period…though it would only catch up to one of them.

Tanner Kero had a chance gobbled up by Pasquale before Alex Volkov put his team up 3-1 at the 19:29 mark with his 17th goal of the season. The goal was scored on a three-on-one play. Cory Conacher picked up his 38th assist of the season and third point of the game, while Hubert Labrie grabbed his eighth helper of the year.

The period ended with Pasquale stopping a Cam Darcy tip-in chance and we were off to the middle frame. Utica showed an advantage of 14-10 on the shot clock.

Second Period

Well, the Comets were down 3-1 after one but would find themselves in a 5-2 hole by the time the middle frame would close.

Jaime Sifers came up with an early shot block, as is his way, before Cory Conacher was sent off for high-sticking just 1:10 into the second period. Lukas Jasek had a one-timer from the left circle denied but that was the best the Comets could muster as they were unable to get anything else through. They came up empty.

That didn’t mean that they were done trying to score, however, as Gaunce sent Dyson Stevenson in alone, but Pasquale was ready with the save. Woods tried his luck with a spin and fire play that saw Pasquale come up with another save before Gaunce had his one-timer denied as well.

Walcott was sent off for hooking at the 5:35 mark and the Comets were back to the power play. This was not a good power play for the Comets as they gave up a shorthanded break to Dumont and Leighton had to come up with the save. If only that was where the shorthanded chances ended.

The Crunch would come right back in on a three-on-one break…shorthanded…yeah, that happened. Ben Thomas would end up potting his second goal of the year on the play, while Dumont grabbed his 25th assist of the season and Boris Katchouk earned his 12th.

That was it for Michael Leighton’s night as he was replaced by Marek Mazanec.

The Comets came up empty with the extra man.

Brandon Anselmini followed up the power play with a one-timer that Pasquale turned aside before the Crunch netminder shut down chances from Blujus and another from Anselmini. The Comets fourth line started to put on some pressure but were unable to take advantage of it.

At the other end, Nolan Valleau fired a shot through traffic that Mazanec steered aside before Kero was dinged for a high-stick.

Mazanec came up with a save on Conacher before Alex Barre-Boulet scored his 31st of the year with a bouncing puck to put his team up 5-1. Taylor Raddysh picked up his 24th assist of the year on the play, while Cal Foote earned his 18th.

It took Tanner Kero less than 40 seconds to get that one back when he snuck a backhander past Pasquale for his 23rd goal of the season. Jesse Graham picked up his 11th helper of the year on the play, while Boucher earned his 29th.

Brandon Anselmini followed up with a bit too aggressive of a shift as he mowed over Pasquale and headed to the box for goaltender interference. This time it was the Comets turn to score a shorthanded goal…okay, maybe not, but Boucher and Kero did hook up for a nice shorthanded chance that Pasquale had to come up with a big save on.

Back in the Comets end, LeBlanc came up with a good stick to deflect a Verhaeghe chance out of play before Sifers was felled by a shot block that looked like it stung more than a little. The gritty defender would stay in the game. The Comets were hemmed in their own end to finish this kill, but kill it they did.

TheBigFella came up with a nice steal in the offensive zone that led to a scoring chance being put wide of the net before Mazanec did great work to track the puck and shut down the Volkov chance that followed at the other end.

We saw some line shuffling late in the period with Seamus Malone taking a spin with Kero and Boucher.

The period ended with Mazanec shutting down chances from Barre-Boulet and Hubert Labrie as the Comets found themselves in a 5-2 hole. Utica showed a 10-9 advantage on the second period shot clock.

Third Period

Well, folks…I would love to tell you about a fantastic comeback for the ages, but that just didn’t happen tonight. Things will not be getting any easier for the Comets playoff hopes going forward.

Marek Mazanec had only given up one of the previous five goals scored on the Comets in this one, but he had to come up with a sprawling save early in order to keep it that way. The Comets went the other way and Seamus Malone showed some good hustle to force a turnover in the offensive zone that led to a Brandon Anselmini chance being gloved down by Pasquale.

The Comets were doing good work to force turnovers today but were unable to capitalize on them. Zack MacEwen was next to force one when he rolled over Cal Foote at the defensive blueline to send the Comets the other way where Matt Petgrave had a pair of chances denied by Pasquale.

Brendan Woods let fly with a shot from the slot and Pasquale had his number as well. At the other end, Walcott had his chance soaked up by Mazanec with a crowd forming in his crease.

Dominik Masin was dinged for interference at the 8:16 mark and the Comets had another power play to work with. Cam Darcy was hit and hurt early in this one and headed to the bench, but he would return.

One player who we were not seeing much of was the captain, Carter Bancks. We were seeing some different line combos while Bancks sat on the bench. I am unsure at the moment if this was injury related, or if the coaching staff wanted to see other players instead.

Seamus Malone was at it again today with some nifty moves and passes, but it was the shot that he put on the Syracuse net with Tanner Kero speeding in for a rebound that caught my eye. Malone has been a solid addition in his first few games since signing his ATO, (amateur tryout offer) with the club.

The Comets would come up empty with the extra man once again.

Utica kept the chances coming as Boucher had a one-timer denied by Pasquale and the netminder shut down the Malone rebound chance as well. Tanner kero was also denied before the Crunch headed the other way.

It was on that transition that we saw Dylan Blujus lower the boom with what looked like the slowest moving hipcheck in the history of the game, yet somehow it still worked.

Cal Foote was dinged for a high-stick at the 11:07 mark and it was back to the power play for Utica. Just over a minute later, the Crunch were up 6-2 after Mazanec played the puck when he shouldn’t have and Alex Volkov made him pay. The goal was the 18th of the season for Volkov.

If you are following along at home, this was not a banner night for the Comets special teams as they had given up two power play goals along with a pair of shorties in this one…yikes!.

Time was running out on the Comets in this one but they were still working for a goal. Reid Gardiner had his shot off the left side gloved down by Pasquale before the netminder shut down a Malone offering from a tight angle. Zack MacEwen took the puck hard to the net while being mauled by a pair of defenders, but even the officials wanted this one to end as there was no call on the play.

That was it in Syracuse. The Comets showed a 10-3 advantage on the shot clock for the final frame and a 34-23 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

Boucher (28) from LeBlanc (11) and Kero (30).

Kero (24) from Graham (11) and Boucher (29).

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Alex Barre-Boulet. One goal.

2nd Star: Alex Volkov. Two goals, one assist.

1st Star: Cory Conacher. Two goals, one assist.

CanucksAmry’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Seamus Malone. This was another tough one as it is never easy to pick stars when the team loses a game by four goals. Malone finished the game with two shots on goal and made a few nice plays again today. It’s a very small sample size at just four games, but the forward looks like a solid addition since coming aboard.

2nd Star: Tanner Kero. Kero picked up another two points today and is now up to 24 goals and 30 assists, giving him 54 points in 62 games this year. The pivot has put up 11 goals and 11 assists on the power play this year, along with one shorthanded goal. A 60 point season should be easily attainable for Kero in his first year with the Comets.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Boucher missed a few games with a hand injury and the team clearly missed him. He picked up a goal and an assist in his first game back to bring him to 28 goals and 29 helpers in 49 games to give himself 57 points on the season. The winger has picked up eight power play goals and 14 power play assists this year and four of his goals have been of the game-winning variety.

Next Game

Game #69

Vs Toronto Marlies

Friday, March 29th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific





  • LTFan

    Thanks again for the write-up Cory. With Sautner, Brisebois and Schenn in Vancouver the D. in Utica are depleted for sure. If Quinn Hughes is cleared to play then one of the D. currently in Vancouver will be sent back to Utica. Add to that all the players in Utica out with a variety of injuries. What started out as a promising season in Utica has picked the wrong time to be in a slump. I expect there will be changes over the Spring and Summer in Utica.

    • ClassOF2011

      No $hit Sherlock. Spare us the lame excuses though.

      Get rid of Cull and all the other Utica yes men, move the Comets to BC and build a proper team of prospects to serve the NHL club like the Pens have – it ain’t rocket science… except to Benning.

  • canuckfan

    Some of the changes will be that the injured players will be back, they will get new goalies, and help at center. The injuries in the Canucks lineup which elevated some of the bettter Comets to the NHL coupled with the injuries to Utica players has shown that you can never have enough depth.