Photo Credit: Owen Skye | @designedbyowen

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Eliminated From Playoff Contention In 2-1 Loss To Marlies

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #71

Vs Toronto Marlies

Friday, April 5th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Today’s Comets Scratches

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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. Seamus Malone: F. Out for the season, arm injury.
  5. Jalen Chatfield: RD. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
  6. Tanner Kero: C. Week-to-week, concussion.
  7. Kole Lind: RW. Week-to-week, lower-body injury.
  8. Jett Woo: RD. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
  9. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
  10. Kyle Thomas: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
  11. Colton Saucerman: RD. Healthy scratch.
  12. Mitch Eliot: RD. Healthy scratch.
  13. Brandon Anselmini: LD. Healthy scratch.
  14. Dyson Stevenson: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.

Today’s Comets Lines

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

22 Jonah Gadjovich – 21 Brendan Woods – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

20 Tom Pyatt – 11 Cam Darcy – 24 Reid Boucher

41 Mitchell Vanderlaan – 16 Brendan Gaunce – 15 Zack MacEwen

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9 Lukas Jasek – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 14 Reid Gardiner

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

40 Aaron Thow – 8 Dylan Blujus

38 Matt Petgrave – 64 Jesse Graham

49 Michael Leighton

33 Marek Mazanec (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame of this one was not what you would call firewagon hockey, but the period had its moments. Mason Marchment clobbered Brendan Woods with an early hit in the Marlies zone but the big pivot popped back up and stayed in the play.

There were a few whistles early, which killed a bit of the flow before we saw Zack MacEwen whip out some nifty moves to beat Jeremy Bracco along the boards in the offensive zone. At the other end, Michael Leighton had to come up with a save to keep the game knotted at zero.

Jonah Gadjovich was back in the lineup today after missing time with an injury and he saw his shot tipped on the net by Brendan Woods, but Kasimir Kaskisuo came up with the save. Tom Pyatt and Reid Boucher worked their way back in on a two-on-one that they were unable to connect on, but Boucher did manage to draw a penalty on the play.

Former Comets defender, Jordan Subban was the guilty party headed to the box for hooking.

We saw the first unit of Matt Petgrave, Reid Boucher, Zack MacEwen, Cam Darcy, and Tom Pyatt roll over the boards and Boucher had an early shot kicked aside by Kaskisuo.

The second unit of Lukas Jasek, Jonah Gadjovich, Aaron Thow, Jesse Graham, and Brendan Gaunce were up next and they were unable to get much more than a Jesse Graham shot on net before they came up empty.

Carter Bancks and Brendan Woods followed up the power play with a sweet give-and-go play that Kaskisuo shut down before Pyatt hit Boucher for a backhander from in close that was denied by the Marlies netminder. He quickly covered up to stymie Pyatt’s rebound chance as well.

At the other end, former Comets speedster Michael Carcone let fly with a shot that went off of the leg of Thow before Leighton gobbled it up for the save.

We had some back and forth before Marchment broke in two-on-one with Adam Brooks. Marchent unloaded with the shot off the left side and Leighton kicked it out for another save.

Stefan LeBlanc has been a solid addition to the team and he showed a smart stick to force a turnover in the offensive zone against his former team.

Chris Mueller hasn’t had a tough time scoring goals this year but he couldn’t beat Leighton when the veteran netminder got a glove on his shot from the right side. At the other end, TheBigFella fired a wrister from just inside the blueline at the end of a shift and Kaskisuo gloved it down for a whistle.

Leighton did some gloving down of his own when he shut down an Eemili Rasanen offering from the point before Tom Sestito started a minor fracas that was quickly quelled by the officials. The Marlies were putting on some pressure but were unable to get their shots through to the net. When they finally did get a shot on the Comets net, Leighton was ready with the glove for another save.

Jesse Graham was dinged for hooking at the 15:06 mark and the Comets were off to the penalty kill.

We saw forward units of MacEwen with Hamilton, Woods with Bancks, and Boucher with Pyatt along with Jaime Sifers, Stefan LeBlanc, and Dylan Blujus on the backend. Leighton had to kick out a long shot through traffic before getting a piece of Pierre Engvall’s one-timer as well. The Comets came up with a good kill.

Rasanen was quickly dispatched to the box for a penalty of his own when he was whistled for boarding at the 17:13 mark.

The Comets were having trouble getting anything going before Adam Brooks thought he would help them out by taking a tripping penalty to put them up two men at the 18:47 mark.

Utica called their timeout to rest up for the 26 seconds of five-on-three time and when they got down to work, Reid Boucher saw his one-timer from the top of the left circle gloved down by Kaskisuo for another save.

That was all that they would muster with the two-man advantage and they would finish the period with the game tied at zero and the two clubs tied with eight shots each.

Second Period

The middle frame got underway with the Comets still owning a brief power play, but it would be Leighton making an early shorthanded save on Pierre Engvall before Jonah Gadjovich tipped a shot on net at the other end that was denied by Kaskisuo. The Comets came up empty.

Leighton followed up the power play with a save on a Steve Oleksy one-timer before Lukas Jasek showed more of his trademark work along the boards at the other end of the ice. The young winger managed to come away with the puck and get a shot off but was denied by the Marlies netminder.

Leighton came up with a blocker save before Jasek broke back in two-on-one with Reid Gardiner. The duo wouldn’t convert for a goal, but they did draw a penalty for their efforts. This time it was Andreas Borgman being sent off for tripping and the Comets were off to the power play.

Brendan Gaunce had a chance denied while the first unit was out, but it was the Marlies controlling the play when the second unit took over. Matt Petgrave showed some good hustle to help foil a shorthanded chance and the Comets would come up empty, once again.

The Marlies kept their foot on the throttle when Michael Carcone broke in two-on-one with Kristians Rubens, but Stefan LeBlanc came up with a great sliding play to shut down their chance. Former Comets forward Griffen Molino found himself all alone in the slot soon after and Leighton had to come up with a big save.

We saw some back and forth as Cam Darcy had his shot from the right circle denied before Timothy Liljegren went the other way for a shot that Leighton turned aside. At the other end, Carter Bancks redirected a Brendan Woods offering on the net and Kaskisuo came up with the save.

Jordan Subban and Dmytro Timashov found themselves on a two-on-one break, but Jesse Graham played Subban well and the former Comets defender was only able to lob a soft backhander at Leighton that was swallowed up. The Marlies were putting on some pressure.

The Comets managed to get out of their end long enough for Gaunce to try a spin and fire play that Kaskisuo was ready for before the Comets forward was sent off for high-sticking.

With Gaunce in the box, my internet signal dropped out for about 30 seconds and when I got things back up and running, Michael Leighton had just made a save and as the play went up the ice the other way, he stayed down and looked to be in discomfort. That was it for his night and he did not return. Marek Mazanec replaced him to finish the game.

Ben Birnell of the Utica Observer-Dispatch tweeted out after the game that it looks like the Comets will need to find a backup for the two remaining games this weekend.

Once play got back underway, Boucher stole the puck from Bracco and broke in shorthanded for a chance, but was denied once again by Kaskisuo. Back in the Comets zone, Timashov let fly from the left circle and Mazanec came up with the save. The Comets had a good kill in the books.

Things didn’t get any easier for Utica when Jaime Sifers was dinged for a high-stick as well less than 20 seconds after Gaunce was freed from the box and the Comets were right back to the kill.

With Sifers in the box, it took Mason Marchment just seven seconds to put the Marlies up 1-0 with his 12th of the year after burying a rebound. Former Comets Michael Carcone and Jordan Subban collected their 24th and 12th assists of the year respectively on the play.

Shortly after the goal was scored, Tom Sestito coughed up the puck to Cam Darcy and the pivot fired a shot on net that was gloved down by Kaskisuo for another save. After the ensuing faceoff, Darcy was hit hard by Andreas Borgman while he did not have possession of the puck and the Comets were off to the power play once again.

With Borgman in the box for interference, the Comets power play went to work…but they wouldn’t get a lot of time to work with as Gaunce was sent off for slashing just 37 seconds later. The period ended with the teams playing at four aside and the Marlies up 1-0 on the scoreboard and 9-6 on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The Comets started out the final frame with some sloppy play in their own end before the two teams had a little back and forth. Trent Cull also shifted his lines up a little in the third as we saw Lukas Jasek with MacEwen and Gaunce, while newcomer Mitchell Vanderlaan was lined up with Hamilton and Gardiner.

Cam Darcy was centring Reid Boucher with Tanner Kero on the shelf while going through his concussion protocol and he was doing his best to set the Comets sniper up for goals. The pivot hit Boucher with a nice feed to send him in for another scoring chance, but the puck rolled off of Boucher’s stick at the last moment.

The Comets were pushing for a goal as Matt Petgrave had his tipped shot denied before Brendan Woods sent the puck at the net after the whistle had blown. As expected, that drew the ire of a few Marlies and a brief melee ensued. After the smoke had cleared, Woods and Marchment were both assessed with roughing minors and we had some more four aside play.

Sifers fed Gaunce for a chance that was denied as the Comets put some pressure on the Marlies but were unable to get anything to go. At the other end, Engvall had his chance kicked aside before the followup chance was put wide of the net.

With the teams back to five aside play MacEwen stole the puck and broke in, trying to feed Gaunce for a backdoor play, but Gaunce had his stick tied up by a defender. Kaskisuo blockered away the next shot that he faced before Reid Gardiner let fly with a long shot from the right side that was denied as well.

Brendan Woods knotted the game at one when he buried his chance at the 10:07 mark for his sixth goal of the season. Newcomer Aaron Thow grabbed his first pro point on the play, earning an assist, while Jonah Gadjovich picked up the other for his sixth helper of the year.

As soon as the puck dropped for the ensuing faceoff, Tom Sestito and TheBigFella went toe-to-toe for a quick tilt. Full marks to MacEwen for not backing down and standing in there with the former Canuck. Oh, and settle down with the heavyweight belt act, will ya Tommy? Your victory wasn’t as convincing as you seem to think it was.

Both men were given five for fighting as well as an additional 10-minute misconduct for the staged fisticuffs.

Mazanec had to be alert to come up with a save on Carcone from the left side soon after. Liljegren followed up by lobbing a muffin at the net that Mazanec handled with ease.

Wacey Hamilton sent his team back to the penalty kill at the 13:15 mark…until Mason Marchment was dinged for a faceoff violation on the ensuing draw to send the teams back to four aside play.

During the four-on-four play, Woods found Bancks with a nice pass that sent the captain in for a chance that was swallowed up by Kaskisuo and the game remained knotted at one.

Jesse Graham followed up with a big point shot that was denied before Darcy snuck a shot through traffic that Kaskisuo managed to track down and gobbled up for a whistle before the teams were back to five aside.

Jonah Gadjovich had a busy shift when he won a board battle in the offensive zone that led to him getting a shot away that was denied by Kaskisuo. The Comets were pressing and the Marlies called their timeout.

Mazanec did great work to shut down a net-side chance before Liljegren was whistled for tripping at the 17:17 mark and the Comets had a chance to put this one away on the power play. Unfortunately, as has happened 18 times previously this season, the Comets would give up a shorthanded goal. That’s right, folks, the Comets playoff hopes were ended by the 19th shorthanded goal that they have given up this season…yikes!

It was Adam Brooks doing the damage with his 20th goal of the season. Nicholas Baptiste earned his 14th helper of the year on the play, while Subban grabbed his 13th, and second of the game.

Trent Cull summoned Mazanec to the bench with just under a minute remaining but this one was over. The Comets finished the period with a 10-4 advantage on the shot clock and a 24-21 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goal

Woods (6) from Thow (1) and Gadjovich (6).

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Kasimir Kaskisuo. 23 saves.

2nd Star: Brendan Woods. One goal.

1st Star: Adam Brooks. Game-winning goal.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars: 

3rd Star: Aaron Thow. The newcomer picked up his first point as a pro in his first game with the Comets, so that alone will earn him a star today. He played a simple, steady game and I look forward to seeing what he brings over the remaining five games this season.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella didn’t grab any points today, but he made some nice plays and had the stones to throw down with Tom Sestito. Sestito is a large man who has plenty of experience as a professional pugilist and for MacEwen to accept his challenge and stand in there with him shows that he brings yet another tool to the table that the Canucks are lacking. Not that I think MacEwen needs to be fighting in order to land a job with the big club, but the fact that he is capable and willing should be a feather in his cap.

1st Star: Brendan Woods. Woods now has six goals and 14 points this year. Those are not world beater numbers by any means, but he has been able to contribute a little bit of secondary scoring for the Comets while eating up minutes on the penalty kill and providing toughness, leadership and a physical presence in the lineup.

Next Game

Game #72

At Hartford Wolf Pack

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific







  • ConfusedCanuck

    I’m confused. Under the previous regime the Comets reached the Calder final.

    Five years into this current ‘retool/rebuild’ under different management Utica is going backwards and looking at the players down there, the pipeline for a desperate Canucks team looks real bad. Like brutal.

    Bit of a joke and perhaps something you need to write about Cory. As a fan, I am truly confused and disheartened with no playoff hockey at both clubs to look forward to. Big changes needed.

    • canuckfan

      I would first look at the injury list (14) then how many players have been called up to the Canucks. Yes Utica had challenged for the Calder a number of years ago but the depth since then had been depleted. Goalie’s are not what they were Demko now with the Canucks defense is extremely thin between injuries and call ups.
      Most of the players selected through the draft do not make it to the pros for a year or two this year is the first year where a number of prospects were added to Comets next year there will be a few more.
      With Hughes coming into the Canucks system I think you will see a difference in how the team plays which will be replicated in Utica with offense being driven from the back and the wingers taking more defensive responsibility. Just like the Canucks next year things will be different hope to see players like McEwen work hard over the off season to challenge for a spot with the Canucks and if at least one of the Utica players make the NHL I would be happy. It will take a couple more drafts to start to see real depth from the NHL down through AHL to the EHL then the team has depth to trade for draft picks and weather the injury storm.

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        5yrs and absolutely ZERO additional draft picks accumulated to date beyond the league alloted picks to each team. Rebuild eh?

        Question: if mankind’s greatest way of forecasting for the future is to look at past results, just what gives you even one ounce of confidence that this 2 man clown show at the NHL level will ever show any propensity to deem additional draft picks as being anything of ‘value’ moving forward?