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CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Mazanec Picks Up First Win For Comets And MacEwen Hits 50 Points In 4-0 Shutout Win Over Hartford

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #72

At Hartford Wolf Pack

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Post-Game

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. Evan McEneny: LD. Out for the season, lower-body injury.
  4. Jalen Chatfield: RD. Week-to-week, upper-body injury.
  5. Kole Lind: RW. Week-to-week, lower-body injury.
  6. Tanner Kero: C. Week-to-week, concussion protocol.
  7. Michael Leighton: G. Day-to-day, lower-body injury.
  8. Jesse Graham: RD. Healthy scratch.
  9. Kyle Thomas: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
  10. Reid Gardiner: F. Healthy scratch.
  11. Dyson Stevenson: LW/RW. Healthy scratch.
  12. Brandon Anselmini: LD. Healthy scratch.
  13. Mitch Eliot: RD. Healthy scratch.

Comets Starting Lines

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

20 Tom Pyatt – 11 Cam Darcy – 24 Reid Boucher

34 Carter Bancks (C) – 21 Brendan Woods – 15 Zack MacEwen

9 Lukas Jasek – 16 Brendan Gaunce – 22 Jonah Gadjovich

41 Mitchell Vanderlaan – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 18 Vincent Arseneau

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 26 Jaime Sifers (A)

40 Aaron Thow – 8 Dylan Blujus

38 Matt Petgrave – 39 Colton Saucerman

33 Marek Mazanec

31 Ivan Kulbakov (backing up)

First Period

The Comets got off to a good start in this one and they kept their collective foot on the throttle for the rest of the period. Utica brought the pressure early as Hartford netminder Adam Huska had to shut down chances from Gadjovich, Hamilton, Woods, and Thow.

The Comets kept it coming when Lukas Jasek sent a shot on the net that Huska got a piece of before Jonah Gadjovich swatted it past him for his third goal of the season. Jasek picked up his 16th assist of the year on the play, while Brendan Gaunce grabbed his 21st.

There was a bit of back and forth after the Gadjovich marker before Jake Elmer let fly with a shot that was denied by Mazanec for his first stop of the game. Colton Saucerman followed up with a point shot at the other end that was denied before Darren Raddysh unloaded with a point shot of his own that Mazanec gloved down for a whistle.

Dylan Blujus put the Comets down a man at the 7:28 mark when he was sent off for holding. We saw forward duos of Wacey Hamilton and Carter Bancks, along with Zack MacEwen with Brendan Woods. Jaime Sifers and Stefan LeBlanc handled the duties on the back end.

The third forward duo that rolled over the boards was Reid Boucher with Tom Pyatt and it wasn’t long before Boucher stole the puck behind the Hartford net and hit Pyatt with a pass for his fifth goal of the season and the Comets were up 2-0. Boucher earned his 30th helper of the year on the shorthanded tally.

The Comets would come up with a good kill and would soon hear the Wolf Pack ring the iron behind Mazanec with a shot off the bar.

Newcomer Aaron Thow was whistled for delay of game at the 10:36 mark and it was back to the kill for Utica. TheBigFella had a chance for a shorthanded marker of his own after Brendan Woods sent him in for a partial break, but Huska was ready with the save.

Boucher and Pyatt also had a shorthanded chance turned aside and the Comets came up with another good kill.

Cam Darcy followed up the kill by showing some wheels down the right side before getting a shot off that Huska turned aside, as he did with the resulting followup chance. This period was all Utica.

When the Pack did finally get their chance, Mazanec was there with the save as he shut down a Gabriel Fontaine chance that looked dangerous. The Comets netminder kept the saves coming when he denied Brandon Crawley’s offering soon after.

The period wound down with a Brendan Woods wrister from the right side that was gobbled up by Huska and the Comets would head into the middle frame up 2-0 on the scoreboard after outshooting the Wolf Pack by a 17-8 margin.

Second Period

The middle frame didn’t see as many shots as the first, but the Comets did manage to extend their lead by a goal. The period started with Dylan Blujus hitting MacEwen with a pass and TheBigFella turned and fired a shot that went off of a defender’s stick and out of play.

MacEwen was looking for another shot but had his stick literally chopped in half and the officials decided to let that slide…yeah, I’m just as confused as you are on that one.

Lukas Jasek has been a puck possession machine since joining the Comets late last season and he did great work to force a turnover in the offensive zone before feeding Gadjovich for a chance but the winger was unable to get his shot away.

Jaime Sifers followed up with a blast from the right point that was denied. On that same play, Gadjovich was dumped by Julius Bergman and the Comets were off to the power play. Gadjovich was shaken up on the play, but he would return in the period.

Just four seconds after Bergman was sent to the box, Cam Darcy joined him after taking a tripping penalty. We had some four aside action for nearly a full two minutes.

Hartford put on some decent pressure, but they were unable to make anything happen. Many of their shots were being put off the target or were being blocked by Comets. The Comets managed to apply some pressure of their own but neither team would be able to pick up a goal while at four aside and the Comets killed off the very brief Hartford power play that followed.

Sifers followed up the play with a shot through traffic that Huska was ready for before Crawley let fly with a wrister off the left side that was gloved down by Mazanec.

Jake Elmer was dinged for slashing at the 8:29 mark and the Comets were given a power play. The second unit came out first and it consisted of Colton Saucerman, Matt Petgrave, Lukas Jasek, Brendan Gaunce, and Jonah Gadjovich. They were unable to make anything happen and were replaced by a quintet of Boucher, MacEwen, Darcy, Thow, and Pyatt.

Tim Gettinger had a shorthanded chance that he fired off of the outside of the post before my AHLTV feed dropped out. The good news is that when I got it back up and running, Cam Darcy had put the Comets up 3-0. The goal was his 10th of the season, while Zack MacEwen earned his 29th helper of the year and Tom Tom Pyatt grabbed his 11th.

The Comets kept it coming as Sifers followed up with another point shot that was kicked out by Huska before Mazanec had to come up with a couple of saves at the other end. First, he shut down a shot off the left side before getting a piece of a Sean Day offering through traffic.

Patrick Newell followed up with a shot off the rush that he ripped off the bar before Mazanec gloved down the followup chance. Hartford started to put on some pressure but couldn’t make anything happen before MacEwen was sent in all alone with a nice stretch pass from Stefan LeBlanc. Huska proved to be equal to the task.

Sifers followed up with a heavy shot from the right point that was denied and the period came to a close. The Comets showed an 8-5 advantage on the second period shot clock.

Third Period

The final frame was not exactly action-packed, but the Comets picked up another goal and finally grabbed a regulation win for the first time since…

There was some early back and forth without much going on before Colton Saucerman had his point shot steered aside by the blocker of Huska. At the other end, Mazanec shut down a point shot before doing the same with the resulting rebound chance that followed. He wasn’t done there as he also denied a Ryan Gropp chance from the left side.

It has taken Mazanec eight games to get his first win and he did it in style with a shutout against the team that traded him to Vancouver.

After the save on Gropp, Jonah Gadjovich went the other way with the puck and drew a tripping penalty on Brandon Crawley.

The Comets had some nice puck movement on this power play that saw both of Pyatt and Boucher denied by Huska before Aaron Thow had to hustle back to shut down a shorthanded chance. Brendan Gaunce had one more chance turned aside by Huska and the power play came to an end.

It was Hartford’s turn to press for a shift as they worked the puck around the Comets zone but were unable to make anything happen. Fontaine broke back in and split the defensive pair of Thow and Blujus before getting a backhander away that was thwarted by Mazanec for one of his better saves of the day.

Ryan Gropp was soon sent off for slashing and it was back to the power play for Utica. Cam Darcy had a shot that Huska stopped and quickly froze for a whistle with TheBigFella lurking for some loose change. The Comets power play came up dry.

There was more back and forth without a whole lot going on until Bobby Butler let fly with a shot off the left side that Mazanec gloved down for a whistle. The Comets netminder shut down the Jake Elmer chance that came next before the Wolf Pack coaching staff summoned Huska to the bench for the extra attacker with roughly three minutes remaining in the period.

Mazanec gloved down a shot from the high slot before Hartford called their timeout. The Comets netminder had to make another pair of saves and Jaime Sifers sacrificed his body with yet another shot block in a 4-0 game before MacEwen put this one away with an empty-net goal. It was Zack’s 21st goal and 50th point of the season. Congrats to TheBigFella for having a very good second season of pro hockey. He has become just the fifth player to hit 50 points in a season in Utica Comets history.

That was it in Hartford. The Wolf Pack had an edge of 8-6 on the shot clock for the final frame, but the Comets outshot them 31-21 for the game and skated away with a 4-0 win.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

Gadjovich (3) from Jasek (16) and  Gaunce (21).

Pyatt (5) from Boucher (30). Shorthanded.

Darcy (10) from MacEwen (29) and Pyatt (11). Power play goal.

MacEwen (21) from Bancks (10) and Woods (9). Empty-net goal.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Marek Mazanec. 21-save shutout.

1st Star: Tom Pyatt. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Tom Pyatt. I will be going with the same three stars, but I have them placed in a different order. Pyatt had another solid game for the Comets and picked up a shorthanded goal and a power play assist for his efforts. He was also credited with five shots on goal today for Utica. He now has 16 points in his 32 games since joining the Comets. Pyatt has proven to be a steady penalty killer for the team as well.

2nd Star: Marek Mazanec. It took him eight games, but Mazanec finally picked up his first win for the Comets and did it with a 21-save shutout. He wasn’t overly busy, but he had to be sharp on a few of his saves. I’m sure that win felt pretty good to him as it came against his former team and the one who recently moved on from him to send him to the Canucks organization.

1st Star: Zack MacEwen. MacEwen has been snake bitten recently, much like many of his teammates, so it was nice to see him pick up a pair of points today, even if his goal was of the empty-net variety. TheBigFella is now up to 21 goals and 29 helpers, bringing him to 50 points on the season with four games remaining. He is currently sitting in eighth-place on the Comets all-time points list after just 131 games with the team since turning pro as an undrafted free agent out of the QMJHL. Not bad, Zack…not bad.

Next Game

Game #73

At Providence Bruins

Sunday, April 7th,  2019

3:05 pm Eastern/12:05 pm Pacific

 

  • Thanks again for the prompt post game write-up Cory. I read them all and you do a good job of laying out the game as it unfolded. The Comets problems, especially on D. and in goal can be blamed directly on the Canucks. Brisebois, Sautner, and Schenn up with the Canucks but, the first 2 haven’t played for a number of games now and certainly would have helped Utica. Schenn is now one of those players who is a marginal player in the NHL but still good enough as a 7th D. man.

    Depending on which players the Canucks sign and who makes the NHL team, Utica should have a competitive team next season. Look forward to the write-ups on the remaining Utica games.

    • A bigger concern for me is the C depth…after Kero there seems to be a large drop off in quality. Is it a no coincidence that when Adam Gaudette was sent down, Kole Lind was playing some of his best hockey ?

      They need to sign a couple of C, guys who are fast and can drive play. Maybe Cory could write an article on some potential players??