Utica Comets Pre-Game
At Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Saturday, October 12th, 2019
7:05 pm Eastern/ 4:05 pm Pacific
The Utica Comets will hit the road to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton today to take on the Penguins, (Pittsburgh affiliate) for game number two of their 2019/20 season. The Comets are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Binghamton Devils in their season opener, while the Pens last played to a 4-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Penguins have the better power play so far, going 1/6 with the man advantage, while their penalty kill has given up one goal while down a man eight times this season. The Comets, for their part, have gone 0/4 on the power play, while they have yet to give up a goal while down a man three times.
The Comets have outscored their competition by a 4-3 margin, while the Pens have scored five times and have given up seven markers.
Stefan Nosen leads the Penguins with three points, all goals in his first two games, while Adam Johnson sits second with two assists. Oula Palve rounds out their top three with two assists of his own.
Jake Lucchini is the leader amongst WBS rookies with one goal through two games, while the Comets didn’t get any points from their rookies in their first game of the season.
No surprise here, but Reid Boucher leads the Comets with two goals and one assist to give himself three points so far this season, while second-year-pro Kole Lind also has three points on the back of his three helpers last game. Justin Bailey and Guillaume Brisebois each have a goal, while Carter Camper, Carter Bancks, and Lukas Jasek have added helpers as well.
We could be seeing one or both of Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin in the Comets lineup today as both have arrived in Utica after clearing waivers and have a practice under their belts with the team. The team will be without the services of Tyler Graovac as the big pivot left their first game with a lower-body injury. Losing a center certainly isn’t ideal for a club that is already paper-thin at the position.
Between the Graovac injury and the Alex Biega trade, the Comets will only have to sit one of their vet or vet exempt players for today’s contest. It will be interesting to see who that is, as only Carter Bancks or Dyson Stevenson would seem to be reasonable guesses to move to the middle at the moment, while Wacey Hamilton and fellow vet Carter Camper are already working the pivot role. Stevenson is the only one of the group mentioned who does not carry vet/vet exempt status, so it could be one of Hamilton or Bancks who has to sit this one out.
Last year these two clubs squared off twice, with Utica holding bragging rights after both contests. The first game ended in a 3-2 overtime win for Utica, while the second contest was, well… no contest as the Comets skated away with a convincing 8-1 drubbing of the Pens.
Reid Boucher and Wacey Hamilton each finished the two-game series with four points, while Lukas Jasek managed three. Tom Pyatt, Tanner Kero, Brendan Gaunce, and Zack MacEwen all grabbed two points for Utica, while Jarrett Burton did the same for WBS.
Scratched Last Game For Utica
- Seamus Malone: C/LW – week-to-week, upper-body injury. AHL deal.
- Francis Perron: LW/C – day-to-day, injured. NHL deal.
- Richard Bachman: G – healthy scratch. NHL deal.
- Dylan Blujus: RD – healthy scratch. AHL deal.
- Stefan LeBlanc: LD – healthy scratch. AHL deal.
- Alex Biega: RD – healthy scratch, en-route from Vancouver. NHL deal.
- Sven Baertschi: LW – healthy scratch, en-route from Vancouver. NHL deal.
- Nikolay Goldobin: LW/RW – healthy scratch, en-route from Vancouver. NHL deal.
- Mitch Eliot: RD – healthy scratch. NHL deal.
Since the Comets played last Saturday, the parent Canucks announced the trade of right-shot defender Alex Biega to the Detroit Red Wings for forward David Pope.
— Botchford's Army (@CanucksArmy) October 7, 2019
Pope, for his part, has been assigned to the Kalamazoo Wings. The six-foot-two-inch, 187lbs LW was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL draft by Detroit. The 25-year-old product of Edmonton Alberta has 28 games of AHL experience with the Grand Rapids Griffins where he has tallied two goals and one assist. At the ECHL level, he has played in seven contests with the Toledo Walleye, picking up four points along the way.
The Comets also recently announced that they would be sending right-shot defender Mitch Eliot to their ECHL affiliate Kalamazoo Wings in order to get the rookie blueliner into a game today. The team apparently plans to summon Eliot back to Utica after that game in order to keep him working with the Utica coaching staff while getting him some minutes in KZOO. I applaud the team for taking this approach this year after we saw Petrus Palmu and Jonah Gadjovich doing a lot of sitting around in the early going with the Comets last season.
— Botchford's Army (@CanucksArmy) October 12, 2019
Stay tuned for the CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game Report following today’s action.