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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Lay a 6-2 Beat Down On Syracuse In Home Opener

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #3

Vs Syracuse Crunch

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Post-Game

Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Tyler Graovac: C – Day-to-day, lower-body injury. NHL deal.
  2. Carter Bancks: W/C – Day-to-day, upper-body injury. AHL deal.
  3. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  4. Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  5. Seamus Malone: C/W – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  6. Dyson Stevenson: C/W – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.

Some Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

Comets Starting Lines

(First line and defence pair listed started the game, the remainder are in no particular order)

95 Justin Bailey – 27 Francis Perron – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

24 Reid Boucher (A) – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

21 Jonah Gadjovich – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 18 Vincent Arseneau

47 Sven Baertschi – 9 Lukas Jasek – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

4 Josh Teves – 8 Dylan Blujus

64 Michael DiPietro

32 Richard Bachman (Backing up)

First Period

The opening frame proved to be a pretty exciting period of hockey as the Crunch took a lead on two different occasions only to see the Comets answer back quickly both times.

We saw some early back and forth before Kole Lind hit Boucher with a nice feed that the Comets sniper fired off the iron. Lukas Jasek tried to get things going with a feed to Josh Teves for a point shot that was tipped wide of the net.

The Comets kept it coming with a Wacey Hamilton chance from the slot that was shot wide of the target.

Justin Bailey will be drawing penalties with his speed all season and he did just that when he got former Comets defender Luke Schenn to take an interference penalty at the 3:05 mark.

The Comets rolled out their first unit of Zack MacEwen, Reid Boucher, Nikolay Goldobin, Olli Juolevi, and Kole Lind to get things going. MacEwen redirected a shot that was kicked out before the second unit made their appearance. That unit consisted of Justin Bailey, Sven Baertschi, Francis Perron, Carter Camper, and Brogan Rafferty.

The second unit had some decent puck movement that saw Brogan Rafferty get a one-timer away that Scott Wedgewood kicked aside and the Comets came up empty.

Vincent Arseneau knows what he does well and he does it often. The big winger corked a Crunch forward trying to exit the Syracuse zone with a solid hit. Plays like that from BigVinny often lead to turnovers.

We saw Baertschi and Goldobin playing on a line together and the duo moved the puck well. It wasn’t all going smoothly for Sven though, as he and Mitchell Stephens both ended up in the Comets net and Sven wasn’t having it as he came out swinging. Cooler heads would prevail and no penalties were handed out.

Justin Bailey used his ridiculous wheels to beat out an icing call and that lead to Rafferty getting a nice scoring chance that was denied by Wedgewood. Bailey and MacEwen were on a line together today and they were looking good.

The Comets’ fourth line was looking solid as well, bringing a physical game to the table.

The Crunch thought they opened the scoring when Cory Conacher batted the puck out of the air past DiPietro, but the net was deemed to be off the moorings before the puck went in.

At the other end of the ice, Boucher had his point shot gloved down by Wedgewood before Carter Camper came with all the dangles and drew a high-sticking call on Jimmy Huntington.

The Comets started with their second unit and they were unable to get anything going before giving way to the first unit. MacEwen coughed up the puck and Juolevi was unable to keep Cory Conacher from getting a shot away from an impossible angle that beat DiPietro to put the Crunch up 1-0. That’s not the way to get the power play going.

The goal was Conacher’s second of the year, while Dominik Masin earned his second helper of the season on the shorthanded tally and Chris Mueller did the same. The Comets power play came up blank, but the team would even the score soon after.

Jalen Chatfield did nice work to get a point shot away that was kicked aside, but Vincent Arseneau would keep control of the puck and got it to Wacey Hamilton for a shot that was redirected by Jonah Gadjovich for his first of the season. Hamilton and Arseneau each grabbed their first helper of the year on the play.

 

The goal was barely in the back of the net before Dylan Blujus was whistled for tripping and the Comets were headed to the penalty kill. We saw Hamilton come out with Lukas Jasek, Jalen Chatfield, and Olli Juolevi to start things off.

MacEwen soon replaced Hamilton and after a shot block, he found himself on a shorthanded scoring chance with Jasek. The duo was unable to get their chance to go. After Bailey replaced Jasek, he and Guillaume Brisebois had a shorthanded chance of their own that didn’t go. Juolevi and Chatfield were back out to steer this one home and they both came up with timely shot blocks for the Comets and they had a good kill.

Goldobin, Rafferty, and Baertschi followed up the kill with some sweet passing, but unfortunately, Wedgewood was up to the task when the shot came.

Kole Lind has done some great work with drawing penalties this season and that continued when he got Stephens to take an interference call at the 17:05 mark. Unfortunately, Juolevui took a matching interference penalty 35 seconds later to put the teams to four aside hockey.

During the four aside play, Ben Thomas let fly with a shot that DiPietro gloved down for a whistle. Justin Bailey had a nice backhander denied on a two-on-one at the other end before Blujus made a nice play to break up a pass on a two-on-one in the Comets zone. DiPietro robbed Gemel Smith on his next chance to do his part for the team.

With the teams back at five aside play and time winding down, Chris Mueller put the Crunch back up by a goal when he beat DiPietro for his first of the season. Alex Barre-Boulet and Luke Schenn earned the helpers, their first and third, respectively.

That’s not the way the Comets wanted to end the opening frame… so they didn’t.

The Comets duo of Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin made some magic happen in the dying seconds and Dylan Blujus was the man who benefited. Blujus did nice work to get himself into scoring position and made it count with his first of the season. Baertschi picked up his third helper of the year on the play, while Goldobin grabbed his second. Goldy would add a couple more helpers before this one ended.

The Comets finished the period tied at two, but lead by a 12-7 margin on the shot clock.

Your shot map for the opening frame:

Second Period

The middle frame kicked off with last year’s super rookie Alex Barre-Boulet unloading with a shot that DiPietro gloved down for an early whistle. DiPietro wasn’t busy, but he was sharp when called upon.

The Carter Camper line had a great shift in the offensive zone that saw Kole Lind force a pair of turnovers before he worked a nice give-and-go with Baertschi that Wedgewood shut down. The line of Goldobin, Baertschi, and Jasek followed up with another dangerous shift. This Comets team was fun to watch tonight as pretty much every line looked dangerous at times in this one.

Josh Teves has been having a solid first few games so far, but he and Dylan Blujus had a tough shift that saw them having a difficult time getting the puck out of their zone. No harm was done, however as we soon saw Arseneau whip out a nifty move to get his backhander away at the other end. His shot went over the net, but a penalty was drawn and the Comets would get another chance to get their lacklustre power play on track.

It was the giant defender Oleg Sosunov who was headed off for slashing. I mean, the man is roughly 23 feet tall.

With the Comets on the power play, Goldobin let fly with a shot that was blocked before Rafferty snuck a shot through from the blue line that was denied. The Comets came up empty. No matter, as the Crunch simply gave them another power play to work with when they were dinged for having too many men on the ice at the 5:55 mark.

Camper fired a chance wide of the net before Baertschi put a shot off the glove of Wedgewood and Bailey was also soon denied of a goal. Juolevi had a shot gloved down and held and the Comets power play once again failed to convert.

Zack MacEwen was caught out on the ice for a long shift, but that didn’t stop Jalen Chatfield from sending him in for a break. TheBigFella looked like he had run out of steam and buried the puck into the midsection of the Syracuse netminder to get a whistle.

On the ensuing faceoff, Teves dished to Blujus for a one-timer that was kicked out but the defender grabbed the puck again and fired a wrister on the net that was gloved down by Wedgewood. Jasek and Baertschi nearly connected for a goal, but Sven was unable to tuck the biscuit behind the sprawling netminder.

We saw some back and forth before Boucher picked up a bouncing puck but was unable to beat Wedgewood for his fifth goal of the season. Don’t worry, you didn’t think a game would go by where Reid Boucher failed to score, did you? Stay tuned…

Justin Bailey followed up by putting the puck on the net where MacEwen and Perron whipped out the shovels. Perron managed to put the puck behind Wedgewood and the Comets were up 3-2. The goal was the first for Perron in a Comets uniform, while MacEwen picked up his first helper of the year on the play and Bailey earned his second.

We saw Brogan Rafferty cough up the puck moments later, but he was bailed out by his partner Guillaume Brisebois. I have really liked a lot of what I’ve seen from that duo in their first three games together this year.

Boucher made it a 4-2 game two minutes after the Perron tally when he was sent in all alone by birthday boy Kole Lind. Lind started the play by forcing a turnover before dishing off to Boucher for the goal. That was Reid’s fifth of the season, while Lind grabbed his fourth helper in three games.

The Comets weren’t taking their collective foot off the throttle as Juolevi teed up a one-timer for Goldobin that was denied by Wedgewood before TheBigFella scored his first of the year. This one was all Goldy as the playmaker charged to the net and stopped short, watching the defender slide on by, leaving MacEwen wide open for the easiest goal that he will ever score. Goldobin picked up his third assist of the season on the play, while Rafferty grabbed his second.

The Comets had plenty of breathing room, but that didn’t mean Syracuse was going away easily.

Cal Foote let fly with a point shot that was gobbled up by DiPietro before the teams settled into some back and forth. Lukas Jasek was playing with some skilled wingers in Baertschi and Goldobin, but he wasn’t about to let them do all of the work. That’s just not Jazzy’s style. The winger-turned-pivot came up with a takeaway late in the offensive zone to help steer this period home.

The Comets finished the middle frame with a commanding 5-2 lead on the scoreboard while outshooting the Crunch by a staggering 17-3 margin.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The final frame was not as busy as the middle one, but the Comets would add another goal to salt this one away and take game one of the Galaxy Cup series with Syracuse.

The final frame started off with a nifty play from Francis Perron trying to feed Justin Bailey, but Luke Schenn did nice work to break up the play. There was some back and forth before Teves unloaded a shot that went off a Crunch player and out of play.

At the other end, DiPietro had to come up with a sharp save on a Cory Conacher chance from the short side. Blujus followed up with another shot block. That was a common theme in Utica today as the Comets were getting in front of a lot of what Syracuse tried putting on the net.

The Comets were looking to add to their lead when Perron fed Bailey for a chance from the high-slot that was denied, as was the resulting rebound chance by MacEwen. DiPietro saw a few more shots in the final frame than he did in the second and he shut down a chance by Thomas early in the third.

I spoke about the Comets blocking a lot of shots in this game but it wasn’t just the usual suspects like Chatfield and Sautner, who is up with the Canucks right now. Lukas Jasek was getting his blocking game going with one of his own before the Camper line had another strong shift in the offensive zone.

Teves followed up with his best Johnny Cash impersonation when he Walked the Line before getting his shot through, but Wedgewood stymied his chance with another save.

Wacey Hamilton was dinged for slashing at the 5:57 mark and the Comets had another penalty to kill.

It was at this point when Comets play-by-play man Joe Roberts informed us that Jonah Gadjovich had gone to the room and was done for the game. I didn’t see what happened to Jonah and I don’t know the severity of his injury.

With Hamilton in the box, Trent Cull threw MacEwen and Jasek over the boards to start this kill off along with Juolevi and Chatfield. That is a pretty young foursome getting a look together on the kill. So far this year, the Canucks young prospects have been getting their fair share of opportunities to take on more minutes and earn bigger roles going forward.

Boucher and Bailey replaced MacEwen and Jasek and we saw Bailey get yet another shorthanded scoring opportunity. This has become a regular thing so far this year, so I am expecting Bailey to be a shorthanded threat throughout this season. The speedy winger has been a lot of fun to watch so far in Utica.

DiPietro had to come up with a glove save before Boucher was sent off for tripping with 21 seconds remaining in the Hamilton minor. The Comets had a brief five-on-three to kill off, and kill it off they did. Once again, Cull started with a young group as the trio of MacEwen, Brisebois, and Chatfield got things going.

Luke Schenn uncorked a point shot that DiPietro steered over the boards with his blocker before Juolevi channelled his inner Jaime Sifers and put on a shot-blocking clinic. The Comets came up with a good kill.

After the penalty was over, Perron tried to spring Boucher, but the Comets winger only managed to poke the puck toward the Syracuse net and Wedgewood made an easy save.

After some back and forth, DiPietro came up with a big save in tight before making another through traffic and holding for the whistle.

That giant Sosunov fellow followed up with a shot off the left side that DiPietro turned aside before Arseneau was sprung by a sweet Goldobin pass.

BigVinny got a shot away that was turned aside, but the energetic winger followed up and buried his own rebound. The goal was Arseneau’s first of the season, while Goldy grabbed his third helper of the game and fourth in his last two and Josh Teves earned his first AHL point with the secondary assist.

The Crunch tried to get that one right back when Huntington drove the net with a chance but DiPietro stood tall and said no. MacEwen and Bailey went the other way on a two-on-one but Zack lost the handle and the play died without another goal being scored.

Time was winding down and the Comets came with a sloppy shift that saw the Crunch applying a little bit of pressure. That lead to Lind and Concher getting scrummy and both were sent off with matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

With the teams skating at four aside, Brisebois sent Camper and Boucher in and Camper teed up a one-timer for Boucher. The winger’s stick exploded on impact, negating the chance for another goal. Josh Teves followed up with a sneaky shot through traffic that was denied by Wedgewood before Jasek had a chance swallowed up as well.

Syracuse brought a little more pressure and we saw DiPietro shut down a Dominik Masin chance with his blocker before Brisebois was sent off or cross-checking at the 19:41 mark. That was it for this one as the Comets skated away with a 6-2 win after outshooting the Crunch by a 38-18 margin in the game.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Today’s Comets Goals

  1. Jonah Gadjovich (1) from Wacey Hamilton (1) and Vincent Arseneau (1).
  2. Dylan Blujus (1) from Sven Baertschi (3) and Nikolay Goldobin (2).
  3. Francis Perron (1) from Zack MacEwen (1) and Justin Bailey (2).
  4. Reid Boucher (5) from Kole Lind (4).
  5. Zack MacEwen (1) from Nikolay Goldobin (3) and Brogan Rafferty (2).
  6. Vincent Arseneau (1) from Nikolay Goldobin (4) and Josh Teves (1).

Michael DiPietro: 16 saves on 18 shots for the win.

Power Play

First Unit: Nikolay Goldobin, Zack MacEwen, Kole Lind, Reid Boucher, Olli Juolevi.

Second Unit: Justin Bailey, Sven Baertschi, Carter Camper, Francis Perron, Brogan Rafferty.

Penalty Killers

Zack MacEwen, Wacey Hamilton, Justin Bailey, Lukas Jasek, Reid Boucher, Olli Juolevi, Guillaume Brisebois, Jalen Chatfield, Dylan Blujus.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Francis Perron. One goal.

2nd Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Three assists.

1st Star: Michael DiPietro. 16 saves for the win.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Olli Juolevi. Olli finished the game as a -2, but I felt that he was deserving of a star in this one. He came up with a number of timely shot blocks and acquitted himself well in the Comets zone for the most part. He was paired with Jalen Chatfield today and the two have a history, albeit a brief one, of playing well together. Juolevi was credited with two shots on goal in this one and showed some nice outlet passes as well. It could be a long season of ups and downs for Juolevi as he gets himself back into playing his game. There will be good moments and probably a few tough ones as well, but Juolevi has looked a little better with each game so far this year.

2nd Star: Kole Lind: Lind added his fourth helper in just his third game today and looks to be fitting in nicely with Carter Camper and Reid Boucher on a line that has provided plenty of offensive contributions already this season. He continues to play his in-your-face game that he has had some success with this year and managed to take Syracuse powerhouse forward Cory Conacher off the ice with him with their matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. It has been a solid start for Lind, let’s hope he can keep it up.

1st Star: Michael DiPietro: Sure, it was only 16 saves, but the young man went out and earned his first win as a pro and that has to feel good after his rushed NHL debut didn’t go the way he would have liked last season. Anyone who has played goal will tell you that it is preferable to get a few touches early in the game. Goalies like to stop some pucks early to get a rhythm going. Mikey only saw eight shots in the first period and none of them came early. In the middle frame, he saw just three shots and Syracuse only hit him with seven more in the third. The young netminder was sharp when he had to be and has his first AHL win in his first AHL game for his efforts.

Next Game

Game #4

Vs Charlotte Checkers

Friday, October 17th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific