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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Remain Undefeated With 8-2 Shellacking Of Charlotte

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #4

Charlotte Checkers at Utica Comets

Friday, October 18th, 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. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Day-to-day, upper-body strain. NHL deal.
  3. Carter Bancks: W/C – Day-to-day, upper-body injury. AHL deal.
  4. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  5. Mitch Eliot: RD – healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  6. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  7. Zane McIntyre: G – in transit from Vancouver. NHL deal.

Comets Starting Lines

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

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

47 Sven Baertschi – 9 Lukas Jasek – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

17 Seamus Malone – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 18 Vincent Arseneau

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

4 Josh Teves – 8 Dylan Blujus

64 Michael DiPietro

32 Richard Bachman

First Period

This period was a fun one to watch, so let’s get after it.

The Comets came with some early pressure as Justin Bailey had a shot turned aside by goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. The Checkers’ netminder was about to find out that he wasn’t going to be so lucky for the rest of the period.

After some back and forth we saw Mikey DiPietro kick aside a point shot before Vincent Arseneau fired a muffin at the other end of the ice and Nedeljkovic came up with an easy save. BigVinny was bringing his trademark physical game early in this one as well.

Former Canucks prospect Gustav Forsling let fly with a point shot that was tipped on its way to DiPietro, but the Comets rookie netminder came up with the save. DiPietro was sharp early. He made another save on a Charlotte point shot before Kole Lind used a smart bit of hand-passing to move the puck out of danger for a Comets zone exit.

Olli Juolevi showed some smart body positioning to stay with his man and force another turnover in the Comets favour before DiPietro came up with another pair of saves to keep this one knotted at zero.

Josh Teves showed some wheels and a willingness to pinch but he was unable to make the play happen that he was looking for. Soon after, we saw Reid Boucher heading off for cross-checking.

With Boucher in the box, Wacey Hamilton and Lukas Jasek climbed over the boards along with Guillaume Brisebois and Dylan Blujus.

Roland McKeown had his shot kicked out by DiPietro before Zack MacEwen and Justin Bailey wrapped up the kill with Olli Juolevi and Jalen Chatfield. Julien Gauthier had a dangerous chance but DiPietro was equal to the task and the Comets had a good kill in the books.

This is when things went terribly wrong for Nedeljkovic and amazingly right for the Comets. First, it was the goaltender overhandling the puck and Kole Lind taking advantage as he stole the puck and dished a sweet feed to a charging Carter Camper who buried it for his first of the season. Lind grabbed his fifth assist of the year on the play.

It was great hustle by Lind to make that one happen and that is something we’ve seen plenty of from Kole this season.

Zack MacEwen used his big frame to shove his man off the puck at the Comets blue line to force another turnover before Seamus Malone used a nifty feed to set up Hamilton for a scoring chance, but Wacey fired his offering wide of the net.

There was some back and forth before Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin hooked up to help Brogan Rafferty score his first pro goal. It started with a Baertschi forecheck and finished with a Goldobin pass. Goldy earned his fifth assist of the season on the play, while Baertschi grabbed his fourth.

In a case of, if Kole Lind can do it, I can do it too, Zack MacEwen caught Nedeljkovic napping and grabbed the puck before setting up Justin Bailey and the Comets were up 3-0 quickly. The goal was Bailey’s second of the season, while Zack grabbed his second helper of the year on the play.

Those goals came a little over 20 seconds apart and Nedeljkovic was replaced by Anton Forsberg. The Comets fourth line tested Forsberg early when Seamus Malone dished a sweet feed to Arseneau for a shot that was kicked aside.

Boucher teed up Kole Lind for a one-timer in the slot, but the young winger ripped his shot wide of the net. Guillaume Brisebois followed up with a point shot that was gobbled up for the whistle.

The Comets kept it coming when Baertschi set Goldobin up with a ridiculous pass that Goldy couldn’t convert. Josh Teves and Clark Bishop got into it after the whistle and both were sent off for roughing.

With the teams playing at four aside we saw DiPietro freeze a bouncer and he held for the whistle before showing a nice stick to pick off a cross-crease pass attempt. MacEwen followed up with a diving play to foil another Checkers chance before TheBigFella got on his horse to break out for a chance at the other end that was turned aside. That was it for the opening frame.

The Comets finished the period up 4-0 and lead on the shot clock by a 9-8 margin.

Your first-period shot map:

   

Second Period

Kole Lind kicked off the middle frame with a nice cross-ice feed to Boucher but nothing came of the opportunity. DiPietro kept his good game going with a huge save on David Gust with a painful looking stretch. The young netminder followed up with another save on Colin Markison.

The Checkers were looking a little more with it in the second period.

Baertschi and Goldobin didn’t really care what the Checkers looked like as Goldobin whipped out a patented Goldy feed to Sven for a chance that he couldn’t get to go. Francis Perron soon had a chance of his own denied and the game was getting exciting.

Vincent Arseneau absolutely blew up Hunter Shinkaruk with a hit at the Comets blue line before DiPietro crushed Steven Lorentz’s dreams with a flash of the leather.

DiPietro wasn’t the only one whipping out the nice plays as Josh Teves used the boards to pass the puck to himself and blow by the Charlotte defender before getting his shot away. Unfortunately, he put his offering off the side of the net.

At the other end, Chase Priskie let fly with a shot that was gloved down by the Comets netminder and we had a little back and forth.

Kole Lind hasn’t only been putting up points this season, he is also showing well when he doesn’t have the puck on his stick. The young winger is often found deep on the backcheck to help support his defenders when required.

DiPietro had to make another save on Derek Sheppard as the teams played some end-to-end hockey for a shift without much actually happening until the Comets iced the puck. Julien Gauthier got a nice shot off from the right side that DiPietro got an arm on before the play slowed to a crawl after a series of icing calls.

The Comets backend has been doing a good job of keeping their opponents out of good scoring areas this season and that continued in this one.

Jalen Chatfield made Derek Sheppard pay the toll for coming over his blue line with a board rattling hit before Goldy went the other way and whipped out all of the dekes and dropping a pass for Rafferty. The young defender’s shot was blockered out of harm’s way by Forsberg.

Charlotte started to apply some pressure before Jasek sent Goldobin and Baertschi in for an odd-man rush. Unfortunately, Sven and Goldy were out of gas and nothing came of Jasek’s nice play.

Zack MacEwen already had an assist in this one and with his father Craig and brother Kurtis in the stands, TheBigFella wasn’t about to take the abuse that he was receiving in the way of a flurry of cross-checks. Zack came back with some lumber of his own before the gloves hit the ice and he and Max McCormick were teeing off on each other.

Both men were dinged with a fighting major, while MacEwen somehow received the extra two for cross-checking. The Comets had a penalty to kill.

Trent Cull threw Juolevi, Chatfield, Boucher and Hamilton over the boards to get this one started. DiPietro gloved down an early chance before Boucher dazzled with a shorthanded goal to give the Comets a 4-0 lead. The unassisted tally was the sixth of the season for Boucher in just his fourth game… but that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention to this team since his arrival on the scene.

Lukas Jasek and Justin Bailey wrapped this kill up and the Comets special teams got another bump.

Jalen Chatfield does a lot of good things in his own end of the ice, but the offence hasn’t really come for him at the AHL level. That isn’t for a lack of trying, however, as Jalen did great work to get into the Checkers’ zone and get a shot away. Forsberg had the answer and the game remained a 4-0 affair.

Nikolay Goldobin is pretty fun to watch in the AHL with the way he finds passing lanes that lead to dangerous scoring chances for his teammates. He did just that when he dished a crazy feed to Baertschi for a shot that Sven couldn’t bury.

The period closed out with DiPietro laughing in the face of Eetu Luostarinen when he stymied his point-blank chance from the slot. Dylan Blujus took a holding penalty at the 20:00 minute mark, forcing the Comets into a full two-minute kill to start the final frame.

Charlotte had the lead on the shot clock for the second period with a 9-5 advantage.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The Comets started the final frame off with the foursome of Boucher, Hamilton, Juolevi, and Chatfield on the kill. Juolevi came up with a shot block before that group yielded to Justin Bailey and Zack MacEwen along with Guillaume Brisebois and Josh Teves. It was nice to see Teves getting a look on the PK in this one.

Lukas Jasek, Wacey Hamilton, Juolevi, and Chatfield were back out and saw DiPietro make a quick save in close on Janne Kuokkanen. Francis Perron saw some time on this kill as well, as did Brogan Rafferty and the Comets wrapped this PK up nicely.

Former Comets forward Hunter ClearBeard Shinkaruk got his team on the board with his first of the season at the 2:47 mark and that was when all of the fun started. The Shinkaruk goal was assisted by another former Canucks prospect as Gustav Forsling earned his first assist of the year on the play while Max McCormick also grabbed his first.

Sven Baertschi decided to get in on the fun 38 seconds later when he took a Goldobin pass and buried it behind Forsberg for his first of the season. Goldy grabbed his sixth assist in three games on the play, while Lukas Jasek earned his second.

We had a 5-1 game and the scoring wasn’t close to being done yet as Eetu Luostarinen answered back just 16 seconds later with his third of the season. David Gust earned the lone assist on the play for his first helper of the season.

It wasn’t long after when a brief melee ensued between Arseneau and Brian Gibbons and both men were sent off for roughing.

With the teams skating at four aside, Boucher skated into the Checkers’ zone while wearing a defender like a cape. Reid got his shot away, but there wasn’t much on it and Forsberg made an easy save.

Juolevi was dinged for tripping at the 5:14 mark and the Comets had a five-on-three to kill.

Hamilton, Blujus, and Brisebois were the chosen trio to start things off and they did great work. Blujus came up with a shot block and Brisebois followed up with one of his own before clearing the puck out of the zone.

Jalen Chatfield was next up, coming up with a steal and a clear to get this to a five-on-four kill. We saw Teves out again, along with Jasek and the Comets came up with a good kill after another Brisebois shot block.

Goldobin has been fun to watch, but he still makes the odd mistake while in Utica. He did just that when he coughed up the puck in the neutral zone, leading to a Checkers scoring chance that they were unable to capitalize on.

Morgan Geekie kept it coming for the Checkers when he ripped a shot off the iron before MacEwen showed off his wheels to beat out an icing call, leading to a shot from Perron that was gloved down by Forsberg.

Carter Camper won the resulting faceoff to Boucher, who was promptly mugged by Chase Priskie and the Comets were back to the power play.

Goldobin teed up a perfect one-timer for Lind in the slot, but the winger ripped his shot over the net. No matter though as Lind would bury his first of the season soon after. Kole got a shot off from in close and gathered his own rebound to beat Forsberg. MacEwen grabbed his third helper of the year on the play, while Goldy picked up his seventh.

Just over a minute later, Sheppard decided to give the Comets another look on the power play when he was whistled for interference.

Boucher unloaded a bomb that was tipped just wide by MacEwen and the first unit had some good pressure, but they were unable to make anything happen. The second unit didn’t fare a whole lot better and the Comets came up empty.

We saw some back and forth before DiPietro stretched out with the splits to shut down a Julien Gauthier chance for yet another save. The kid was a little busier in this one than he was in his debut on Wednesday and he looked good.

Guillaume Brisebois has been having a nice start to his season as he is looking more confident in his abilities with every game. He used a nice stretch pass to send Lind in for a chance, but the winger was unable to split the defence and the play came to an end. That wouldn’t matter as Dylan Blujus was soon celebrating his second goal in as many games.

Zack MacEwen continued to add to his point totals with his fourth assist of the season on the Blujus tally, while newcomer Francis Perron earned his first.

The Comets were dominating this game in every way and things began to get sloppy from both teams as time was winding down. DiPietro had to come up with a point-blank save before freezing the puck for a whistle.

Justin Bailey finished this one off when Perron and Brisebois hooked up to set up his third goal of the season. Brisebois grabbed his first assist of the year on the play, while Perron earned his second.

That was it for this one as the Comets came away with a convincing 8-2 win. Utica outshot Charlotte 10-9 in the final frame, but the Checkers held a 26-24 advantage for the game.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Today’s Comets Goals

  1. Carter Camper (1) from Kole Lind (5).
  2. Brogan Rafferty (1) from Nikolay Goldobin (5) and Sven Baertschi (4).
  3. Justin Bailey (2) from Zack MacEwen (2).
  4. Reid Boucher (6) unassisted. Shorthanded goal.
  5. Sven Baertschi (1) from Nikolay Goldobin (6) and Lukas Jasek (2).
  6. Kole Lind (1) from Zack MacEwen (3) and Nikolay Goldobin (7).
  7. Dylan Blujus (2) from Francis Perron (1) and Zack MacEwen(4).
  8. Justin Bailey (3) from Guillaume Brisebois (1) and Francis Perron (2).

Michael DiPietro: 24 saves on 26 shots for the win.

Special Teams

PP: One goal/two power play opportunities.

PK: Four penalties/four kills.

PP1: Goldobin/MacEwen/Lind/Boucher/Juolevi.

PP2: Baertschi/Bailey/Perron/Camper/Rafferty.

Penalty Killers: Hamilton/Boucher/MacEwen/Bailey/Jasek/Camper/Perron. Chatfield/Brisebois/Juolevi/Blujus/Teves/Rafferty.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Brogan Rafferty. One goal.

2nd Star: Justin Bailey. Two goals.

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Three assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Reid Boucher/Carter Camper/Kole Lind. Trent Cull got three goals and one assist out of this line today and they have been pretty consistent since the opening game of the season. Boucher has scored six goals and one assist in his first four games, while Carter Camper has earned a goal and two assists. Kole Lind, the second-year pro has grabbed six points and is sitting third overall in team scoring behind Boucher and Goldobin. That has to be considered a very good sign after the way things went for Kole last year in his rookie campaign. The Comets have some nice balance across their forward group and that will go a long way in seeing them have a successful season.

2nd Star: Sven Baertschi/Lukas Jasek/Nikolay Goldobin. The trio of Baertschi, Jasek, and Goldobin was assembled for Wednesday’s game and since then the group has combined for one goal and five assists. Between the three of them, they have picked up 15 points since the start of the season. The feat is more impressive when you consider that both of Sven and Goldy missed the first game of the season with “immigration issues.” Today we saw Goldy grab three assists, Sven pick up a goal and an assist, while Jasek earned a helper as well.

1st Star: Justin Bailey/Francis Perron/Zack MacEwen. As if the trio above hasn’t been good enough, the Perron line has been even better. Bailey grabbed a pair of goals today and has formed one-third of a potent offensive trio with Francis Perron and Zack MacEwen. His size and speed give opponents fits and his game is a fun one to watch. Perron, who played his first game in a Comets uniform on Wednesday now has three points in his two games as a pivot, both with MacEwen and Bailey on his wings. In two games, the trio has combined for four goals and seven assists for 11 points. MacEwen, for his part, finished the game with three assists and a fight. I would say that Trent Cull has put together a pretty effective unit with this line. Since the first game of the season, the three have a combined 12 points.

Next Game

Game #5

Rochester Americans at Utica Comets

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific