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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Drop Third Straight in 4-2 Loss to Binghamton

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #11

Utica Comets at Binghamton Devils

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Roster Moves

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that Ashton Sautner is on his way back to Utica.

The Comets are thin up front with the recalls of Adam Gaudette and Sven Baertschi, along with injuries to Boucher, Camper, and Gadjovich, so they have signed forward Justin Taylor to a PTO, (professional tryout offer).

Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

Post-Game

Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Upper-body strain, week-to-week. NHL deal.
  2. Reid Boucher: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  3. Carter Camper: C – Middle-body injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  4. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  5. Dylan Blujus: RD – Family matter. AHL deal.
  6. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  7. Ashton Sautner: LD – In transit. NHL deal.
  8. Justin Taylor: F – In transit. PTO.

Today’s Comets Lines

(First line/defence pair listed started the game. The remainder are in no particular order)

34 Carter Bancks (C) – 17 Seamus Malone – 13 Kole Lind

 27 Francis Perron – 44 Tyler Graovac – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

95 Justin Bailey – 9 Lukas Jasek – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

18 Vincent Arseneau – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 26 Dyson Stevenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 52 Mitch Eliot

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

4 Josh Teves – 25 Brogan Rafferty

31 Zane McIntyre

64 Michael DiPietro (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame saw the Comets looking a little sharper than they have for the last few games, but they still ended the period down 2-1.

Zane McIntyre was back between the pipes after getting yanked in his last start and he had to come up with an early save on Joe Morrow.

There was some early back and forth that saw Guillaume Brisebois get a shot through that was denied by the recently acquired Louis Domingue.

Kyle Cumiskey was playing his first game of the season for the Devils and he got off to a good start with his first goal of the year just 3:52 in. He took a cross-ice feed from Nathan Bastian before putting the puck behind McIntyre. Bastain picked up his sixth assist of the season on the play, while Brandon Baddock earned his first.

The Comets were looking to get that one right back with a Zack MacEwen one-timer that was kicked out before Olli Juolevi followed up with a chance of his own that was also denied by Domingue. Nikolay Godobin came in with a shot off the rush that was gloved down as well.

At the other end, McIntyre made a pair of saves on Brett Seney with a scramble at the side of his net and held for the whistle. He followed up with a blocker save off the ensuing Devils’ faceoff win.

I’ve spoken about Vincent Arseneau and the Vincent Arseneau things that he tends to do at length this year. Well, BigVinny brought the boom, as is his way, on Michael McLeod behind the Devils net.

The Tyler Graovac line followed up with a good shift that saw Frankie Perron looking dangerous before Goldobin tipped a Graovac shot on net. Domingue was equal to the task.

The Devils went the other way and were soon up 2-0 on Ben Street’s fourth of the season. This one saw Street jump on a Joey Anderson rebound to beat McIntryre. Anderson picked up his sixth helper of the year on the play, while Dakota Mermis earned his second.

We had some back and forth before Jalen Chatfield and Street got into a wrestling match after both men knocked the Comets’ net off the pegs. No penalties were handed out and we stayed at five aside play.

Olli Juolevi has had some moments that we will call learning experiences this year and Chris Conner served up another one when he toe-dragged the Comets rookie defender for a chance that beat McIntyre, but not the post beside him and the score remained 2-0.

The Comets brought some pressure of their own from the Malone line with Brisebois and Mitch Eliot before they changed things up in time for Rafferty to get a wrister away from the point. Domingue kicked the Rafferty offering aside and MacEwen dug for loose change as the Devils netminder barred the door.

Dyson Stevenson picked up his first goal of the season, and his first in the AHL at the 16:53 mark to pull the Comets to within a goal. Arseneau was the set-up man for this play for his second helper of the season.

The Devils captain came looking to get that one back but McIntyre was ready with the save. At the other end, Tyler Graovac sent a cross-ice feed to Perron who had his shot denied by a stretched out Domingue. The Devils went the other way and the period wrapped up with McIntyre gobbling up another shot from Brett Seney.

The Devils were up 2-1 after one and held a lead of 11-8 on the shot clock.

Your first-period shot map:

Second Period

We didn’t see a bunch of scoring in the middle frame, but the Comets would knot the game at two near the end of the period.

Things started off with a McIntyre save as the Devils pressed early before Zack MacEwen was whistled for tripping at the 1:09 mark. Trent Cull sent Juolevi, Chatfield, Hamilton, and Bancks over the boards to get this kill started.

The Comets got the puck into the offensive zone and we saw Louis Domingue get tied up with Colton White. The Devils netminder lost his bucket on the play and the whistle was blown. Tyler Graovac and Lukas Jasek took over up front before Hamilton and Bancks steered the kill home along with Brisebois and Rafferty.

Guillaume Brisebois, however, ended up losing his stick and was quickly dinged for interference and the Comets were right back to the kill

MacEwen, Hamilton, Chatfield, and Juolevi started this kill off. Juolevi came up with a shot block that looked to be a stinger, but he stayed in the play. Chris Conner tried a stuff-play that McIntyre foiled before Jasek, Teves, Bancks, and Rafferty finished this kill off.

Nikolay Goldobin is back in Utica mostly based on his defensive play and compete-level. Credit where it is due, Goldy showed some great hustle and compete in an offensive zone board battle that led to a turnover in the Comets favour.

Lukas Jasek’s line followed up with a great shift of their own but they were unable to get anything to go. At the other end, Brett Seney let fly with a shot that McIntyre shut down before the Comets netminder got a piece of the Chris Conner shot that followed. The Devils kept it coming as Ryan Schmelzer showed some speed down the right side, only to have McIntyre whip out a timely poke-check for the save.

McIntyre followed up by stopping a bouncer with Ben Street lurking for a rebound.

The Comets were pushing to tie this game as Perron dished to Graovac in front for a chance that Domingue was able to keep out. That was when Vincent Arseneau and Brandon Baddock had a little wrestling match and both were sent off for fighting.

Jalen Chatfield had to turn on the jets to break up a Devils chance in the defensive zone before Kole Lind sent a sweet feed to Wacey Hamilton for a chance that was gloved down by Domingue.

The Devils came back with a chance of their own but McIntyre denied the Josh Jacobs offering from the right circle.

At the other end, Kole Lind drove the net hard with the puck but the black biscuit just bobbled around beside the net.

Goldobin set up Perron for a chance that was deflected out of play before Brogan Rafferty came up with a fantastic pass to set Goldy up for his second goal of the season. The assist was Rafferty’s fifth of the year, while Justin Bailey earned his third.

It’s okay if you want to take another look or two at the passing on that play… I’ve certainly watched it a few times.

That goal came at the 19:08 mark and that’s the way the period would finish. Binghamton held a 10-5 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The final frame saw some decent action as the two clubs battled for a win. The Comets had been outshot 21-13 through two periods and that trend would continue as the Devils sent 18 more shots McIntyre’s way in the final frame to cement the win.

The Comet netminder started the third period off by stopping a Michael McLeod chance through traffic and he held for the whistle. Chris Conner followed up with a shot that was redirected and McIntyre had to be ready with another save.

We saw some juggling of the forward lines and defensive pairs early in the third as Wacey Hamilton and Seamus Malone swapped spots up front, while Josh Teves and Mitch Eliot were paired up for a couple of shifts. Brisebois was with Chatfield, while Rafferty and Juolevi saw a shift or two together.

Lukas Jasek, however, was still with MacEwen and Bailey and the winger-turned-pivot saw his backhander denied by Domingue. The trade that brought Domingue to the Devils recently was paying dividends in this one.

At the other end, McIntyre had to come up with a pair of saves to keep the game knotted at two.

Mitch Eliot was playing in just his second game of the season and he had some noticeable moments. He made a nice feed to Kole Lind in the neutral zone. Lind went in for a shot that was steered aside by the stick of Domingue before a Julian Melchiori shot was gloved down by McIntyre in the Comets zone.

Zack MacEwen was dinged for interference at the 6:53 mark and the Comets were off to the penalty kill. Zack’s start hasn’t been the best this season as TheBigFella has been snake bitten offensively of late. He’s still doing some good things without the puck, but he will want to get his game going soon to help pull his team out of this funk.

Trent Cull sent his trusted duo of Bancks and Hamilton over the boards, along with Juolevi and Chatfield to start this one off. Graovac and Jasek eventually replaced the twins while Brisebois and Rafferty took over the blueline duties. The Comets came up with a good kill.

The Devils started to press but were unable to get anything going before Francis Perron went the other way and ripped a shot off the iron. As happens so often in hockey, the Devils came right back into the Comets’ zone and went up 3-2 on Chris Conner’s sixth of the season. Nathan Bastian picked up his seventh helper of the year on the play, while Ben Street grabbed his eighth.

Guillaume Brisebois, who along with Jalen Chatfield, is rocking quite the Movember ‘stache already, let fly with a shot that was tipped by Dyson Stevenson at the net-side. Domingue was ready with another save.

Joe Morrow went the other way for a shot that was gloved down and held by McIntyre before the defensive combo of Brisebois and Eliot went to work for a chance. Eliot used a nice pinch to get the puck to Brosebois who had his shot denied once again.

Ludvig Larsson was dinged for hooking at the 15:11 mark and the Comets had a power play to work with. We saw the first unit of Goldobin, MacEwen, Graovac, Juolevi, and Rafferty start things off, but they were unable to get anything going. The second unit of Perron, Lind, Bailey, Brisebois, and Eliot didn’t fare a whole lot better, although Brisebois and Bailey at least made Domingue come up with a couple of saves.

McIntyre had to come up with a shorthanded save and the Comets power play came up empty.

Trent Cull summoned McIntyre to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:59 remaining and Justin Bailey was hacked down in the neutral zone soon after. The Comets were getting a late power play to try to tie this one up.

It was Nathan Bastian who would be doing time as he was sent off for tripping. It took Ben Street 22 seconds to salt this one away with his fifth goal of the season. Ryan Schmelzer earned his fourth helper of the year on the shorthanded, empty-net marker.

The Comets looked like they were going to at least pull to within a goal when Kole Lind fed Lukas Jasek for a shot that was fired high over the net and that was it for this one.

The Devils held a commanding 18-5 lead on the third period shot clock and outshot the Comets 39-18 for the game.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

  1. Dyson Stevenson (1) from Vincent Arseneau (2).
  2. Nikolay Goldobin (2) from Brogan Rafferty (5) and Justin Bailey (3).

Special Teams:

Power Play: 0/2

Penalty Kill: 3/3

PP1: Goldobin, MacEwen, Graovac, Juolevi, Rafferty.

PP2: Bailey, Perron, Lind, Brisebois, Eliot.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Hamilton, MacEwen, Jasek, Graovac, Brisebois, Rafferty, Juolevi, Chatfield, Teves.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Dyson Stevenson. One goal, first in the AHL.

2nd Star: Ben Street. Two goals, one assist.

1st Star: Chris Conner. One goal, game-winner.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Guillaume Brisebois. Brisebois was credited with two more shots on goal today, and while that might not sound like a lot, it adds to his team-leading 18 shots on goal this season, (amongst defencemen). Brisebois was one of just three players who finished this game as a plus for the Comets. Dyson Stevenson and Vincent Arseneau were the others and they didn’t play the kind of minutes that Guillaume did. I thought Brisebois played a steady game for the Comets again today.

2nd Star: Zane McIntyre. He took the loss in this game, but McIntyre still came up with 35 saves to give his team a chance. He now has a record of 5-2-0-0 on the season while posting a goals-against-average of 2.49 along with a 0.926% save percentage. The Comets will need McIntyre to continue playing well if they want to compete for a playoff spot this season… and that is clearly the plan in Utica.

1st Star: Brogan Rafferty. Rafferty finished this game as a minus-one, but he still gets my first star today. The pass that led to the Goldobin goal alone was worth the first star today. The thing is, that isn’t even the first time we’ve seen a pass like that from Rafferty as he has made a habit of jumping up into the play, drawing a defender to him and dishing a sweet feed for his teammate to score from. Brogan is now up to one goal and five assists to give himself six points in 11 games this season. He’s stayed out of the penalty box and is a plus-eight on the year.

A personal note*

My friend Ian Cooper, (@1Cooop) has been fighting cancer since 2016. He has been admitted to the hospital and is nearing the end of his fight.

I would be forever grateful if my readers could send some positive thoughts in the direction of Coop, his wife and their two sons. This is an incredibly difficult time for them and they could use all of the support that we can give them.

I set up a Go-Fund-Me for Coop’s family when he was first diagnosed in 2016. At the time, very few people knew that he was told he’d only have 3-6 months to live. The stubborn bugger decided to stick around a little longer than that, but his family could still use your support if you are able.

Next Game

Game #12

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Utica Comets

Friday, November 8th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific