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Photo Credit: Cory Hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: DiPietro Makes 22 Saves, While The Comets Get Two Points Each From Boucher, Lind, Rafferty, and Baertschi En Route To 4-3 Win Over Toronto

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #21

Utica Comets at Toronto Marlies

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

1:30 pm Eastern/10:30 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

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Post-Game

Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Olli Juolevi: LD – Lower-body ailment, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  2. Wacey Hamilton: C/W – Upper-body injury, week-to-week. AHL deal.
  3. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  5. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  6. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  7. Tanner Sorenson: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  8. Justin Taylor: C/W – Healthy scratch. PTO.

Today’s Comets Lines

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

62 Antoine Roussel – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

47 Sven Baertschi – 17 Seamus Malone – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

21 Jonah Gadjovich – 27 Francis Perron – 95 Justin Bailey

34 Carter Bancks (C) – 9 Lukas Jasek – 26 Dyson Stevenson

6 Ashton Sautner (A) – 5 Jalen Chatfield

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

8 Dylan Blujus – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame offered up a pretty decent pace of play as the Comets would find themselves down 2-1 with each club hammering home a power-play goal as well before the period finished.

We had some good back and forth early as Ashton Sautner had a shot turned aside by Marlies netminder Joseph Woll before Rich Clune was denied by Mikey DiPietro at the other end of the ice.

The Comets came back for another chance as Kole Lind sent a feed to Brogan Rafferty for a backhander that was denied as well. Jesper Lindgren followed up with a shot through traffic that was gobbled up by DiPietro for a whistle.

The action soon went back the other way when Jonah Gadjovich sprung Frankie Perron for a chance that the winger-turned-pivot put wide of the net. At the other end, Hudson Elynuik let fly with a one-timer from a cross-ice feed and DiPietro came up with a big save to keep his team in the game.

Joseph Woll was not going to be outdone as he came up with a save on the Kole Lind one-timer that he faced next.

This game was filled with audio/video issues where my feed was swapping back and forth between the home/away audio feed before the game dropped out altogether on me. When things got sorted out we saw former Comets forward Tanner MacMaster score his sixth of the year to put the Marlies up 1-0 when he tipped a shot past DiPietro. Pontus Aberg earned his 13th helper of the year on the play, while Egor Korshkov grabbed his sixth.

The Marlies kept it coming as DiPietro had to come up with a huge stretching save to stone Kenny Agostino.

Guillaume Brisebois hauled down former Comets forward Darren Archibald on his way to the net and the Comets had a penalty to kill.

We saw Bancks, Jasek, Chatfield, and Sautner start things off and DiPietro had to swallow up a one-timer from Aberg before Boucher and Bailey took over up front and had a shorthanded chance shut down. DiPietro came up with a flurry of saves late in the kill before Korshkov was sent off for roughing.

The teams played seven seconds of four aside play before the Comets power play took over. It didn’t take long for a sweet passing play that resulted in Sven Baertschi’s fourth goal of the season. Boucher started this one off and Kole Lind made a slick pass to Baertschi for the goal.

This time it was the Comets coming on quickly after their goal as Woll had to make a pair of big saves on Malone and Baertschi before Sven was dinged for slashing.

The Comets were back to the kill and it didn’t take long for Agostino to put the Marlies up 2-1 with his 11th of the season. Jeremy Bracco picked up his 14th helper of the year on the play, while Rasmus Sandin grabbed his eighth.

That was it for the opening frame as the Marlies showed an advantage of 13-9 on the shot clock.

Your first-period shot map:

Second Period

The Comets had an early break when Keny Agostino took an ill-timed tripping penalty and the good guys were off to the power play.

The first unit of Lind, Boucher, Bailey, Baertschi, and Raferty started things off before the second unit of Camper, Perron, Gadjovich, Roussel, and Eliot took over. Neither group managed to make much happen and the Comets came up empty.

We had some back and forth before Gadjovich showed great work along the boards in the offensive zone to force a turnover. Jonah was doing that all over the ice today as he was fully engaged in this one.

The Marlies went the other way and Mac Hollowell saw DiPietro get a glove on his offering for another save. The Comets quickly went the other way when Kole Lind sent Baertschi in all alone with a sweet stretch pass but Woll was there with the stop. This time it was the Marlies going back the other way quickly but DiPietro came up with the stop on Darren Archibald.

The Jasek line followed up with a stifling shift in the offensive zone where they wouldn’t let the Marlies move out. When Toronto finally did get out of their end, Gadjovich was there to force a turnover in the Comets’ end to send Utica back the other way.

The Comets tried to set up as Perron hit Brisebois with a feed for a shot through traffic with Gadjovich making life difficult for Woll, but the Marlies netminder was there with the save.

Scott Pooley was dinged for interference at the 9:18 mark and it was back to the power play for Utica.

It didn’t take long for Justin Bailey to tap in the easiest goal that he will ever score and it was a 2-2 game. The goal was the fifth of the season for Bailey, while Baertschi picked up his 10th helper of the year on the play with the ridiculous feed and Brogan Rafferty grabbed his 11th.

The Marlies were looking to get that one right back but DiPietro came up with a pair of big saves to keep the game knotted at two. Boucher went the other way but Woll was there to say no once again. Baertschi, Malone, and Boucher came right back with another chance that looked nifty but didn’t go.

Antoine Roussel was dinged for tripping at the 11:57 mark and the Comets had a penalty to kill.

Brisebois came up with a couple of big shot blocks before Dylan Blujus got his stick up on Darren Archibald and the big man was off to the room for repairs. The officials missed the infraction when it happened and allowed play to continue before retroactively hauling Blujus off the ice and handing him a double-minor.

The Comets did fantastic work on this kill and came away unscathed, but not without some nice work from DiPietro who got a shoulder on an Aberg offering before shutting down Pooley in close. Adam Brooks had a chance in close as well but DiPietro was there with another save.

That was it for the middle frame as the Comets showed a 7-6 edge on the shot clock.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

Buckle up, folks. The final frame saw three more goals scored as these two clubs looked to be evenly matched today.

Mikey D has been full value this season in his rookie campaign and the first-year pro had to stretch out to come up with an early save to keep the game knotted at two.

We had some back and forth before Justin Bailey was set up by a nice feed from Frankie Perron but the speedy winger put his offering wide. That’s been a bit of a theme for Bailey this season as he’s had a lot of chances but hasn’t had the easiest time of finding his target. They won’t all be tap-ins like his goal from Baertschi in the middle frame was so he will need to start hitting the net with more of his shots.

Utica kept it coming when Boucher fired a shot wide of the net as well before Chatfield buried his chance into the belly of the Marlies netminder. Jalen made up for that muffin when he used a solid hit to take his former teammate and honourary mayor of Utica, Darren Archibald off the puck near the Comets blueline.

These two teams looked to be pretty evenly matched as the action went back and forth.

The Comets would take their first lead of the game at the 4:10 mark when Kole Lind made no mistake after Camper and Roussel forced a turnover in the offensive zone. The goal was the fourth of the season for Kole, while Camper grabbed his 10th helper of the year on the play and Roussel picked up his first.

With four goals and 12 assists, Lind is now up to 16 points in 21 games this year. That puts him one point behind his rookie total of 17 in 51 games last season. Nice work, Kole.

This game had three Comets goals already and none of them came from Reid Boucher… but not for a lack of trying as the Comets’ sniper let fly with a shot after Baertschi forced a turnover. Woll gobbled it up quicker than your heavy set uncle destroyed that dessert table at Thanksgiving dinner.

At the other end, DiPietro wasn’t going to be outdone as he turned aside a Darren Archibald offering.

That Jasek line went to work in the offensive zone again, hemming the Marlies in and not giving them any room to set up a breakout play. I really liked that trio today. That said, one-third of the group was sent to the sin bin when Bancks was dinged for tripping at the 7:13 mark. It was off to the kill for Utica.

Mikey DiPietro wasn’t as busy in this game as he has been in some of his other starts, but he was still coming up with the big saves. He made a diving save to stymie an effort from the net-side before Darren Archibald beat him for his fifth of the season on a rebound play at the doorstep. Timothy Liljegren picked up his ninth helper of the season on the play, while Nicholas Baptiste earned his third.

We were tied at three and we had a whole new game. Also, if you’re scoring along at home, that makes two former Comets scoring in this one.

After the Marlies goal, Utica started to apply some pressure as they wanted to get the go-ahead goal quickly. Rafferty came with a shot that was swallowed up by Woll before Boucher beat MacMaster on the ensuing faceoff and tried to rip a shot past Woll but the Marlies netminder was wise to his plan.

Ashton Sautner followed up with a shot from the point that went off the blocker of Woll before the Jasek line went to work in the offensive zone again. The line of Baertschi, Malone, and Boucher followed up with some pressure of their own as the Comets were taking over.

The Jasek line came right back out and put a blanket over the Marlies in their end before Boucher, Rafferty, and Brisebois hooked up on the game-winning goal.

When I see the way Boucher rips this one home, I feel bad for the AHL goaltenders who have to face him. The goal was the 15th of the season for Reid in just his 16th game of the year, while Brisebois picked up his seventh helper of the season on the play and Rafferty earned his 12th.

Brisebois now has eight points in 21 games and is on pace for a career-high of 28. Rafferty, on the other hand, is on pace to eclipse the Comets single-season points record by a defender as he’s clicking along at a 50-point pace. I’ve mentioned it before, but Bobby Sanguinetti set that record with 40 points in the 2014/15 campaign. Keep it up, Brogan.

Justin Bailey didn’t look content to sit on a one-goal lead as he had a break from his own blueline and turned on the jets to lap the field before Woll came up with another save.

There was more back and forth before Woll was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with roughly 1:30 remaining in the game.

Lukas Jasek was being rewarded for his defensive efforts as he was being trusted to help steer this one home in the dying minutes. Toronto called their timeout with 39 seconds remaining but they could not come up with a plan to tie the game as the Comets took this one 4-3.

Utica showed an 8-6 advantage in shots for the final frame while Toronto held the lead for the game by a 25-24 margin.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

  1. Sven Baertschi (4) from Kole Lind (12) and Reid Boucher (8). PP goal.
  2. Justin Bailey (5) from Sven Baertschi (10) and Brogan Rafferty (11). PP goal.
  3. Kole Lind (4) from Carter Camper (10) and Antoine Roussel (1).
  4. Reid Boucher (15) from Guillaume Brisebois (7) and Brogan Rafferty (12).

Special Teams:

Power Play: 2/3

Penalty Kill: 4/6

PP1: Bailey, Boucher, Baertschi, Lind, Rafferty.

PP2: Camper, Perron, Gadjovich, Roussel, Eliot.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Jasek, Boucher, Bailey, Camper, Perron, Brisebois, Rafferty, Sautner, Chatfield, Blujus.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Pontus Aberg. One assist.

2nd Star: Sven Baertschi. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Carter Bancks/Lukas Jasek/Dyson Stevenson. Today’s third star goes to the entire fourth line. None of the three picked up any points, but all had a positive effect on this game’s outcome. Their work in the offensive zone today was fantastic. They stifled nearly every attempt that Toronto made to get out of their own end when they were on the ice. Bancks and Jasek were also key contributors to the penalty kill today. Jasek might not be putting up the kind of points that some were expecting of him this year, but he is doing great work in turning himself into a useful utility player who can be used much in the same way that Travis Green used to employ Markus Granlund. That is to say that Lukas is becoming an all situations guy who can play the wing or the middle while moving up and down the lineup.

2nd Star: Brogan Rafferty. Rafferty is on the older side as far as rookies go in the AHL at 24-years-of-age, but he is still learning the pro game on the fly. The steady right-shot rearguard now has two goals and 14 points in 21 games which has him on pace for 50 points this season. The Comets have only had five players reach that mark since arriving in Utica and none have been defenders. That’s a feather in Brogan’s cap if he can keep it up. He has taken over for Olli Juolevi on the first power-play unit and is also being sprinkled in on the penalty kill as well. If Brogan can keep up this type of pace in the second half of the season, he will be putting himself right into contention to take a job out of training camp with the big club next season when his contract shifts from a two-way deal to a one-way pact.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Reid picked up another pair of points today to bring his season totals to 15 goals and eight assists to give himself 23 points in 16 games. That adds up to an average of 1.4 points/game, or 106 points over a 76 game season. As I mentioned in my last post-game report, Reid is doing all of this while holding down a role as one of the team’s top penalty killers and he also plays a physical brand of hockey when it is required. Boucher has now played in 286 AHL games split between three different organizations. He has put up 134 goals and 107 assists over that span to give himself 241 points for his AHL career so far. That seems… good.

Next Game

Game #22

Utica Comets at Toronto Marlies

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

4:00 pm Eastern/1:00 pm Pacific