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Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game Report: Comets Start Well But Give Up Five Unanswered Goals in 5-3 Loss To Binghamton

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #44

Binghamton Devils at Utica Comets

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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

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Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

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Post-Game

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Scratched today For Utica

  1. Wacey Hamilton: C – Lower-body injury, (broken foot) 6-8 weeks. AHL deal.
  2. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, (ankle) week-to-week. AHL deal.
  3. Dylan Blujus: RD – Upper-body injury, (chest) day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Brogan Rafferty: RD – Undisclosed soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  5. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (possible concussion). no timeframe. AHL deal.
  6. Guillaume Brisebois: LD – Upper-body injury, (broken fingertip) day-to-day. NHL deal.
  7. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Matt Petgrave: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  9. David Pope: LW/RW – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  10. Tanner Sorenson: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  11. Seamus Malone: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  12. Joe Roberts: PxP – Healthy scratch, (just became a father for the first time yesterday).

Comets Starting Lines

(1st forward line/defensive pair listed started the game, the remainder are in no particular order)

47 Sven Baertschi – 16 John Stevens – 15 Zack MacEwen

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 19 Carter Camper – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

95 Justin Bailey – 9 Lukas Jasek – 13 Kole Lind

21 Jonah Gadjovich – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 27 Francis Perron

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 5 Jalen Chatfield

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

4 Josh Teves – 53 Mitch Eliot

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

This was a decent first frame of hockey as things were slow to get going, but the Comets would be up 2-0 by the time the horn sounded to end the period. Ashton Sautner started things off with a shot through traffic from the high slot that Gilles Senn kicked aside.

At the other end, Julain Melchiori let fly with a shot of his own through traffic and Mikey DiPietro gloved it down for a whistle. We had a bit of back and forth before DiPietro soaked up a shot from Jeremy Groleau for another save.

AHLTV was having some issues today as the cameraman was showing us some fans while the game was happening on the ice, as well as other audio/streaming issues.

When things cleared up briefly, we saw DiPietro freeze a muffin from Nick Merkely before shutting down the Josh Jacobs offering that followed. Jacobs came back with another shot and DiPietro stopped that one as well.

Stefan LeBlanc was in again on the Comets’ blue line today and he used a solid physical play to take Ryan Schmelzer off the puck in the defensive zone and sent the Comets back the other way. Soon after, Merkley was dinged for tripping and the Comets had a power play to work with.

The first unit of Goldobin, Bailey, Boucher, Lind, and Juolevi started things off and Juolevi had a shot through traffic swallowed up. The Devils sent the puck the other way and to my eyes, Juolevi’s skating looked somewhat laboured as he chased his man down. The Comets were dinged for having too many men on the ice as the second unit took over and we were off to some four aside play.

Dakota Mermis had a chance denied by DiPietro and the four aside ended and the Comets had a penalty to kill. The Comets did great work to keep the Devils off the board and came up with a good kill.

LeBlanc was spoiling the good times for Schmelzer again as he blocked a shot and sent the Comets the other way.

Zack MacEwen hasn’t seen much ice time of late, but when he has, he has shown some confidence in his game. TheBigFella wheeled out of the corner in the Devils end with some sweet moves, but Senn was ready with the save. The audio fell out for a good stretch at this point.

Reid Boucher drew a tripping call on Mermis and the Comets had another power play to work with… or did they? Nope, they were once again dinged for having too many men on the ice and we had more four aside action.

Just about 30 seconds into the four aside play, Jalen Chatfield, dished to Carter Camper who got the puck to MacEwen for his fifth goal of the year. Zack duffed the shot and that might be why he beat Senn, but he will take it. Camper earned his 19th helper of the season on the play, while Chatfield grabbed his second.

Back in the Comets end, DiPietro came up with a save on Matt Tennyson before shutting down the shot that followed off the resulting faceoff win.

Ashton Sautner has a heavy shot and he unloaded one from the high slot that Senn swallowed up for a whistle as the Comets had some pressure. The teams were back to five aside at this point and the Devils applied a bit of pressure of their own in the Comets zone.

That pressure didn’t last as Justin Bailey wheeled out of the Comets’ end and hit Kole Lind with a pass at the Devils’ blue line where Kole dished a saucer to Jasek for a tap-in for his 12th goal of the season. Lind picked up his 26th helper on the play, while Bailey earned his 15th. The Comets were up 2-0.

Utica kept the pressure on as they finished the period with chances from Boucher and Perron that didn’t go. The Comets finished the period up 9-8 on the shot clock.

Second Period

The Comets scored two goals in the opening frame and the Devils would do the same in the second period. Luckily, Utica managed one goal of their own as well.

Nathan Bastian broke down the right side for an early chance but LeBlanc rode him off the puck with a nice defensive play.

At the other end, MacEwen set Goldobin up for a chance that didn’t go, but the Comets were soon headed to the power play after Egor Sharangovich was sent off for tripping.

Justin Bailey has been on fire of late and he sent an early backhander just wide of the net before Goldy put the Comets up 3-0. Olli Juolevi did nice work to draw a man toward himself before dishing to Boucher for a one-timer. Goldy was there to knock in the garbage for his 15th goal of the season. Boucher grabbed his 26th assist of the year on the play, while Juolevi earned his 20th.

Fabian Zetterlund wasn’t taking that one sitting down as he was looking to get it back with a shot from between the circles but DiPietro gobbled his offering up for a whistle. At the other end, Lind had a nice shot off the rush gloved down by Senn for another save. Juolevi followed up with a nice feed to Sautner for a one-timer that was denied by the Devils’ netminder.

Mitch Eliot had a shift where he made a great play in the defensive zone to force the puck off Brett Seney’s stick and out of the zone, but he followed that up by taking a tripping penalty and the Comets were off to the kill.

The Comets did great work to keep the Devils to the outside and the shots that did get through were being put high or wide of the target. That was until Brett Seney went upstairs on DiPietro for his 15th goal of the season. Colton White and Mikhail Maltsev each earned his fourth assist of the year on the Seney tally.

The Devils followed up with some pressure in the Comets’ end before the home team went the other way where Juolevi had a shot gobbled up by Senn.

The Devils pulled to within a goal quickly as Dakota Mermis caught the Comets on a bad line change and sent Jesper Boqvist in for his first goal of the season. Mermis grabbed his ninth helper of the year on the play.

Lukas Jasek tried to get that one back with a shot that handcuffed Senn, but the save was made.

Jeremy Groleau was sent off for slashing at the 11:02 mark and the Comets were back to the power play. Justin Bailey had a chance swallowed up in the offensive zone before Goldy handed the puck to Michael McLeod in the neutral zone and the Devils killed some time off the clock. The Comets came up empty.

Carter Bancks took a spin after the power play and he put a John Stevens feed into the body of Senn for a whistle. Jasek followed up by doing Jasek things and forced a turnover at the offensive line and dished to Lind for a chance that was denied.

Camper, Goldobin, and Boucher worked a passing play but Goldy was unable to finish it off with a goal. Back in the Comets end, Sautner did great work on Brandon Gignac along the boards before Joey Anderson let fly from the left circle and DiPietro steered his shot out of play.

Brandon Baddock was whistled for hooking Kole Lind at the 18:38 mark and the Comets would finish the middle frame up a man. The Comets had late chances from Lind, Boucher, and Goldobin but couldn’t convert. They finished the middle frame up 16-8 on the shot clock.

Third Period

The Comets had a brief power play to work with as the period got underway, but they were unable to make anything happen and came up empty once again.

Mikey DiPietro was busier in the final frame than he was in the first two and he had to come up with a stop on Boqvist early before getting a glove on a Brett Seney shot from an odd-man rush with Sharnagovich. The Devils were pressing to start the third and it was a sign of things to come.

Nick Merkley let fly with a point shot that DiPietro steered aside as the Comets were hemmed in their own end for a shift before they went the other way where Boucher ripped a shot that looked like it went in the net and back out quickly. Play continued and Carter Camper was dinged for tripping. The officials reviewed the Boucher shot and concluded that it was not a goal and the Comets were off to the kill.

Carter Bancks and John Stevens had a nice shorthanded chance that saw Stevens whip out a nifty skate to stick play before missing his shot in tight.

Joey Anderson evened the game at three when he redirected a Merkley shot past DiPietro for his 13th goal of the season. That Merkley shot was also touched by Mikhail Maltsev on the play before it got to Anderson, earning Maltsev his fifth helper of the year. Merkley grabbed his 20th assist of the year on the play as well.

It was at this point in the game when I lost my stream for a few minutes and it continued to cut in and out for the remainder of the game. When things fired back up, we saw a MacEwen pass picked off in the neutral zone but the Devils couldn’t take advantage.

John Stevens is more of a defensive type of player, but he has shown the odd flash of offensive ability, like with the pass that he used to set up Baertschi for a chance in close but Sven couldn’t get it to go.

The Stevens line had some nice pressure but was unable to alter the score.

We saw some sloppy play from both sides before Gadjovich dished out a heavy hit on Groleau in the neutral zone. Jonah followed up with another hit that pushed the puck to Bancks for a chance that was turned aside. That shot from Bancks was the first of the period registered by the Comets and it came at the midway point. That isn’t an ideal way to take the lead back.

The second shot came soon after as Juolevi let fly with a point shot that was gloved down as Boucher was there looking for a rebound. Things didn’t go Boucher’s way when his next pass was picked off by Joey Anderson and DiPietro had to come up with another save. Reid tried to make amends when he dashed back the other way but Senn came up with a big save on his backhand effort.

The Comets were trying to make something happen and had some decent pressure in the offensive zone that saw a MacEwen shot out of the corner eaten up by Senn for a whistle.

Brandon Baddock made it a 4-3 Devils’ lead when he got a piece of a Dakota Mermis points shot and redirected it past DiPietro for the go-ahead goal. Mermis picked up his 10th assist of the year on Baddock’s fifth, while Matt Tennyson earned his fourth.

The Devils kept it coming as DiPietro gloved down a shot and the teams had some words for each other after the whistle. Cooler heads would prevail, so nobody was headed off to the box.

The Comets tried to get something going as Juolevi had another shot kicked out before Mitch Eliot was sent off for tripping and the Comets were back to the penalty kill. Mermis put a shot off the side of the net and DiPietro did great work to shut the door as Matt Tennyson had a chance in close denied but the puck was loose and several attempts were made to put it in the back of the net but DiPietro held the fort.

The Comets came up with a good kill, but the Devils would seal this win with a shorthanded tally from Joey Anderson and skated away with a 5-3 win. The goal was Anderson’s second of the game and 14th of the season, while Josh Jacobs picked up his seventh assist of the year on the pay.

The Comets didn’t do themselves any favours today with a pair of too many men penalties and another poor line change that resulted in a goal against. With two very big games against the Belleville Senators this weekend, they cannot afford to play that way again.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

  1. Zack MacEwen (5) from Carter Camper (19) and Jalen Chatfield (2).
  2. Lukas Jasek (12) from Kole Lind (26) and Justin Bailey (15).
  3. Nikolay Goldobin (15) from Reid Boucher (26) and Olli Juolevi (20). PP goal.

Mikey DiPietro: 21 saves in the loss.

Special Teams:

Power Play: 1/5.

Penalty Kill: 3/5

PP1: Goldobin, Bailey, Lind, Boucher, Juolevi.

PP2: MacEwen, Camper, Baertschi, Perron, Eliot.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Stevens, Boucher, Baertschi, Goldobin, MacEwen, Bailey, Jasek, Sautner, Juolevi, Chatfield, LeBlanc.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen. One goal.

2nd Star: Brett Seney. One goal.

1st Star: Mikhail Maltsev. Two assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Zack MacEwen/Carter Camper. MacEwen hasn’t seen much ice time of late and at times it has shown in his game. He coughed up a puck today, although it didn’t lead to a goal against. He did some nice things in today’s contest as well. His fifth goal of the year probably won’t be making any highlight reels, but it adds to his point totals, bringing him to 11 points in 18 games this year. Camper, for his part, added another assist today and is now up to 25 points in 31 games for the Comets. He has been a nice addition to the team and has done an admirable job of replacing the outgoing Tanner Kero from last season.

2nd Star: Reid Boucher/Nikolay Goldobin. The duo hooked up on another goal today and because of that, Boucher is the first player in the AHL to hit 50 points this year. He’s done it in 39 games, while Goldobin picked up his 15th goal of the season today and is now up to 41 points in 38 games. The duo does it all for the Comets as they both play in all situations, working the first power-play unit as well as spending time on the penalty kill.

1st Star: Justin Bailey/Kole Lind. Lind and Bailey teamed up to help get Lukas Jasek his 12th goal of the year on a very nice passing play. Lind proved once again that he can dish a puck with the best of them and Bailey got that play started. Bailey and Lind have formed some fantastic chemistry together and if they can keep going the way they are, both men will finish the season with a nice collection of points for their efforts. Lind now has 12 goals and 26 assists, giving him 38 points in 44 games, while Bailey is up to 22 goals and 15 assists to give himself 37 points in 43 games.

Honourable Mention: Olli Juolevi. With his assist today, Olli is now up to 22 points in 35 games this year. He has one goal and eight assists in his last eight games.

Next Game

Game #45

Belleville Senators at Utica Comets

Friday, January 24th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific