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Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Mikey DiPietro Makes 27 Saves En Route To His First Pro Shutout In 3-0 Win Over Cleveland

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #47

Utica Comets at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, January 31st, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

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Post-Game

Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Wacey Hamilton: C – Lower-body injury, (broken foot) 6-8 weeks. AHL deal.
  2. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, (hip) week-to-week. AHL deal.
  3. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, (ankle) day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Reid Boucher: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, (hip/groin) day-to-day. NHL deal.
  5. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal. NHL deal.
  6. Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  7. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.

Comets Starting Lines

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

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47 Sven Baertschi – 9 Lukas Jasek – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

27 Francis Perron – 19 Carter Camper (A) – 13 Kole Lind

17 Seamus Malone – 16 John Stevens – 11 David Pope

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 74 Tanner Sorenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 8 Dylan Blujus

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

6 Ashton Sautner (A) – 25 Brogan Rafferty

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame was a pretty good one for the Comets as they would carry the bulk of the play and finished the period up 2-0.

With the injuries and call-ups that have hit the Comets’ roster, we saw some new lines today and the trio of Frankie Perron, Carter Camper, and Kole Lind worked an early chance as Lind dished to Perron for a shot through traffic that Veini Vehvilainen got a blocker on for a save.

There was some early back and forth as Lind had a chance turned aside at one end, while Mikey DiPietro came up with a DemkoSpecial on Kole Sherwood. Back at the other end, John Stevens was denied by Vehvilainen.

There wasn’t a ton of physical play, but Trey Fix-Wolansky stood up Dylan Blujus when the Comets defender tried to hit him in the defensive zone.

The Comets have been getting some decent secondary scoring from their bottom two lines this season and that continued when Tanner Sorenson went to work on the forecheck before dishing to Carter Bancks and the captain put his club up 1-0. The goal was the sixth of the season for Bancks, while Sorenson earned his second helper of the campaign.

Derek Barach was dinged for tripping at the 5:52 mark and the Comets were off to the power play.

Once again, with the faces missing from the lineup, we saw some different power-play units. First up, were Goldobin, Baertschi, Lind, Rafferty, and Perron. That group had some nice puck movement, and Perron was denied while Goldy hit the iron but they couldn’t add another goal.

They were followed up by Carter Camper, David Pope, Lukas Jasek, Guillaume Brisebois, and Olli Juolevi. We saw Jasek tip a Juolevi pass wide and the Comets came up empty. They kept the pressure on as LeBlanc sent a floater to the Cleveland net that Vehvilainen had some trouble with but managed to keep out.

The Monsters went the other way with what could have been a dangerous chance but they couldn’t set up anything resembling a play. To make matters worse for them, Ashton Sautner came up with an active stick to force a turnover back the other way.

The Stevens line had another busy shift that saw a David Pope chance denied before DiPietro got a leg on a long shot through traffic to keep his team up by a goal.

Make that two goals as the Comets went to work and we saw Lukas Jasek send a nice feed to Goldobin for a muffin that tipped off of Vehvilainen’s glove and in for his 16th goal of the season. Jasek and Sautner both earned their eighth helper of the year on the play.

The Comets followed up the goal with another strong shift, keeping the Monsters from mounting any attack before DiPietro got a shoulder on a shot and followed up with a sharp save on a wraparound attempt.

Guillaume Brisebois was back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with a broken fingertip and he came up with a timely shot block as the Jasek line was hemmed in for a shift. DiPietro gloved down a Paul Bittner offering from the right side before steering aside a Kevin Stenlund chance off the rush.

The period ended with another solid shift from the Stevens line. The Monsters showed an edge of 8-7 on the shot clock for the opening frame.

Second Period

The middle frame went by fairly quickly as we saw some decent action but no scoring from either side. Guillaume Brisebois joined the rush for an early chance that was shut down by the Cleveland netminder before Olli Juolevi forced a turnover at the other end with a smart stick.

We saw three penalties called on one shift as Adam Clendening clobbered John Stevens and Jalen Chatfield had words with Brett Gallant during the ensuing scrum. Chatfield and Gallant were each given two for roughing, while Clendening was dinged with a kneeing penalty.

That meant that the Comets were up a man and they went to work. Brogan Rafferty had a big shot fought off by Vehvilainen before the first unit was hemmed in their own end for a good portion of the power play. The Comets came up empty.

The Monsters were getting some chances, but they weren’t of the high-quality variety as Kevin Stenlund had all kinds of room and proceeded to rip his offering into the crest on DiPietro’s jersey. Lukas Jasek’s line followed up with some pressure before Juolevi had a wrister turned aside.

Stevens got a measure of revenge on Clendening with a stiff hit in the neutral zone and Ashton Sautner ate a big hit in the defensive end soon after.

We had some back and forth as Calvin Thurkauf let fly with a shot that DiPietro got a glove on before the Camper line went the other way with speed and Kole Lind fired his shot wide of the net.

Brogan Rafferty was dinged for a high-stick at the 10:42 mark and ended up getting four minutes for causing a leak. DiPietro denied a Stenlund one-timer before Dylan Blujus was whistled for a slash to send the Comets to a two-man down situation for a full two minutes.

The trio of Juolevi, Sautner, and Stevens did an incredible job to help kill this one off as we saw a Stefan Matteau shot ring the iron, a Clendening shot tipped wide and an Olli Juolevi block before Stevens lifted Stenlund’s stick and cleared the zone.

The Blujus penalty was killed off, but Rafferty was still in the box as Blujus had a shorthanded shot denied. DiPietro got a blocker on a Sam Vigneault shot before he stymied a Clendening chance as well. One more save on Ryan MacInnes and the Comets had another good kill.

The Monsters pressed as DiPietro had to get a stick on a Paul Bittner shot before Sautner picked off a pass on a two-on-one in the Comets end to foil a scoring chance. The period ended with some back and forth action as DiPietro got a glove on a MacInnes chance before kicking out another on a chance off the rush before Vehvilainen denied opportunities from LeBlanc and Chatfield.

Cleveland showed a 9-6 advantage on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

The Monsters started the final frame with some pressure on the Camper line and DiPietro had to come up with a stop on Kevin Stenlund. Sam Vigneault followed up with a chance of his own and Mikey D shut him down as well.

It was at this time when my internet dropped out for several minutes and when things got back up and running, the officials were reviewing a Monsters goal that they decided they didn’t like and the Comets were still up 2-0.

The Bancks line followed up the no-goal with a solid shift in the offensive zone that saw the captain redirect a Juolevi shot that was stopped and held for a whistle by Vehvilainen. The Comets kept it coming as the Jasek line took over and we saw Sven Baertschi send a nifty cross-ice feed to Goldobin but the shifty winger wasn’t able to beat his defender for a scoring chance.

The Comets were doing a good job of plugging up the neutral zone and keeping the pressure in the Monsters’ end before Trey Fix-Wolansky ripped a shot off the glove of DiPietro. The Comets netminder gobbled up the next shot that came his way as well.

The shots kept coming as DiPietro gloved down a shot that changed direction on its way to him. Lukas Jasek followed up with a sharp defensive play to lift a Monsters’ stick to force a defensive zone turnover before DiPietro had to come up with another stop on Kole Sherwood.

Ashton Sautner brought the physical play when he blew up his man in the Comets’ end and DiPietro came up with another save on Matteau. The Comets started to get back on track after a couple of shifts of pressure from Cleveland before we got some four aside action when Dylan Blujus and Kevin Stenlund were both dinged for roughing.

The good defensive plays kept coming from the Comets as Chatfield helped to foil a chance from Calvin Thurkauf and with 2:20 left on the clock, Vehvilainen was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker.

DiPietro kicked out a shot from Dillon Simpson before Matteau killed his team’s chances at a comeback when he was sent off for slashing at the 18:28 mark. It was 21 seconds later when Sherwood was spouting off from the bench and was rewarded with a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give the Comets a two-man advantage to finish the game.

Goldobin buried a shot from the side of the net to put his team up 3-0 and that’s was all she wrote today in Cleveland. The goal was Goldy’s 17th of the season and second of the game, while Kole Lind and Brogan Rafferty each earned their 39th point of the year with their 27th and 33rd helpers, respectively.

The Comets were outshot 10-3 in the period and 27-16 for the game, but they had Mikey D between the pipes pitching his first pro shutout.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

  1. Carter Bancks (6) from Tanner Sorenson (2).
  2. Nikolay Goldobin (16) from Lukas Jasek (8) and Ashton Sautner (8).
  3. Nikolay Goldobin (17) from Kole Lind (27) and Brogan Rafferty (33). PP goal.

Mikey DiPietro, 27 save shutout win. 

Special Teams:

Power Play: 1/4.

Penalty Kill: 3/3.

PP1: Baertschi, Goldobin, Lind, Perron, Rafferty.

PP2: Camper, Pope, Jasek, Brisebois, Juolevi.

PP3: Baerstchi, Goldobin, Lind, Rafferty, Juolevi.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Stevens, Jasek, Baertschi, Sautner, Brisebois, Blujus, Juolevi.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Two goals.

2nd Star: Carter Bancks. Game-winning goal.

1st Star: Mikey DiPietro. 27 save shutout win. (First in his pro career).

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Kole Lind/Brogan Rafferty. Both players picked up their 39th point of the season in today’s win. Lind now has 12 goals and 27 assists in 47 games this year, while Rafferty has accumulated six goals and 33 helpers in 43 contests. Rafferty’s next point will tie the Comets single-season record for points by a defender. Not bad for a second-year forward and a rookie defender.

2nd Star: Nikolay Goldobin. With Boucher, Bailey, and MacEwen unavailable to the club for the foreseeable future, someone needed to step up with some offence and today that person was Goldobin. His two-goal performance has him up to 17 goals and 26 assists, giving him 43 points in just 41 games this season. That moves the playmaking winger into fifth overall in the AHL for points. It also puts him just four goals back of his AHL high of 21 goals in a season.

1st Star: Mikey DiPietro. The kid went out and posted his first pro shutout and looked good doing it while his team was outshot by a wide margin in the final frame. DiPietro’s record now sits at 14-7-1-1 on the season with one shutout, a goals-against-average of 2.70 and a 0.907% save percentage. The Comets record for the month of January was 6-7-0-0 and DiPietro finished with five of those wins. He has all but taken the starter’s job in Utica, in my opinion.

Next Game

Game #48

Utica Comets at Cleveland Monsters

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific