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Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Special Teams Conspire Against Comets in 3-2 Loss to Lowly Monsters

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #48

Utica Comets at Cleveland Monsters

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am 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. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Undisclosed injury, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  6. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  7. Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.

Comets Starting Lines

(1st forward line/defensive pair listed started the game. The remainder are 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

31 Zane McIntyre

64 Mikey DiPietro (backing up)

First Period

The Comets struck first in the opening frame, but it would be the Monsters who would take a 2-1 lead into the second period thanks to some sketchy special teams work from the Comets.

Utica had some early pressure from the Jasek line before Zane McIntyre steered aside a shot from Steve Johnson. Trey Fix-Wolansky would send the Comets to an early power play after Kole Lind drew a hooking call on him.

The Comets first unit got things started, but Ryan MacInnes picked off a Nikolay Goldobin pass and went in with a shot that McIntyre turned aside. The second unit took over and Brad Thiessen got a glove on a shot before David Pope redirected a slick pass from Carter Camper behind Thiessen for his first as a Comet. Camper grabbed his 21st assist of the season on the play, while Olli Juolevi earned his 20th.

The Monsters were bringing some physical play in the first period as Dylan Blujus was crushed behind the Comets net but the defender didn’t miss a shift. Cleveland kept it coming as Paul Bittner and Sam Vigneault broke in on an odd-man rush but McIntyre proved equal to the task with another save.

Vigneault was sent off for slashing soon after and the Comets were back to the power play where Juolevi had a shot gobbled up before the Monsters took possession and ended up scoring a shorthanded goal.

That was the 12th shorty that the Comets have given up this season… uh, that isn’t good. Calvin Thurkauf was the man doing the damage with his sixth goal of the season. Bittner picked up his seventh helper of the year on the play, while Anton Karlsson earned his sixth.

The Comets power play came up empty.

The Monsters continued with some pressure before Seamus Malone set up John Stevens for a chance that was denied by Thiessen. In the Comets’ end, Ryan MacInnes picked of a Juolevi pass and McIntyre had to come up with another save. The Comets netminder followed up by kicking out the Dillon Simpson point shot that came next as well.

Stefan LeBlanc let fly with a shot that was steered aside before the Monsters went back the other way where McIntyre had to come up with an alert stop on Thurkauf after a Rafferty giveaway. Adam Clendening followed up with a wrister that McIntyre absorbed for another whistle.

The shots kept coming and so did the saves as McIntyre shut down a pair of chances before Jasek teed up a one-timer for Baertschi at the other end. Once again, Thiessen was there with the save.

We had more back and forth as the Bancks line was hemmed in before Dylan Blujus unloaded with a point shot through traffic that Thiessen swallowed up. At the other end, there was a scramble in the Comets crease but McIntyre smothered the puck for another save. Unfortunately, Francis Perron was dinged for a hook and the Comets had to kill a penalty.

Stefan Matteau made quick work of this one when he blew a one-timer over the glove of McIntyre for his 11th goal of the season. Clendening played set-up man for his 25th assist of the year, while Kevin Stenlund earned his 12th assist of the campaign.

As if things weren’t bad enough, Lukas Jasek was whistled for hooking at the 19:18 mark and the Comets would finish the period down a man. Cleveland showed a 12-8 advantage on the shot clock for the first period.

Second Period

The middle frame didn’t have much flow as we saw a lot of whistles, but each team would add a goal to their cause.

The Comets still had time to kill off of the Jasek penalty that carried over from the first and McIntyre did good work to glove down an early shot, but the Monsters would go up 3-1 just 1:10 into the period.

Trey Fix-Wolansky buried a backdoor play from Marko Dano for his sixth goal of the season, earning Dano his 13th helper of the year and Stefan Matteau his 14th.

That wasn’t the start that the Comets were looking for in the middle frame. Doyle Somerby tried to help them out by taking a holding penalty on Kole Lind, but the Comets power play was as flat as a prairie highway and came up empty.

The Comets were looking to get back into the game as a Camper pass went off a stick and Thiessen had to cover for a whistle. At the other end, Brett Gallant streaked down the left side with a shot that McIntyre turned aside. The back and forth continued as Thiessen denied chances from Blujus and Sorenson.

The Comets had a little bit of pressure that saw a Stevens chance turned aside and then the AHLTV stream dropped out for a couple of minutes. When things got back up and running, the Stevens line was hemmed in their own end for a shift and McIntyre had to glove down a Kevin Stenlund offering.

The saves kept coming from McIntyre as he swallowed up a Gabriel Carlsson chance as well as the Marko Dano knuckler that followed. Dillon Simpson tried his luck with a wraparound but McIntyre was there with another save. McIntyre shut him down once again when he let fly from the left side.

When the Comets finally headed the other way, Stefan LeBlanc found Carter Bancks with a pass for a shot that was denied by a flash of the leather from Thiessen. The Bancks line kept the pressure on before being replaced by the Jasek unit and that was when the Comets pulled to within a goal.

It was Lukas Jasek with his 13th goal of the season after he buried a Jalen Chatfield rebound. Jalen earned his third assist of the season on the play, while Nikolay Goldobin grabbed his 27th, which represents a new career-high for him in an AHL season… it was also his 100th AHL assist, so congrats to Goldy!

Dylan Blujus followed up the Jasek tally with a big shot block and the Comets put the pressure on as time wound down. That pressure led to an Adam Clendening slashing call and the Comets would finish the period up a man.

Utica showed a 9-6 advantage on the shot clock for the second period.

Third Period

The Comets had a good bit of power-play time to work with as the final frame opened, but they were unable to get any traction and came up empty as a pocket once more.

They were getting some chances after their man-up, however, as Jalen Chatfield and Nikolay Goldobin both had chances thwarted by Thiessen in the early going.

In the Comets’ end, Dylan Blujus did good work to ride Stenlund off the puck and followed up with a heavy hit before McIntyre robbed Kole Sherwood with a big save as the Monsters turned up the heat. Clendening let fly with a shot that McIntyre kicked out before he gobbled up the Sherwood chance that followed.

At the other end, John Stevens had a shot turned aside with a flick of Thiessen’s blocker. I thought that Stevens played a solid game today.

With Wacey Hamilton having the injury troubles that he’s had over the past few seasons, I wouldn’t mind if the Comets were able to get Stevens to agree to another AHL deal for next season to replace him. He could play a similar role as a strong penalty killer and bottom-six pivot for the club while taking fewer penalties and perhaps being more durable… although Stevens has had some injury troubles of his own since turning pro.

Back to the game… we had some back and forth before Jalen Chatfield did great work in the corner to take his man off the puck in the defensive zone. Dylan Blujus took a few solid hits today and one of those sent him staggering back to the bench, but the big defender was able to come back out for his next shift.

The Monsters pressed as McIntyre had to eat a Clendening shot and Olli Juolevi followed up with nice work to strip Stenlund of the puck. The Monsters regained possession and McIntyre steered another Clendening shot aside with his blocker. Kole Sherwood came back in with speed and let fly with a shot that McIntyre denied as well.

At the other end, Kole Lind fired a shot off the glove of Thiessen and Juolevi followed up with a blast off the leg of Doyle Somerby. The Monsters went the other way with speed and McIntyre came up big on a Fix-Wolansky offering. Lind was foiled again by Thiessen before McIntyre was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker.

Carter Camper had a shot denied before Adam Clendening was dinged for delay of game when he sent the puck out of play. The Comets called their timeout and when the game resumed, they had six attackers on the ice and an empty net in their own end.

That was short-lived, however, as Lind was whistled for a trip at the 19:09 mark and the teams went to four aside play.

McIntyre was called back to the bench with 32 seconds remaining, but the Comets were unable to make anything happen and dropped a 3-2 decision to a bottom-feeding team. Utica finished the third period with an 11-8 advantage on the shot clock and led 28-27 overall in the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

  1. David Pope (1) from Carter Camper (21) and Olli Juolevi (20). PP goal.
  2. Lukas Jasek (13) from Jalen Chatfield (3) and Nikolay Goldobin (27).

Zane McIntyre: 16 saves in the loss.

Special Teams

Power Play: 1/5, one shorthanded goal allowed.

Penalty Kill: 0/2.

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

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

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

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Calvin Thurkauf. One goal.

2nd Star: Trey Fix-Wolansky. One goal.

1st Star: Stefan Matteau. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: John Stevens. I know, he was on the ice for a pair of power-play goals against, but I thought that Stevens had a solid game overall. His line did some good work on the forecheck and generated a few scoring chances for their efforts.

2nd Star: David Pope. He scored his first as a Comet today and was one of the wingers on that Stevens line that played well. He was given an opportunity on the power play with others out with injury/called-up to the Canucks and to his credit, he took advantage with a PP marker.

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. Goldy picked up an assist today, bringing him to 27 on the season for a new career-high in the AHL. It was also his 100th AHL helper. The skilled winger has picked up 12 points over his last 10 games.

Next Game

Game #49

Utica Comets at Laval Rocket

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific