Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Comets Go Down 5-0 to Laval and are Unable to Battle Back in 5-2 Loss

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #57

Laval Rocket at Utica Comets

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Saturday, February 29th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


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Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter


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Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (hip surgery) out for the season. AHL deal.
  2. David Pope: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  3. Carter Bancks: C – Dinged up, day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Lukas Jasek: C/W – Lower-body injury, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  5. Olli Juolvei: LD – Undisclosed injury, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  6. Reid Boucher: LW/RW – Illness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  7. Stefan LeBlanc: LD/W – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.

Comets Starting Lines

95 Justin Bailey – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 13 Kole Lind

47 Sven Baertschi (A) – 19 Carter Camper – 77 Nikolay Goldobin

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 16 John Stevens – 44 Tyler Graovac – 27 Francis Perron

 21 Jonah Gadjovich – 17 Seamus Malone – 26 Dyson Stevenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

8 Dylan Blujus – 5 Jalen Chatfield

 22 Matt Petgrave – 25 Brogan Rafferty

64 Mikey DiPietro

29 Jake Kielly (backing up)

First Period

After starting yesterday’s game on fire, the Comets came out a little flat in the opening frame and found themselves in a 2-0 hole by the time the horn sounded. They were wearing their Copper Series jerseys though, so at least they looked great while looking flat.

Laval had some early pressure that saw DiPietro make a DemkoSpecial on an Alex Alain offering before the Comets went the other way where Frankie Perron tried his luck with a spin and fire play but Michael McNiven was ready with the save.

Jake Lucchini was dinged for slashing Kole Lind at the 3:15 mark and the Comets had an early power play to work with. Neither one of their PP units managed to get anything going and they came up empty.

Justin Bailey has been having a fantastic year and he was looking for his 28th goal when he fired a knuckler through traffic that McNiven got a glove on and held for the whistle. The Comets tried to keep things going as Nikolay Goldobin fired a long shot with Sven Baertschi making life difficult in front for McNiven, but the Rocket netminder was there with another save.

At the other end, Lukas Vejdemo cut to the net with a shot that DiPietro turned aside for another save of his own.

The Comets had a solid shift from the Graovac line that saw Perron force a pair of turnovers but his line was unable to take advantage. Guillaume Brisebois followed up with a great stretch pass to Carter Camper who went on to work a give-and-go with Baertschi that ended with another save from McNiven.

Bailey was whistled for roughing at the 9:51 mark and Laval was off to the power play. We saw Graovac come up with a clear before Kevin Lynch got a shot away from the right side that he fired wide. Brisebois came up with a smart stick to poke the puck off of Ryan Poehling’s stick, but the Rocket scored soon after. Alex Alain was the trigger-man after a Lukas Vejdemo set up.

The goal was Alain’s 10th of the season, while Vejdemo grabbed his 10th helper of the year and Poehling earned his eighth.

John Stevens tried to get that one back soon after with a backhander that was turned aside by McNiven. Laval went the other way and hemmed the Comets in as DiPietro had to steer aside a Gustav Olofsson offering.

The Camper line gave the team a little bit of spark with a good shift, but the Rocket would go up 2-0 soon after when a puck went off of a leg and right to Jake Lucchini for his eighth goal of the season. Olofsson picked up his 12th helper of the year on the play, while Nikita Jevpalovs earned his ninth.

Once again, the Comets looked like they were trying to get that one right back when Dylan Blujus dished off the left boards to a streaking Kole Lind, but McNiven was equal to the task.

Tyler Graovac was dinged for tripping at the 18:54 mark and just like yesterday, the Comets would finish the opening frame down a man. Wacey Hamilton had a shorthanded chance denied and the period came to a close with the Comets in a 2-0 hole. Utica did hold a 10-7 advantage on the shot clock, however.

Second Period

The middle frame didn’t go any better for the Comets as they gave up two quick goals and the Rocket didn’t stop there.

The Comets still had time left to kill off of the Graovac penalty, but Laval would ensure that wouldn’t happen. Laurent Dauphin took a Cale Flury feed in the right circle and ripped a one-timer past DiPietro for his 13th of the season. Fleury earned his third helper of the year on the play, while Jevpalovs grabbed his 10th.

The Rocket kept it coming as Yannik Viellieux was the recipient of a fortunate bounce and beat DiPietro for his ninth of the season. Kevin Lynch earned his 13th assist of the year on the play that chased DiPietro from the net and brought on the AHL debut of Jake Kielly.

Laval didn’t ease Kielly into the game as he had to come up with a huge save on a Dauphin break after a Brogan Rafferty turnover. Michael Pezzetta followed up with a shot that Kielly gloved down for a whistle.

At the other end, Goldy and Baertschi worked a play but were unable to connect in close. Baertschi followed up with a nice play out of the corner to Goldy for a one-timer that McNiven turned aside.

The lines went into the blender and we saw a new trio of Baertschi-Graovac-Goldobin. Unfortunately, we also saw Dauphin get a breakaway from his own blueline and he went in to beat Kielly and put his team up 5-0 with his 14th of the season. It was an unassisted goal for Laval.

In what was an odd combo of players, we saw Sven Baertschi and Dyson Stevenson nearly hook up for a goal, but Stevenson couldn’t get enough of the pass to get a clean shot away.

Antoine Waked was sent off for hooking at the 8:12 mark and the Comets headed off to the power play. Camper had a chance redirected wide and Baertschi had a one-timer soaked up by McNiven and the Comets came up empty.

Laval pressed after the Comets power play until Pezzetta was dinged for a cross-check. Once again, the Comets power play went to work, but they finished with a similar result.

Jonah Gadjovich and Kole Lind found themselves on a line together and we saw Jonah tee up a one-timer for Kole but McNiven said no. Justin Bailey followed up with a long shot that was swallowed up by McNiven before Kielly made another save at the other end and held for the whistle.

Nikita Jevpalovs was whistled for hooking at the 16:36 mark and the Comets power play would get another crack at getting on the board. They did not succeed.

Guillaume Brisebois let fly with a shot through traffic that McNiven got his blocker on before Stevenson and Gadjovich had worked a play that ended with another save from McNiven.

Wacey Hamilton was dinged for tripping at the buzzer, ensuring that the Comets would start yet another period down a man. Utica held an 8-7 advantage on the second-period shot clock.

Third Period

The final frame saw two more goals scored and they both came from the Comets, but it was too-little-too-late as the team couldn’t dig themselves out of their 5-0 hole.

As mentioned earlier, the Comets had to kill off another penalty to start the period, which isn’t the best way to give yourself a leg up for a comeback. The Comets managed to kill this one off and came away unscathed, but they also had to spend two minutes defending rather than mounting their comeback.

My AHLTV feed froze on me for a minute or so, but when it came back up I saw Matt Petgrave let fly with a shot through traffic that was denied. He got the puck back along the right-side boards and fired again. This time, Dyson Stevenson got a piece of it and got the Comets on the board with his second goal of the season. Petgrave grabbed his first assist of the year on the play, while Jonah Gadjovich earned his fifth.

At the other end, Gustav Olofsson had a shot redirected and Kielly swallowed it up and held for the whistle. Seamus Malone followed up with a chance off the right boards that McNiven denied before Jevpalovs had his shot turned aside by Kielly as we had some back and forth.

The line of Graovac, Perron, and Hamilton had a strong shift as Trent Cull was looking for something to spark his team. He accomplished that, to some extent when he sent his fourth line out to follow and we saw Stevenson and Gadjovich mucking it up in a post-whistle scrum.

John Stevens showed a quick release after taking a feed out of the corner but McNiven stymied him with another save.

Antoine Waked was sent off for delay of game after he flung the puck over the glass and the Comets power play would get another chance. Rafferty had a chance denied, as did Jonah Gadjovich before Ryan Culkin was whistled for the same infraction as Waked, just as the latter was about to exit the box. The Comets were right back tot he power play.

This time, Gadjovich took a great slap-pass from Camper and did what he does best in front of the net for his 13th goal of the season. Jonah has been money as a net-front presence this season. Camper grabbed his 28th helper of the year on the play, while Guillaume Brisebois picked up his 11th.

Trent Cull must have seen the life in his team that he was looking for because, with 5:42 left on the clock, he summoned Kielly to the bench for the extra attacker. After a quick whistle, Kielly was back in the net but was called back to the bench soon after.

Baertschi had a shot denied by the stick of McNiven as the Comes pressed, but they were unable to make anything happen. Yannik Viellieux gave the Comets their third consecutive power play when he was sent off for slashing at the 16:33 mark and the Comets would get another crack at a PP goal.

Kielly stayed on the bench for this one as the Comets went for a six-on-four approach. Brisebois had a shot kicked out and Perron was denied as McNiven got a piece of his offering before Lind had a shot gloved down. The Comets came up empty once again.

Sven Baertschi was whistled for roughing at the 18:42 mark and the Comets would finish yet another period down a man. Hamilton and Stevens did nice work on this kill and we saw Bailey get a shorthanded shot away but this game was decided in the middle frame with those two quick goals. That was it for this one as the Comets fell 5-2 to the Rocket.

Utica held an advantage of 12 shots to seven for the final frame and outshot the Rocket by a 30-21 margin overall, but they couldn’t get it done today.

Today’s Official Boxscore 

Comets Goals

Stevenson (2) from Petgrave (1) and Gadjovich (5).

Gadjovich (13) from Camper (28) and Brisebois (11). PP goal.

Special Teams

Power Play: 1/7.

Penalty Kill: 2/4.

PP1: Baertschi, Bailey, Graovac, Goldobin Rafferty.

PP2: Lind, Camper, Gadjovich, Brisebois, Petgrave.

PP3: Lind, Gadjovich, Perron, Brisebois, Chatfield.

PP4: Hamilton, Malone, Goldobin, Stevens, Brisebois.

PP5: Lind, Camper, Gadjovich, Perron, Brisebois.

Penalty Killers: Hamilton, Stevens, Bailey, Graovac, Baertschi, Goldobin, Chatfield, Brisebois, Blujus, Sautner.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Jonah Gadjovich. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Nikita Jevpalovs. Two assists.

1st Star: Laurent Dauphin. Two goals.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

Nope, not today. I didn’t really see any Comets whose game jumped off the screen to me today. The team just couldn’t get things going against a Laval club that they should have been able to handle without a whole lot of trouble.

Next Game

Game #58

Utica Comets at Rochester Americans

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific