Photo Credit: cory hergott

CanucksArmy Utica Comets Post-Game: Boucher Sets Another Team Record And DiPietro Makes 31 Saves In 2-1 Win Over Charlotte

Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #59

Utica Comets at Charlotte Checkers

Friday, March 6th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

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Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, (hip surgery) out for the season. AHL deal.
  2. David Pope: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (concussion symptoms) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  3. Carter Bancks: W/C – Various ailments, day-to-day. AHL deal.
  4. Olli Juolevi: LD – Hip soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  5. Lukas Jasek: Lower-body soreness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  6. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Illness, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  7. Nikolay Goldobin: LW/RW – Veteran scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.

Comets Starting Lines

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

47 Sven Baertschi – 19 Carter Camper – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

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

17 Seamus Malone – 44 Tyler Graovac – 26 Dyson Stevenson

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 16 John Stevens – 27 Francis Perron

6 Ashton Sautner (A) – 8 Dylan Blujus

22 Matt Petgrave – 5 Jalen Chatfield

4 Josh Teves – 25 Brogan Rafferty

64 Mikey DiPietro

29 Jake Kielly (backing up)

First Period

This was a solid period of action that saw a goal scored by each team. Ashton Sautner tried to get things started with an early shot through traffic that was kicked aside by goaltender Keith Kinkaid. At the other end, Morgan Geekie tried to hook up with Jake Bean but the play was broken up.

Justin Bailey and Matt Petgrave worked a nifty give-and-go soon after that saw Petgrave drop a pass to Bailey for a shot that Kinkaid gobbled up for the whistle.

It was the Checkers’ turn to press as Bean let fly with a shot through traffic that Mikey DiPietro swallowed up. At the other end, Jalen Chatfield tried his luck with a shot off of a faceoff win and once again, Kinkaid said no.

The game continued in a back and forth fashion as Joey Keane had a point shot blockered aside by Mikey D as the Checkers pressed and DiPietro showed a quick leg to stymie Keane once more. Clark Bishop followed up with a shot from the right circle and DiPietro had another save in the books.

The Comets started to get a little bit of pressure of their own as Kole Lind had a backhander from the left boards steered aside.

As has happened so many times this season, a former Comet had a good game and this time it was Alex D’Aoust opening the scoring with a nice backhander to beat DiPietro for his first goal of the season… if only somebody had warned us that this would happen. Morgan Geekie earned his 21st helper of the year on the play, while Gustav Forsling grabbed his 17th.

Soon after the goal, we saw Matt Petgrave and Steven Lorentz sent off for holding and diving respectively and the teams played some four aside. Hamilton and Bailey worked a nice play at speed that ended with Hamilton’s shot being denied and Bailey drawing a slashing penalty on Bishop.

The Comets had some nice puck movement during the four-on-three and we saw Rafferty fire wide and Boucher have his shot turned aside and the Comets came up empty.

Just because they didn’t score, it doesn’t mean the team gave up the idea of scoring a goal as Kole Lind had another shot kicked out from the left side. At the other end, Lorentz let fly from the left circle and DiPietro marked down another save.

Dylan Blujus was cross-checked into the boards on a dangerous play from Gustav Forsling and Blujus ended up leaving the game for the remainder of the period. Forsling was given two for the cross-check, but there is no place in the game for that kind of cowardly play.

The Comets went back to the man advantage but could not make it count as the best we saw was a Boucher chance being denied. The Comets came up empty.

Ashton Sautner has a heavy shot and he showed that off with a canon that was denied by Kinkaid, as was the Chatfield chance that followed. A brief melee ensued and we saw Stefan LeBlanc and Rowland McKeown sent off for roughing.

With the teams at four aside, Kole Lind dished to Sautner for another howitzer that was gloved down by Kinkaid. Josh Teves followed up with a shot of his own through traffic and although he had some trouble with it, Kinkaid had another save.

Soon after McKeown was released from the box, he tried his luck with a five-hole shot on DiPietro that was met with another save from the Comets rookie netminder.

Carter Camper took a nice feed from Sven Baertschi and knotted the game at one with his ninth goal of the season. Baertschi grabbed his 32nd helper of the year on the play, while Reid Boucher earned his 33rd.

The period would end with a Wacey Hamilton chance being denied and the Comets down 13-8 on the shot clock.

Second Period

The Checkers came out firing as Mikey DiPietro had to deny and early chance from Jacob Pritchard and the teams settled into some back and forth.

The same trio that hooked up on the Comets’ first goal did the same for the second, although the sequence of events was reversed as this time it was Camper dishing to Boucher for Reid’s record-setting 32nd goal of the season. Camper earned his 30th helper of the year on the play and Baertschi grabbed his 33rd.

Soon after, Oliwer Kaski was dinged for a high-stick after he tried to part Just Bailey’s hair with his twig.

The Comets rolled out their second unit and we saw some nice puck movement again but they couldn’t get anything to go. The first unit took over and Graovac had a shot gobbled up by Kinkaid before another scrum broke out.

It wasn’t long after that scrum when Justin Bailey was crushed by Cavan Fitzgerald and Kole Lind was having none of it. TheShaunavonShiftDisturber was quick to make Fitzgerald answer the bell and both men were sent off for fighting. I’m not giving the edge in this wrestling match to either combatant.

DiPietro had to come up with a good save from the right side and Bailey showed a smart stick to break up an odd-man rush before Mikey D shut down a Ryan Bourque offering from the left side.

Bailey was sent off for interference at the 12:06 mark and the Comets had a penalty to kill, but not before DiPietro came up with a huge save on Stelio Mattheos during the delayed penalty.

Dylan Blujus came up with a big shot block on Jake Bean before DiPietro swallowed up a wrister from David Gust and the Comets had a good kill in the books.

We saw more line juggling as Tyler Graovac was now slotted between Bailey and Lind… I like it.

DiPietro came up with a good save on Spencer Smallman before steering aside another shot from McKeown. The shots kept coming, as did the saves as Mikey D turned aside another from the right side. Gustav Forsling let fly with a shot that DiPietro kicked out before Graovac hammered a bomb of a shot wide at the other end. When Gravy shakes off the rust, those are going to be hitting the target a little more often.

The Comets nearly wrapped up the period with a Kole Lind goal as Bailey hit him with a crisp pass to send him in for a chance but Forsling came up with a good stick to take the puck away and the period came to a close soon after. Charlotte finished the period with a 12-4 advantage on the shot clock.

Third Period

The final frame saw the Comets get outshot yet again, but DiPietro stopped everything that came his way.

Charlotte had good pressure in the Comets’ end early and ended up being rewarded for their efforts with a power-play when Matt Petgrave… or Francis Perron, depending on who you believe, was sent off for tripping. Joe Roberts had it as Petgrave, but the AHL had Perron as the culprit. I could not see the player in the box, however, but I’m going to go with Joe on this one.

Either way, the Comets had a penalty to kill. Morgan Geekie nearly evened the game at two when he ripped his shot off the iron before Lorentz tried a spin and fire play that was quickly thwarted by DiPietro. The Comets came up with a good kill.

The Checkers were pouring it on and DiPietro proved to be ready for the challenge. He had to steer aside a shot after Josh Teves couldn’t handle a pass cleanly and the puck ended up on the wrong stick and followed up by gloving down another shot from McKeown.

Dylan Blujus had a tough game in terms of bumps and bruises as he was yet again seen headed off to the bench slowly after being on the receiving end of a hit. At the other end, Petgrave had a chance turned aside by Kinkaid.

The puck was in the Comets’ end more than the Checkers’ and DiPietro kept the saves coming as he stopped and held another from Joey Keane with a crowd forming in front. Keane came right back with another after the faceoff and Mikey said no yet again.

Ashton Sautner was whistled for delay of game at the 6:18 mark when he fired the puck out of play and it was back to the kill for Utica. The Charlotte power play was short-lived after Geekie was sent off for high-sticking Boucher at the 7:37 mark and we had some four aside play.

Kole Lind nearly put his team up 3-1 with a nice backhander but Kinkaid robbed him with a sprawling save. When the Comets’ power play kicked in, we saw one of the nicer plays of the season, but it didn’t end up resulting in a goal. Boucher sent a beautiful feed to Baertschi, who, in turn, whipped out the Swiss Sauce with a ridiculous between the legs drop pass to Bailey. Unfortunately, Bailey’s shot was denied by Kinkaid. The Comets came up empty.

Kole Lind was dinged for hooking at the 10:16 mark and it was Charlotte’s turn to go on the man advantage. I’m pretty sure that the Checkers didn’t even manage a shot on goal on this power play, which made for impressive work by the Comets as Charlotte came into the game with the league’s third-best power play.

Clark Bishop managed a shot after the power play but DiPietro had the answer once again. The Comets got a chance at the other end when Graovac dished to Frankie Perron from behind the net but Perron’s shot was redirected wide by a defender.

Max McCormick had a chance on DiPietro but Mikey was ready with another save, At the other end, Chatfield jumped up into the play, grabbed the puck and absolutely ripped it on net and Kinkaid had to hold on for a whistle.

Matt Petgrave was having a solid game today but he ended up not being able to finish the third frame after taking a hit and looking like his right arm/shoulder was in a bad way. He was able to stay on the bench but did not finish the game. I’d expect to see Mitch Eliot take his place for tomorrow’s rematch.

Chatfield was feeling his oats today as he jumped up into the play again and this time clanged a shot off the iron that his coach thought might have gone in and out… his coach might have a case, but the officials didn’t review the play.

Jacob Pritchard had a late chance that DiPietro got an arm on and the Checkers summoned Kinkaid to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:53 left. DiPietro made another stop with a scramble in his crease and the Comets would steer this one home for a 2-1 win. Charlotte held an 11-8 advantage on the third-period shot clock and a 34-31 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

Camper (9) from Baertschi (32) and Boucher (33).

Boucher (32) from Camper (30) and Baertschi (33).

Mikey DiPietro: 33 saves for the win. 

Special Teams

Power Play: 0/4.

Penalty Kill: 4/4.

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

PP2: Lind, Camper, Perron, Stevenson, Petgrave.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Carter Camper. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Mikey DiPietro. 33 saves for the win.

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

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Reid Boucher. Boucher picked up another two points and is now up to 32 goals and 33 asissts in 51 games this season. He is the Comets’ engine and consistently produces points while also playing a key role on the penalty kill. The records continue to fall in his wake and there could be more before the season ends.

2nd Star: Sven Baerstchi/Carter Camper. Two more veteran players who continue to help the Comets win games while playing big roles for the club. Baertschi now has 13 goals and 33 assists to give himself 46 points in 42 games, while Camper is up to nine goals and 30 assists, giving him 39 points in 46 games. He has been a great addition to this roster and could end up being massive in a playoff run. Baertschi continues to whip out ridiculous passes, showing that he is a premier playmaker who can get the job done from the wing.

1st Star: Mikey DiPietro. 33 saves on 34 shots after stopping 36 of 37 against Rochetser on Wednesday. Mikey D has taken the number one job and has run with it. His ability to shake off a bad goal, or a bad game is second to none. He is showing that he has the mental makeup to back a team when they need him. DiPietro now boasts a record of 21-10-2-1 in his 35 starts along with a 2.78 goals-against-average and a 0.908 save percentage.

Next Game

Game #60

Utica Comets at Charlotte Checkers

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

6:00 pm Eastern/3:00 pm Pacific