TGIF my fellow Canuck brethren! Tonight we have a hotly contested matchup between the Utica Comets and the Binghamton Devils as they battle for supremacy over the North Division! The Comets last two games against the Devils was the beginning of a rough stretch, culminating in a 10-1 loss to the Syracuse Crunch. Since that rough stretch though, for January at least, the Comets have run up a 5w-2L record securing themselves firmly in a tie for 1st place in the North Division, and tied for 3rd in the eastern conference.
The Binghamton Devils run a VERY brutal, physical style of hockey as we’ve seen in our numerous encounters this season…losing Sautner long term and Dahlen for an extended period of time with a broken face and concussion respectively. The team has struggled pretty hard with the Devils physical gameplay…ironically despite having the league worst penalty kill, the Devils seemingly perform at a 20% better clip against the Comets than any other team.
Team will be receiving Brendan Woods back into the lineup after being gone with a lower body injury since December 7th…There aren’t too many physical players on the Comets team, but Woods is one of them, we’ll see if he’ll be able to turn it up against this tough Devils team in his first game back. I’m not really holding my breath though…
Anyways shitton of injuries and illnesses rattling this team, and with Tanner Kero up in the big leagues, the team sees some major shakeups to its forward lineups so with that, lets get into tonight’s game!
Looks like Gaudette’s impressive play in last game won him the right to center that top line in the wake of Kero’s absence… he had great chemistry with Pyatt in the last game so it’ll be interesting to see how this line works with a bonafide finisher in Boucher working with them.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Undisclosed||Out for the Season||foot||Undisclosed||Sick||Out for the season||his fucking faceeeeeee|
Woods comes off IR for the first time since December 7th and at a perfect time too otherwise we’d probably be seeing Graham at right wing while MacEwen or MacMaster slid to center to cover their absence.
Streamable Clarity Improvement Notice
Continuing with last issues theme, going to be Players full name (jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) then every sub sequential play featuring that player it’ll be last name(jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) I’m also going to reduce the amount of hyperlink in the GOAL streamables, since that’s what I think MOST people are here for and don’t want some gaudy blue taking up the screen.
Comets in a green/black alternate tonight
- GOAL – BINGHAMTON – 1-0 Devils: Devils score an early one from Eric Gryba from the blue line. Kulbakov argues for interference but no dice…odd that last game Comets scored 35 seconds into the game, and here they are their next game getting scored on in the first 21 seconds…
- Jonah Gadjovich(#22) enters the zone, and then Brendan Woods(#21) absolutely decimates Devils’ Blake Speers along the boards
- LOL Comets come away with a powerplay as Eric Gryba picks up 4 minutes for roughing
- Hit was clean by the way, angle on the original play made it look like a blatant headshot but Speers head was nowhere near point of contact
- 1st powerplay unit – Gaudette, Boucher, MacEwen, Dahlen, McEneny
- Some nice puckhandling from Zack MacEwen(#15) to draw the Devils to him, some chances off a shot from Reid Boucher(#24)…but then Adam Gaudette(#17) picks up a tripping penalty to make it a 4-on-4 for 1 minute, then a 1 minute PK
- 4v4 unit – Gaunce, Pyatt, Brisebois, Graham
- lmao, that was quick; Kulbakov sidesteps into the path of Tangradi and gets bowled over and draws the goalie interference penalty hahaha; that’s two penalties drawn by Kulby in the same way that probably shouldn’t have been called haha
- Watch Jonathan Dahlen(#54) here on the 4-on-3 powerplay as he tries to bank it off the Devil’s players skate
- Gaudette(#17) pushing to the net through the entire Devils team manages to have a shot go off a couple skates to end up on Dylan Blujus(#8) stick who then tries to set up the trailer in Boucher(#24) for the goal
- Colton Saucerman(#39) with a slick cross-ice pass to Dahlen(#54) who slaps a pass to MacEwen(#15) who drives to the net, drops it off for Dahlen who in turn drops it for Graham(#64) to follow up with a shot in close at the side of the net
- Gadjovich(#22) sets up Tanner MacMaster(#19) on a breakaway but he loses his skate and then the puck; Woods(#21) follows up on the play to get a feed to Gadjer who gets a shot on goal
- Gaudette(#17) with a nice break-up of a Devils zone entry
- Gaudette(#17 )with a nice little pull away from Tangradi to get to center then passes to Boucher(#24) who loses possession but levels his check with a shoulder
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-1 Tie: Cam Darcy(#11) with some great aggressive forechecking to win the puck back for the Comets…Kole Lind(#13) picks up the puck and absolutely snipes a shot through traffic
- takes him this long to score his first and then has no problem sniping it through this kind of traffic…makes sense
- Gaudette(#17) casually holding the boards, feeds it to Saucerman(#39) who rips a shot on net that almost goes in off a tip by Boucher(#24)
- waiting on the replay cause for whatever fucking reason they cut to the crowd after the faceoff, but MacEwen blocks a shot and is slow to get to the bench
- Lind(#13) gets a great takeaway to maintain the zone and dishes it to Brendan Gaunce(# 16)for a shot on goal
- Darcy(#11) pokes away the puck at the Comets blue line and gets blatantly interfered with as he goes for the breakaway but gets no call
- ooooh baby close one, Boucher(#24) breaks up the Devils possession in the Comets zone and gets a breakaway but he loses possession on his drive
- GOAL – BINGHAMTON – 2-1 Devils: Comets get caught sending 5 players to retrieve the puck from the Devils possession and leave Colton White open for a shot on goal that lets Nathan Bastian pick up a rebound to put it over Kulbakov’s right shoulder and regains the lead for the Devils
- MacEwen back on the ice by the way so it must’ve been just a brutal shot he took off his foot that caused him some pain
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-2 Tie: The Comets even things up again! This time after Gaudette(#17) wins the ozone draw to Boucher(#24), Boucher passes it to Evan McEneny(#2) who’s shot ricochets off Devils’ goaltender Cam Johnson’s shoulder then OFF Egor Sharangovich’s head above Johnson into the back of the net…wonky goal but the Comets will take it as they even this one out again!
- Boucher(#24) with some fancy footwork to gain the zone and then dangles his way to the front of the Devils goal but can’t get a clean shot off
Score at the end of the first period: 2-2 Tie
Really solid competitive 1st period against a team the Comets have struggled with hard as of late…I want to say that brutal hit from Woods kind of woke the team up. Heads are on a swivel and players aren’t getting caught flat footed, lots of motion which is rewarding to see! Utica just barely held the edge in shots on goal, leading 12 to 11 over Binghamton.
- Comets are pissing me off with the number of times they cut away just as they’re about to do the faceoff draw
- Gadjovich(#22) with another setup for MacMaster(#19), then follows it up with a check along the boards that leads to a shot on goal from the Comets defense
- Comets on the powerplay off a high-sticking penalty from Josh Jacobs…not too many chances from it though
- Gadjovich(#22) enters the zone with the puck while fighting off a Devil’s player ; good battle and skating from a guy who’s weakest area is his skating…loving the guys effort his past couple starts
- Boucher(#24) pokes the puck off a Devils player and then blows past Colby Sissons for a shot on goal that gets stopped by Johnson
- Gaudette found himself on a breakaway feed but got tangled up by the Devils Michael Kapla and lost the scoring opportunity
- Saucerman(#39) drops to a knee to get the block and breaks up a potential Devils scoring opportunity
- Dahlen(#54) picks up the puck from a Devil’s players feet and leads to MacEwen(#15) taking a shot on net that gets deflected wide
- Gadjovich(#22) follows a MacMaster(#19) rebound to the boards and while under pressure makes a smart pass to MacMaster who then sets up McEneny(#2) for the long shot on goal
- audio gone after a time out so don’t worry its not your computer or phone…its AHLtv
- McEneny(#2) with great hand-eye and stick work to prevent an odd-man rush for the Devils and then clear it out of the zone
- MacEwen(#15) and Dahlen(#54) combine for a nifty drive to the net…like Dahlens little poke at the end to try and see if he can get MacEwen a shot
- McEneny(#2) under pressure again as he controls the puck manages to clear it without icing it a skill I wish the big boys of the Canucks employed from time to time
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Comets: After a wicked zone entry from MacEwen(#15), he follows it up with a slick backhand feed to Gaunce(#16) who roofs it to give the Comets their first lead of the game…Gaunce’ Pointstreak extends to 9 games
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-2 Comets
Bit of a slower period in terms of action, but nonetheless the Comets outshoot the Devils 13 to 10 and they gain their first lead of the game off a nasty pass zone entry and pass from MacEwen. Hopefully they learned from their exhausting 3rd period in Wednesday’s game and they’ve paced themselves accordingly… much more disciplined 2nd period from the team this game round, so hopefully we get a well-rested and composed Utica Comets for the third period where they can try and put this one away. Think it was obvious based on the number of streamables, but Jonah Gadjovich has really been impressing me with his play along the boards…really solid calm passes under pressure and while engaged in hard battles…isn’t just throwing plays away…he lost possession on one offensive drive but that was probably the only glaring error I saw in his game so far tonight. Hope he can find the back of the net with his line because he’s been dynamite for them.
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-2 Comets: The rewards are coming for our former Owen Sound Attack forward like I called! Here he is redirecting a long pass from McEneny(#2) straight onto Woods(#21) behind the Devils defense and puts it bottom left corner to give the Comets a 2 goal lead
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-2 Comets: Darcy(#11) sets up McEneny(#2) for a shot on goal but it goes wide, Lind(#13) does a great job tying up two Devils players to let the puck go between everyone’s feet straight to Carter Bancks(#34) stick who then backhands it top shelf to give the Comets the runaway lead in quick succession!
- Gaudette(#17) with speed bursts into the Devils zone for a shot attempt
- GOAL – BINGHAMTON – 5-3 Comets: A pass from Brandon Baddock slips under Lind’s(#13) stick onto the Devil’s Nick Saracino’s and he puts it above Kulbakov’s blocker side to close the gap
- Gaunce(#16) with terrific speed as he rushes down the right wing and gets a shot in behind Johnson that SOMEHOW gets kept out by the Devil’s Nick Lappin
- Guillaume Brisebois takes a pretty dumb cross-checking penalty to put the Comets on a penalty kill with 9 minutes and change remaining
- Comets kill the penalty; Devils barely get any shots on the powerplay
- Kulbakov picks up a loose puck after making a stop at the edge of his crease
- Devils starting to ramp up the hits as they lay some big hits out onto Gaudette and Sifers before losing the zone
- Binghamton pulls the goalie for the extra attacker; Michael McLeod with an open net takes wayyyy too long and gives up a golden opportunity to bring the game within 1 for the Devils…good save by Kulby
- oh man Woods, Bancks, Pyatt, Brisebois and Blujus get stuck out on the ice for the final minute and a half or so as they cant clear it without getting the icing call. But despite being outshot 11 to 6 across the final frame, they still successfully defend the 6-on-5 for the final two minutes and earn their third straight victory
Final Score: 5-3 Comets
|1st||Binghamton||Nathan Bastian||Colton White||Michael McLeod||5v5|
|1st||Utica||Evan McEneny||Reid Boucher||Adam Gaudette||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Brendan Gaunce||Zack MacEwen||Guillaume Brisebois||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Brendan Woods||Jonah Gadjovich||Evan McEneny||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Carter Bancks||Evan McEneny||Cam Darcy||5v5|
|3rd||Binghamton||Nick Saracino||Brandon Baddock||Josh Jacobs||5v5|
- The Comets 5v5 couldn’t have looked better tonight, with great games from Woods, Gaudette, Gadjovich, McEneny, Dahlen and MacEwen. I wish the AHL did ANY kind of advanced stat tracking because the Comets takeaways tonight were through the roof…so many times possession was kept off great stick work in the Devils zone that lead to some golden scoring opportunities and goals for the Comets. Really impressed by their effort tonight…plus they didn’t blow their wad having to defend against a shit ton of stupid penalties.
- Gadjovich is lowkey picking up his game piece by piece in his past 6 starts…hard along the boards, finishing his checks no matter what, great pressure that disrupted a lot of Devils exit attempts, had some great passes to MacMaster tonight that (I mean this politely) if sent to a better player probably end up as goals for. The re-direct to Woods for his goal in his return game was absolutely nasty though…yes I know his skating needs work, but the guy hustles in his skates to aggressively forecheck and work along the boards…give this kid the same kind of skating coach that Bo Horvat had and oh man we might have a sleeper player here…great calm plays along the boards…many times you see guys get crowded by 2 or 3 dudes from the enemy team and the player being pressured will just pass it to no mans land…but Gadj has lowkey great awareness…you can see it whenever he goes along the boards or to battle he takes a quick glance around the ice to get a feel for where everyone is. I really like his game, and I’m glad it paid off with a primary assist for him. I would think that with Jasek due to return after being sick for the past couple games, that Gadjovich will have earned his spot and MacMaster’s will be the one to replace.
- Gaudette’s speed…oh boy just look at those controlled zone entries, the guy is just blowing past everyone on the ice…another reason why I wish there were advanced stats in the AHL because this kid was just a possession and entry machine tonight. Showed he could absolutely handle a 1st line center role at the AHL level with ease.
- Florida Panthers were in house to scout the Farm tonight…genuinely wondering now if we do see a trade for Gudbranson
- Have to give a quick credit to Ivan Kulbakov who had his 7th straight start for the Comets and looked sharp once again. His ability to come in clutch for the Comets this stretch and the earlier stretch back in October and November might have bumped up his stock a bit and pending what happens with Bachman, might be making a case for himself as a bonafide starter in the AHL. I don’t know if Michael DiPietro plans to move to the AHL (or if he’s even technically allowed to) but barring any other trades, I’ll be paying close attention to Kulbakov’s progression and game for the final 23 games of the season to see if he can make a case as the Comets starter for next season in the event that Bachman’s injury is worse than we think
- I’ve been saying it around here and on the Canucks discord, but Evan McEneny is asserting himself as the Comets most reliable defender this season. Last season he had a brutal leg injury that cut his season at just 11 games. This season he’s come in with something to prove, extremely reliable on the powerplay along the blue line, calm under pressure in his own zone, crisp passing, rarely takes dumb penalties…shit the guy could get called up tomorrow and replace Pouliot or Gudbranson and I can confidently say he’d be more sound defensively…the guy is playing his best hockey right now…its actually kind of crazy to me that in a night where he gets a goal, 2 assists and ends as a +3 and he’s only the second star of the night haha
- Reid Boucher ended the night with 1 assist and 8 shots registered on goal and ended a -1. I know this guy lit it up in the early parts of the season, but I think we’re now seeing the repercussions of running so hot so early, players know he’s the Comets triggerman and are quick to block his paths to the net, so he needs to adapt a bit more to being a playmaker/assist machine in the wake of being the known triggerman for the Comets. Countless times he takes the selfish attempt on goal but it leads to nothing…if he ever wants that shot in the NHL he’s gotta diversify…. Don’t get me wrong he was dangerous as fuck tonight…I mean 8 shots is 8 shots, but his plays he did set up were pretty dangerous, but I can tell he just has that desire to be a one man goal scorer, when he can definitely be much more.
Comets Three Stars
- Evan McEneny
- Adam Gaudette
- Jonah Gadjovich
Honorable Mentions: MacEwen, Kulbakov, Reid Boucher
Comets are back at it again tomorrow when the Belleville Senators visit the Comets to end off their 5 game road trip. The Senators are currently on a 3 game losing streak, with their last loss coming against the Syracuse Crunch. This will be the first encounter the Comets will have had with Darren Archibald since he was traded to the Ottawa system in exchange for Mike McKenna and Tom Pyatt. Since joining the Senators Archibald has only got 1 assist in 4 games played and has a +/- of -3…that’s after having run up 16 points in 23 games played with Utica this season… knowing how hockey stories go, he’ll probably get a hatty or some shit.
Regardless, with both Utica and Syracuse winning their games Friday night, the Comets hold firm in 2nd place in the North division and remain tied for 3rd in the East. Despite all the shit Cull has been given for his deployment of the rookies, but man its hard to deny that whatever he’s doing IS working.
Most of those wins have come when he’s played the Rookies in the lineup but hey…Im not a coach…im just a guy…sitting at a computer….meticulously rewinding a game….and recording highlights…for all you beautiful people out there who read this whenever its posted! Bless you fine readers of the Farmies, without you’re kind words and support, I don’t know what I’d do!
As always I Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Farmies. Any feedback, improvement suggestions, content or highlights you’d like me to focus/pick out during games, let me know and I’ll do my best to provide during the next Farmies!