Ayyyyyy we back baby, it’s the Farmies ready to start the back-half of the AHL season with the Utica Comets and our boys in Blue, Green and Silver (oh and occasionally in black and purple). I can’t tell you how itchy I was to get back to Farmies write-ups, I was dead set convinced yesterday was Friday and had begun my preparations for writing and everything only to realize it was Thursday…but that devastation has subsided because TGIF we actually here!
About tonights game, After an impressive 6-2-1-1 January, the Comets head into February on a two game winless streak after losing in a shootout to the Rochester Americans LAST Friday…Ivan Kulbakov was lights out that game, stopping 48 of 50 shots in regulation and pushing the shootout to the 8th round. The Crunch have won 4 consecutive games, with their last being a 4-3 OT win over those same Rochester Americans last Saturday. So both teams coming into tonight will be well rested, and are well versed in each other’s respective teams. After losing a brutal match to the Crunch in December by a score of 10 to 1, the Comets rallied in January, winning all three matchups, outscoring the Crunch 12 to 8 in that time.
Since there haven’t been any trades, call-ups or PTO releases since last Friday, lets just hop right into tonights lineup and get into the game!
Jaime Sifers slides out of the lineup once again due to the restrictions on the number of veterans that can play in a given game. ALSO editors note, but apologies to the Sifers family, but I realized last game (or maybe it was the game before) but I had been spelling his name wrong this ENTIRE TIME (Jaime NOT Jamie) so apologies Sifers family if you are Comets readers.
Also sliding out again for the 2nd games straight are Tanner MacMaster and Jonah Gadjovich. I said it last time, but I kind of disagree with Gadj’s benching as he’s been having VERY strong games in his past 6 starts. Hard to disagree with MacMaster’s benching though, who has honestly looked less than impressive with each start.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Out for the Season||ilnness||upper body injury||Out for the season||His fucking faaaaaaaaaaace|
Gaudette being out with illness really sucks and realistically kills a lot of offense for this team…wonder what they’ll do to try and compensate
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 Blue
- An early chance for the Comets as a slow rolling puck gets found by Tanner Kero(#10) who tries to spin around and get it past the Crunch’s Connor Ingram
- Kole Lind(#13) with a nice quick backcheck and stick lift to prevent a scoring opportunity for Syracuse’s Nolan Valleau
- Zack MacEwen(#15) finishes a check that opens up Brendan Gaunce(#16) to feed Vincent Arseneau(#18) with the one-timer pass that gets saved by Connor Ingram; slick heads up pass from Gaunce on this play
- Guillaume Brisebois(#55) chases the puck to the Comets end boards then, im not sure what he does, he either chooses NOT to take the puck with him, or he hopes a Comet is right with him to pick up the bounce; Fortunately Gaunce is there, but the way he angles his feet tells me he wasn’t expecting Brisebois to leave it to rebound… bold move that forces Gaunce into taking a high shoulder
- Lukas Jasek(#9) carries the puck into the Crunch’ zone off a pass from Brendan Woods(#21) then tries to Woods up with a great centering feed around his checks stick
- Looks like we got a bit of an agitator in Kole Lind, I’ve never really written about the weaselly side of his game, but it’s a pretty big part of his net-front game…constantly trrying to irritate his opponent with little shoves, then tries to bait the call of the returning shoves. Here he draws the penalty on Hubert Labraie to put the Comets on their first powerplay of the game
- Play was unsuccessful but I like the quick passing to setup this play, as Reid Boucher(#24) picks up a puck taken away from MacEwen(#15) and quickly passes to Tanner Kero(#10) who sets up Jonathan Dahlen(#54) for a one-timer that doesn’t make it to the net
- Comets clogging the center to deny any play setup from Carter Verhaeage on a Crunch offensive rush, and then Kole Lind seconds after their first powerplay expires, draws his SECOND penalty of the night to put the Comets on their 2nd powerplay; slick move from Brisebois(#55) on that backcheck to limit Verhaege’s options
- 1st unit: MacEwen, Kero, Boucher, McEneny, Dahlen
- Some absolutely brutal passing from the Comets to start the second powerplay as they get a shot against off a misses long ice pass to MacEwen from McEneny
- Ivan Kulbakov draws his 3rd penalty in as many games as he leaves his net to play the puck and draws the charging penalty
- MacEwen(#15) wins the draw and Evan McEneny(#2) sets up Boucher(#24) for the one-timer that gets blocked and almost cleared out, but Boucher with some solid hand-eye, picks up the clearing attempt, sauces a pass to MacEwen at the front of the net who goes backhand to Dahlen(#54) for another close scoring opportunity for Utica
- Kulbakov gets a save on a shorthanded play from the Crunch but the Camera angle completely negates the view of said save…but just know he made a clutch one
- Once again a really weak powerplay from the Comets where they struggle to maintain possession in the zone for longer than 15 seconds at a time.
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 1-0 Crunch: Fresh off a VERY disappointing back-to-back powerplay for the Comets, Nolan Valleau rifles one that gets deflected by a sliding Jalen Chatfield(#5) that goes past a screened Kulbakov who looks like he has no idea where the puck was coming from
- Nolan Valleau with a pretty blatant hold on Boucher(#24) to put the Comets on their 4TH powerplay of the period
- audio gone to start the Comets powerplay – Cull rolling out Lind, Pyatt, Gaunce, Jasek and Brisebois as his first unit
- after a pretty long and intense battle along the end boards for possession, puck comes out to Tom Pyatt(#20) who sets up Bisebois(#55) for a shot through traffic, Lind(#13) with good rebound follow-up as he pressures along the boards to deny the clearing attempt
- Carter Verhaege finds himself alone on a breakaway at the end of the Comets 4th powerplay but Kulbakov gets a piece of his glove on it
- Moments after nearly getting caught for too many men on the ice, Brendan Woods(# 21) shovels a puck ahead to Arseneau(#18) who races down the wing for a shot that gets gobbled into Ingram’s pads
- Looks like some line shuffling going on, as we now have a line of Boucher and Lind centered by Wacey Hamilton…Cull not happy with Boucher’s one-man giveaway/possession loss drives
- seconds after I right that, Boucher(#24) picks up a neutral zone pass from the Crunches Jan Rutta; he then feeds it to Wacey Hamilton(#36) who enters the zone for a shot on goal; Lind(#13) continues his agitator game
- when was the last time you saw a Canucks defenseman hit a guy with some gusto
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 2-0 Crunch: on the ensuing play from the Crunch, some pretty slow cycling see’s Dennis Yan wire a shot from the top half of the circle and Kulbakov once again appears to have a late setup and no clue where the puck is
- Alt angle shows Kulbakov trying to get vision on the puck through Volkov and McEneny and appears late to react to the shot from Yan
- Brisebois(#55), I like that he’s following his check, but a quick glance to see where the puck is couldn’t hurt, otherwise this backcheck could end up being realllllllly bad if that rebound ended up in the back of the net
Score at the end of the first period: 2-0 Crunch
A lot to unpack here…the team without Gaudette in the lineup looks pretty weak. Or at the very least, are underperforming…Boucher got himself bumped down the lines off numerous wasted possession entries that saw him enter too fast only to instantly have the puck poked away and out of the zone… 4 powerplays and barely any scoring chances to show for it…and that’s with some of their key members in the lineup, not a good look. Still though, the Comets managed to BARELY outshoot the Crunch 8 to 7; Kind of meaningless however if those weren’t really high danger scoring chances. Timing in general for the bulk of the Comets lineup looks completely off, passes not tape to tape, hard to imagine how they dig themselves out of this one…but hey, at least it’s not 10-1! Right?!
- Jasek(#9) picks up a fanned-on pass in front of Connor Ingram and cuts his way to the net for a scoring chance
- Lind(#13) sauces a pass to Gaunce(#16) who drops off for Chatfield(#5) who maybe steps up a bit too aggressively to pick up his own rebound that gives the Crunch a 2-on-1 breakaway that McEneny(#2) has to defend, fortunately Kulbakov makes the save
- Jasek(#9) with a nice fake to get around Boris Katchouk and enter the zone
- Luke Schenn(#23) steps up to let Brady Brassart know he isn’t a fan of his crosscheck to the chest of Tanner Kero, and somehow picks up a roughing penalty for just giving him a single shove to the chest; Schenn’s Meat and Tatoes/60 increases but puts the Comets on their first penalty kill of the night
- the patented Gaunce(#16) penalty kill breakaway off a clear from Woods(#21)
- McEneny(#2) with a slow back check but manages to poke the puck free, unfortunately it lands on the stick of another Crunch player but he sails it wide of the net…good poke but the result would’ve been worse if the Crunch player could shoot
- Chatfield(#5) oversteps in the Crunch’ zone that leads to a rush the other way that gets broken up by Carter Bancks(#34) and Cliff Watson(#29)
- Comets struggle to clear the puck after that rush, as they ice the puck, around the 10:14 mark, Chatfield and Cliff Watson jumped on the ice around the 11 minute mark, didn’t get off until 9:02…absolutely brutal stretch for them
- Jesus this period is just not going well for the Comets, just absolutely hemmed in their own end…Zack MacEwen led a zone entry around the 8 minute mark but they lost possession pretty quick off a pass that got picked off along the left wing
- Jasek(#9) fans on his cross-ice pass to Bancks(#34) while the Comets are changing which leads to rush the other way and a manic backcheck for Chatfield(#5) and McEneny(#2) which they succeed in doing
- 2nd period has been A LOT of this; Here Schenn(#23) drops to his knees to play tendy and block a quick turning shot from Colton Ross
- Dylan Blujus went down on the earlier penalty kill after blocking a shot with his hand, the athletic trainer returned to the bench, but Blujus did not so safe to say his night is done. Would explain the D-pair shuffling
- a mad scramble in front of Kulbakov see’s MacEwen(#15) slash the stick out of Gaunce’s(#16) hands and then Schenn simply muscle Otto Somppi out of the crease to allow Kulbakov to see the puck and jump on it to kill the play
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: *2-0 Crunch *
An absolute snoozer of a period from the Comets…next to no significant offense from the Comets…they only registered 4 shots on net, and just about every single one were weak shots straight into the chest of Connor Ingram. Timing still looks completely off for this team…passes looking uncharacteristically weak, not tape-to-tape, nothing coming from their zone entries. Unfortunate game coming off the All-Star Break, maybe they get a greasy one to give them a chance in the third but I’m not holding my breath.
- Comets once again starting the third with several minutes of being hemmed in their own zone
- GOAL – Syracuse – 3-0 Crunch: absolutely brutal goal by the Comets, Chatfield(#5) attempts to flip a puck down the ice but it gets glove down at center ice, so the Comets decide THEN is a good time to change…easy tick tack toe goal for the Crunch as they punish Utica for a very bad change
- shit like this is why Boucher will never get a call up to the bigs…gets tripped, stands up and looks at the ref instead of just PLAYING through
- Arseneau(#18) lays a huge hit
- Dahlen(#54) follows the puck off the draw in behind the Crunch’ net that leads to a scoring chance for Gaunce(#16)
- Brendan Woods takes a high sticking minor after getting tangled up with Troy Bourke and puts the Comets on their 2nd penalty kill of the game
- Comets kill the penalty well enough, not many chances from the Crunch on that one
- Kulbakov with a huge stretch save after missing a shot with his glove
- 8:12 left in the game and Kulbakov gets pulled….thats new one
- Dahlen(#54 )loses possession along the wall but McEneny( #2)picks It up and sets up Kero(#10) for the one—imer that gets stopped by Connor Ingram
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 4-0 Crunch: of the ensuing deflection of the Kero shot on goal, McEneny goes to play the puck down but it ends up right on the stick of Carter Verhaege who gets an easy empty netter to extend the Crunch lead to 4
- MacEwen(#15) and Gaunce(#16) throwing anything they can on Ingram to try get something going
The Score at the end of the 3rd period: 4-0 Crunch
Another snoozer period where it appeared the Comets was completely on cruise control. Weak passes, timing completely off, no notable shots on goal or playmaking; all in all a veryyyyyy weak effort from the Farm tonight. Only thing of note this whole game really was that huge hit from Arseaeau and the scoring chances from Jasek. I’ll chalk this effort up to a team coming off a LONG layoff and maybe not coming in as prepared as they should have… could also just be a sign of how badly this team needs a fast offensive dynamic scorer like Gaudette to be even remotely effective.
Final Score: 4-0 Syracuse Crunch
|1st||Syracuse||Nolan Valleau||Carter Verhaege||Taylor Raddysh||5v5|
|1st||Syracuse||Dennis Yan||Nolan Vallaeu||Alexander Volkov||5v5|
|3rd||Syracuse||Andy Andreoff||Alex Barre-Boulet||Carter Verhaege||5v5|
|3rd||Syracuse||Carter Verhaege||Andy Andreoff||—||EN|
- Pretty brutal effort from the farm tonight. Chalk it up to layoff, but I pray to god I see a better effort against Springfield tomorrow. Because I don’t know if my brain can handle such mind-numbingly boring hockey back-to-back.
- Powerplay woes: The Comets powerplay has struggled mightily in their last 5 games, having only succeeded twice in 21 tries. Simply put, something has to change with their powerplay specialists. Because even dating back to the start of January, the Comets powerplay looks even worse, succeeding only 6 times in 46 tries since January 2nd. This is almost a testament to their even-strength scoring ability because on the man-advantage they’ve done just terribly. Cold streaks appear to be hitting many of the teams most prominent shooters, maybe their production is just cooling off after having pretty impressive December/January periods, but whatevers going on its hit this team hard when it comes to the powerplay, as it just looked tonight like had confidence in their shots.
- Again, the Dahlen streak of being pretty much invisible 5v5 and on the powerplay continues, I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll actually see the hyped up Dahlen because after picking up 9 points in November, his production has been very hit or miss since. Dahlen’s currently riding a 4 game pointless drought, and given his prominence on the first unit powerplay, I wonder if Cull does anything to shake up the team to try and wake them out of their respective slumps…lord knows they need it after tonight’s effort!
Comets Three Stars
- Lukas Jasek for trying
- Vincent Arseneau for the big hit
- Luke Schenn for looking like an NHL level, quality defender stuck slumming it in the minors
The Comets are back tomorrow when they visit the Springfield Thunderbirds to cap off this 3 game stretch of away games. The Thunderbirds are coming off a dominant 5-2 victory over the Atlantic divisions last place, Hartford Wolf Pack, securing themselves 5th place in the Atlantic. With the loss tonight to the Crunch, the Comets lose a chunk of ground on 2nd place in the North as some teams made headway on their games in hand, so they now fall to 4th with 51 points, and trail the third place team the Toronto Marlies by 1. To make a push for the Calder Cup playoffs, the Comets need to continue from where they left off in January and try to eke points out of every game as best as possible to maintain their win percentage (top 4 teams by win% from each division make it in).
Until tomorrow, as always, I Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Farmies, sorry there wasn’t much to write home about tonight but maybe tomorrow we’ll get lucky! 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!