Good Sunday to R/Canucks, we gather here today in the middle part of our Family Day long weekend to catch up on the little Farm team that could, as they attempt to extend their point streak for February with a win tonight at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets farm team the Cleveland Monsters!
I said it about the Canucks loss last night, but the fact that they are having competitive games against one of the legitimate BEST western conference, all-star teams with a d-core that features, 2 young 2nd pairing guys as their 1st pair, 2 3rd pairing (near 7th d quality) d men rotating shifts with a 7th D-man while a rookie call-up d-man alternates in on offensive draws only…like having competitive games with THAT as your D-core shouldn’t be remotely possible, but the Canucks, as painful as these losses have been, are putting in shit tones of work to establish themselves as the bonafide future first pairing and core of this club.
Which brings me to my same echoing statements regarding our farm team; this club is absolutely killing it this February when by all accounts they shouldn’t be. This month they’ve lost 22 man games from their TOP players, MacEwen, Gaudette, Jasek, Brisebois, Schenn, Blujus and Sautner either due to call-ups to the big club or due to injury…but they’ve STILL made it work and earned points! 16 of their last 24 goals came at even strength, and not just from their top six, the team is producing from all lines even with the absence of Gaudette and MacEwen AND with Boucher/Kero slowing down in their production, so it’s been a very impressive stretch from the club. A club that gets a fair share of critique in regards to youth deployment and development…but I have to give the ol’ Jason Botchford hat-tip to Cull because the work ethic that’s been instilled in this club has paid off this month of February as they come into toinght’s matchup having earned points in 6 of their last 7 games, and hold steady in 3rd place in the AHL’s North Division
Hat-tipping aside, let’s get into tonight’s matchup and our starting lineup!
Looks like Colton Saucerman slides back into the lineup after riding the bench for his last 5. Jesse Graham, despite a relatively “ok” game for his first game back after being out with injury since before January 25th, is the lone healthy scratch from tonight’s lineup, and while I do appreciate his speed and ability to backcheck, he’s still not nearly as reliable defensively as the rest of the Comets blue-liners.
Also sliding into tonight’s lineup is Reid Gardiner, who replaces an injured Jonah Gadvjoich; Gadjovich was the recipient of a pretty brutal crosscheck and facewash from Tristan Jarry in Saturdays game, but no word from the team on what specific injury is keeping him out. Reid Gardiner in his time with the Kalamazoo Wings has picked up 53 points in 36 games with our affiliates affiliate!
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Out for the Season||UBI||hand||Upper body injury||Out for the season|
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
- Leighton starting his second back to back since being signed to the club
- Starting line: Gaunce, Gardiner, Darcy, Sifers, LeBlanc
- Comets struggling through the first 4 minutes to try and enter the Monsters zone…every zone entry is quickly broken up around the top half of the circle and forcing the Comets to reset
- Comets hemmed into their own zone and Brendan Woods(#21) elects for the Comets patented blind no look drop pass to the opposing team in their own zone Michael Leighton being tested early
- True story, the Cleveland Monsters coach is John Madden, father of Canucks prospect and most likely future Comets centerman, Tyler Madden
- Jonathan Dahlen(#54) tries to setup Woods(#21) at center after a takeaway, then gets a second takeaway along the boards afterwards
- Kole Lind(#13) cruises around the boards and picks off a Cleveland pass and gets a quick turn and shot on goal
- 10 minutes in and the Monsters have 10 shots on goal to the Comets 1
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 1-0 Monsters: The Monsters are just hemming the Comets into their own end, and punishing them this period…after 11 minutes Dan DeSalvo goes opposite side to Doyle Somerby who wrists one top shelf past a screened Michael Leighton who looks to have had no clue where that shot was coming from
- Former Canuck Adam Clendening sends a rink wide pass that bounces over Colton Saucerman’s(#39) stick straight to Vitaly Abramov who gets stopped by Leighton on the breakaway
- Yikes, a dzone start for the Comets and Leighton faces three shots from the blue line as the Comets cannot clear to save their lives
- 17 minutes into the game and the Comets get their first real scoring chance of the game, Brendan Gaunce(#16) wins a puck battle along the boards and sets up Reid Gardiner(#14) who springs ahead Tanner Kero(#10) for the breakaway, his saucer pass gets blocked but almost inadvertently gets past Monsters tendy JF Berube
- Kero(#10) with a beauty of a tip pass to Tom Pyatt(#20) for the breakaway chance, then Kero(#10) gets dinged for tripping to put the Comets on the penalty kill as he chases the puck
- The PK ends quickly as Dan DeSalvo gets dinged for a dangerous boarding on Woods(#21)
Score at the end of the first period: 1-0 Monsters
Well that was pretty brutal…outshot 19 to 5, the Comets struggled HARD to manage any form of meaningful possession throughout the period…besides some high danger scoring chances created by Tanner Kero, the team just had no answer to the Monsters control. Every shift was pretty much rinse and repeat…struggle to clear, get tired, flip high through the neutral zone to allow for a change, repeat. Leighton was sharp throughout the period though, 1 goal allowed on 19 shots, where a majority were pretty significant shots from the Monsters…hopefully the Comets can wake up this period
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 2-0 Monsters: oh man Adam Clendening just made Cam Darcy(#11) look like a fool here… Paul Bittner wins a battle behind the Comets net, gets it to Clendening who fakes out Darcy to go backhand to Doyle Somerby who wrists it blocker side past Leighton…brutal coverage from Sautner and Saucerman as they let Bittner easily get that play in motion behind the net
- some sustained pressure from the Comets for the first time this game, chances from Vincent Arseneau(#18), Saucerman(#39) and Dahlen(#54)
- Dahlen(#54) with a great feed to Jalen Chatfield(#5) for a one-timer, then Woods(#21) picks up the rebound to set Dahlen up at the front of the net but gets robbed by Berube
- Saucerman(#39) with some quick skates to gain the zone then sends it along the boards for Lukas Jasek(#9) who holds it until Woods(#21) steps in to help where the puck squeezes out right to Dahlen(#54) who gets another chance at the front of the net
- a bit more of that first period turtling happening again as the Comets D are just struggling to land a decent enough pass to clear the zone
- Cam Darcy(#11) sends it deep and it gets gloved down by Cleland D Ryan Collins but Gaunce(#16) is there with some great reaction time to knock it off his stick for the takeaway and breakaway chance but sails his shot high and wide of the net
- Gardiner(#14) draws the interference penalty on Cleveland’s Tommy Cross to put the Comets on their first substantial powerplay of the game, their first powerplay of the game was only 20 seconds in length
- 1st unit powerplay: Boucher, Kero, Gaunce, McEneny, Dahlen
- 40 seconds in and the Comets pulling a Canucks and just falling on their faces trying to set up in the offensive zone
- 2nd Unit: Saucerman, Pyatt, Darcy, Jasek, Gardiner….yup Gardiner on the powerplay…not even Lind haha…good lord
- Jasek leads a decent zone entry, but then hands it off to Pyatt who gets pinned along the boards and the powerplay ends
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 3-0 Monsters: Wellp…after an ozone start, a 3 man rush going the other way sees a shot by Kevin Stenlund redirected past Leighton to give the Monsters a 3 goal lead. I like Chatfield( #5) tying up his man, but I think the puck redirects off of them as they screen past Leighton
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-1 Monsters: The Comets finally on the board as Lind(#13) helps out Arseneau(#18) and Wacey Hamilton(#36) along the boards to get it out to Jaime Sifers(#26) who’s shot from the blue line gets past Berube. At first it looked like Arseneau(#18) got a late tip on it, but credit goes to Sifers so I guess not. Nice play by the rookie Lind to step in and fish that puck out to Sifers
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-1 Monsters
I mean this period was BETTER….but still 2 goals off of pretty bad D coverage is never great…nor is falling on your face during the powerplay. They did however turn the tide on the shot sheet as they registered 14 shots on net to the Monsters 6… perhaps the Monster are a bit exhausted from that oppressive first period of domination…Still though, the Monsters have looked literally big and strong against this Comets team, so it’s going to be a massive uphill battle if this Comets team of the last two periods continues their offensive setup struggles into the third period.
- a really dominant shift from the Arseneau, Hamilton, Lind, Saucerman and McEneny as they retain the puck long enough to force the Monsters to ice the puck in an attempt to clear the zone for a change
- Cleveland appears to be tired, 3 back to back icings in a row; Comets pulling a reversal and hemming the Monsters in their zone now denying them any wholesale changes
- Woods(#21 )with a perfect faceoff draw win straight to Dahlen(#54) but his shot gets blocked by a Cleveland skater
- McEneny throws away the puck in his own zone but the Comets manage to regain the puck…that’s by my count the 2nd or 3rd time that’s happened this game…not the strongest of games from Mc so far
- Brett Gallant at the top right of the streamable lays a huge hit on Saucerman(#39) well after he’s gotten rid of the puck …thought there was a window when hits like this were ok?
- 9 minutes down and the Monsters haven’t registered a shot on goal yet
- Dahlen with the 9000 IQ play after a Monster is waved out of the ozone draw, he see’s the two monster isolating him should they lose the draw…so what does Dahlen do, Woods(#21) wins the draw perfectly again, but Dahlen(#54) fakes by going over to his d-man for the one-timer instead … I contend that if Sifers(#26) is ready and doesn’t settle the puck, they probably score here
- Bryan Collins gets called for tripping on Wacey Hamilton who crashes into the boards awkwardly, putting the Comets on their third powerplay of the night
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Monsters: 9 Seconds in to the powerplay, the Comets tie up the puck along the boards and Kero(#10) goes cross-ice to a completely open Reid Boucher(#24) who snipes it glove side on Berube for his 24th goal of the year…oh boy what a snipe…and oh boy Cleveland how could you leave a guy like Boucher just completely open like that haha…somehow after a brutal 2 periods of hockey from the Comets, they are within 1 with plenty of time remaining
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-3 Tie: oh ok we have a game again! The Comets strike twice in less than a minute, after winning another ozone draw, McEneny(#2) relays the puck along the boards, Saucerman(#39) ties up a man, Darcy(#11) ties up a man and Gardiner(#14) fishes out the puck after falling over to quickly sauce it to Gaunce(# 16 )for the one timer past Berube to tie the game at 3…damn….3 unanswered for the Comets and its now anybody’s game!
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-3 Comets: Jesus I cant keep up here! Comets with their 4th straight unanswered goal, their third in 2 minutes and 27 seconds…Boucher(#24 ) leads a zone entry by handing off to Pyatt(#20) who banks it off the end boards to himself, he then catches a Monsters clearing attempt and sets up Kero(#10) at the front of the net for a wicked quick tap-in goal to give the Comets their first lead of the game
- with less than 8 minutes remaining in the third period, the Comets have outshot the Monsters 9 to 0…a literal reversal of that first period only the Comets are just capitalizing on everything
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 4-4 Tie: ok this game is officially off the rails…less than 1 minute after the Kero goal, Doyle Somerby shoots one in from the blue line, and as Leighton goes for the glove stop Sam Vigneault steps in for the last second tip that goes under Leighton’s pads and trickles into the goal and once again very quickly we have a tie game
- Figures, the Monsters first shot on goal in the third period trickles in to tie the game
- McEneny(#2) misses his clear and almost leads to a breakaway but he gets a last second poke to get it to Saucerman(#39) for the reset
- From minutes 5 to 3, it’s just been end to end icings, looks like both teams needing to clear the cobwebs and settle things down
- Gaunce(#16) with a steal off a dzone start and gets the 2 on 1 breakaway with Gardiner(#14), dishes a beauty saucer pass but Gardiner completely whiffs on the chance
- a stretch pass from Sifers(#26) gets picked off, but fortunately the Monsters whiff on the chance
Score at the end of the Third Period: 4-4 Tie
Well the Comets sure know how to make a game interesting! The point streak continues tonight regardless of the outcome…the Comets overcome a brutal first period and a 3 goal deficit to take the Monsters to overtime. Somehow after giving up 19 shots against in the first period the Comets now edge the Monsters in shots against, 29 to 28 across 3 periods. The tide and momentum was in the Comets favor there in the final couple minutes with the Comets constantly threatening in the Monsters zone but unable to get any shots off.
- Time for some 3 on 3 to close this one out, and our first shift is Gardiner Gaunce and Sautner…pretty respectable starting shift as Gardiner and Gaunce have looked quite dangerous together tonight
- Next up, LeBlanc, Gardiner, Hamilton
- Gardiner( #14) stuck on the ice for an extended shift gets a stick on a shot from Ryan MacInnis to deflect it high and wide
- 3rd group, Pyatt, LeBlanc, Hamilton
- Stefan LeBlanc(#3) with a huge rink wide pass to Pyatt(#20) who sets up Hamilton(#36) on the doorstep but Berube is there to deny the chance
- 4th group: Kero, Boucher, McEneny
- 5th: Dahlen, McEneny, Darcy
- Monsters tie up the Dahlen/Darcy trio in their own zone for the bulk of their shift until Darcy leads a breakout for a shot right into the chest of Berube
- Kero/Boucher/Sautner out for the ozone draw
- a Cleveland player loses his stick and the Comets aggressively rush the Monsters zone and Boucher(#24) rips a shot wide of the net
- McEneny, Gaunce and Pyatt out for the ozone draw after play is whistled dead off a shot that goes high and wide from Boucher
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-4 Comets: Wow, what a comeback, McEneny(# 2) capitalizes on the Monsters making a slow change, and sends Gaunce(#16 )cruising down the right wing where he sends a shot in on Berube which he doesn’t control properly, and Pyatt(#20) comes crashing in to pick up the loose puck and back hands it in to complete the comeback victory
Final Score : 5-4 Utica Comets
|1st||Cleveland||Doyle Somerby||Dan DeSalvo||Dillon Simpson||5v5|
|2nd||Cleveland||Doyle Somerby||Adam Clendening||Paul Bittner||5v5|
|2nd||Cleveland||Kevin Stenlund||Mark Letestu||Jean-Francois Berube||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Jaime Sifers||Kole Lind||Wacey Hamilton||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Reid Boucher||Tanner Kero||Brendan Gaunce||PPG|
|3rd||Utica||Brendan Gaunce||Reid Gardiner||Cam Darcy||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Tanner Kero||Tom Pyatt||—||5v5|
|3rd||Cleveland||Sam Vigneault||Doyle Somerby||Dillon Simpson||5v5|
|OT||Utica||Tom Pyatt||Brendan Gaunce||Evan McEneny||3v3|
- Well…THAT was certainly a game of hockey. I can’t even wrap my head around the ups and downs of this one…an absolutely horrific of horrific first periods followed by a bit of a battler 2nd period where the Comets just couldn’t capitalize on their chances….and then a 3rd period where a brand new Comets team comes out, infused by Michaels Secret Stufff or some shit because that was fucking nuts. Most times when the Comets get dominated in any period, they lack the gas to mount any kind of comeback…hell, their record of winning games after being down in goals after the first period is a dismal 2-11-1-0. They came up absolutely huge though, they found that 10th gear and shifted into overdrive to complete the comeback .
- I have to preface my takeaways with: yes that first period was absolutely atrocious, the team was tired and just struggled to get anything going…they were out possessed like crazy and the Monsters threw everything but the kitchen sink at Michael Leighton…that being said, I still think I can confidently say that the majority of the Comets tonight had impressive games.
- Colton Saucerman honestly might have usurped Jesse Graham for that last D spot…he was stepping up into the play when he needed too, backchecking with speed and hustle, didn’t have many flubs or atrocious giveaways, and was actually bailing out his d-partner (starting in the 2nd/3rd periods) Evan McEneny on several plays, something that NEVER happens. I know Cull has spoken highly of Sauce’s work ethic and energy in the room, but his skill absolutely did not look out of place on the ice tonight…he was sound offensively and defensively and genuinely displayed a more well-rounded game than I’ve ever seen from Graham
- Jaime Sifers also had himself a phenomenal game, he stepped up huge tonight with 5 shots on net, a goal and managed to end the night with the best +/- of all D-men tonight…he really played great, heavy checking and physical play to boot, I don’t know if it’s really captured in the streamables from today’s games but the guy was an absolute stud on the blue line along with Saucerman
- This was actually baffling to me but, Brendan Gaunce ended the night with 1 goal, 2 assists, 4 shots on goal and a +/- of 2, the highest among all Comets players…and he didn’t even get a single fucking star….like what the hell…the guy was leading the team with speedy zone entries and was constantly threatening the Monsters alongside Reid Gardiner, who also deserves a shout out for his play, as he picks up an assist in his 1st game back with the Comets. It speaks to Gaunce’s elevated play since being returned to the Comets that he is able to prove himself dangerous on a line with an ECHL call up and Cam Darcy… if Gardiner can find the scoring touch that he displays while with the KZoo Wings, then this could be a line to watch
- Another takeaway from this game was bigbrain Dahlen; dude didn’t find the back of the net or find the scoresheet tonight but he was constantly a threat, and he was smart enough to adapt and play around it…that one streamable of him going to Sifers off the draw was great, and really could’ve been a game changer earlier had it been a true one-timer… I know a lot of folks see him or a guy like Kole Lind with 0’s on the scoresheets, but if you’re watching its hard to ignore the impact they are having when they are on the ice…they are impact players at a very young age in the AHL and are obviously putting their division rivals on notice. The goals will come, maybe they wont light it up for the final couple of months of this season, but I genuinely am excited to see what they bring next season after a quality summer training camp.
- oh yeah shout out to Michael Leighton for hanging in there after a brutal first period of being hung out to dry
Comets Three Stars
- Brendan Gaunce
- Jaime Sifers
- Colton Saucerman
HM: Jonathan Dahlen
The Comets are back in action this Friday (nice little break) when they face off against the Rochester Americans at home for their 8th of 10 meetings throughout the season. The Comets have split the season pretty evenly with the Amurks, going 3-3-0-1 since their first meeting in October; with their most recent meeting being a game similar to tonight’s as the Comets found themselves down by 2 goals in the first period, only to rattle off 5 straight unanswered goals to win it in regulation. That was of course, the big game that earned Zack MacEwen his call-up with the big club, so we’ll see how this team manages without their top players in this next outing. The Amurks are currently riding a 2 game win streak, and will face off against tonight’s opponent the Cleveland Monsters on Wednesday before facing the Comets Friday. Rochester sits first in the North Division, while the Comets sit comfortably in 3rd.
The Comets are streaking man, 13 points out of a possible 16 through February while missing a ton of talent…Let’s see if they can continue against one of their toughest opponents in the division!
Until Friday, I Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Farmies, and as always 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!