24 Hours later and the sun is still shining in Utica! The Comets pulled off another dominant win at home. This time against the reigning Calder Cup Champions. While they may not be the same team on paper, a win over one of last season’s best teams is still a quality win!
For added context to the Comets’ impressive start to the season, they’re among two teams who are still undefeated in the AHL (the other being the Toronto Marlies). They lead the entire AHL in goals-for, with 22 in 4 games. Their goals per game of 5.5 goals/game leads the AHL by a hefty margin. The next best team being the Stockton Heat who have a goals/game average of 4.2, for those who struggle with math, that’s a full goal more per game than the next best team in the league.
The team has gotten goal contributions from everywhere in their lineup, with 15 different goalscorers across the four games played. The only players yet to register a point are; Tyler Graovac, who left the first game with injury). Seamus Malone, who just returned from injury. Dyson Stevenson, who I’m 99% sure, was benched for most of his two games played. And Jalen Chatfield, who has an aversion to offense.
Last season against the Rochester Americans, the Comets got eviscerated by Victor Olofsson. Olofsson alone scored 14 points in ten games against the Comets last year. Safe to say, the Comets won’t be missing him when they play their 3rd game of this four-game home-stand. The Amurks have only managed 13 goals in five games to start their year. In their last match, the Amurks lost to the Cleveland Monsters in the shootout. The Amurks special teams are pretty similar to the Comets in that their powerplays are both equally weak. However, the Amurks penalty kill is currently the worst in the AHL’s North Division at 78.3% efficiency.
All in all, its been great watching exciting Comets hockey for a change. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard the end of last season dragged. Hopefully, the Comets group can keep their momentum going to close out their weekend double-header with their fifth straight win. For now, let’s get into tonights starting lineup!
|Boucher (#24)||Camper (#19)||Lind (#13)|
|Goldobin (#77)||Jasek (#9)||Baertschi (#47)|
|Bailey (#95)||Perron (#27)||MacEwen (#15)|
|Malone (#17)||Hamilton (#36)||Arseneau (#18)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Juolevi (#48)||Chatfield (#5)|
|Teves (#4)||Blujus (#8)|
Zane McIntyre returns after a brief call-up stint with the Canucks. Otherwise, no changes to the lineup.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body)||Tyler Graovac (knee)||Carter Bancks (upper body)|
|Stefan LeBlanc||Mitch Eliot||Dyson Stevenson|
Comets in White
- sound gone to start the period
- Comets get the first zone-entry of the game, good pressure from Perron, MacEwen, and Bailey to start
- Josh Teves (#4) goes cross-ice for Brogan Rafferty (#25) to enter the Amurks zone. Rafferty sauces a pass to Sven Baertschi (#47), who throws a backhander on goal. The Amurks retrieve for a rush the opposite way for a shot on goal of their own that goes off the post and out.
- Wacey Hamilton takes a slashing penalty and the Comets are off to the penalty-kill… again…no one has recognized the audio’s busted
- 1st PK Group: Jasek, Bailey, Chatfield, Juolevi
- Jasek wins the faceoff draw, back to Juolevi who sets up Bailey for the clear, forcing the murks to reset
- 2nd PK Group: MacEwen, Brisebois, Boucher, Blujus
- MacEwen wins his faceoff draw, back to Brisebois who goes opposite corner to Boucher for the clear
- MacEwen (#15) on the penalty kill, pressuring the Amurks on the PK, steals the puck, and gets a shot from the blue line that Amurks tendy Andrew Hammond has to glove down. Solid PK work from Mac
- Goldobin out on the PK *eyes emoji*
- Zane McIntyre (G) with a fantastic toe-save to stop a Remy Elie tap-in from the doorstep. AHL PK superstar, Nikolay Goldobin tucks the puck under a diving Dylan Blujus to earn the stoppage in play
- 13:52 left in the period and the audio gets fixed, haha. Comets play-by-play man Joe Roberts with the classic, “Is this thing on? Sorry bout that, folks!”
- Goldobin with a breakaway chance but he’s just barely offside
- 8 minutes into the period and it’s been all Amurks thus far. Comets have registered just one shot-on-goal, so far.
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets: goalies having a tough time in Utica this weekend! As Andrew Hammond completely whiffs on a puck clearance from behind his net. Sven Baertschi (#47) steals and sends a puck that goes off the body of a diving Jean Sebastien-Dea who was expecting Baertschi to try a wraparound
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-0 Comets: What a beauty tic-tac-toe from the Comets first line, as Kole Lind (#13) sauces a beauty cross-ice pass to a crashing Dylan Blujus (#8). The Amurks all turn to focus Blujus, allowing him to set up Reid Boucher (#24) for the easy redirect goal at the front of the net.
- That’s Blujus’ 3rd point in three games played. Coaching staff going to be hard-pressed to take him out of the lineup when Ashton Sautner returns. Brilliant pass from Lind to Blujus, and an excellent centering feed to Boucher.
- Goldobin (#77) moving down the right-wing, throws a centering pass to Justin Bailey (#95) for a redirect on Hammond, but the Hamburglar makes the pad save
- Goldobin (#77) with some nifty moves in the Amurks zone. Good recovery from Baertschi and Jasek to generate some pressure after Goldy lost the zone.
- Comets finally getting some sustained pressure because of this Euroline
- Long, but an impressive shift from Reid Boucher who gets a shot off on Hammond while driving down the right-wing, then puts one off the post from the goal-line
- Comets fourth line gets a zone entry but Seamus Malone takes a tripping penalty to put the Comets on their second penalty kill of the game
- 1st PK Group: Chatfield, Hamilton, Juolevi, Boucher
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-0 Comets: wow..what a pass from Juolevi to Reid Boucher on the Amurks’ blueline. Boucher drives down the wing for a 2-on-1 with Wacey Hamilton, and they combine for a fantastic short-handed goal. Hamiltons first of the season.
- The team that led the league in short-handed goals against last season has two short-handed goals for themselves just this weekend.
- I can’t get over that pass. It looked like a dump-in with that wind-up but just picture-perfect placement onto Boucher’s stick
- Comets kill off the Malone penalty
- Lind (#13) picks up the puck off the draw and sets up Boucher for a slapper that gets redirected wide
- Lind (#13) with a strong shift, continuing from the above. As he leads a zone-entry, then hands off to Carter Camper (#19) and showing perfect timing by cutting in front of Andrew Hammongs line of sight to allow Camper a shot on goal. Really slick play from Lind
- GOAL – ROCHESTER – 3-1 Comets: Brogan Rafferty (#25) attempts a pass to Lukas Jasek (#9), but the pass goes off a leg out to Sean Malone. Malone hands off to Tage Thompson who snipes one over McIntyre’s blocker side
- Time winds down on the period. Comets outshot 18 to 10, but lead 3-1.
Score at the end of the First Period: 3-1 Comets
It wasn’t as pretty as the start against Charlotte, but the Comets once again capitalize on every chance they get and rattle off three unanswered for the FIFTH time this season. Still buzzing off that short-handed goal started by Juolevi’s beauty of a slap-pass. Moving forward, the Comets need to shore up defensively to prevent the Amurks from getting the amount of chances they got in the first.
- Rafferty with another pass taken away
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-1 Comets: Justin Bailey (#95) with an active stick gets a steal in the defensive zone to spring Zack MacEwen (#15) for a drive on the Amurks and scores an absolutely filthy goal. Beautiful toe-drag and patience to roof one past Andrew Hammond.
- Like I said in yesterday’s Comets Harvest, if Bailey and MacEwen start finding their groove together, they’re going to be an absolute force.
- Lind (#13) breaks up a shot attempt in his end then, alongside Carter Camper (#19), drives down the left-wing and cuts to the net for a scoring try
- Juolevi (#48) with two fantastic passes to MacEwen (#15) in the offensive zone. MacEwen almost picks up his second goal of the night on that second pass
- Pressuring in the offensive once again, Francis Perron picks up a tripping penalty and Rochester pressures with the goalie pulled, as the Comets fail to touch-up.
- Wow ok, apparently a game misconduct gets issued to Perron for shooting the puck out of play after the Comets touched up, so his nights done
- 1st PK Group: Blujus, Brisebois, Boucher, Hamilton
- Blujus with a huge shot-block and clear
- 2nd PK Group: Bailey, Jasek, Chatfield, Juolevi
- Justin Bailey (#95) in a board battle springs Jasek (#9) ahead on a short-handed breakaway, but Jasek fans on his backhand attempt
- LOL, Vinny Arseneau hops out of the box as the Comets kill off the Perron tripping penalty and IMMEDIATELY takes a tripping penalty of his own haha. Comets Penalty Killers getting tested tonight
- 1st PK Group: Brisebois, Boucher, Brisebois, Hamilton
- Oh man, Wacey Hamilton takes his SECOND slashing penalty of the night while on the penalty-kill and the Comets are now in a 3-v-5
- 1st Trio: Blujus, MacEwen, Juolevi
- McIntyre with a glove save, allowing Juolevi to change-off for Chatfield
- Blujus (#8) with another huge block on the 5-on-3
- Zach Redmond whiffs on a shot on net sending it around the boards allowing Zack MacEwen to race for a change
- Juolevi then gets another clutch clear as Arseneau steps out of the box to allow Boucher and Jasek to shift on
- Rochester with another shot that gets sailed wide of the net and out of the zone.
- From out of the penalty box, Wacey Hamilton (#36) leads a 3-on-1 but elects to shoot for himself. Hamilton chases the rebound and draws an interference penalty on Rochester. Comets off to their first powerplay of the game after a lengthy penalty kill
- 2nd PP Unit up first: Rafferty, Camper, Jasek, Bailey, Baertschi
- 2nd unit gets a couple shots forcing Hammond to glove down a shot
- Baertschi gets a shot on goal but a crashing Jasek cant put in the rebound – Comets lose the zone forcing them to change
- 1st powerplay group with some impressive chances but can’t hit the net
- Goldobin (#77) with two huge scoring chances from in tight
- Seamus Malone with a steal as the Amurks try to clear – relentless pressure from the fourth line forces the Amurks to ice the puck, giving the Comets ANOTHER offensive zone draw. Great stuff from the combination of Arseneau, Malone, and Hamilton
- Malone appears to be getting double-shifted as the center for Bailey and MacEwen now that Perron was out
- Rrafferty (#25) with a solid effort to force Tage Thompson out of the Comets zone
- Comets are looking a little tired to close out the period – Comets looking ok defensively but they are hemorrhaging shots-against. McIntyre solid so far, 34 saves on 35 shots after 40 minutes.
- Oh boy, Josh Teves picks up a holding penalty as he attempts to stop a wraparound attempt by Rochesters’ Lawrence Pilut.
- Comets closing out the final two minutes of the period on their sixth penalty kill of the game
- 1ST pk Group: Jasek, Hamilton, Chatfield, Juolevi
- Zach Redmond fans on a one-timer and Juolevi is there to poke the puck ahead to Jasek for the clear
- 2nd PK Group: MacEwen, Bailey, Blujus, Brisebois
- 15 seconds remaining and Blujus takes a high-sticking minor, but the Comets fail to touch-up before the end of the period. They’ll start the third on a brief two-man disadvantage
The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 4-1 Comets
Comets are getting out-shot BADLY in this one, fortunately for them, Zane McIntyre has been lights out. Realistically, the Comets SHOULD be losing given the amount of quality chances they’re giving up. But heading into the third with a three-goal lead with leagues 7th best PK% bodes well for their ability to close this one out at home. PBP man Joe Roberts had a fantastic quote in the second that sarcastically went;
“What is this Comets team even DOING? They went from scoring a goal on every THREE shots to scoring a goal on every FIVE?”
Honestly, the Comets offense has been just insane after five games; Boucher, Lind, and Goldobin now rank 1st 8th and 10th in the AHL for scoring. Based on their rather high shooting percentages, I would expect things to cool down for them eventually, but right now, they are running HOT. This string of incredibly exciting games comes as a massive relief to the Comets faithful, who stuck by this team through a brutal 2018-19 season. Consider this a reward for their unquestioned patronage. Hopefully, the good times keep rolling, and the Comets can try aim for eight goals again to close out this one!
- Comets on the PK to start the period, Teves almost instantly out of the box to join the PK. McIntyre makes his 36th save of the game, and the Comets clear several times to prevent any other scoring chances
- Juolevi with two huge shot-blocks on the PK. Comets now 7-for-7 on the PK tonight
- Rafferty attempts to take the puck around the net but gets tripped up by a Rochester attacker. McIntyre gets pulled, and the Comets try to make something happen with the 6-on-5 but can’t gain the zone
- 1st PP Group: Goldobin, MacEwen, Lind, Boucher, Juolevi,
- Comets struggling to establish a cycle and are forced to reset three times before the 2nd unit rolls out
- Comets 2nd unit is more of the same as they can’t even possess the puck in the Amurks zone long enough to set up a cycle
- Powerplay ends with the Comets failing to generate a single shot on net
- Arseneau with a cheeky backhander on net after a bizarre Rochester turnover
- Rochester nearly doubling the Comets in shots with 12 minutes remaining in the game
- MacEwen (#15) with a giveaway in his own zone, but the shot from Rochesters’ William Borgen goes off McIntyre’s mask. It looks like McIntyre learned a little something from Thatcher Demko
- MacEwen skates into the offensive zone, but he takes an errant high-stick to the face from Rochester’s, William Borgen.
- Despite MacEwen bleeding, caused by the high-stick, the call on the ice remains as “holding.”
- Lind (#13) in the faceoff scrum gets a pass through traffic back to Juolevi who goes cross-ice to Boucher (#24) for the one-timer blast
- Comets give up a short-handed chance, but Juolevi (#48) is there to drop to his knees for the shot-block
- Ooh the 2nd powerplay group pressuring forces the Amurks Jacob Bryson to take a puck-over-the-glass minor putting the Comets on a 5-on-3 powerplay
- Goldobin (#77) with a beauty pass to Baertschi (#47) on the doorstep, but Bae takes slightly too long to get a shot off, allowing Hammond to slide into position for a glove save
- Trent Cull calls a timeout so the Comets can get their shit together
- The 5-on-3 ends and the Comets are onto a regular 5-on-4 powerplay
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-1 Comets: Comets finally score on the powerplay after Juolevi (#48 )sets up Baertschi (#47) on the Amurks blue line. Baertschi, with a beauty spin to get around his man to set up a crashing Reid Boucher, who pots his second of the night and EIGHT goal of the season.
- Boucher becomes the first player in the AHL this season to reach double-digit points
- Rochester pressuring again in the Comets zone. Off another Amurk scoring chance, Guillaume Brisebois takes a roughing penalty trying to clear McIntyre’s crease, and the Comets are on their eighth penalty kill
- Wacey Hamilton (#36) gets a takeaway along the boards on the PK and then draws a tripping penalty on Lawrence Pilut to end the Amurks powerplay
- GOAL – UTICA – 6-1 Comets: A misplay of the puck by Zach Redmond in front of his netminder allows Baertschi (#47) an attack, and Goldobin (#77) an easy follow-up shot to make it 6-1 for the Comets
- GOAL – UTICA – 7-1 Comets: JFC, the Comets are just unreal right now. Goldobin (#77), once again with some aggressive forechecking, pokes the puck out to Lukas Jasek (#9) at the front of the net for a five-hole goal on Andrew Hammond.
- Hammond mercifully gets the yank
- LOL, Jasek and Goldobin congratulating each other as Jazzy adorably describes his goal
- That’s 15 goals in two games for the Comets
- Rafferty (# 25) with some slick movement through a crowd of Amurk players. Raff then drops-off for Justin Bailey (#95) to take a shot on goal
- With a six-goal lead and 3 minutes remaining, it’s nice to see the Comets not sitting back and coasting. They’re still battling and trying to get themselves even more chances on goal.
- Lind (#13) leads a zone-entry, hands off to Goldobin (#77) who drops off for Jalen Chatfield (#5) who lands a shot on the pads of Jonas Johansson
- Time winds down and the Comets, propped up by a returning Zane McIntyre win another blowout at home.
Final Score: 7-1 Utica Comets
|1st||Utica||Sven Baertschi||—||Andrew Hammond (lul)||5v5|
|1st||Utica||Reid Boucher||Dylan Blujus||Kole Lind||5v5|
|1st||Utica||Wacey Hamilton||Reid Boucher||Olli Juolevi||SHG|
|1st||Rochester||Tage Thompson||Sean Malone||—||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Zack MacEwen||Justin Bailey||—||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Reid Boucher||Sven Baertschi||Olli Juolevi||PPG|
|3rd||Utica||Nikolay Goldobin||Sven Baertschi||—||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Lukas Jasek||Nikolay Goldobin||—||5v5|
Call up Goldobin. He’s got nothing to prove at the AHL level, the kids’ vision, passing, playmaking… just get him on a line with Petey and let him thrive. He has all the tools to be a fantastic compliment to Pettersson. This is two back-to-back three-assist games for Goldy. If he keeps this kind of play up, I don’t see how the Canucks can justify keeping him down in the minors. Bring him up and push skill down in your lineup, don’t push them out of it.
- This was my major takeaway yesterday…and nothing has changed after tonight. Call-him up…that’s Ten points in four games for Goldy. Just put him with Petey and see if they can get the magic going again.
- Take the above sentiment and apply it to Sven Baertschi as well. Tonights one goal and two assists give him eight points in four games played. I’m done with Leivo/Pearson/Bo…push one of those guys into your bottom six and get Bae back with Bo. Please…he and Goldy are just playing with their food down in the AHL.
- Zane McIntyre was studly in his first game back after riding the bench in Vancouver. 45 saves on 46 shots. Safe-to-say, the Comets left Zane a little high-and-dry. When the team’s scoring six goals per game, it’s probably a relief to him to be able to play without worrying about giving up one goal.
- It feels like just yesterday that I was madly concerned with the skating of Olli Juolevi, following the Syracuse Crunch game. And here he is tonight, having arguably the best game of his season. OJ was positionally sound, was making crisp passes all night, and was a shot-blocking machine on the Comets penalty kill. Sidenote, Olli, please stop blocking shots with your knees Especially when you have a six-goal lead on your opponent. I love that with such a massive point lead over their opponent, the kid is STILL sacrificing his body to make the defensive play… that kind of mentality should win him a ton of favor with the doubter crowd.
- Zack MacEwen appears to have finally come online. Tonight was a banner game for him. He was effective on the penalty kill and a constant threat in the offensive zone. That goal in the second was just a complete beauty. Even with the few giveaways he had, I can’t find too many faults in his game tonight. Looked like the Mac of old
- Kole Lind had himself a great game as well I think he might appear in MOST of the streamable’s tonight. Was liking everything he was doing off of faceoff draws to setup Boucher for one-timers. He did slow down a bit in the third period, but overall I thought he was a threat to the Amurks whenever he was on the ice
- Reid Boucher, it’s a shame he never seems to get his mojo going at the NHL level. His speed in the AHL is passable, but it’s quite literally that extra step that prevents him from making the jump. Boucher now leads the AHL in points and goals.
- Soak it in baby, cause it won’t last forever
- Despite the shots-against, tonight was another display of goal-scoring dominance from the Comets. While not exactly, pretty, the Comets got the job done again at home to make it a historic five-straight to start the season. Great stuff for a team that struggled so hard last year to find ANY goals.
Comets Three Stars
- Zane McIntyre
- Nikolay Goldobin
- Reid Boucher
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets take a bit of a break in the action as they don’t return until next Friday, where they take on the Binghamton Devils at home. The last time the Comets met the Devils, they rattled off four straight unanswered goals in the second period to secure a 4-3 victory on the road. Since that meeting, the Devils have lost four straight, including an OT loss at home to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Barring any changes to this dominant Utica Comets lineup, it’ll be hard to imagine the Devils being able to break their losing streak on the road.
As always, if you want to read up on this Comets Harvest or the 2018-19 Farmies editions, you can find them all at my Comets Harvest Blog here
If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net
also, let me know what titles do you prefer
simplified Utica Comets (standings) vs. opponent (opponents standings)
or a boiled down lede describing the game like Tonights?