Merry weekend to all in Canucks nation! Tonight couldn’t be a better night for Canuck-hockey. As those of us in BC hunker down for windstorm 2k19, what better way to spend the evening than by watching the Farm-team try and make it an unprecedented six in a row to start the season.
Tonight the Comets see the return of Ashton Sautner as well as the season debut of Adam Gaudette. Despite his impressive pre-season, and solid play in his few NHL starts, his play wasn’t enough to warrant a long-term look with the club. Gaudette joins a club that has been dominating the AHL in goalscoring to start the season.
Since moving to center full-time, Lukas Jasek has shown to have decent chemistry playing alongside Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin. Most would assume Gaudette would move to a line with Baertschi, in an attempt to rekindle their pre-season chemistry. But it might not be the optimal move for the club long-term.
Tonight’s opponent for the Comets are their Division Rivals, the Binghamton Devils. Binghamton comes into tonight’s game after having ended a four-game losing streak, Wednesday night, in a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
|Boucher (#24)||Camper (#19)||Lind (#13)|
|Goldobin (#77)||Jasek (#9)||Baertschi (#47)|
|Bailey (#95)||Gaudette(#88)||MacEwen (#15)|
|Arseneau (#18)||Perron (#27)||Bancks (#34)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Juolevi (#48)||Sautner (#6)|
|Teves (#4)||Chatfield (#5)|
Adam Gaudette, rocking number 88, slots between the all-speed-pair of Justin Bailey and Zack MacEwen. I’m looking forward to seeing what those three can put together tonight. If this line uses their speed like I know they can, I’m going to call them the Gigawatt-line.
Disappointed to see Blujus get benched, but understand he has it tough playing behind Sautner, Chatfield, and Rafferty. Blujus, honestly, played like a guy who should be in the regular lineup over Chatfield or Sautner. He plays like a pro, chipped in offensively, played physical, and was sound in the defensive-end. I do hope Blujus gets an extended look with the d-corps as the season progresses along. I like his ability to contribute all-over as opposed to someone like Chatfield, who plays physical, skates hard, but has offense evaporate on his stick.
Seamus Malone looked OK in his first games since returning from IR. Given how incredibly deep the Farm is right now; however, he’ll need to absolutely light it up in his opportunities to get himself a consistent spot in the teams bottom-6.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body)||Tyler Graovac (knee)|
|Stefan LeBlanc||Dyson Stevenson||Dylan Blujus||Seamus Malone||Wacey Hamilton (vet)||Richard Bachman|
Comets in their Green/White Thirds’
- I wish the Canucks had a third like this kit; it’s so clean
- Comets with some early pressure from the Gigawatt line – Bailey showing off some killer speed to drive through center for a shot on goal
- Lukas Jasek (#9) with a drive down the left-wing boards. Some solid control displayed by Sven Baertschi (#47) leads to a shot from Jalen Chatfield (#5)
- The Devils’ Brandon Baddock with a questionable check to the head of Vincent Arseneau (#18)
- Gaudette looking much faster than the Devils collective
- Justin Bailey (#95) with the wheels as he steals a pass and races down the right-wing for a shot off of Evan Cormier’s blocker
- The Euroline takes a turn controlling in the offensive zone.
- Josh Teves (#4) has a pass go off the pads of the Devils’ Brandon Baddock leading to a massive scoring chance for Binghamton
- Teves recovers behind the net to set up Arseneau for the clear
- From the defensive zone, Zack MacEwen (#15) sends a puck in deep, and Adam Gaudette (#88) shows off some unreal speed to negate the icing
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) with two giveaways in the d-zone, his first pass off the boards appears to be a dud, the second one looks like a bad read of who’s in front of him.
- The Devils Nathan Bastian knocks a puck off of Reid Boucher’s (#24) stick out to Michael McLeod who’s in alone behind the defense, huge scoring chance for Binghamton
- End of a long shift for Lukas Jasek (#9), but he blocks a shot leading to a 2-on-1 rush alongside Vinny Arseneau (#18). Lukas hits the breaks to pass to Carter Bancks (#34). Somehow Jasek’s pass gets relayed over to Arseneau, where his one-timer gets denied by Evan Cormier. Gusty effort from Jasek at the end of a long shift to get a huge scoring chance and an offensive zone draw for his team.
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets: The Comets fourth line makes it happen! After losing the faceoff draw, Francis Perron (#27) with a great effort to poke the puck out to Carter Bancks (#34), who pivots for a wrister past Cormier’s blocker-side. Great effort from Perron on this one
- Josh Teves (#4) showing good movement and control in the d-zone while under pressure
- Continuing that same shift, after a turnover from Carter Camper (#19) leads to a Devils’ zone entry attempt. Teves (#4) is there to prevent any set-up
- Teves leads the AHL in +/- by the way. Having himself another great game so far
- Baaertschi (#47) breaking Marian Studenic’s bones
- Francis Perron (#27) continuing to be noticeable as he gets a beauty takeaway in the defensive zone on the left-circle
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-0 Comets: Continuing off the last steal from Perron, the Comets fourth line once again putting in work. This time, Francis Perron (#27) catches a Brogan Rafferty (#25) rebound and pokes it out to Vinny Arseneau (#18). Arseneau gets a quick wrister under the pads of Evan Cormier to give the Comets a two-goal lead.
- Off the next faceoff draw, Justin Bailey (#95) once again showcases his speed as he capitalizes on a Devils turnover to drive to the net for a scoring chance
- goal waved off due to interference. Looks to me that Boucher had been shoved into Evan Cormier on the play, but the refs disagree. Too bad, as it had been an impressive shift from Kole Lind, culminating in his second goal of the season. Otherwise, still good pressure being maintained by the Comets to close out the period
- annnnnnd sound gone
- annnnnd it’s back
- Goldobin (#77) with a huge giveaway in the defensive-end, forcing McIntyre to come up huge
- nobody show Travis Green that clip
- Arseneau (#18) with a big drive for a hit
- Boy, Binghamton is just struggling to maintain control of the puck
- Bailey (#95) goes for a lap around the Devils offensive end to set-up Ashton Sautner (#6) for a shot on goal, but his shot goes off a stick and out to center
- Bailey likely could have dropped off to Juolevi for a shot, but I appreciated the pizazz of the lap
Score at the end of the First Period: 2-0 Comets
The Comets, once again, start with a dominant period of hockey. The fourth line with Francis Perron centering has been a threat every-time they’ve been on the ice too. Really liking what I’m seeing from Perron tonight, he’d otherwise been quiet to start the year. This is his first “noticeable” effort. Josh Teves is looking good tonight as well, showing crisp skating and puck control. Brisebois and Sautner are a reliable pairing, but neither are moving the needle offensively; I think Brisebois had 2-3 shots that each sailed high and wide of the goal. Otherwise, the team looked good to start, a few giveaway blunders, but McIntyre has been solid. Comets outshot the Devils 12-to-6 after 20 minutes of play.
- no sound to start
- once again the Comets off a faceoff draw have a forward sent in behind the defense. This time, Ashton Sautner (#6) can’t catch a bouncing puck, which leads to a huge scoring opportunity for the Devils Chris Conner
- Kole Lind with a decent drive on the net
- Remember what I said about offense dying on Chatfield’s stick… well here the Comets Euroline gets a great set-up with Josh Teves (#4), and then Nikolay Goldobin (#77) passes to Jalen Chatfield (#5) who wades too close to a Devils players, before turning to throw the puck out of the offensive zone
- Devils finally getting some sustained pressure in the Comets end
- Lind (#13) with some decent speed through center
- Boucher gets he and Lind a rush chance but Lind fans on the one-timer attempt
- Chatfield (#5) launches a pass up-ice to Sven Baertschi (#47), who leads a two-on-one with Nikolay Goldobin (#77). Goldy gets absolutely robbed on the one-timer attempt
- GOAL – BINGHAMTON – 2-1 Comets: Some pretty brutal coverage by the Comets on this one, as a no-look pass from Brogan Rafferty (#25) to Zack MacEwen (#15) gets picked off by Michael McLeod. McLeod sets up an all-alone Chris Conner for the easy tap-in goal after Brisebois (#55) fails to block the pass at the front of the net.
- Pretty lazy effort from the squad on that one
- Devils almost tie the game at two when a centering pass from Ben Street goes off the skate of Josh Teves (#4) and almost over the left pad of McIntyre.
- Comets are looking very messy through 10 minutes of play against the Devils.
- Arseneau (#18) with a pretty slick saucer pass to Sautner (#6)on the blue-line for a one-timer
- Francis Perron (#27) with another takeaway to give his line a big chance on the Devils net, but they cant capitalize on the chaos
- Comets get two entries from the Euro and Gigawatt lines but neither can generate any chances, despite their clean control of the puck along the boards
- Chatfield (#5) leads the rush for the fourth line. Chatty hands off to Bancks (#34) who sets up Perron (#27) for a blast on goal
- McIntyre (G) leaves his crease to play the puck and manages to draw a goaltender interference penalty on Ryan Schmelzer
- First penalty taken all game…was wondering why it’s only 5:30 and the game is half over haha
- Comets 1st Powerplay Unit: Goldobin, Juolevi, MacEwen, Lind, Boucher
- Juolevi (#48) with a one-timer blast from the line
- Comets almost lose the zone off the next draw, but Boucher makes a great pinch to hold the zone
- Comets with some good work to retain the zone, leading to MacEwen (#15) with a beauty through-the-legs pass to Goldobin (#77) who elects to play give-and-go instead of take the shot
- MacEwen was drifting away from the play as he was 99% positive that pass should’ve led to a shot on goal. Unfortunate, but great play from Mac
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-1 Comets: The unselfish play from Goldobin pays off. On the ensuing play, Goldobin (#77) picks up the puck along the boards and plays it back to Juolevi (#48). Juolevi goes cross-ice to Boucher (#24), who notches his league-leading, NINTH goal of the year.
- Comets looking a bit listless off the ensuing faceoff draw
- Jasek (#9) with some slick moves for a drive through center-ice, but traffic from the Devils prevents Jasek from getting off a pass to Perron (#27)
- Juolevi (#48) blocks a pass and goes for the clear but accidentally sends it onto a Devils stick for a shot on McIntyre
- video evidence of Nikolay Goldobin (#77) throwing a shoulder check
- Guillaume Brisebois (#55) attempts the deke, but gets the puck poked off his stick, Rafferty (#25) swoops in to recover and get a clean zone-exit and dump-in attempt
- MacEwen (#15) finds himself on a breakaway but gets held up by Joe Morrow on the wing. MacEwen draws the holding penalty, and the Comets are off to their second powerplay of the night
- 1st Unit out for the final 27 seconds of the period
- Late powerplay chances as Boucher (#24) sends a cross-ice pass to Goldobin (#77) who sneakily drops it off for a Juolevi (#48) one-timer. Goldy then crashes the net for a rebound try of his own but misses the net
The Score at the end of the 2nd Period: 3-1 Comets
Well, the Comets regained the two-goal lead. However, the second period was quite messy — really bizarre play-reads by the Comets blueliners. The forward groups also appear to be struggling to gain and establish a cycle in the Devils zone. Comets were out possessed and outshot 12-to-10 after 20 minutes of play. They start the third with a minute-and-a-half of powerplay time.
- MacEwen with a blast on Cormier that goes high and out of play, 2nd powerplay unit gets rolled out on the ensuing faceoff
- 2nd Powerplay Unit: Gaudette, Perron, Bailey, Baertschi, Rafferty
- Gaudette (#88) and Rafferty (#25) controlling on the powerplay
- Power-play ends after the 2nd unit loses possession in the o-zone. Good chances through-out from the powerplay units, even if they didn’t capitalize
- Comets were caught offside numerous times this game – timing, in general, appears to be off on the zone-entries from the 1st and 2nd lines
- Comets fourth line again pressuring, Perron ( #27) with a sick little fake for a shot on goal, Arseneau (#18) follows the play with a rebound attempt and a huge hit on an unsuspecting Colton White
- Devils’ Michael McLeod gets past Guillaume Brisebois (#55) on his own line to get a rush on McIntyre. Fortunately, Rafferty (#25) and Camper (#19) are back to defend the play
- McIntyre (G) with a speedy glove stop on a quick one-timer from Brett Seney
- Arseneau (#18) with another impressive shift as he gains the zone, takes a brutal forearm shot to the face, and then gets a quick pass off to Carter Bancks (#34) for a one-timer on Cormier
- Carter Camper (#19 ) gets muscled to the ice, but 2/3rds of the Gigawatt line come on the ice to set up Juolevi (#48) for a shot attempt. Good follow-up from MacEwen after the drop-off to Juolevi
- Yegor Sharangovich with a HUGE scoring opportunity after Zack MacEwen (#15) attempts to disrupt a pass from Marian Studenic. Somehow Sharangovich’s backhander goes off the post and stays out even after a crashing Brandong Gignac gets into McIntyre’s crease for the tip-in attempt
- The chaos ensuing off the previous play as Justin Bailey (#95) springs the Comets on a rush the other way, culminating in a one-timer blast from Jalen Chatfield (#5) that goes off the post
- Sven Baertschi (#47) attempts to spring Josh Teves (#4) ahead for a zone-entry, but Teves cant control the puck and gets hammered into the boards for his efforts
- Seconds after taking the hit Teves gets dinged for tripping. Funny how that works! Comets off to their first PK of the game
- 1st PK Group: Bancks, Chatfield, MacEwen, Juolevi
- Carter Bancks (#34) catches a McIntyre rebound and quickly sends MacEwen (#15) up for a shorthanded drive.
- Next faceoff draw sees Jasek sub-in for MacEwen
- Olli Juolevi (#48) attempts a clear after a Joey Anderson one-timer at the front of the net leading to the ultimate sacrifice of the body as he goes body-down to block any chance of a Devils pass
- Reid Boucher (#24) changes onto the PK and gets a poke-check to give himself a shorthanded chance of his own
- Justin Bailey (#95) follows Boucher’s shift to nearly give himself a short-handed chance of his own. Great penalty kill from the Comets.
- Brandon Baddock blatantly crosschecks Carter Camper (#19)in the face at the front of the Comets net. The referee’s done blow the whistle… hopefully, someone in the AHL saw this play though and takes action…dirty play. Puck was nowhere near Camper, and his stick was down the entire time
- Euroline sets up a nice cycle, but only shot they can get is a muffin from Brisebois off the blocker of Cormier
- Comets caught playing a bit too aggressive, leading to a Devils two-on-one, Juolevi (#48) misses the pass, but McIntyre comes up with a colossal stick save
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-1 Comets: Francis Perron (#27) and the fourth line do it again. After getting leveled behind the goal, Perron manages to kick the puck out to Carter Bancks (#34). Bancks feeds the puck to Vinny Arseneau ( #18), who wrists one through traffic for his second of the night.
- alternate angle on the goal showing just how clean that shot was
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-1 Comets: Binghamton pulls the goalie with 2 minutes remaining, and a disrupted pass by Carter Camper (#19) goes out to Reid Boucher (#24), and they eventually get the puck to Kole Lind (#13) who taps in the empty-netter for his second of the season
- Devils/Comets killing time to close out the game. Comets start the season 6-0 for the first time in franchise history
Final Score: 5-1 Utica Comets
|1st||Utica||Carter Bancks||Francis Perron||—||5v5|
|1st||Utica||Vincent Arseneau||Francis Perron||Brogan Rafferty||5v5|
|2nd||Binghamton||Chris Conner||Michael McLeod||—||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Reid Boucher||Olli Juolevi||Nikolay Goldobin||PPG|
|3rd||Utica||Vincent Arseneau||Carter Bancks||Francis Perron||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Kole Lind||Carter Camper||Reid Boucher||EN|
- Well, I bet you weren’t expecting to read a bunch of praise about the Comets fourth line, but here it goes! They were literally the difference-makers for the team tonight. Francis Perron, ironically, after being bumped down to the fourth line after Gaudette’s return, had himself his most impressive game as a Comet. He was smooth transitioning the puck, constantly fishing passes out to open players from impossible areas, he was every bit as advertised coming into the season tonight with an impressive showing alongside two of the Comets seldom discussed players
- If you’ve been reading the Farmies/Harvest since I began last season, you’ll probably have noticed I have a bit of a homerism for a few players. I was maybe the only person in North America who appreciated what Petrus Palmu brought to the ice every time he had a shift, but he gone now. Replacing him as this year’s homerist pick is Vinny Arseneau! I was a pretty big homer for Big Vin last season as well, but this season might be a bit different due to the strides he’s appeared to have taken with his game.
Big Vin spent the majority of his pro career in the ECHL until he earned a 20 game PTO with the Comets in 2017-18. Last season, Arseneau surprised many when he ended up 9th in team goalscoring after playing only 38 games. After six games this season, Vin has picked up three goals, and one assist after six games exclusively playing on the fourth line. The guy can hit hard, can score beauty goals, and can transition the puck. He’s a legit threat whenever he’s on the ice because I don’t think opponents expect a 6’2″ 216-pound left-winger to be able to transition the puck as well as he can.
This isn’t a THRILLHOIAF “call-him-up” campaign or anything. This is just a write-up showing my appreciation for Arseneau’s game, and overall improvement as a role-player who’s become one of the Comets more underrated offensive threats. Granted, it is still incredibly early in the season; There are still 70 games remaining on the schedule. Regardless, I still liked what I saw from the big guy tonight.
- True story, on elite prospects, Arseneau is listed as the only hockey player EVER to have originated from Les Iles-de-la-Madelaine.
- Olli Juolevi had himself a pretty good game tonight as well. His skating did look a bit clunky at times in the third period. At one point, I thought he rolled his ankle, trying to change his ankle. Overall though, I think OJ had himself a good game, relative to his defensive compatriots who were otherwise unnoticeable or making bad reads repeatedly throughout the night.
- Gaudette, MacEwen, and Bailey looked quite dangerous at all times when they were on the ice, but they need to pick between the three of them who’s going to be the trigger man…It seems more like all three want to take the option to wheel, snipe, and celly on their own as opposed to working as a trio to create space and scoring opportunities. Don’t get me wrong; the three have the speed to try and 1v5 their opponents. Still, it bodes better for them to be able to cycle off a zone-entry for a shot, than to just mindlessly wheel around the net to set up the defenseman.
- Zane McIntyre with another solid outing for the team. McIntyre was relied upon several times to come up with huge clutch saves for his team. With the lone goal-against being due to poor defensive coverage. Wasn’t really sure what to expect from him coming into this season, but he’s been a big reason why the Comets can run up the score the way they have.
Comets Three Stars
- Vincent Arseneau
- Francis Perron
- Zane McIntyre
HM: Carter Bancks
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets head out on the road Saturday night when they visit the Hershey Bears. Last season, the Bears and Comets split the season, with the Bears outscoring the Comets six-to-four after two games. Saturday’s meeting will be just one of two games the two will play this season. The Comets leave for Hershey at midnight tonight, so exhaustion will likely be an important factor in the team’s play tomorrow.
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