11/11/19 – Utica Comets vs. Syracuse Crunch

Good afternoon Canucks Nation, on this fine Remembrance Day afternoon! Today we head over to Utica, New York, to watch the Comets take on division rival, the Syracuse Crunch.


The Comets recently ended their four-game losing streak, with a gutsy comeback effort against the Binghamton Devils. Today, they face off against a struggling Syracuse Crunch team who are coming off a shutout loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The last time these two teams met, the Comets dominated in a 6-2 rout.


Let’s make this one quick so that we can get back to our Remembrance day festivities, er, dinner? Do people make Remembrance day dinners? Am I so out of touch?




Bailey (#95) Graovac (#44) MacEwen (#15)
Goldobin (#77) Hamilton (#36) Lind (#13)
Bancks (#34) Jasek (#9) Perron (#27)
Arseneau (#18) Taylor (#14) Stevenson (#26)
Juolevi (#48) Sautner (#6)
Brisebois (#55) Rafferty (#25)
LeBlanc (#3) Eliot (#52)
Michael DiPietro


Cull reusing the same lineup from Saturday’s effort, with the exception being a switch to the starting center for the Graovac, MacEwen line. They swapped at some point during the game on Saturday. Glad to see it. Hopefully, the chemistry carries over into this Monday afternooner.

Di Pietro, with his third straight start today against Syracuse. He’s been lights out this weekend, but this will likely be his first real litmus test as an AHL goalie to see if he can handle the starter workload.




Injury Report
Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body) Reid Boucher (knee) Carter Camper (upper-body)


Healthy Scratches
Josh Teves Richard Bachman Seamus Malone Dylan Blujus (family matter)


1st period


Comets in their Veterans Day Green Camo alternates



Score at the end of the First Period: 2-0 Crunch


Comets down by two, but they still have a lot of time to get something going in this one. Comets are throwing a lot of heat towards the net of Spencer Martin, but not enough from high-danger areas. Crunch having no problem boxing the Comets out to the outsides of the circles for shots-on-net. Comets are just so slow at capitalizing on space creation. A lot of wheeling around the offensive zone from the Comets forwards, but once they create space for their teammates, its as if time stops as they try to figure out what to do with it. The extra time allotted to plan their next move undoes all the effort put into creating space that would enable a quality scoring chance. Not sure if that’s a chemistry thing or confidence thing, but oh boy, they need to speed it up in the offensive zone when they do these set-plays. Comets outshot 11-to-7 after twenty minutes of play.


2nd Period



The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-0 Crunch


Dreadfully boring period. Comets outshot the Crunch with, get this, seven shots, to the Crunch’s four. And that’s with the Comets getting two powerplay tries. Comets are just looking out of their depths when it comes to setting up meaningful offense. Most significant scoring chance came on that Jasek/Lind odd-man-rush. Otherwise, its floating shots from outside the circle or the point that get easily sticked/blocked aside by Crunch defenders. The Crunch’ don’t even have to do much to defend, as the Comets routinely put themselves in disadvantageous scoring positions with extra moves through the Crunch’s zone.


3rd period



Final Score: 3-1 Syracuse Crunch





Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
1st Syracuse Boris Katchouk Cory Conacher Chris Mueller 5v5
1st Syracuse Chris Mueller Dennis Yan Cameron Gaunce PPG
3rd Utica Nikolay Goldobin Zack MacEwen Brogan Rafferty PPG
3rd Syracuse Boris Katchouk EN




  • ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  • I said it several times in tonight’s writeup. The Comets are playing around too much in the offensive zone. No point in wheeling around the ice to draw in defenders to create space, if it takes an extra three moves for the forwards to then make the pass for a shot on goal. Tonight at least saw the team drop the amount of “cute” no-look, drop feeds to no one. The result, however, was 60 minutes of lifeless hockey, as the Comets struggled ad nauseam to get themselves into quality shooting positions physically.
  • He didn’t get burned repeatedly on the powerplay, and he was a shot-blocking machine tonight on the penalty kill. Overall, a positive, Tanev-like, performance from Juolevi tonight as he repeatedly sacrificed his body to thwart every Crunch powerplay scoring opportunity single-handedly. Ironically, the one powerplay goal the Crunch scored was when Juolevi was in the dressing room getting his arm looked at.
  • Very good performance from Kole Lind tonight as he led the team in shots-on-goal. Still looks weak on his skates, here and there, but, otherwise, he was the Comets most dangerous forward when it came to high-danger scoring chances.
  • Same goes for Lukas Jasek, who had a couple odd-man-rushes created off his defensive efforts. He’s a sneaky good two-way player, but his offensive side does need improvement if he ever wants to earn a look with the Canucks. He does have the best defensive game out of all the Canucks forward prospects, so that token alone might elevate him above the rest. Travis Green and co have spoke at length about how a forward call-up would likely be for someone to fill-in the bottom-six. A quality defensive game, like Jasek, might be all the difference that puts him above someone like MacEwen. Still, though, buddy really needs to work on his shot.
  • Unlucky night for Michael Di Pietro, who looked fantastic outside of the weak Katchouk goal. Legitimately nothing could be done to help him on that powerplay goal from Chris Mueller. Mueller was left completely alone on the doorstep as the penalty-killers played way too far out on the play. Suppose MDP could’ve been faster with his right-to-left slide, but that slap-pass from Gaunce was a rocket, would’ve been a tough save, even for an experienced vet, like McIntyre.
  • The Bailey, MacEwen, and Graovac line was comically weak today. Not once did the three combine for a good looking passing play. All three elected to try and 1v5 on any shooting play. I guess it makes sense for Cull to throw the selfish players all on one line, so they don’t drag down the team-players on other lines. But holy moly, watching two of the fastest guys on the team routinely get boxed out, or muscled out along the boards as they tried to solo-rush on goal was embarrassing.
  • Overall, not much to like about that game whatsoever. The team couldn’t stay out of the penalty box to save their lives, and they were pathetic on the powerplay. If they cant utilize space with the man-advantage, then I don’t know how this team is going to get it done at even-strength.


Comets Three Stars

  • Michael Di Pietro
  • Kole Lind
  • Lukas Jasek


The Comets Trajectory?


Comets get a nice rest after this four-in-six stretch. They return Friday, November 15th, when they hit the road to face off (again) against the Syracuse Crunch. Hopefully, the four days of rest/practice time will do the team some wonders, as they need to figure some ish out.


If you want a more condensed version of Comets recaps, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net

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