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?
THE STARTING LINEUP
|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)|
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.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body)||Reid Boucher (knee)||Carter Camper (upper-body)|
|Josh Teves||Richard Bachman||Seamus Malone||Dylan Blujus (family matter)|
Comets in their Veterans Day Green Camo alternates
- Nikolay Goldobin (#77) with a great move around two Crunch players
- Comets with three rushes into the Crunch zone, but fail to generate any shots on goal
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) nearly sends Jimmy Huntington into the Crunch’ bench with a big hit at center ice
- Comets first-line pressuring which results in the Crunch’ Luke Witkowski taking a delay-of-game penalty to give the Comets their first powerplay of the game
- 1st peeper unit: Lind, Perron, Rafferty, Bailey, Brisebois
- 1st powerplay unit loses the zone instantly and then has the puck deflect out of play on their next entry attempt. 2nd peeper comes out instead: Goldobin, Graovac, Juolevi, Eliot MacEwen
- Goldobin (#77) sets up Mitch Eliot (#52), Olli Juolevi (#48), and Tyler Graovac (#44) for powerplay blasts on the Crunch’s Spencer Martin
- Comets peppering the Crunch on that powerplay
- After the powerplay, Kole Lind takes a tripping penalty to put the Comets onto the PK
- Olli Juolevi (#48) blocks a shot with his right arm but can’t change off, he stays on the ice and ends up blocking another blast with his leg
- can question his skating, but god damn you can’t question his heart, kids an absolute warrior on the penalty kill. Kid is constantly using his stick or his body to block or deflect pucks away from the net. He’s registered 35 blocks/deflections this season to date, the next highest on the Comets is Guillaume Brisebois with 23.
- speaking of, Guillaume Brisebois (#55) blocks a shot, giving Justin Bailey (#95) a breakaway alongside Lukas Jasek (#9). Bailey moves through the high-slot to get a shooting lane and draws a hooking penalty from Ross Colton.
- Game goes to 4-on-4 for 14 seconds before the Comets head to the powerplay
- Goldobin (#77) tries to cut through neutral ice, but loses the puck, giving Cory Conacher a shorthanded breakaway. MDP comes up huge with a sprawling pad save
- Second shorthanded breakaway, this time for Boris Katchouk. Fortunately, backchecking Brogan Rafferty (#25) and Ashton Sautner (#6) prevent him from getting a shot off
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) steps up from the blue line to keep possession in the Devils zone. Unfortunately, he knocks the puck right into the hands of three Crunch players, and they race the opposite way. MDP makes two massive saves facing the odd-man-rush, and then Rafferty (#25) makes up for the failed pinch, with a picture-perfect placement of the stick to keep the puck from bouncing over the sprawled out MDP
- alternate angle showing the huge saves and Rafferty’s stop
- Dyson Stevenson (#26) with a nice move along the Crunch endboards to get around Chris Mueller for a centering feed to Justin Taylor (#14). The feed gets picked off, however, and the Comets are forced to reset
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 1-0 Crunch: Oof, Comets finally get the puck out of their end and up to neutral ice. Boris Katchouk wires a slapshot from out past the blue line that knuckles over the glove of Di Pietro. Unlucky goal for Di Pietro. Born leader, Zack MacEwen, skates over before the next faceoff to give MDP a tap on the pads.
- Graovac (#44) wraps around the Crunch’s net and out to the high slot for a wrister off the pads of Martin
- Arseneau (#18) involved with a bizarre collision with Cory Conacher, who goes down in a heap. Comets get an odd-man-rush off the collision but can’t get a shot off
- Upon rewatching, it looks like the two’s ankles clip each other, but Conacher goes down immediately holding his head? Not sure if Conacher was actually in pain, or if he was baiting the refs for a call?
- Game getting very physical in the waning minutes of the first
- Ten seconds remaining and Stefan LeBlanc (#3) gets dinged for holding. Comets off two a late penalty kill
- SYRACUSE – GOAL – 2-0 Crunch: wow, three seconds left in the period, and Chris Mueller gets left alone on the doorstep to get the easy tip-in goal off a point shot from Cameron Gaunce
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.
- No sound to start
- Olli Juolevi back on the ice for the second period. Glad he’s ok, that shot to the arm looked pretty brutal.
- Whole lot of puck-chasing through the opening four minutes of play, with just a couple shots here-and-there
- MDP makes the stop as the Crunch get dinged for too-man-men
- Comets off to the powerplay with the 1st unit: MacEwen, Juolevi, Eliot, Goldobin, Graovac
- First unit boxed out along the end-boards as they manage just one shot from Olli Juolevi. Juolevi’s shot was a one-timer blast from the point that went off the leg of a Crunch defender. Second unit rolls out and does nothing
- Bailey (# 95) with a golden scoring opportunity after a takeaway in the Crunch’s end, but he sends his shot high-and-wide of the goal
- Eliot (#52) from the Comets end, pounces on Daniel Walcott to muscle him off of the puck, allowing the Comets to break out of the zone
- Brogan Rafferty takes a tripping penalty and the Comets are back onto the penalty kill with nine minutes left in the period
- 1st PK group: Hamilton, Bancks, Sautner Juolevi
- Juolevi ( #48) breaks up the feed on the PK to force the Crunch out of the zone
- Juolevi is like Taylor Swift with all of these break-ups. This one likely preventing a sure powerplay goal for the Crunch, as he lays his stick in the crease to halt a pass
- Kole Lind (#13) showing off his speed to create an odd-man-rush for he and Lukas Jasek (#9). Jasek gets a beauty saucer feed to Lind as he gets past the defender, but Martin makes the save on a weak shot. Great play from the two in spite of the weak shot attempt.
- MacEwen (#15) boarded hard in the Comets end. Comets get the call and are back onto the powerplay
- Juolevi (# 48) with a blast on the powerplay. Juolevi’s rebound is just out of the reach of Mitch Eliot (#52), who would’ve had a glorious scoring opportunity if he was just a step closer to catch the puck
- at this point, I’m not sure what dual defenseman does for this powerplay. It’s the second-worst powerplay in the division with this setup and wasn’t any better before. Speed kills, and the Comets are just dawdling with every opportunity
- Arseneau (#18) nearly blows through the end-board door with a hit. While Dyson Stevenson (#26)gets in a scrap with Dominik Masin
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.
- MacEwen with an early shot block off the ankle in the Comets end. Labored a bit getting back to the bench
- I don’t know if I write about this enough, but nets come off their moorings at the Adirondack Bank Center quite often. A light breeze is enough to knock them off.
- Here, Kole Lind (#13) has a perfect scoring opportunity ruined, when Martin lightly bumps into his net. The bump knocks the net off its moorings just before Lind can get a shot off, so play is blown dead
- Rafferty picks up his second penalty of the game with a holding call
- Crunch get a huge scoring chance as Conacher rattles a shot off the crossbar, but the Comets kill the penalty
- oh boy, it’s just one of those nights, as Stefan LeBlanc (#3) fans on a clearing attempt and gets dinged for tripping as Danick Martel was driving the net of Di Pietro
- Shorthanded scoring chance for the Comets, as Ashton Sautner (#6 ) blocks a blast, followed by Lukas Jasek (#9) picking off the puck to give himself and Tyler Graovac ( #44) an odd-man-rush. Jasek with some quick skates to get to the net of Martin, but he spins at the crease to feed a trailing Graovac (#44) for the one-timer, but Graovac doesn’t have any power on his shot, leading to an easy save for martin.
- I’d complain that Jasek didn’t just take a shot, but it looked like he spun because he had lost control of the puck at the last second
- Comets are resorting to peppering shots from the outside while playing dump-and-chase hockey. Not looking good for the farm, who’s struggling to find a way to set up in the Crunch’s zone
- Lind (#13) continues to pressure as he picks up the puck and drives to the net to generate another scoring chance for Utica. His shot here may not have had much on it, but the follow up try from Perron (#27) could have been something
- MacEwen finds himself in a prime scoring lane for an opportunity, but the ref’s blow play dead as he touches the puck. MacEwen was ruled to have knocked the puck down earlier with a high-stick. Frustrating turn for the Comets who finally got themselves significant time and space
- Cull seriously shortening his bench in the third frame, its been all MacEwen, Graovac, and Bailey
- Justin Bailey (#95) lets up on his check behind the net of Spencer Martin, allowing him to walk around the end-boards to clear the Crunch’s zone. Witkowski appeared to have the puck stuck up by his hip, and Bailey was trying to point it out to the ref’s, but you can’t just stop boxing a player out and hope for the refs to do something
- Daniel Walcott picks up a tripping penalty with less than four minutes remaining
- Goldobin ( #77) with a great feed to MacEwen (# 15) for a backdoor try, but his redirect goes over the net
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Crunch: Comets finally capitalize on the powerplay, as a blast from the point from Brogan Rafferty (# 25) goes off the pads and out to Zack MacEwen (#15). MacEwen gets a cross-ice feed to Goldobin (#77) for the tap-in backdoor play. Great pass from MacEwen on the play to finally get the Comets on the board
- Jasek (#9) wins the puck after a long battle along the boards. Jasek sets up Guillaume Brisebois (#55) for a blast on goal with a pass from behind the Crunch’s goal line
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 3-1 Crunch: Tyler Graovac (# 44) leads a zone-entry but loses the puck. Goldobin (#77) attempts to recover, a stick-lift from Boris Katchouk, however, gives Katchouk an easy walk-in on the Comets empty net.
Final Score: 3-1 Syracuse Crunch
|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|
- 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