Good evening Canucks Nation! It’s time for another catch-up on the Farm! Tonight the Utica Comets hit the road to take on the Syracuse Crunch.
The Crunch are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Rochester Americans, while the Comets are coming off a nice four-day vacation. The Comets last game was a 3-1 loss to non-other than, well, the Syracuse Crunch!
As we all know, the Canucks called up Zack MacEwen and Tyler Graovac in lieu of injuries to Tyler Motte, Micheal Ferland, Jay Beagle, and Brandon Sutter. I’m sure there’s more to that list that I’m forgetting.
Safe to say the Comets opening lineup is going to be put to the test tonight. Fortunately, the Comets do get some reprieve, as Reid Boucher slides back into the lineup for the first time in five games. Boucher’s goalscoring has been sorely missed by the Comets over the past five games, as the Comets have managed just seven goals in the five games without Bouch.
Let’s get into the starting lineup and the game itself!
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Goldobin (#77)||Hamilton (#36)||Boucher (#24)|
|Bailey (#95)||Jasek (#9)||Lind (#13)|
|Malone (#17)||Perron (#27)||Bancks (#34)|
|Arseneau (#18)||Taylor (#14)||Stevenson (#26)|
|Sautner (#6)||Chatfield (#5)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Blujus (#8)||Eliot (#52)|
Wacey Hamilton is your farm team’s number one center. Let that sink in.
Josh Teves remains a healthy scratch after leading all AHL rookies in plus/minus through the first month of the season… but hey, what do I know about roster management!
Speaking of roster management!
Olli Juolevi slides out of tonight’s lineup, apparently not an injury, just a precautionary “load management” thing.
Given the team just had four days off, It’s bizarre to me that now Juolevi needs to be given “precautionary scratches.” Not in the sense that I don’t think they should be careful with his knee. Just that the Comets to-date, have not been playing Juolevi with any pretense of caution towards his recovery. Through the start of this season, Juolevi has been playing first pairing minutes, at evens, and on both the first powerplay and penalty-kill units. Did the coaching staff not think to simply, not overload him with playing time every single night? Really hope they didn’t overdo it with him already. Maybe I’m reading too far into things. However, it seems weird to call this scratching, “load management” when up until now Juolevi’s been given the Alex Edler duties at the AHL level. Not sure I buy the logic here.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Jonah Gadjovich(upper-body)||Carter Camper (upper-body)|
|Richard Bachman||Josh Teves||Stefan LeBlanc|
Comets in Blue
- Can you believe the Canucks didn’t want this guy in their lineup?
- Camera’s not white balanced properly
- Reid Boucher (#24) gets hauled down 40 seconds into the first period, and he gets a penalty shot in his first minute back in action
- Spencer Martin makes the save on the penalty shot
- Amazingly, even after missing five games, Boucher is still tied for first in the AHL in goalscoring, with Wilkes-Barre’s, Stefan Noesen
- Dylan Blujus picks off a pass at center-ice to dump it for the Comets. Comets get to pressure
- Lind, Jasek, and Bailey combine for a couple of takeaways in the Crunch’ zone but can’t generate any shot-attempts from it
- Guillaume Brisebois (#55) shoves Dennis Yan off the puck so Carter Bancks (#34) can steal the puck before Yan can set up a pass
- Kole Lind (#13) with a one-timer feed to Lukas Jasek (#9) on the doorstep. Play continues, with a steal on the blueline from Dylan Blujus (#8). Jasek (#9) gets a second one-timer scoring chance off a quick pass through traffic from Blujus.
- Lind/Jasek/Bailey line looking dangerous tonight after ten minutes of play
- Just one of those things, where Jasek needs to be more confident in his ability to carry the puck into the zone. Here, he has momentum for a drive into the offensive zone but instead elects to drop the puck back to a meandering Justin Bailey (#95). Bailey essentially has no choice but to dump the puck
- Seamus Malone (#17) showing off good skates with a relentless drive through four Crunch defenders. Malone manages to get a solo drive on the net of Spencer Martin while drawing a slashing penalty
- Malones draw sends the Comets off to their first powerplay of the night.
- See Jasek, size isn’t everything when it comes to moving the puck into the zone
- 1st powerplay unit: Lind, Bailey, Boucher, Rafferty, Goldobin
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets: Wow. Kole Lind (#13) wins the draw out to Reid Boucher (#24), who makes no doubt about it. Bouch goes bar-down to open the scoring.
- Boucher is buzzing after that goal. Looking speedy in the offensive zone as the first line once again pressures the Crunch
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) moving the puck up ice for the fourth line as he carries the puck into the zone for a laser of a shot on Martin
- Justin Bailey attempts a drive down the left-wing but gets hooked by Cory Conacher on the way. Comets back to the powerplay
- 1st Unit out to start: Bailey, Lind, Boucher, Rafferty, Goldobin
- Big Oof to start, Kole Lind (#13) slowly gloves down the puck under pressure from Mitchell Stephens. Stephens capitalizes on Lind’s boneheadery and gets himself a massive shorthanded breakaway opportunity. Call is a McIntyre save, but I’m pretty sure it’s off the post
- 2nd Powerplay unit: Arseneau, Perron, Eliot, Malone, Brisebois
- Comets powerplay ends. Not a great one
- Ashton Sautner picks up a slashing penalty and the Comets are off to their first PK of the night
- 1st pk group: Hamilton, Bancks, Blujus, Chatfield
- Conacher almost has a prime scoring chance off a great pass through traffic, but it’s in his skates. Blujus (#8) then follows up with a shot-block that helps the Comets clear the zone
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 1-1 Tie: Tonight’s the night of wicked shots apparently, as Alex Barre-Boulet goes bar-down for a powerplay goal of his own. Team caught a bit too far on one side of the ice, but the team legit had zero chance on that rocket of a shot
- oof, Lukas Jasek immediately takes a slashing penalty of his own, and the Comets are back to the penalty-kill, thirteen seconds after the Barre-Boulet goal
- Comets 1st pk group do well to block the Crunch’s shooting lanes. Eventually, the Comets overplay the puck and lose the zone off a bad pass to an empty area on the blueline.
- Comets benefitting on this penalty kill from the Crunch overthinking their cycle. Penalty gets killed through no real efforts of their own, haha
The Score at the end of the 1st period: 1-1 Tie
An exciting period where the Comets outshoot the Crunch ten to six, but a lack of discipline gives the Crunch some badly needed momentum to close out the period. Comets are controlling play quite well after twenty minutes of action, just need to settle-down their passes in the offensive zone. Barring the blunder on the second powerplay, it was a strong period of play from Kole Lind. Boucher looks like a man trying to regain his spot at the top of the AHL’s goalscoring list.
- Wacey Hamilton ( #36) slips around a hit to set up Nikolay Goldobin (#77) for a one-timer blast on net
- Boucher takes a delay-of-game penalty attempting to clear the Comet’s end. Comets back to the penalty kill
- 1st pk group: Jasek, Bancks, Chatfield, Sautner
- Bancks with a huge shot-block to start the PK
- Jasek (#9) doing what he does best, and that’s fishing the puck out of board battles
- Jasek clears once again to end the Crunch’s powerplay try
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) showing off some silky smooth skating before setting up Nikolay Goldobin (#77) with a rink-wide pass
- Seamus Malone (#17) with some good moves along the Crunch’ end-boards to evade two Crunch defenders. Malone then sets up Mitch Eliot (#52) for a one-timer blast from the blue line
- Crunch caught with too many men on the ice as they start a cycle in the Comet’s end.
- Comets off to the powerplay
- 2nd Unit starts: Eliot, Malone, Arseneau, Perron, Brisebois
- Malone (#17) with quick skates to gain the zone on the powerplay, Arseneau (#18) with a thunderous hit on Luke Witkowski as Francis Perron (#27) wrists a shot on net. Witkowski is livid with the (clean af) hit and tries to goad Arseneau into fighting
- Arseneau (#18) continues to be a lightning rod, as Witkowski chases after big Vin, then Dannick Martel gives Arseneau a shove well after the whistle. Comets get a 5-on-3 as Martel takes an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
- Comets first powerplay unit can’t make anything work with the 5-on-3
- McIntyre comes up big with a shorthanded stop on Daniel Walcott
- Second powerplay unit rolled out again as the second Crunch penalty ends. Game returns to even-strength
- hahahahah, Syracuse caught with six players on the ice for the second time this period
- Comets back to the powerplay
- 1st Unit out to start: Boucher, Rafferty, Goldobin, Lind, Bailey
- Reid Boucher (#24) with zero regard for the ankles of Dominik Masin
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Comets: Comets powerplay connects, as Nikolay Goldobin (#77) sends a puck to Kole Lind (#13) in the high-slot. Lind redirects the pass under the blocker-side of Spencer Martin to give the Comets their second lead of the game. Nice and straightforward play by the Comets 1st powerplay unit to get Lind his first goal of the game.
- Seamus Malone takes a holding penalty while his line is pressuring in the Crunch’ end. Comets to the PK in this crazy back-and-forth period
- 1st pk group: Bancks, Hamilton, Chatfield, Sautner
- Sautner and Chatfield tie up the Crunch along the end-boards, and eventually they fish the puck out to Wacey Hamilton who clears for them to change
- 2nd PK group: Boucher, Jasek, Brisebois, Blujus
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 2-2 Tie: Fourth straight powerplay goal of the game. This time, Ross Colton sets up Boris Katchouk for a one-timer from behind the net of Zane McIntyre. Dylan Blujus (#8) is late on his chase of Colton from the crease of McIntyre’s net, and Boucher (#24) is caught sleeping as Katchouk wades into the crease to receive the one-timer pass.
- UTICA – GOAL -3-2 Comets: Boucher (#24) and Goldobin (#77) enter the zone with a give-and-go. Goldy with some fantastic puck-handling around two Crunch players to set-up Boucher along the goal-line. Somehow, Boucher manages to find space on Spencer Martin, and the puck trickles behind Martins back and into the goal. Amazing shot.
- Witkowski finally gets what he asked for as he gets into a scrap with Arseneau in the Crunch’ end.. Arseneau gets quite a few shots in early, but Witkowski gets the upper-hand late… Witkowski also gets a couple greasy shots on Arseneau as the refs come in to break the two apart.
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-2 Comets: Call it karma, as the Comet’s get another beautiful redirect-goal to increase the lead to two! The play comes off a carry-in from Francis Perron (#27) off a pass from Ashton Sautner (#6). Perron hits the breaks after entering the Crunch’s end to then send a floating puck towards the net. A crashing Carter Bancks (#34) gets a touch on the floating puck to redirect it over the glove-side of Spencer Martin.
- Francis Perron (#27) with a great steal in the Crunch’s end to set-up Carter Bancks (#34) for another scoring chance. Bancks almost with his second goal in as many minutes
- Bottom of the streamable along the end-boards. Perron (#27) skates towards the boards to catch a puck but is hit with a dirty as fuck elbow from the Crunch’s Alexander Volkov. Hope the league looks at that one
- Goldobin (#77) feelin’ it tonight
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 4-2 Comets
What a crazy period of hockey as the Comets outshoot the Crunch eleven to eight, score three goals, and get themselves four powerplays! Practically all of this happened after the halfway point of the period to boot. Guys finally getting rewarded with goals after stellar play. It may be weird to say, but this team actually looks better now than they did with MacEwen, and Graovac in the lineup. The team is doing infinitely better at driving to high-danger scoring areas to create scoring chances — an area of concern that I addressed in last weekend’s Harvests. I have to commend the Comet’s effort levels tonight in light of the adversity they’re facing. The Crunch made them look foolish on Monday, and right now, they’re making the Crunch look like amateurs.
- Martin gets yanked for Scott Wedgewood to start the third
- Penalty for Volkov ends
- Volkov caught offside as he then tries to bait a penalty after he blows a tire.
- Carter Bancks (#34) with a beautiful breakaway feed to Seamus Malone (#17). Malone tries to go backhand, but the puck goes end-over-end, and his shot goes wide of the goal
- Justin Bailey (#95) finds Kole Lind (#13) all alone at the blueline. Lind dekes past a Crunch defender to get himself time and space in the high-slot, but his shot goes right into the body of Scott Wedgewood
- Jasek (#9) backchecks for a stick-lift on Dennis Yan to disrupt his shot-attempt
- Mitch Eliot gets dinged for high-sticking, and the Comets are off to their fifth penalty kill of the game
- Reid Boucher (#24) springs he and Lukas Jasek ( #9) on a shorthanded breakaway, but Boucher’s cross-ice feed is behind Jasek, and they have to hustle back to defend
- McIntyre with a blocker save in the final second of the penalty-kill
- Chatfield (#5) takes a cross-checking penalty as he takes down Daniel Walcott in the crease of McIntyre’s net. Comets off to their sixth penalty kill
- Boucher (#24) springs Jasek (#9) ahead on another shorthanded breakaway, but Jasek’s shot gets deflected aside by Cameron Gaunce
- Boucher clears the zone after he disrupts a pass
- wow, for the third time this game…the Syracuse Crunch get caught with six men out on the ice, and their powerplay comes to an end
- All this special-teams time means guys like Justin Taylor, Dyson Stevenson, and Seamus Malone have been riding the pine hard this period
- Reid Boucher (#24) has a cross-ice feed picked off on the powerplay, but Rafferty (#25 ) recovers during the Crunch’s odd-man rush with a pass takeaway of his own
- the ensuing play, Goldobin (#77) sends a cross-ice feed to Vinny Arseneau (#18) who crashes the doorstep of Wedgewood’s net. Wedgewood somehow goes post-to-post to deny a huge point-blank blast from Arseneau
- oh no, that sucks…Seamus Malone (#17) out for the Comet’s final powerplay draw, and after going down hard to the ice, Malone clutches his arm in pain…This might be the arm that Malone broke last year. An injury which caused him to miss both Vancouver and Utica training camps, and his entire summer training
- Arseneau takes an interference penalty after bowling over a Crunch player along the end boards, and the Comets are off to their seventh PK
- Crunch look lost on this powerplay, as Carter Bancks aggressively forechecks to hold the Crunch out of the zone, followed by an easy blueline clear from Wacey Hamilton.
- Hamilton stays on for the majority of this PK shift and forces the Crunch to clear again, and the Crunch put themselves offsides in back-to-back entry attempts.
- Comets penalty-killers working wonders tonight as they kill off another
- Frustration showing for the Crunch’s Dannick Martel as he throws a shoulder into Mitch Eliot (#52) after a stoppage in play. Martel takes a roughing penalty, and the Comets powerplay goes back to work for the eighth time tonight
- 1st unit: Rafferty, Lind, Bailey, Goldobin, and Boucher
- Lind takes a clearing attempt off the ankle right off the draw and he changes off for Perron.
- Comets lose control in the zone and are forced out off some relentless forechecking from the Crunch
- wellp, powerplay’s over. As the Crunch’s Cory Conacher drives hard to the net of McIntyre while shorthanded. Eliot (#52) tries to muscle Conacher away from the net but takes a high-sticking penalty during his efforts
- Carter Bancks (#34) almost notches his second of the night, off of a colossal misplay of the puck by the Crunch’s Scott Wedgewood
- after twenty seconds of 4-on-4 the Comets head to their eight penalty kill, haha
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-2 Comets: Reid Boucher (#24) gets the hatty with an empty-netter from the Comets right circle. The Crunch pulled Wedgewood for the extra-attacker, but Boucher gets a takeaway to seal it for the Comets
- With two minutes left in a three-goal lead game, Justin Taylor and Dyson Stevenson finally see some ice-time after a long stretch of riding the bench
- lol, Wacey Hamilton (#36) leads a break-out for the Comets and takes about as blatant of a high-stick as you possibly can. He then chases his dump-in and gets called for high-sticking a Crunch player. His reaction sums it up
- The ninth PK of the game will only last for the final 36 seconds, they kill time holding the puck along the end boards, and this one is over
- The Crunch’s Jimmy Huntington instigates with Ashton Sautner (#6) after the game, and Sautner does his best madman impression, as he laughs in his opponents face
Final Score: 5-2 Utica Comets
|1st||Utica||Reid Boucher||Kole Lind||—||5v5|
|1st||Syracuse||Alex Barre-Boulet||Cameron Gaunce||Chris Mueller||PPG|
|2nd||Utica||Kole Lind||Nikolay Goldobin||Brogan Rafferty||PPG|
|2nd||Syracuse||Boris Katchouk||Ross Colton||Taylor Raddysh||PPG|
|2nd||Utica||Reid Boucher||Nikolay Goldobin||Mitch Eliot||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Carter Bancks||Francis Perron||Ashton Sautner||5v5|
- Great effort from the Comets special teams tonight in a brutal grind of a game. Tomorrow’s game against Rochester will be a tough one given how many minutes the Comets top players logged tonight. Kole Lind looked exhausted by the end of the game as he was continually eating even-strength and powerplay minutes. While guys, like Bancks, and Hamilton were on for practically the entire game, with even-strength and an insane amount of penalty killing minutes.
- Strong game from Reid Boucher in his return as he nets a hat-trick to put himself back on top of the AHL goal-scoring race. After five games missed due to injury, amazingly, just one player managed to overtake Bouch, and that was the Penguins Stefan Noesen. In just one game, Boucher managed to both tie and overtake Noesen’s lead. Guy was playing lights-out hockey tonight, as he logged critical minutes at evens, shorthanded, and on the powerplay. Guy was everywhere tonight and the difference-maker for this club.
- Goldobin continues to be a stud at the AHL level, as he notched two assists tonight to put him fifth in the AHL for assists. He slowed down a bit in the third period, but to be honest, I think that may have had to do more with him getting benched through all the penalty-killing. That was a lot of time for a majority of the Comets forwards to sit and wait out the Crunch’s powerplay try’s. Loved seeing him get involved in board-battles while not giving up on his flash and panache playmaking. Kids got a great attitude since coming to the Comets, and this was a great game for him to make a case for his place alongside the Canucks top-six. He just sees offense in a completely different way than anyone else on the Comets. He finds people almost at-will. That pass through two Crunch sticks to find Arseneau on the doorstep was just, *makes Italian finger-kissing gesture*, beautiful. I know most people on this sub are done with him, but I don’t see how anyone can deny him a chance at this point.
- Kole Lind had a return to form tonight, which was nice to see. He reminded me a bit of Gaudette with some of the moves he was pulling off on Crunch players through the offensive zone. He still needs to work on his overall two-way game, but if he can find the confidence in his game so that games like tonight happen regularly, then the other aspects will eventually come too.
- Rafferty has easily jumped everyone on the depth chart for that best RD in the pipeline. He’s just so smooth everywhere on the ice. He had no glaring defensive errors tonight from what I saw. His ability to transition and carry the puck from his end to the offensive zone is a huge bonus to his value. The Canucks gain a lot from having a cost-controlled RD who can move the puck with his skating.
- Didn’t come up much tonight, nor does he come up much on most nights, but Brisebois had a pretty solid game for himself. His speed is great, and he pairs nicely with Rafferty. His offensive contributions are still a huge work in progress, but considering he can wheel, and move the puck up ice on his own is a positive. He’s certainly worked on his puck handling while under pressure. Too often last season, Brisebois would panic while under pressure and just throw the puck wherever, but this season he’s stayed way more composed. Maybe, a lot of that has to do with having a d-partner like Rafferty on his right-side? Who knows, but it’s good that with a d-corps this young, that guys like Brisebois and Rafferty can hold it down in spite of their inexperience.
- If Malone’s arm-injury is serious, I wonder what the Comets do to get a body in Utica in-time for Saturday’s game against Rochester? The Kalamazoo Wings have Dylan Sadowy available who could maybe get there in time. In nine games to start the ECHL season, Sadoway has eleven goals and five assists. The KWings also have Yannick Veilleux, who has quite a bevy of AHL experience, who likely could fill in the bottom-six role that Malone was providing. Again, that’s if they can even get them here in time. They could also opt to call-up someone from the Adirondack Thunder. Someone like Ara Nazarian, a 23-year-old left-winger who was signed by the Thunder after a four-year stint with the University of New Hampshire. Food for thought.
Comets Three Stars
- Reid Boucher
- Kole Lind
- Nikolay Goldobin
HM: Carter Bancks,
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets will look to build off this impressive return to form when they play at home, tomorrow, in a pivotal match against North Division, the Rochester Americans!
If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net