Oh my goodness, look at this quick turnaround! The Comets are back at it in Laval to close out their weekend, hopefully, with a less embarrassing performance!
Friday was a game marred in the all too familiar sight of horrid defensive coverage, as the Comets went on to drop their eight loss of the month. Once, they stood as the leaders of the AHL’s North Division, now the Comets barely hang on to the final playoff spot in the division, with one of the worst past-ten records amongst their peers. The Binghamton Devils are close to the Comets with five losses in their past ten to the Comets six. Those same Devils who just beat the Comets in overtime this past Wednesday.
Just three wins separate the Comets from fourth place and last place in the division. With significant injuries happening on the regular with the Vancouver Canucks, its gut-check time for Utica as they desperately try to pick up points before there’s no stars left to play for them.
Saturday’s afternoon matchup was a curious one, after such putrid defending on Friday, the coaches had zero time to recalibrate. The solution? Sub-out the team’s most experienced defender in Dylan Blujus, and put Jalen Chatfield back with Ashton Sautner. That Chatfield/Sautner pairing, if you remember, was on the ice for two goals-against and none-for in the Comets embarrassing overtime loss to the Binghamton Devils this past Wednesday.
No clue how that will play out, but let’s take a look at the full starting lineup and get into Saturdays’ afternooner against the Laval Rocket!
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Goldobin (#77)||Hamilton (#36)||Boucher (#24)|
|Bailey (#95)||Camper (#19)||Lind (#13)|
|Arseneau (#18)||Jasek (#9)||Perron (#27)|
|Gadjovich (#21)||Taylor (#14)||Stevenson (#26)|
|Sautner (#6)||Chatfield (#5)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Teves (#4)||Eliot (#52)|
|Michael Di Pietro|
Rookie-goaltending-phenom, Michael Di Pietro, starts as Saturday’s back-to-back closer. Carter Bancks slides out of the lineup due to an injury picked up in Friday’s game. Jasek gets out of centering the fourth-line and pairs between Arseneau and Perron while Justin Taylor moves back into the lineup between Gadjovich and Stevenson. It’s a good thing that I’m less worried about the movement around the bottom-six than I am with the top-six.
Top-six remains mostly unchanged, but oh boy, do they ever need to get Hamilton out of that trio. Especially after his week performance Friday.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Seamus Malone (arm)||Olli Juolevi (not the knee)||Carter Bancks|
|Richard Bachman||Stefan LeBlanc||Tanner Sorenson||Dylan Blujus|
Comets in Blue
- Charlie Lindgren starts for the Rocket
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) gets beaten to the end-boards by Matthew Peca who recovers a Rocket dump-in
- Well, I didn’t want Hamilton taken off the first-line this way. A blast from Otto Leskinen rolls up Hamilton’s (#36) stick and hits him hard square in the jaw. Leskinen immediately waves for the stoppage in play, and Riley Barber calls for the trainer.
- Wow, not even a minute in and the Comets are now down to just three centers
- Mitch Eliot (#52) sends a break-out pass up to Carter Camper (#19), but its immediately taken off his stick. He looks pretty pissed to have received the near-suicide pass
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) catches a puck in the neutral zone to start his shift then races into the Rocket’s zone. Gadj drops off for Kole Lind (#13) who’s shot gets deflected wide of the cage
- Gadjovich (#21) picks up a puck along the half-wall and centers the puck for Dyson Stevenson (#26) who rifles a shot on Lindgren
- apologies for the streamable stuttering my internets getting a lil’ choppy
- Alex Alain slashes the stick out of Justin Taylor’s hands, and the Comets are off to the powerplay
- 1st peeper: Lind, Boucher, Bailey, Goldobin, Rafferty
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) with a solid effort to hold the zone, but the Comets lose it seconds later
- 1st Units time ends off a weak chance that gets gloved down by Lindgren
- 2nd peeper out: Camper, Jasek, Perron, Gadjovich, Eliot
- 2nd peeper doesn’t muster anything, and the game resumes to 5-on-5
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) blocks a shot, allowing the fourth-line to break out of the Comets zone to create a scoring chance in the Rocket’s end
- Fourth-line chewing up more ice-time now that there’s one-less center to go around
- Comets almost give up the opening goal after Josh Teves (#4) misreads a developing play, by stepping up to check a Rocket forward only to collide with Reid Boucher (#24). The collision allows Lukas Vejdemo to steal the puck and wheel around the Comets for a two-on-one chance, both Teves and Mitch Eliot (#52) dive to block a cross-ice feed to Alex Alain. Fortunately, Alain whiffs on Vejdemo’s cross-ice feed and the game remains scoreless
- Guillaume Brisebois (#55), in the Comets end, no-look reverses the puck onto the stick of Jake Evans. Evans plays the puck down the end-boards to Antoine Waked, but Justin Taylor (#14) is there to tie him up. Nikita Jevpalovs circles around the Comets net to get a quick backhander towards the goal that goes off the skate of Brisebois (#55) to Evans who quickly wrists a shot into the body of Di Pietro
- Lukas Jasek (#9) receives a between-the-legs pass from Reid Boucher (#24), who was tied up along the boards. Jasek then plays the puck off his skates to get a dump-in for the Comets
- Michael Di Pietro with a huge save on Riley Barber after the Rocket get themselves on their eight hundredth two-on-one opportunity in the past two games against the Comets
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) attempts to murder a Laval player with a hit along the Rocket’s end-boards, and then Dyson Stevenson (#26) follows that with a massive scrap at center-ice against Michael Pezzetta. I genuinely got terrified when Pezzetta got the chokehold on Stevenson because Stevenson looked like he was about to end that dude’s life instantly
- Also, I know everyone hates fighting, but there is something insanely cool seeing two dudes drop their sticks and gloves and warm-up for a scrap. It’s so stupid, and it adds nothing to the game, but man you can’t deny the toughness of these dude’s for doing this in a 0-0 game that has mostly been pretty tame
- Justin Bailey (#95) gets muscled off the puck in the neutral zone, and then Jalen Chatfield (#5) recovers the puck only to give it away instantaneously. Rocket get themselves their eight-hundred and first two-on-one opportunity, but once again, Di Pietro makes the save
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets: Jonah Gadjovich (#21) notches his second goal in two games to give the Comets the opening goal. Carter Camper (#19) starts it off with a cute backhand feed to Kole Lind (#13) in the Comets zone. Lind races down the right-wing with Gadjovich driving through the center. Lind rips a centering feed that goes off Gadjovich’s skate and past Lindgren.
- Officials review for quite a while to determine there was no kicking motion
- Gadjovich’s goal to open the scoring is the Comets fifth straight game where they’ve scored first.
- Laval get themselves another odd-man rush after Nikolay Goldobin (#77) gets muscled off the puck in the Rockets’ zone. Di Pietro makes the initial save with the stick, but his rebound doesn’t have much steam on it, allowing the Rocket to crash the net for a second chance
- Gadjovich (#21) executing a solid backhand pass in the defensive zone. How? By looking before he does it! Weird how that helps prevent embarrassing giveaways! Gadjovich’s pass goes to Brogan Rafferty (#25), who plays give and go with Kole Lind (#13) through center-ice. Rafferty shows off with a nice stutter-step move at the Rocket’s blue line, before sending a floating shot to the slot, but nobodies there to receive the pass
- Josh Teves (#4) returns Reid Boucher’s (#24) pass with a slap-pass of his own, but Boucher mistimes his shot
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) fishes the puck out of a board battle back to Brogan Rafferty (#25), who dances his way to the high-slot, before losing control of the puck. Rafferty continues with the aggressive positioning by helping Lind out behind the net of Lindgren. Rafferty winds up with the puck again, and he circles out to Lindgren’s right side where he wrists a shot on goal through traffic
- LOL, referee chews out Boucher (#24) for his charge into the faceoff dot, and Boucher eventually starts to cackle at the dressing-down
- Goondobin (#77) at it again as he drops a flying hellbow on Antoine Waked.
- Comets off the PK: Camper, Bailey out with Chatfield and Sautner
- Justin Bailey (#95) with a shorthanded chance off the opening defensive draw
The Score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Comets
Not a pretty period whatsoever, but the Comets do manage to score on one of their six recorded shots-on-goal. Laval was controlling the pace of play over the opening twenty minutes as they went on to outshoot the Comets, with eleven of their own. The number of odd-man rushes is flat out ridiculous at this point. Comets getting caught playing too deep on breakout attempts way too often. It’s kind of mind-blowing that this problem has been allowed to fester all season, given that the Comets head-coach used to be the defensive coach for the Syracuse Crunch. On that note, it’s worth noting that while Cull was the defensive coach for the Crunch, through 2013-14 to 2016-17, the Crunch were outscored every single season with the lone exception being Cull’s final year with the organization when they made it to the Calder Finals. In the two years that Cull has been the head coach of the Comet’s, they’ve finished both seasons with a negative goal differential. After a hot-start in October, this might not have been a concern, but with nothing changing to this team’s defensive play, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they end up in the positive at the conclusion of this season.
- Comets starting this period off with a 1:38 penalty-kill
- Carter Camper (#19) steals on the penalty-kill, but his pass to Justin Bailey (#95) is out of reach
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) positioned at the bottom of the circle while Vinny Arseneau (#18) plays defender. Laval gets a scoring chance and both Chatfield (#5) and Ashton Sautner (#6) scramble to deny the rebound chance
- the above is what I’m talking about when I speak of defensive coverage and positioning. Why is Chatfield just floating in the bottom of the circle? How is left-winger, Arseneau (#18), the only responsible defender here who is tracking his check? How can the coaching staff not berate these guys on the bench when they let a Rocket forward post up in front of Di Pietro completely uncontested?
- Mitch Eliot (#52) with a shot on goal. Pretty easy save, but Comets shots are so few-and-far-between that I feel it is necessary to document them
- Michael Pezetta takes a run at Nikolay Goldobin, long after Goldobin had gotten rid of the puck, and refs make the easy call
- Oddly enough, the call on the ice is interference, but I think charging would be more appropriate
- Comets to the powerplay – 1st peeper out to start: Goldobin, Bailey, Lind, Boucher, Rafferty
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-0 Comets: Nikolay Goldobin (#77) with the absolute alpha move, as he puts the Comets up by two with a walk-in goal on the powerplay. Play starts with a beautiful rink-wide pass from Kole Lind (#13) to Carter Camper (#19) on the right-wing. Camper walks into the bottom of the right circle, drawing Lindgren out of his crease, before zipping a pass to Goldobin. Goldobin, in behind the Laval defense, simply guides the puck into the net, he doesn’t celly, he does, however, give the Petey death stare to Michael Pezzetta as Pezzetta makes the long skate from the penalty box to the Rocket bench. I’m not a lip reader, but I’m 100% certain Goldobin looks at Pezzetta and says, “thank you.” Complete alpha-move from Goldy
- GOAL – LAVAL – 2-1 Comets: Well, that was quick. Comets fourth-line out for the next draw, and the Rocket capitalize. Play starts after Justin Taylor (#14) tries to break-up a rink-wide feed, but it rolls off his stick onto Gustav Oloffsons. The puck gets moved around to the Rocket’s blue liner’s, where David Sklenicka rips a shot on goal that appears to get deflected off of Taylor’s stick high towards the face of Ashton Sautner (#6), who recoils in terror. Di Pietro was getting screened by the monstrous Michael McCarron and appeared to have no clue where the shot was going. Unlucky goal for Di Pietro, as the Comets have yet to find an answer to moving big bodies like McCarron’s out of their tendies sight-lines.
- Laval does their teddy bear toss off the goal and the game takes a four-hour intermission as the local PD and arena staff try to gather up all da bears. I joke, it wasn’t that long, but it really must’ve felt like a lifetime for the Comets
- Laval doesn’t get a two-on-one on the play, but once again, Comets D are playing way too deep, forcing some aggressive backchecking to defend. By the time the Comets lose the puck, Chatfield (#5) is still floating towards the Rocket’s right circle. Should be backing out way sooner than that
- Lindgren absolutely robs Francis Perron (#27) with a windmill glove save
- Kole Lind (#13) controlling the puck behind the net of Lindgren he shakes his check to then set up Jonah Gadjovich (#21) for a point-blank shot into Lindgren’s glove
- Ashton Sautner (#6) attempts to hold the Laval zone. But his weak pass is easily picked off by the Rocket, forcing the Comets out of the zone
- Nikolay Goldobin (#77) takes an elbow to the face after gaining the zone for the Comets and skates slowly to the bench
- Gadjovich (#21) and Lind (#13) forecheck aggressively in the Comets zone, forcing them to ice the puck
- After the offensive-zone draw, Josh Teves (#4) pinches along the boards to try retain the zone for the Comets, but the puck gets poked out to Matthew Peca, who takes off like a bat-out-of-hell into the Comets zone. The two-on-one generated looks like a sure-goal, but Michael Di Pietro makes an absolutely fucking insane save on Riley Barbers reach-around try with a split-pad save
- Ashton Sautner takes a pretty egregious chop to the legs, but of course no ref sees it. Not Joe Roberts, though, the play-by-play guy for the Comets sees all!
- oh god, you hate to see this happen, Ashton Sautner (#6) takes a shot up high right to the face. Anyone who’s followed Sautner’s story know’s this dude has taken some brutal shots to the face the past two seasons. Sautner remained on his knees for quite some time on the ice, but he eventually skates to the bench under his own power
- Props to the Laval athletic trainer who had to come out to attend to Sautner, as Comets athletic trainer Roman Kaszczij was still in the dressing room tending to Wacey Hamilton
- No blood on the scene either, have to wonder if not a concussion concern, that instead possibly, Sautner might legitimately have some sort of PTSD stemming from the Eric Tangradi elbow from last year. I’ve heard that broken orbitals are absolutely awful to recover from, and so it would be quite understandable if shots to the face were of serious concern to Sautner
- Rafferty (#25) stickhandles in the Comets end, but under pressure, he accidentally bumps the puck out to Laval’s Kevin Lynch, who gets a point-blank try on Di Pietro
- Dyson Stevenson (#26) showing that he’s more than just a skating set of fists, as he steals the puck in the neutral zone off a Rocket player for a zone entry. Stevenson leads the charge and gets a sneaky little drop pass to Mitch Eliot (#52), who’s blast goes wide of the goal. Justin Bailey (#95) catches the rebound and sends it into the end-boards for Francis Perron (#27). Perron times the bounce perfectly and sets up Stevenson at the front of the net for a point-blank try
- GOAL – LAVAL – 2-2 Tie: Riley Barber continues his dominance of the Utica Comets, as he notches his fourth point in two games. Play starts in the Laval zone, where four Comet players begin choking towards the left wall. All four players slow down to watch Jonah Gadjovich (#21) try and prevent a clearing attempt. Otto Leskinen capitalizes on this and flips the puck over the head of Guillaume Brisebois (#55) onto the stick of Matthew Peca, who races towards the net of Di Pietro. Jalen Chatfield (#5) chases down Peca but can’t catch him. Peca baits Di Pietro into following him to the right-side of his crease, where he then drops a perfect backhander to a crashing Barber who taps-in the game-tying goal.
- Getting obnoxious watching the Comets continuously blow their defensive coverage when the writing is on the wall, Every. Single. Time. That they’re about to face a rush going the opposite direction
- Chaos in the net of Lindgren starting with Francis Perron (#27) picking up a loose puck behind the net. Perron turns from the bottom of the circle for a shot that goes off the skate of a Rocket defender. Lindgren doesn’t control the loose puck, and chaos ensues when both teams crash the net, trying to bat at the rebound. Eventually, Ashton Sautner (#6) joins in the ruckus by shoving a Rocket player into the dogpile and batting the puck over the goal-line. refs confer after the goal and waive it off
- LOL, Trent Cull is fuming when he listens to the reasons why the goal is waived off
- Noticed the bench getting shortened even further, as it appears that Vincent Arseneau hasn’t taken a shift in some time
- MDP goes to play the puck behind his net, but nearly gives the Rocket an easy tiebreaker goal after it ricochets off the skate of Brisebois
- Laval pressuring relentlessly, making great work of their chances
- Laval’s Matthew Peca receives a stretch feed in behind the defense of the Comets, but loses control of the puck after Jalen Chatfield (#5) catches him. Rocket still manage a shot on goal after Peca recovers to chase the puck into the corner, where he sets up Riley Barber for a shot on goal.
- Gadjovich (#21) levels Nikita Jevpalovs with a huge hit at the Rocket’s blue line
- Comets get a late chance from Ashton Sautner, but his shot misses the goal
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-2 Tie
See my comments on the odd-man rushes and defensive coverage. Nothing’s changed this period. Comets get outshot fourteen to nine as they give up two straight goals. Pray, the Comets figure it out and get back on the scoresheet.
- Justin Bailey (#95) with a rink-wide feed to Mitch Eliot (#52) who sends a blast off the right pad of Lindgren
- wow, Lukas Jasek (#9) sends Reid Boucher (#24) in on a breakaway behind the defense. Boucher’s shot makes it through Lindgren’s pads, but a Laval defender somehow manages to keep the puck past the goal-line
- Di Pietro with the stop on a quick wrister from Otto Leskinen. Good job by MDP to spot the puck through 6 players screening
- Lukas Jasek (#9) displaying his unique ability to win most board battles
- Laval almost breaks the tie, as Otto Leskinen sends a rink-wide feed to a crashing Ryan Poehling. Poehling’s misses with his one-timer, but he had basically everyone on the Comets team beat on the play . How is it possible that a pro hockey team coached by a former defenseman, be this poor in their own end
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Comets: Nikolay Goldobin (#77) establishes the lead for the Comets once again from an impossible angle. Play begins with a zone-entry from Lukas Jasek (#9), whereafter gaining the zone, he hands off to Nikolay Goldobin (#77), who, in turn, hands off to Reid Boucher (#24). Boucher passes to rookie d-man Mitch Eliot (#52), who gets a sneaky sideways wrister on net. The rebound comes out to Goldobin (#77) on the goal line, and he gets it past Lindgren for his second of the night
- Laval gets a puck in on Di Pietro, Mitch Eliot (#52) bats at the rebound in an attempt to clear, and it starts pinballing off bodies into the high-slot. Lukas Jasek (#9) shows off some solid hand-eye as he bats down the puck out to Nikolay Goldobin (#77) who clears for the Comets
- Lukas Jasek’s (#9) leaves a drop-pass for no one that easily gets picked up by Alex Alain. Mitch Eliot (#52) drops to a knee to block the shot and is in some pain after the play
- off a neutral-zone faceoff Ryan Poehling drives around Carter Camper (#19) and into the Comets zone, where he hands off to Joe Cox for a shot on goal
- Comets appear to be sitting back, an amazingly poor strategy given how shit they’ve been defensively when they’re not sitting back
- three-thirty remaining and the Comets are electing to routinely ice the puck while allowing the Rocket to send in point shots into the glove of Di Pietro
- Di Pietro blocks a shot with his pad and steers it out to his right side, but he has to recover for a second save, as Gustav Olofsson steps in for a blast on the rebound
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) narrowly avoids taking a slashing penalty as he tries to break up a Rocket players control of the puck
- Relentless pressure from the Rocket, as MDP makes another glove save
- Rocket pull Lindgren for the extra attacker
- MDP comes up with two more saves, the first a tip-in attempt from Josh Brook, the second also from Brook after Ashton Sautner (#6) struggles to muscle Brook away from the crease of Di Pietro’s net
- Michael McCarron takes a one-timer blast right into the pills. He tries to play the puck, but the pain settles in, and he goes collapses in a heap. Comets are about to set up for an empty-netter goal, but play is blown dead
- Lindgren races to the net after the neutral zone faceoff for the extra attacker in the final minute of play
- Goldobin (#77) blocks a slapshot with his ankle and goes down, but like the song, Tubthumping, he got up again
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-2 Comets: Goldobin gets the hat trick with an empty netter. The hat trick comes after Justin Bailey (#95) picks off an errant Rocket pass in the defensive zone. Bailey played the puck from past the Comets blueline to Goldobin (#77), who weaved around a Rocket defender before sealing it for Utica
The stalwart goaltending of Michael Di Pietro ends the Comets three-game losing streak. There are still so many problems to be figured out for this club. Fortunately, they have until Wednesday to sort out the issues. Goalscoring doesn’t appear to be the issue anymore, but oh boy, that defensive positioning needs a complete overhaul if this team wants to make an actual run to the Calder Cup playoffs.
Final Score: 4-2 Utica Comets
|1st||Utica||Jonah Gadjovich||Kole Lind||Carter Camper||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Nikolay Goldobin||Carter Camper||Kole Lind||ppg|
|2nd||Laval||David Sklenicka||Gustav Olofsson||Matthew Peca||5v5|
|2nd||Laval||Riley Barber||Matthew Peca||Otto Leskinen||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Nikolay Goldobin||Mitch Eliot||Reid Boucher||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Nikolay Goldobin||Justin Bailey||—||EN|
- Wasn’t pretty by any stretch, but the Comets eke out two points off the backs of strong play from Michael Di Pietro, Jonah Gadjovich, Lukas Jasek, and Nikolay Goldobin.
- Defense is atrocious, and I’m not sure what the Comets can do, barring some kind of trade that gets more responsible d-men into the lineup. Currently, the Comets have six defensemen who do everything in their power to move the puck up the ice. Philosophically, this is something I can get behind. I am all for the next wave of prospects being guys who can actually contribute offensively. Something the Canucks have struggled immensely to get from their blueline prospects. I can’t, however, accept every defensive prospect spending their nights, sacrificing their positioning and backchecking efforts, for the sake of entering the opponent’s zone for a low-percentage shot on goal. If this is a coaching philosophy, then I admire their faith in this rookie d-corps, but they need to address their piss-poor positioning if they can’t generate anything other than low-% scoring chances.
- Michael Di Pietro once again stands on his head for this team. MDP ended his night with a 0.953 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against-average. The Comets arguably should have lost tonight, but the rookie goaltender is doing everything in his power to keep the Comets in these games. Comets were outshot 18 to 11 over the final twenty minutes. Over the final five minutes of the third period, the Rocket registered eight shots on goal before Goldobin’s empty-netter. I’m genuinely curious what that number will turn into when I do my CORSI tracking tomorrow. MDP’s a stud, get him more starts
- Francis Perron was left off the scorecards but he had an impressive game. Had tonnes of scoring chances that either went wide of the net or ended up getting blocked by the Laval defenders. When the line shuffling began, and when Arseneau went down, he started getting time with Justin Bailey, and he and Kole Lind looked dynamic on multiple passing plays. Bailey has struggled immensely over the past couple games, but Perron appeared to reel Bailey back to reality by having himself be the playmaker and driver in the offensive zone. Bailey wasn’t wasting the Comets time by skating himself into poor shooting lanes ad nauseam.
- Dyson Stevenson may have ended the night with a -1 on the +/- chart, but he had a sneaky impressive game. Besides tuning up Michael Pezzetta, Stevenson showed off some good vision, speed, and creativity in the offensive zone, which resulted in a couple solid scoring chances for the fourth-line. Liked his progression with the Comets this season, could be another Arseneau-like progression to his game where he isn’t just a meathead out there to get in dumb fights.
- Lukas Jasek had a great game tonight despite not winding up on the scorecards. He was relied on heavily once the line shuffling began, as he got flipped from the third-line center position alongside Arseneau and Perron, into the first-line center position with Boucher and Goldobin. I thought Jasek looked his best tonight, he was sharp in the defensive end, breaking up many of the Rocket’s scoring chances before they developed. Jasek displayed the same chemistry with Goldobin that they had previously shown, earlier this season. Hopefully, his performance tonight slots him into the first-line center role moving forward.
- Brogan Rafferty is somewhat an enigma amongst the defensemen. He has moments of poise that make you think NHL caliber d-man, and then he has moments where you wonder how he made it this far? Rafferty’s issue has always been his willingness to step up into the offensive zone with the puck to create offense, more often than not, Rafferty will get caught up in the offensive zone and cheat on his defensive responsibilities. His 11 points in 19 games played will lend credence to the idea that it’s worth it. That style, however, has its drawbacks, and a habit of cheating on your coverage won’t lead to NHL ice time. He had just a few noticeable defensive gaffes tonight. I almost want to say that he toned down how much time he was spending driving towards the net. He’s still a fun player to watch. Yet, for his development’s sake, he’s going to have to quickly establish himself as the Comet’s most reliable two-way defender at even-strength. A big ask for a player who turns 25 at the end of this season. Troy Stecher, for example, is just one year older.
- Also, Rafferty doesn’t get used on the penalty-kill. I can only assume, not being on the PK is due to him being legally blind in one eye? There are many moments each night where you wonder if he outright didn’t see the puck, or an opponent, or a pass, or a shooting lane, so it would make sense that Cull wouldn’t trust him in an odd-man situation, like the PK. Still, a big proponent of guys getting called up to the show has been because they’ve displayed an ability to be used on the penalty kill. Not sure where Rafferty sits on Travis Green’s depth chart if he can’t use him there.
Comets Three Stars
- Michael Di Pietro
- Nikolay Goldobin
- Jonah Gadjovich
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets return Wednesday night when they face off against the Syracuse Crunch at home. The Comets haven’t won a home game since October 30th, so they need to show some desperation and impress the Utica faithful with a win.
If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net