Good Evening Canucks Nation, let us gather around the fire and tell the tale of the Utica Comets versus the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Sound Tigers sit dead last in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. Last Saturday, Sound Tigers reporter Michael Fornabaio reported that the team was up to 147 man-games lost to injury/illness this season. Their total man-games lost the previous season… 147.
Both Comets and Sound Tigers meet after suffering embarrassing losses in their last outings. Comets with their four-unanswered goals-against in the third period to the Toronto Marlies. And the Sound Tigers with a 5-2 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Comets will look to impress at home tonight, as they see a bevy of healthy bodies returning to the lineup. Returning to the lineup after missing the last eight games with hip issues, is defenseman Olli Juolevi. Fingers crossed the coaching staff learn from their mistakes and ease up on the on-ice responsibilities. Joining him in tonight’s lineup from a brief three-game stint on IR is Vincent Arseneau. ECHL call-up Tanner Sorenson filled his position admirably, but the Comets will be elated to have the tough-as-nails Frenchman back in the lineup.
This should be a fun one, let’s dive right into the starting lineup and see how this one goes! That sounds pretty neat!
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Baertschi (#47)||Malone (#17)||Boucher (#24)|
|Bailey (#95)||Camper (#19)||Lind (#13)|
|Gadjovich (#21)||Jasek (#9)||Perron (#27)|
|Arseneau (#18)||Bancks (#34)||Stevenson (#26)|
|Juolevi (#48)||Sautner (#6)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Rafferty (#25)|
|LeBlanc (#3)||Eliot (#52)|
|Zane McIntyre|MDP gets a break tonight, I’m dumb I forgot MDP was with the Canucks
Bachman opts in as the backup, as Zane McIntyre gets the start. Hopefully, he gets back to his earlier season form tonight against a sub-par opponent.
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Wacey Hamilton (faceeeeeee)||Dylan Blujus (undisclosed)|
|Tanner Sorenson||Josh Teves||David Pope||Nikolay Goldobin (unavailable to play)|
Comets in White
- Comets put into their end off the opening draw. A weak backhand attempt from Kole Lind deflects off a Sound-Tiger stick and lands in the glove of McIntyre
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) with a shot-block after the Comets lose a defensive zone draw
- Parker Wotherspoon gets dinged for holding less than 1.5 minutes into the game
- 1st Peeper: Baertschi, Bailey, Lind, Boucher, Rafferty
- Reid Boucher (#24) with two rockets on the powerplay
- Comets lose the zone and are forced to reset from their end. Boucher attempts to lead a zone entry, but the Comets are caught offside. First unit regains for a deflection attempt from Justin Bailey. Comets change personnel off the draw
- 2nd Peeper: Eliot, Juolevi, Gadjovich, Perron, Camper
- Ryan Bourque gets the Sound-Tigers a shorthanded odd-man-rush after he pounces on a loose puck that flutters out of a board-battle in the Tiger’s end. Carter Camper (#19) hustles back to help defend, but McIntyre is the hero as he gets his right pad out to block a centering feed to Bourque from Jeff Kubiak
- The Sound Tigers, Kiefer Bellows, cuts around Ashton Sautner (#6) for a drive on goal. Carter Bancks (#34) steps in and lays a chop to the hands of Bellows that sends him crashing to the ice. Comets to the PK
- 1st Peeker: Boucher, Jasek, Sautner, Brisebois –
- Olli Juolevi (#48) blocks a huge shot on the PK
- OJ has a second shot go off his skate, allowing his group to clear
- Bridgeport put themselves offside in the waning seconds of their powerplay, and the game returns to even-strength
- Carter Bancks (#34) carries the puck through the neutral-zone but gets knocked down, allowing the Sound Tigers to set up a rush the other direction. Colin McDonald gets around Stefan LeBlanc (#3) and races alongside Jeff Kubiak. Vinny Arseneau (#18) skates back in an attempt to strip the Tigers of the puck. Kubiak recovers, however, and gets a cheeky through-the-legs shot on goal from the bottom of the circle
- Comets not doing much offensively through the first eight minutes of play
- Justin Bailey takes a pretty dumb tripping penalty to put the Comets back on the PK
- 1st peeker: Bancks, Jasek, Sautner, Juolevi
- Olli Juolevi (#48) showing zero regard for his doctor’s advice as he drops to a knee to block another shot. Fortunately, this one goes off the inside of his left skate
- Lukas Jasek (#9) pokes the puck past the Comets blue line to give himself a shorthanded breakaway chance. Sadly his backhand attempt on goal is weak af
- Sven Baertschi (#47) chases the puck into the Tiger’s end and then skates it back to his own end to chew time off the clock.
- Juolevi (#48) please…your body…stop being a hero!
- Andrew Ladd takes a penalty for elbowing, and the Comets are off to the powerplay
- 1st peeper starts: Baertschi, Bailey, Lind, Boucher, Rafferty
- Baertschi attempts another one of those blind backhand drop passes, and the Tigers poke the pass outside of the zone, forcing them to reset
- well…The first unit’s powerplay try was less than inspiring. 2nd Unit rolled out
- 2nd Unit’s try just as pathetic. Comets powerplay registers zero shots on goal through two minutes on the man-advantage
- Vinny Arseneau (#18) takes a cross-checking penalty during a board-battle in the Tiger’s end. Comets back to the PK
- 1st Peeker: Bailey, Jasek, Sautner, Juolevi
- Bridgeport’s first powerplay unit holds the Comets first PK group on the ice for a full minute 27 seconds straight. Fortunately, the Comets penalty-killers deflect two shots wide of the goal, while the Tigers miss the net on three other attempts.
- Tigers finally get a shot through to McIntyre, and he forces a whistle, allowing the tired Comets penalty-killers a much-needed shift change
- Reid Boucher (#24) pounces on an errant Tigers pass that exits the Comets zone, and he drives towards the goal for a huge shorthanded scoring chance
- lol, less than a minute later and Cull throws Jasek back on the ice to kill the final waning seconds of the Arseneau penalty
- an exhausted Lukas Jasek (#9) capitalizes on a loose puck in the Tigers end. Jasek turns for a terrific centering backhand pass to Jonah Gadjovich (#21). Gadjovich, unfortunately, whiffs on his one-timer
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets: Guillaume Brisebois (#55) must’ve read my post earlier that criticized his shot, haha. Carter Camper (#19) wins an offensive zone draw back onto the tape of Breezy’s stick, and he rips a laser past Jared Coreau.
- Ashton Sautner (#6) with a great job to hold the offensive-zone. Sautner reaches around a Tigers forward for a pass to Reid Boucher (#24). Boucher gets a fantastic cross-ice feed to Seamus Malone (#17), who drags for a wrister that goes off the chest of Coreau
- Carter Bancks (#34) picks off a Tigers pass in the defensive zone, and springs Sven Baertschi (#47) ahead for an odd-man rush with Reid Boucher (#24). Baertschi attempts to backhand a pass to Boucher on the left-wing, but Nick Schilkey breaks up the pass
- GOAL – BRIDGEPORT – 1-1 Tie: Matt Lorito ties the game with his seventh of the year after Colin McDonald strips Ashton Sautner (#6) of the puck on a clearing attempt. Sautner attempted to skate around the end-boards before clearing the zone. Unfortunately, McDonald had other plans by getting the puck over to Lorito. Lorito clutches once to bait Olli Juolevi (#48) into dropping down for a block, then wades around him for a shot past McIntyre’s five-hole.
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) overhandles the puck off a defensive zone draw as he attempts to clear the Comets zone. Sound Tigers pick up the puck, and Zane McIntyre is forced to come up big on two tight shots from Oliver Wahlstrom
- Seamus Malone (#17) gets leveled to the ice after receiving a cross-ice feed from Reid Boucher (#24), and Sven Baertschi (#47) steps in and lays a shoulder in defense of his rookie centerman
- Comets to the PK with 52 seconds left in the period
- 1st peeker: Boucher, Sautner, Juolevi, Bancks
- Sautner (#6) blows another clearing attempt
- Time winds down on the period
The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-1
The shot-attempt differential did not favor the Comets in that period. Sound Tigers throwing everything but the kitchen sink towards the net of McIntyre, and eventually tie it up off some pretty weak clearing attempt from Sautner. No surprise, the Sound Tigers outshot the Comets eleven to seven through the opening twenty minutes. Need a better effort from a team that has the majority of its roster available to them.
- Comets kill off the Baertschi penalty
- Justin Bailey (#95) gets a takeaway in the neutral zone, and races into the Tigers end where he hits the brakes to get around a defender before wristing a shot in the pads of Coreau
- Comets really struggling to clear their zone. First Seamus Malone (#17) misses a takeaway opportunity around the left circle, then it takes both Brogan Rafferty ( #25)And Kole Lind (#13) to strip a Tiger of the puck along the right wall
- GOAL – BRIDGEPORT – 2-1 Sound Tigers: Oof, Seamus Malone (#17) gets bullied off the puck in the Tigers zone. Sound Tigers get a clearance, high through center, that lands mid-air on the stick of Mitch Eliot (#52). Nick Schilkey pressures Eliot at the exact moment the puck lands and chips it off Eliot’s stick, and muscles around him for a quick wrister over the right shoulder of McIntyre. Tonight’s been a case of the bounces not going the teams way. McIntyre had no chance on that one
- Francis Perron (#27) attempts a dangerous cross-ice feed, and the Sound Tigers get a shot-attempt off the giveaway
- Comets fourth-line pressures hard in the Sound Tigers end with a couple big hits, and Kyle Burroughs takes an interference penalty in the Tiger’s attempt to regain possession. Comets off to the peeper
- 1st peeper: Rafferty, Boucher, Lind, Bailey, Baertschi
- Kole Lind (#13) gets dispossessed in the Sound Tigers zone, and the Sound Tigers get two shorthanded scoring chances off the turnover
- After Kole Lind (#13) regains the zone for the Comets, he once again gets dispossessed, giving the Sound Tigers another shorthanded chance
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-2 Tie: The third times the charm for Lind (#13) as he finally gains the zone for the Comets, leading to the game-tying goal. Lind walks the puck into the offensive-zone and chips the puck over to Sven Baertschi (#47) along the left wall. Baertschi plays the puck back to Olli Juolevi (#48) along the blue line, who then dishes right to Jonah Gadjovich (#21), who blasts a rocket of a one-timer over the glove-side of Coreau.
- Comets have scored on the powerplay in ten straight games
- Gadjovich surpassing his last-years goal totals with his fifth goal in nine games
- Baertschi with his second penalty of the night as Kyle Burroughs sells a tripping call.
- Comets penalty-killers get a reprieve, as the Sound Tigers generate just one shot on net
- Juolevi (#48) receives a drop pass from Reid Boucher (#24), but sends his blast wide of the net
- Comets caught on the ice for a brutally long shift just getting punished by the Sound Tigers puck-possession game
- another lazy clear attempt from the Comets leads to even more sustained pressure from the Sound Tigers
- GOAL – BRIDGEPORT – 3-2 Sound Tigers: Two minutes and seven seconds after their shifts began, the Comets finally wilt under the exhausting pressure of the Sound Tigers. Who’d have thunk that lazy cross-ice feed from Reid Boucher (#24) would result in a goal-against 55 seconds later? Comets were absolute pylons on the play as Grant Hutton easily walks around Reid Boucher and Ashton Sautner (#6) for the backhander to regain the lead.
- Sound Tigers Kiefer Bellows walks around Mitch Eliot for an easy shot off the pads of McIntyre. Eliot, in a 1-on-1 situation, takes way too long to make any defensive play on Bellows rush. Not sure what he was expecting Bellows to do here
- Francis Perron takes a high stick to the face, right in front of the ref; no call
- The Comets most “dangerous” chance this period comes after Jonah Gadjovich (#21) picks up a loose puck in the offensive zone
- Comets lose an offensive zone draw, and Matt Lorito casually walks into the Comets end, makes space for himself and gets gifted a shooting lane. Fortunately, he whiffs his shot wide of the goal
- Comets looking like pylons after a defensive zone draw. Sound Tigers are just skating circles around the Comets tonight. Shot attempt differential will not be kind to the Comets
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-3 Tie: One-minute left in the second period, and Kole Lind (#13) creates a scoring chance by stepping up to a Sound Tiger along the Comets blue line. Lind’s effort forces the puck out to neutral-ice where Carter Camper (#19) wheels it through to the Tigers blue line before hanging off to Justin Bailey (#95). Bailey gets around the defense in a few strides, fans on his shot, but manages to put it under the pads of Coreau to tie the game at three.
- How very Canuckian of the Comets to get utterly dominated in shot-attempts, only to score on the weakest of shot-attempts to tie the game
- Justin Bailey (#95) with another scoring chance in the final five seconds of the period
- Comets pull McIntyre for the offensive-zone draw with 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock
- Ryan Bourque drops over top of the puck off the draw, but Jasek (#9) manages to fish the puck for a quick shot at the buzzer
- Didn’t Tanev just get penalized in the Canucks last game for doing the exact same thing?
The score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-3 tie
Comets thoroughly dominated, but they manage to find a way to tie the game twice in a single period. They’re finding the key goals while facing a deficit, but boy, it sure would be nice to see them step their game up and be the ones sustaining pressure against the Tigers instead of vice versa. Comets outshot eleven to nine in the second, 22 to 17, after two frames.
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) chases a dump-in, recovers, and hands off to Lukas Jasek (#9). Jasek turns in the left dot for a pass to Olli Juolevi (#48), and Juolevi lets off a bomb from the blue line that pings off the post and out. Juolevi tracks his rebound and centers the puck to Gadjovich for a one-timer in the slot, but he can’t get much behind it
- Sven Baertschi (#47) with some great one-handed puck control as he draws a holding penalty against the Sound Tigers Bode Wilde
- Rewatching the streamable you can see Seamus Malone get chopped and as he falls, his ankle folds under him as he goes down…that’ll probably keep him out of action for a while
- Comets fourth powerplay try of the night
- Kole Lind (#13) with a shot through traffic that gets redirected by Justin Bailey (#95) on the way to the net
- 1st peeper forced to change after a pass to Boucher on the blue line flies past him out of the zone
- 2nd unit out: Eliot, Juolevi, Camper, Perron, Gadjovich
- Olli Juolevi (#48) hands off to Mitch Eliot (#52) from the blue line, where Eliot’s one-timer rebounds out to Francis Perron (#27) in the slot, but he misses on his one-timer attempt
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) comes up huge with a clearance after Jeff Kubiak centers a puck to Kieffer Bellows in the crease of McIntyres net for a shot on goal
- GOAL – BRIDGEPORT – 4-3 Sound Tigers: Kiefer Bellows reign of terror continues against the Comets, as he drives hard on the net of McIntyre from behind the Comets goal line. McIntyre somehow misses his poke check as Bellows brings the puck around the goalpost, and Bellows squeaks the puck through McIntyre’s five-hole as he begins his right-to-left movement. Jasek (#9) can’t even remotely match the burst of speed generated by Bellows. Still, I am amazed at how one can miss that poke check from point-blank.
- Comets trailing for the third time this game
- Somehow, Seamus Malone rejoined the bench and is good to go
- GOAL – UTICA – 4-4 Tie: Comets quickly answer back with their third tying-goal of the game. Play starts after a board-battle in the Sound Tigers zone. The Comets lose out, but Sven Baertschi (#47) steals a pass at the Tiger’s goal line. Baertschi tee’s one up for Reid Boucher (#24), who goes high glove-side on Coreau to notch his 16th goal of the season.
- Sound Tigers are generating an unholy number of shot-attempts when they hold the Comets zone. Comets strictly resorting to playing dump and change hockey
- Sven Baertschi (#47) with a pretty brutal giveaway at the Comets blue line, which leads to a huge scoring chance for Bridgeport. Carter Camper (#19) gets the hero goal-line save to keep things even
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) with a decent one-handed breakout pass to send Justin Bailey (#95) on a breakaway into the Tigers zone
- Juolevi (#48) with his 800th block of the game
- Sven Baertschi (#47) gets shoved down to the ice by Grant Hutton, and Canucks nation everywhere holds its breath
- Guillaume Brisebois (#55) steps up to the Comets blue line for a pinch, which opens up Kiefer Bellows for another drive on goal. Lukas Jasek (#9) once again is caught flat-footed as he attempts to chase Bellows down to prevent a shot
- Stefan LeBlanc (#3) takes an incredibly late hooking penalty trying to deny Mason Jobst from a sure goal for the Tigers
- McIntyre caught playing too far out of his net on the initial save. If Leblanc doesn’t take that penalty, then the Tigers likely regain the lead with that opportunity
- Comets penalty killers completely gassed as only Carter Bancks (#34) was able to change
- Sebastian Aho (not that one) fans on a one-timer and Lukas Jasek (#9) picks up the loose puck to spring Reid Boucher (#24)ahead for another shorthanded breakaway try. Boucher hits the brakes and floats a shot on Coreau for some reason
- Bizarre that Bouch would slow down, as he had barely been on the PK, so exhaustion shouldn’t have been an issue
- Comets pressuring late, Stefan LeBlanc (#3) floats a shot to Kole Lind (#13), in behind the defense, but it hops over Lind’s stick, and he’s unable to get a tap-in attempt
- Comets waiting until the final two minutes of the game to show some sustained pressure apparently
- Guillaume Brisebois (#55) gets beat in a 1-on-1 with Travis St. Denis but recovers nicely in his own end to allow the Comets to continue their late stream of pressure
- Time winds down with one last-second chance from Bridgeport, but somehow this one goes to overtime
The score at the end of the 3rd period: 4-4 tie
By some miracle, the Comets force overtime after getting outshot fourteen to four over the final 15 minutes of the third period. Needing overtime to take down the Atlantic Division worst team is not a good look for this squad. Sure they finally generate something in the closing two minutes, but it was too-little-too-late. Embarrassing display of puck-control tonight.
- peep this fantastic clip from the between-periods peewee game, where a kid just lays out another with a body check. Nobody show Dan Carcillo
- Justin Bailey (#95) with an early overtime drive on net, but he loses control of the puck as he goes to the backhand after Coreau drops down
- Reid Boucher (#24) whips a shot through traffic, and somehow the puck stops dead on the goal line under Coreau’s booty
- alternate angle showing how the puck inexplicably comes to a dead stop
- Lukas Jasek (#9) wins the faceoff draw and gets the puck back to Olli Juolevi (#48). Juolevi leans into the puck like he’s going to shoot and draws out the defender, he then pivots to zip a pass over to Kole Lind (#13), who now has time and space for a one-timer. Lind’s one-T, unfortunately, goes straight into the glove of Coreau
- Francis Perron (#27) drops a pass to Guillaume Brisebois (#55), who finds a seam through traffic for a drive on net. Brisebois gets behind the defense, but his backhand can’t get over the left pad of Coreau
- Justin Bailey (#95) head-fakes a Sound Tiger defender to get himself space to receive a pass from Sven Baertschi (#47) behind the Tigers goal line
- Lind (#13), Rafferty (#25), and Malone (#17) doing a great job of cycling the puck leading to a fantastic centering pass from Rafferty to Malone. Malone can’t control the centering feed, however, and the puck flips over his stick and into the end-boards
- Comets with a huge late scoring chance as Rafferty (#25) almost finds Bailey (# 95)with the tap-in feed, but it’s just out of Baileys reach
The score at the end of the Overtime: 4-4 tie
Well, they looked good at 3-on-3. Too bad that the Comets 5-on-5 passing wasn’t nearly as clean earlier in the game. They eke out a point from tonight’s win, but letting this one hinge on a shootout is a huge missed opportunity for the squad to pick up two points if it goes wrong.
- Matt Lorito: save
- Sven Baertschi: miss
- Oliver Wahlstrom: GOAL
- Kole Lind: miss
- Andrew Ladd: save
- Reid Boucher ftw: … save. Comets lose
Final Score: 5-4 Bridgeport Sound Tigers
|1st||Utica||Guillaume Brisebois||Carter Camper||—||5v5|
|1st||Bridgeport||Matt Lorito||Colin McDonald||—||5v5|
|2nd||Bridgeport||Nick Schilkey||Mason Jobst||—||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Jonah Gadjovich||Olli Juolevi||Sven Baertschi||PPG|
|2nd||Bridgeport||Grant Hutton||Mason Jobst||Sebastian Aho||5v5|
|2nd||Utica||Justin Bailey||Carter Camper||Kole Lind||5v5|
|3rd||Bridgeport||Kieffer Bellows||Matt Lorito||Sebastian Aho||5v5|
|3rd||Utica||Reid Boucher||Sven Baertschi||—||5v5|
- Another disappointing display of puck-control from the Utica Comets. Their best-sustained pressure came in the final two minutes of the third period, and the entire overtime period. Otherwise, it was a pretty pitiful performance.
- Olli Juolevi looked solid in his return. Was crucial in the Comets penalty-killing tonight, as the Comets suppressed all six of Bridgeport’s powerplay opportunities. Skating looked better tonight than it did before his recent IR stint. Guess the time off did wonders for him. Bummer about the post he hit tonight. Would’ve been awesome to see him get his first goal of the season in his return game.
- Ironically, the two guys I chastised for being unable to hit the goal with shots, BOTH scored tonight at even-strength. Bailey tied with Rafferty for second-most shots on net with four apiece. Brisebois registered three shots on net for the first time since November 9th, when the Comets played against the Binghamton Devils. Good for him on getting his first goal since the season opener.
- Kole Lind was quiet throughout the majority of the game, but when the team needed him to turn it on, he suddenly became the guy to watch out for on the ice. The Shaunovan native was clutch throughout the final stretch of regulation time. Lind helped created several high-danger scoring chances for the Comets tonight and was rewarded earlier with an assist off one of his few defensive plays, rather than offensive.
- During the limited minutes he saw tonight, Jonah Gadjovich was pretty stellar, looked composed with the puck, and did everything he could to try and generate shot-attempts for his linemates. It didn’t help him that Lukas Jasek once again was struggling, and Francis Perron, who through most of the game, was frequently invisibly. Defensive positioning still a work in progress but, we have to appreciate the little things, like his six points in nine games this season — underrated improvement year for the manchild.
- Carter Camper has quietly picked up 14 points in 15 games played this season. Tonight was an impressive defensive effort from Camper and was literally, the reason this game didn’t conclude in the third period. Thanks entirely to that goal-line save of his.
- Not sure who was doing the stars of the game, but Oliver Wahlstrom was given the first star because he won the game for the Sound Tigers in a shootout. Whoever made that choice ought to be ashamed. Wahlstrom was 0/0/0 on the night with three shots on goal and a -1 overall. At least give it to Sebastian Aho for his two-assists +1 rating if you’re going to give a Sound Tiger the “First star.” Hell, Kieffer Bellows should have got it for his 3rd-period tiebreaker goal and his five shots on net.
- Curious to see what happens to the Comets stat-lines after doing my tracking re-watch later. Eye-test would say that everyone on the Comets might’ve posted a negative shot-attempt differential. But I’d love to see if I’m wrong!
- Also, Trent Cull didn’t overplay Juolevi, which was great to see. After blocking like, ninety-seven shots in the first period while penalty-killing, I hoped to see him get a reprieve down the stretch. But, I guess that’s OJ’s bread and butter? Juolevi’s demotion to the second unit powerplay is a perfect middle-ground to letting him flex his strengths, without overwhelming his workload.
Comets Three Stars
- Carter Camper
- Guillaume Brisebois
- Justin Bailey
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets return tomorrow night when they face off against the Providence Bruins. During their last meeting, the Comets edged the Bruins in even-strength shot-attempts, while also getting a stellar goaltending performance from Michael Di Pietro. The shutout loss to Providence kickstarted a four-game losing streak. Hopefully, after tonight’s second-straight loss, the Comets show some fire and attempt to get their season back on track with a road win against the B’s.
If you want more Comets coverage from yours truly, you can now find MORE of my writing at thesinbin.net