Well, I ended up passing out pretty early and accomplished none of the tracking catch-up I’d hoped too, FML.
Fortunately, I’m well-rested and ready for this morning’s Comets/Monsters rematch!
Not much has changed in the 16 hours since these two teams last met, and it looks like the starting lineup has no changes to it, so let’s just get right into it!
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Baertschi (#47)||Jasek (#9)||Goldobin (#77)|
|Perron (#27)||Camper (#19)||Lind (#13)|
|Malone (#17)||Stevens (#16)||Pope (#11)|
|Sorenson (#74)||Bancks (#34)||LeBlanc (#3)|
|Sautner (#6)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Juolevi (#48)||Chatfield (#5)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Blujus (#8)|
|Wacey Hamilton (foot)||Vincent Arseneau (concussion)||Dyson Stevenson (ankle)||Reid Boucher (hip)||Jonah Gadjovich (undisclosed)|
|Richard Bachman||Josh Teves||Mitch Eliot|
Comets in White
- The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing a game later tonight, so the media breaks and timeouts will be quite few, and far between so the arena can break down the rink in time for the game
- Zane McIntyre faces the first shot of the game
- Kole Lind (#13) protecting the puck inside the Comets end draws a hooking penalty on Trey Fix-Wolansky
- 1st Peeper: Goldobin, Perron, Lind, Rafferty, Baertschi,
- Baertschi whiffs a wrister high over the net and the peeper has to reset at neutral-ice — Cull swaps out the first with the second peeper
- Nikolay Goldobin (#77) with a giveaway on his breakout attempt from the Comets end that results in a shorthanded scoring chance for Cleveland’s Ryan MacInnis
- 2nd peeper: Pope, Jasek, Camper, Brisebois, Juolevi
- 2nd powerplay unit really moving the puck well, but struggling to find shooting lanes. I really like how crisp their passing has been on this powerplay try
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets: The passing of the Comets second powerplay unit pays off, and David Pope (#11) notches his first goal as a Comet. Play starts with a crisp cross-ice feed from Olli Juolevi (#48) to Carter Camper (#19), and Camper threads a pass around the leg of a Cleveland to Pope for the tap-in goal.
- Fun fact, Pope was sent down to the Kalamazoo Wings during the AHL All-Star break, and in his first game back, he scored a hat-trick
- Comets slow to backcheck after a dump-in from Brogan Rafferty (#25) — Cleveland gets a quick rush into the Comets zone where Calvin Thurkauf finds Sam Vigneault in behind Sven Baertschi (#47) for a dangerous shot on Zane McIntyre
- Olli Juolevi (#48) chases the puck into the half-wall and takes a slash on the way, Comets back to the powerplay
- Cull rolls out the second peeper unit, which, I can’t disagree with given how good they looked during their first try
- Quick puck movement for the second unit and an early whistle denies David Pope (#11) a rebound attempt off an Olli Juolevi (#48) shot on goal
- Olli Juolevi (#48) with some quick skates to backcheck after the Comets lose possession in the Monsters zone. His turn and collision into the end-boards show there are still some kinks to work out with his movement, but that end-to-end speed was quite promising
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 1-1 Tie: Oof, Cleveland comes away with the puck in a board battle in their end, and Calvin Thurkauf drives down the right-wing for a wrister over the glove side of Zane McIntyre. Thurkauf’s goal is the Comets 13th shorthanded tally given up, the most in the AHL. Barely any screen on that shot either…pretty big oof
- First peeper unit jumps on but they can’t get anything going
- 1st unit struggling without a one-timer option and there is a noticeable uncertainty with their puck movement
- Powerplay ends, and the game returns to 5-on-5
- John Stevens (#16) joins Seamus Malone (#17) for a drive into the Monsters end, and he breaks through two Cleveland defenders before cutting to the high-slot for a shot on Brad Thiessen
- Olli Juolevi (#48) attempts a rink wide feed, but it’s picked off by Ryan MacInnis, who whips a shot wide of the net
- Comets fourth line getting pressured in their end, but Carter Bancks (#34) picks off a weak pass by the Monsters and leads a breakout into Clevelands end. After gaining the zone, Bancks hands off to Stefan LeBlanc (#3) for a long shot off the pads of Thiessen
- Zane McIntyre with a lightning quick save after Kole Sherwood steals the puck off Brogan Rafferty’s (#25) stick behind the Comets net and centers for Calvin Thurkauf’s one-timer
- Comets are looking like they did in the third period of last night’s game. Just getting hemmed in their zone facing down shot-attempts over and over
- Monsters doing a good job to hold the Comets to the outside whenever they enter their zone for shot attempts
- Calvin Thurkauf gets a breakaway opportunity as he casually drives through center during a ridiculously slow line-change from the Comets. Fortunately for the Comets, Thurfkauf sends his backhander over the net of McIntyre
- McIntyre gloves down the puck with eight players crashing his crease
- Cleveland’s relentless pressure pays off as Dillon Simpson cuts towards the net of Zane McIntyre and draws a hooking penalty on Francis Perron (#27) with his effort
- Comets struggling PK takes on the divisions second-worst powerplay
- I jinxed it
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 2-1 Monsters: I’m sorry guys. Cleveland’s Stefan Matteau rifles a one-timer from the right circle that nearly shaves Olli Juolevi’s (#48) face-off, and beats Zane McIntyre glove side.
- oh boy, Lukas Jasek (#9) takes a hooking penalty, and the Comets are back to the penalty kill
- Comets manage to force the Monsters out of their end and clock winds down on the period. Comets start the first with 1:12 shorthanded
The score at the end of the 1st period: 2-1 Monsters
The game started promising for the Comets, but oh boy, the Monsters are just dominating the Comets at 5-on-5. Complete shooting gallery in the Comets end today, while the Comets patient and calculated approach at 5-on-5 is getting them nowhere in Cleveland’s end. Shots favour the Monsters thirteen to eight.
- Chatfield, Bancks, Sautner, Stevens start for the Comets
- Comets catch a break as Stefan Matteau overplays the puck on the Comets blue line, forcing the Monsters offside and into a neutral-zone faceoff
- GOAL – CLEVELAND – 3-1 Monsters: Eight seconds left on the Jasek penalty and the Monsters capitalize for their second powerplay tally of the night. Misplay by John Stevens (#16) and Ashton Sautner (#6), who both collapse towards the left-wing, opening up the right side for Trey Fix-Wolansky to drive towards the net for a tap-in on McIntyre’s five-hole off of a pass from Marko Dano.
- Kole Lind (#13) draws his second penalty of the night to put the Comets on their third powerplay of the night
- 1st peeper starts
- Goldobin (#77) with another giveaway on the powerplay, this time seconds after gaining the zone
- 2nd unit comes out, but they get nothing going and the powerplay ends
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) steps up into the offensive zone to help maintain possession, but the Comets lose the puck, and Brett Gallant immediately rushes up ice for a two-on-one scoring chance
- Ashton Sautner (#6) clears the puck and takes a blindside hit to the head by a charging Brett Gallant — no call on the play
- Tanner Sorenson (#74) gets smoked by a reverse-hit from Adam Clendening, but he gets up and almost finds a rebound scoring chance off a Stefan LeBlanc (#3) tip on goal from a Jalen Chatfield (#5) shot
- Monsters picking the Comets apart with these odd-man rushes. McIntyre, fortunately, does not get beaten glove side on this one
- Goldobin (#77) attempts to chip the puck into the Monsters zone, and it gets played down with a high-stick. Baertschi (#47) gets muscled off the puck and play is blown dead. Refs then move the faceoff out into neutral-ice instead of the offensive zone. Bit odd
- Dillon Simpson with an uncontested wraparound attempt. Odd coverage choice by the Comets on this one, have to wonder if they’re even communicating out there
- Another example of the Monsters just generating rapid-fire odd-man rushes after the Comets overstep in the neutral zone
- Comets fourth-line holding the Monsters in their end for a hot minute, couple shots from the blue line flutter through traffic into Brad Thiessen’s pads, but the Monsters do well to tie up the Comets from any rebound attempts
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Monsters: Comets put themselves within one as Lukas Jasek (#9) cashes in with the rebound off a Jalen Chatfield (#5) shot on goal. Comets have been looking all night for long shots from the point, but were struggling to get someone open for rebounds in the slot — Stefan Matteau misses on his stick-check, and Jasek buries it under the glove of Thiessen for his 13th of the year
- Stefan LeBlanc (#3) attempts to spring Kole Lind (#13 ) ahead for a breakaway, but Lind gets muscled off the puck, prompting a two-on-two the other way for the Monsters
- Whole lot of nothing through the final five minutes. Zero shots on goal since the Jasek goal
- lol, Kole Lind (#13) draws his third penalty of the night
- Sven Baertschi (#47) crashes towards the net for a one-timer on the powerplay, but a diving Marko Dano manages to tip his shot wide of the goal
The score at the end of the 2nd period: 3-2 Monsters
Jasek’s even-strength goal makes the third period a bit more interesting, but the Comets are really struggling with the speed and size of the Cleveland Monsters today — Forwards look completely disengaged on their backchecking, and the D are getting beat on the outside ad nauseam. Comets outshot the Monsters nine to six but go 0/2 on the powerplay, and 0/1 on the PK. Comets will start the period with 1:41 of 5-on-4, a great opportunity for them to tie the game early.
- Comets lose the opening faceoff draw and are forced to start from their end
- Comets second peeper comes out after the first fails to enter the zone — they spend the remainder of the powerplay cycling around the endboards. Frustrating start to the period
- Comets get a shot on Thiessen’s glove side — Cull rolls out the fourth-line to take the offensive-zone draw as they are the only line matching the hard play of the Monsters
- Zane McIntyre with a massive save after an initial save on Kevin Stenlund rebounds right onto the stick of Kole Sherwood, who spins in the bottom half of the circle for a wrister
- Tanner Sorenson (#74) tries to clear the puck out of the Comets end after it takes an odd bounce on the end boards, but it lands on the tape of Maxime Fortier. Fortunately, Guillaume Brisebois (#55) gets in the way of the shot to send it wide of the net
- Lukas Jasek (#9) attempts to carry the puck out into neutral territory, but promptly gives the puck away when pressured, allowing the Monsters to re-enter for the attack
- The Comets look incredibly slow against this Cleveland team. Everything they’re attempting this period seems one or two steps late
- Dylan Blujus takes a hit from behind while dumping in the puck. Second hit that he has taken this game where he’s been slow getting up and to the bench.
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) with decent skates to move the puck up ice for a shot on Thiessen from the right circle
- Hasn’t been a good game for Dylan Blujus (#8), who gets involved in an awkward collision with Kole Lind (#13) behind the Comets goal line where it looks like he gets hit in the back of the head during the crash
- Kole Sherwood turns on the jets and drives down the right-wing uncontested for a shot on McIntyre
- McIntyre misplays the puck at the side of his net, almost allowing a scoring chance from Cleveland’s, Paul Bittner. Carter Camper (#19), fortunately, ties up Bittner to prevent a clean shot attempt
- Can’t be certain, but this might be Kole Lind’s (#13) first shot-attempt of the game
- Comets typical over-commitment in the offensive zone, resulting in a three-on-one for Cleveland. McIntyre, once again, forced into heroics to keep the Comets within one
- Comets finally getting some shots from the crease as Carter Camper (#19) centers for Kole Lind (#13), only to have his tap-in attempts denied by Thiessen and Cleveland defenceman, Dillon Simpson
- Comets pull McIntyre for the extra attacker with 1:45 remaining in the third
- Comets really missing Reid Boucher for that one-timer option
- Camper, Goldobin, Jasek, Lind, Baertschi, Rafferty out for the 6-on-5
- Monsters win the defensive zone draw but Adam Clendening bats the puck over the glass! Comets with 1:23 of powerplay time to close out the period
- Kole Lind takes the faceoff draw and wins it back for the Comets
- wellp, it was fun while it lasted, Kole Lind (#13) chases down a loose puck after a board battle and gets called for tripping
- Comets manage to win the defensive zone draw and they pull McIntyre again for the 5-on-4 with the empty net
- again, REALLY missing that one-timer option lol
- Time winds down and despite their best efforts, can only get within one, and they split the weekend with Cleveland
Final Score: 3-2 Cleveland Monsters
|1st||UTI||David Pope||Carter Camper||Olli Juolevi||PPG|
|1st||CLE||Calvin Thurkauf||Paul Bittner||Anton Karlsson||SH|
|1st||CLE||Stefan Matteau||Adam Clendening||Kevin Stenlund||PPG|
|2nd||CLE||Trey Fix-Wolansky||Marko Dano||Stefan Matteau||PPG|
|2nd||UTI||Lukas Jasek||Jalen Chatfield||Nikolay Goldobin||5v5|
- The lack of physicality from this Comets team without Stevenson, Gadjovich, Arseneau, Hamilton, and even Boucher is quite apparent. Comets were getting pushed and hit over and over with zero response from the team. Obviously playing physical and laying hits isn’t the reason they lost, but it’s a big part when literally 12 forwards cannot out-muscle their opponents to get to the net. Peep the shot map 50% of the Comets 28 shots on goal were weak attempts from the point, but when they managed to get to the slot, they scored on 25% of their shots (2/8). Not sure if it was exhaustion, simply physically outmatched, or a lack of drive, but a Comets team without long-range firepower HAS to have the will to crash the net and fight for rebounds, otherwise, they’re going to get killed down the stretch.
- After last night’s game where I was concerned with the play of Brogan Rafferty, he came back with a pretty decent, albeit, unnoticeable game today. Love his ability to transition the puck on his own with his skating. The Monsters were all over the Comets tonight to prevent there skating game from flourishing, but when afforded the time and space to move, Rafferty looked great doing so.
- Comets defencemen have noticeably regressed to their November-style tactics of getting repeatedly caught up in the offensive zone. The number of odd-man rushes given up due to this tendency to pinch high without puck-control is too damn high!
- Olli Juolevi had an OK game, relative to his teammates and his game last night. He had quite a few giveaway gaffes early, but that one streamable of his speedy backcheck was a massive relief to see. Clearly, there are still kinks he’s sorting out with his knee/hip problems, but this weekend was a good sign of forward progress, all things considered
- I think I jinxed Jalen Chatfield last night when I said he had a good game because he was all over the place today. His coverage on some of those Cleveland rushes were near-disastrous, and his overcommitment on offensive zone pinches was easily the worst amongst defenders. For a guy with nine assists in his last 70 games, you’d think he’d stick to his strengths as a speedy, physical, defensive defensemen because the offensive contribution side of his game kept putting the Comets at a disadvantage. Maybe if the Comets forwards actually tried backchecking for once, maybe his aggression would pay off, but there is just way too much standing around for Chatfield’s style to be effective.
- The one-timer option: I cannot believe how sad the Comets one-timers looked tonight. Do they really not drill or practice their one-timer attempts? Is Reid Boucher the only player allowed to attempt one-timers? I suppose it doesn’t matter because the forwards, in general, had a rough weekend. But holy moly, if Boucher is out for a while, and if MacEwen/Bailey are up with the Canucks for an extended period of time, then they really need to find a one-timer option, and quick.
- I was pretty critical of Zane McIntyre’s first two goals allowed in the opening period, but he was clutch through the final two periods. Facing down odd-man rushes isn’t easy, repeated east-west movement isn’t easy, but he persevered and stopped the Monsters final 13 of 14 shots to at least give his struggling forward group a chance to tie things up.
- Nikolay Goldobin looked pretty checked out in today’s game. So much so that I have to wonder if the MacEwen/Bailey dual-call-up is playing into his mental. He got two goals last night but looked indifferent through much of today’s 60-minute affair.
- Adam Clendening registered ten shots against the Comets over the weekend double-header, lol
Comets Three Stars
- Olli Juolevi
- Lukas Jasek
- Zane McIntyre
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets return Wednesday for a roadie against the Laval Rocket! I haven’t recapped a mid-week game in quite some time, so I’m sure it’ll be a disaster! 😀