Good evening Canucks Nation, it’s time for another edition of the Comets Harvest!
I missed out on last Wednesday’s game against the Laval Rocket as my sister took out a small personal loan leveraged against everything she owns, and purchased lower bowl seats to the Sedins jersey retirement game for us to go and see live!
The last time I recapped a game, they played against the Syracuse Crunch! Tonight, they face off against the Syracuse Crunch!
Instead of mashing the ole CTRL C and V, I’m going to augment what I said last time!
The Utica Comets
return home hit the road for a crucial pretty important, intra-divisional match-up against rivals, Syracuse Crunch, after a disappointing neat four-game two-game “road trip” around the North Division win-streak that saw them pick up a single win. win their first home game since January 18th.
Coming into Wednesday’s matchup against the Rocket, the Comets were on an incredible streak of 292-minutes without having held the lead in a hockey game. A stretch that dates back to their February 1st matchup against the Cleveland Monsters, where they led for the opening six minutes. The streak was ended 36 seconds into the third period by Reid Boucher with what would end up being the game-winning goal.
At the risk of jinxing this team that has had a run of unlucky injuries plague them this past week — Francis Perron took a puck to the head during Wednesday’s warm-up, forcing him out of action in that game and tonight’s as well.
Because Micheal Ferland is set to make his Comets debut tonight, I’m just going to get into tonight’s starting lineup and crossing all fingers and toes that the team comes away unscathed!
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Ferland (#79)||Jasek (#9)||Baertschi (#47)|
|Goldobin (#77)||Lind (#13)||Boucher (#24)|
|Gadjovich (#21)||Camper (#19)||Pope (#11)|
|Stevenson (#26)||Stevens (#16)||Bancks (#34)|
|Chatfield (#5)||Juolevi (#48)|
|Blujus (#8)||Rafferty (#25)|
|LeBlanc (#3)||Eliot (#52)|
|Michael Di Pietro|
|Wacey Hamilton (foot)||Vincent Arseneau (done for the season)||Ashton Sautner (arm)||Francis Perron (undisclosed)|
Richard Bachman removed from the scratch-list as he was loaned out to the SHL due to a lack of available playing time with the Comets. By all accounts, Bachman was a great locker-room presence for the team, and I’m sure he’ll be missed. Di Pietro makes his fourth straight starts, so it’s quite clear the coaching staff are much more inclined to give MDP the reps, for better or for worse. Godspeed to him on his SHL journey.
Comets in the White/Green alternates
- Oh boy, these Syracuse alternate jerseys — designed to honour the Miracle on ice, USA team — are straight fire
- Comets wearing the white helmets with the alternates and it’s a pretty slick look
- Jasek, Ferland, Baertschi out to start — quite the line
- Alex Barre-Boulet registers the first shot of the night — Comets answer back by quickly moving the puck into the Syracuse zone for a blast from Reid Boucher
- Some early Lindstigating doesn’t pay off after Kole Lind (#13) sticks around the net of Scott Wedgewood, off a shot from Stefan LeBlanc (#3), who’s actually playing defence for a change!
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 1-0 Crunch: Syracuse’s, Ben Thomas, opens the scoring with a wrist-shot over the blocker side of Michael Di Pietro. Play starts with an incredibly weak line change from the Comets after a weak Olli Juolevi (#48) clearing attempt goes right onto the tape of the Crunch’s, Otto Somppi. The three tired Comets forwards see that they don’t have possession but continue their slow change. I don’t think there was much of a screen, but instead, Thomas’ shot clips Juolevi’s stick, which causes it to rise high above Di Pietro’s blocker side quickly.
- Comets puck control at neutral-ice is incredibly sloppy through the opening four minutes
- Micheal Ferland (#79) moves the puck end-to-end for the Comets before moving to the doorstep of Wedgewood’s net for a shot-attempt off a pass from Lukas Jasek (#9)
- Kole Lind (#13) with the unintentional or intentional efforts to maintain puck-possession in the offensive zone
- Jonah Gadjovich gets set up at the front of the net for a tap-in attempt, but he gets shoved to the ice
- Comets are constantly mishandling the puck in the defensive end. Here, Mitch Eliot (#52) tries a no-look backhand pass to John Stevens (#16), that instantly gets picked off for a high-danger scoring chance for Syracuse
- Syracuse’s, Ben Thomas, puts the moves on Dyson Stevenson (#26), as he powers through to the crease of Di Pietro for the Crunch’s second high-danger scoring chance in as many minutes
- Ferland (#79) with a steal to lead a 3-on-1, but he loses control at the last minute. Ferdaddy eventually recovers to set-up Lukas Jasek (#9) for a shot on goal, but Jasek overskates the pass. Jasek then recovers with a pass to Brogan Rafferty (#25), who crashes the net for a shot on goal
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) gains the zone for the Comets and pivots to set up a trailing Olli Juolevi (#48), but his pass gets picked off by Otto Somppi, who leads a dangerous 3-on-1 rush for Syracuse. Di Pietro comes up with a massive save on Dennis Yan
- Dylan Blujus (#8) slides to break up a centring feed, but seconds later, Nikolay Goldobin (#77) mishandles the puck behind the net of Di Pietro and gives away the puck to Peter Abandonatto. Abandonatto attempts a shot from behind the goal line, that deflects to Alexander Volkov. The Crunch quickly move the puck around the blue line, until a shot from Ben Thomas gets tipped by Volkov, prompting Di Pietro into heroics again
- MDP keeping the Comets alive in this one after David Pope (#11) gets stripped of the puck in the defensive zone, allowing Jimmy Huntington a quick wrister through traffic from the right circle
- Stefan LeBlanc (#3) steps up inside the Crunch’s offensive zone, but Dennis Yan gets around him with the puck and leads another odd-man-rush against the Comets. Di Pietro makes his tenth save of the night on Gemel Smith from in tight
- Lind, Boucher, and Goldy are holding the Crunch in their end, briefly, only generating one shot on goal — a wrister from the left circle from a pinching Olli Juolevi (#48)
- Mitch Eliot (#52) backchecks defending Dannick Martel, eventually skating hard into Di Pietro, knocking him into his net. Eliot messes things up with Martel, and both end up taking roughing minors. Game goes to 4-on-4 for the next two minutes
- Jasek (#9) with a lunging reach to defend Luke Witkowski; a move that makes my chiropractor cringe. Dylan Blujus (#8) drops to a knee to deflect the shot attempt
- Carter Camper (#19) backs off of following Devante Stephens, Jalen Chatfield (#5) takes him on, leaving Gemel Smith wide open at the bottom of the circle. Stephens finds Smith with a pass through the bodies of Chatfield and Camper. Fortunately, Di Pietro makes the save
- Ross Colton blitzes through the neutral zone into the Comets end for a shot into the body of Di Pietro
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) with a solo effort along the boards of the Comets defensive zone to lead the breakout. Rafferty hands off to Kole Lind (#13) at center-ice, who then leads the zone entry. Lind attempts a pass to Nikolay Goldobin (#77), but it is nowhere near him, resulting in a loss of possession and the Comets getting forced out of the offensive zone
- Dannick Martel with a shove on Dyson Stevenson (#26) that drops him to a knee and clears the way for Martel to crash the net of Di Pietro for a few rebound attempts. Both teams scrum after Di Pietro goes down
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) goofs on his reversal attempt, allowing the Crunch to pressure. Fortunately, John Stevens (#16) steps in to tie up the Crunch along the boards, allowing the Comets to recover for the breakout
- Dylan Blujus (#8) skates chin first into the shoulder of Luke Witkowski, Blujus gets back into the Comets zone, but clearly is on wobbly legs as he hits the breaks to pivot.
- Comets with one shot through the final ten minutes of the opening stanza
- Lines getting juggled quite a bit in the final ten, have not seen Micheal Ferland during the Jasek/Baertschi rotation. We’ll see how that plays out
The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Syracuse
Comically pathetic period of hockey from the Comets, who aren’t really missing any major players from their lineup. Poor Di Pietro once again getting hung out to dry by this team, which allows a never-ending stream of shot-attempts. Ferland was okay in his few shifts, took a few bumps on his zone-entries but nothing major.
- Micheal Ferland not on the bench to start the second period — big yikes
- John Stevens (#16) draws a hooking penalty against Dominic Masin, and the Comets are off to the first powerplay of the night
- First unit: Rafferty, Lind, Baertschi, Boucher, Goldobin
- Goldobin (#77) with a giveaway after sending a pass into the skates of Reid Boucher (#24). Alex Barre-Boulet gets the breakaway, but fortunately, he whiffs his shot over the net of Di Pietro
- Kole Lind (#13) gets shoved hard into the net of Wedgewood, and he slashes Wedgewood in the face with his stick. The Crunch collective mug Lind along the end-boards and Lind picks up the penalty to end the Comets powerplay try
- MDP with a save on Ben Thomas during the 4-on-4
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 2-0 Crunch: The Crunch double their lead on the powerplay try, as Gemel Smith wades in on Di Pietro, and rifles a shot under his glove side. Smith found himself wide open on the left-wing after the entire Comets squad got caught along the right wall in a tie-up on the boards. Comets PK continues to be terrible, and Di Pietro continues to be relied on to bail this team out
- Comets genuinely doing nothing this game
- Comets outshot ten to three after six minutes of second-period action
- Ross Colton drives hard to the net of Di Pietro, taking off MDP’s helmet in the process
- Dylan Blujus records the Comets first shot on goal in over four minutes
- Carter Bancks (#34) with a sliding block on Logan Roe
- Carter Bancks heads to the penalty box for tripping and the Comets are off to their second penalty kill of the night
- 1st peeker: Juolevi, Chatfield, Jasek, and Stevens
- 1st group clears and forces Syracuse to reset twice; Sven Baertschi changes onto the ice and chews time down by dangling the puck inside the Crunch’s zone
- Juolevi gets a steal and gets another clear for Utica
- Goldobin (#77) out on the penalty-kill, steals the puck and gets a shot off on Wedgewood
- Dennis Yan clowns Juolevi (#48) for a drive on goal
- Mitch Eliot (#52) collapses along the right wall to catch the missed shot of Jonah Gadjovich (#21) only to end up clipping Brogan Rafferty (#25), sending he and Daniel Walcott crashing to the ice inside the Crunch’s blue line
- Jasek (#9) stripped of the puck inside the Crunch’s zone, allowing Barre-Boulet to set up Dannick Martel with a rink wide feed that Di Pietro mishandles
- Comets get the reverse play set up for John Stevens, but Stevens loses the puck and trips on his way to the net
- Comets lose an offensive zone draw allowing Alexander Volkov to race around Stefan LeBlanc (#3) to lead an odd-man rush for Syracuse. Volkov toe-drags to get around Mitch Eliot (#52), but his pass to Peter Abandonatto is just out of his reach
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) fetches a loose puck from the d-zone, and springs Kole Lind (#13) ahead in the waning seconds of the period for a shot on goal
The score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-0 Syracuse
Not a single shot on goal from below the dots?
How can any team be expected to remain competitive throughout, if they can’t even get towards the net?
Sorry, there isn’t much from that period, but the Comets genuinely aren’t doing anything worth noting besides getting caved in by shot-attempts from Syracuse.
Unless you guys want a relentless stream of footage confirming that the Comets suck ass
- Jimmy Huntington with time and space on the right side to make a move on Di Pietro, but MDP makes another huge stop for Utica
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Crunch: The Comets score on their 14th shot to make this a one-goal game with 18:30 left to play. Beauty tic-tac-toe play starting with Carter Camper’s (#19) pass to Lukas Jasek (#9) on the left-wing. Jasek takes a look, then zips a wicked cross-ice pass to Goldobin (#77) on the right-wing, who makes no doubt about it, and buries it past Wedgewood with a laser of a one-timer!
- Suddenly this game is interesting
- Gemel Smith, alone, receives a hard pass in the slot. Fortunately, Stefan LeBlanc (#3) turns in time to tie him up to prevent, what would be, a high-danger scoring opportunity
- Both teams playing keep away for an extended period
- Syracuse’s man-to-man coverage has been fantastic all night. No forward has been given room to breathe since the goal from Goldobin’
- Reid Boucher (#24) with a rebound attempt that skirts through the crease of Wedgewoods net
- Olli Juolevi (#48) with a slick rink wide feed to Carter Camper (#19) for the zone-entry. Camper drops off for Lukas Jasek (#9) who threads a shot on goal through traffic. Camper follows for a rebound try, and Rafferty (#25) has a blast blocked by Alexander Volkov
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-2 Tie: In true Canuck fashion, Reid Boucher (#24) capitalizes on an errant Syracuse pass to tie the game at two apiece.
- My reaction when the Comets manage to tie the game, despite getting doubled up in shots on goal
- I 100% jinxed them with this ^ reaction, by the way
- Lukas Jasek gets in a shoving match with Dominic Masin, and mostly because they share the same language, and are probably just excited to speak Czech with someone other than their spouses.
- Shot attempt from Jonah Gadjovich goes off a leg and his rebound sends the Crunch into the Comets zone where Peter Abandonatto gets a shot off into the chest of Di Pietro
- Ross Colton gets around Brogan Rafferty (#25) for a wraparound attempt that gets denied by Di Pietro
- Goldobin (#77) attempts a backdoor feed to a crashing Lukas Jasek (#9), but his pass gets stopped by Ben Thomas
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 3-2 Crunch: oh boy. Off of the previous play, the Crunch tie up the Comets along their blue line before Boris Katchouk muscles past Jalen Chatfield (#5) for a shot off the pads of Di Pietro. MDP’s rebound lands right onto the stick of Taylor Raddysh, who ‘s shot goes under his left leg.
- Barre-Boulet picks up a loose puck in neutral ice and weaves around Juolevi (#48) for a backhander on Di Pietro
- Gadjovich (#21) gets his stick tied up in the legs of Ross Colton, and Colton sells the trip with 2:30 remaining in the third, and the Comets are off to their third PK of the game
- 1st peeker: Lind, Boucher, Chatfield, Blujus
- Interesting to see Lind out on the PK. First time this season IIRC
- Kole Lind (#13) breaks up a centring pass, but he and Jalen Chatfield (#5) fail to clear
- Lind and Boucher lead a shorthanded drive on goal, and they managed to get the Comets an offensive zone faceoff
- Comets pressure late but can’t control the puck long enough to allow Di Pietro to leave for the extra attacker
- Ross Coltonwhips a shot from the Comets blueline that sits idly in front of Di Pietro’s pads. Taylor Raddysh manages to poke the puck loose, but sends his follow-up shot off the post and wide
Final Score: 3-2 Syracuse Crunch
|1st||SYR||Ben Thomas||Otto Somppi||—||5v5|
|2nd||SYR||Gemel Smith||Taylor Raddysh||Ross Colton||PPG|
|3rd||UTI||Nikolay Goldobin||Lukas Jasek||Carter Camper||5v5|
|3rd||SYR||Taylor Raddysh||Boris Katchouk||Ben Thomas||5v5|
- Comets rally back from a pathetic 33 to 13 shot differential to a 42 to 21 shot differential!
- The goals from Goldobin and Boucher show that this team is one perfect shooting lane away from changing the complexity of the game, no matter how badly they’re getting embarrassed on the ice.
- No point in getting into the individual players, because everyone was awful except for Michael Di Pietro, who did his very best to keep the Comets in it
- Di Pietro has faced 141 shots in his last four starts for the Comets, roughly 30 or more per game, for an average save percentage of 0.900 and an average goals-against-average of 3.42. He had a pretty underwhelming start to January, but his past six starts have been nothing short of incredible for this team. They likely are pointless in three of their last four without him in the net. Still has much to work on before even being considered as a backup option for the Canucks, but he’s had a solid debut season.
- Lind has just TWO ASSISTS since I wrote about him for Pass it to Bulis.
- Rafferty has remained off the scoresheet in his last five games. Three since I wrote about him for Pass it to Bulis
- Also, I totally jinxed Ferland too in my pre-amble…
- Is the Farmies curse a real thing?
- The Syracuse Crunch’s win-streak improves to four wins and one shootout loss in their past five games played. Comets still have a decent six-point lead on Syracuse, who now tie the Toronto Marlies in points, but performances like this won’t lead to them staying at the top of the heap for too long. Time for their former AHL defenceman coach to sort this shit out.
- Can we get an F in the chat for Micheal Ferland? Had a decent first shift, and that was all she wrote. It might be time for him to thinking about his long-term health at this point.
Comets Three Stars
- Michael Di Pietro
- Michael Di Pietro
- Michael Di Pietro
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets return for a Sunday matinee when they take on the Rochester Americans. The Amerks sit just one point below the Comets in the standings but are fortunately riding a four-game losing streak. Comets must win this matchup to avoid a downward spiral into irrelevance.