The Comets face off against Alex Burrows Laval Rocket tonight at home, with the chance of earning six out of six possible points in the final weekend of February.
The Rocket have struggled immensely as of late. The Rocket were running hot early on in the season, launching to seventh-place in the league while rocking a 0.605 points-percentage. This percentage since then has plummeted down to 0.517, while the team has free-fallen down to their current spot of 19th in the AHL, 6th in the North Division.
The Rocket have rebounded similarly to the Comets, with points earned in five of their last ten games. Whereas the Comets have picked up points in seven of their last ten.
Comets are rolling heading into tonight’s match; last night’s game against Toronto saw Sven Baertschi and Kole Lind rejoin the AHL’s list of top-20 scorers.
Some other notes from the scoreboards pertaining to the farm
- Reid Boucher and Justin Bailey sit 2nd and 4th in goal-scoring with 31 and 27 respectively
- Brogan Rafferty sits 6th in the AHL and leads all rookies in assists, with 34 assists in 52 GP
- Kole Lind and Nikolay Goldobin are in a four-way-tie for 9th in assists with 30 each
For posterity, the Laval Rocket have no players in the top-20 of any of those categories listed above.
Anyways, let’s get into tonight’s leap-year matchup and see if the Comets can begin their brutal March schedule with a tidy little win-streak going!
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Bailey (#95)||Hamilton (#36)||Lind (#13)|
|Goldobin (#77)||Camper (#19)||Baertschi (#47)|
|Stevens (#16)||Graovac (#44)||Perron (#27)|
|Gadjovich (#21)||Malone (#17)||Stevenson (#26)|
|Brisebois (#55)||Sautner (#6)|
|Blujus (#8)||Chatfield (#5)|
|Petgrave (#22)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Michael Di Pietro|
|David Pope (upper-body)||Vincent Arseneau (season done)||Carter Bancks (undisclosed)||Lukas Jasek (undisclosed)||Reid Boucher (ill)||Olli Juolevi (injured)|
Tyler Graovac returns to action for the first time since November 14th, 2019, an absence of 107 days.
Bit strange to see Cull push Stevens, a natural center, out to the wing. Seamus Malone has had solid games lately, but the realist in me thinks having four legitimate and experienced AHL centers throughout the lineup is better than having a very green fourth-line who will barely play. Stevens moving down would allow this team much more flexibility, but, I mean, what do I know!?
Reid Boucher and Olli Juolevi sitting out of tonight’s game is certainly interesting. Comets twitter account says Boucher is ill, and Juolevi is “injured.” Possibly related to the injury that kept him out of a few games
Still baffling that Matt Petgrave gets slid in for Juolevi instead of LeBlanc, who’s played out of his mind while off-role for this team. No disrespect to Petgrave, who’s obviously making the most out of his opportunity.
Still, it feels like LeBlanc’s getting le shaft.
I see you, dog, I see the work you puttin’ in!
Comets in their flying skate alternates
- oh man, these are straight. Fucking. fire!
- Desktop background for you, courtesy of myself, via MS Paint and the PrintScreen button
- Laval pressuring and controlling early through the opening 1:30. Comets looking a little tired
- Kole Lind (#13) peels around a couple Rocket defenders for a shot attempt and manages to draw a slashing minor against Jake Lucchini
- 1st peeper: Baertschi, Goldobin, Rafferty, Graovac, Bailey
- Justin Bailey (#95) attempts a through-the-legs redirect off a Nikolay Goldobin (#77) pass while on the powerplay, but he misses on the attempt
- 2nd peeper rolls out: Petgrave, Gadjovich, Lind, Camper, Brisebois
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) attempts a redirect on goal from the crease, but it ends up cleared by the Rocket
- Brisebois elects to dump the puck, but he isn’t past center, so the Comets get called for icing. Genuinely baffling decision
- Seamus Malone rips a knuckling shot into the glove of Michael McNiven from the Blueline
- Comets win an o-zone draw, and Justin Bailey (#95) moves around the point before floating a shot high through center that gets tipped by Kole Lind (#13) into the glove of McNiven
- Comets with another point shot into the body of McNiven — exhaustion might be playing into the Comets ability to drive-in close to the net
- Tyler Graovacs speed is…something, worth noting later
- Justin Bailey takes a roughing penalty and the Comets are off to the PK
- 1st peeker: Blujus, Graovac, Stevens, Sautner
- In a role that requires blocking shots with the legs, I don’t know if I’d be putting Graovac out there to start
- I love that goalies brains turn off when they come to the Adirondack Bank Center
- GOAL – LAVAL – 1-0 Rocket: Alexandre Alain scores his tenth of the year on the Rocket’s powerplay after cashing in on Aaron Luchuk’s pass from the crease. Ryan Poehling starts the sequence with a shot off of Di Pietro’s pads. Aaron Luchuk picks up the uncontrolled puck and shoots it to the left to a crashing Alain who buries the puck before Di Pietro can finish getting to the opposite post.
- Laval controlling play quite considerably this period, Comets look gassed
- Long shift in Laval’s zone from Baertschi/Camper/Goldobin, but they fail to register a shot on goal
- GOAL – LAVAL – 2-0 Rocket: In hindsight, maybe it was a poor call having the Comets wear these dope alternates at the end of a back-to-back. Jake Lucchini makes it 2-0 for the Rocket after a wrister from Gustav Olofsson goes off of a skate and winds up on the tape of Jake Lucchini’s stick at the front of Di Pietro’s crease. Easy open-net for Lucchini despite Di Pietro’s best efforts to dive on the point-blank one-timer
- Tyler Graovac lands a hard chop on the leg of a Laval forward, and the Comets are back to the PK with 1:06 remaining in the third
- Wacey Hamilton gets another shorthanded rush similar to the one he had against the Marlies
- Goldobin (#77) killing time on the penalty kill with a solid effort at the Comets blueline to force a reset and eventually to clear
The score at the end of the 1st period: 2-0 Rocket
Comets look exhausted to be honest. Tyler Graovac had the intermission interview and the first thing he admitted was, “things are fast out there.” I was about to make a point that TG looked incredibly slow relative to everyone else on the ice.
Massive props to Graovac; here he is in the intermission interview, smiling his ass off, admitting that the time-off hurt his speed and that he hopes with more ice-time his skating will come around. I wish he were with the Canucks still giving intermission interviews. His were genuinely a breath of fresh air.
And that’s all I have to say about TG and his skate-speed.
Comets need to find some energy here in the second to try, at the very least, to cut the lead to one.
- Comets starting off with the Graovac slashing penalty-kill
- GOAL – LAVAL – 3-0 Rocket: With two seconds left on the Graovac penalty, the Rocket capitalizes off of a one-timer goal from Laurent Dauphin at the outside of the right circle. Tough to blame anyone. Good puck movement, Di Pietro in position but screened hard by Yannick Veilleux.
- GOAL – LAVAL – 4-0 Rocket: The rout is on, as Kevin Lynch beats out Matt Petgrave into the Comets endboards and manages to center for a crashing Yannick Veilleux. Sven Baertschi (#47) looks completely gassed on that chase of Veilleux into the d-zone.
- Brutal effort from the squad in front of Di Pietro tonight
- Oh god, Jake Kielly gets put in goal as Di Pietro gets the yank. Rough way to make your AHL debut
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) misplays a floated puck in the neutral zone, and Alex Alain steals to race around Rafferty. Alain drives on goal, and Jake Kielly makes a clutch first AHL save
- Nikolay Goldobin (#77) with a one-timer on McNiven… possibly the first dangerous scoring chance from Utica all game
- GOAL – LAVAL – 5-0 Rocket: Nikolay Goldobin (#77) overplays the puck at the Rocket’s blueline, and Alex Alain steals for a breakaway goal. Big yikes
- The Comets generate a scoring chance, and the crowd is silent because who cares, no one cares
- The Comets get a powerplay off an Antoine Wake hooking penalty, but who cares, no one cares…
- Baertschi (#47) with probably the most unenthusiastic one-timer I’ve ever seen
- Comets nearly give up a shorthanded goal, but who cares, no one cares…
- The Comets get pressured in their end but manage to draw a cross-checking penalty against Michael Pezzetta, but who cares, no one cares…
- Powerplay had a couple chances, but who cares, no one cares…
- Kole Lind (#13) with a dangerous scoring chance, but who cares, no one cares…
- Bailey misses a tap-in feed on an empty-net
- The refs call hooking on Nikita Jevpalovs because even they’re embarrassed by this rout in front of the home crowd
- Alex Alain nearly gets a shorthanded breakaway when the entire Comets collective stops skating to recover a dump-in
- Jonah Gadjovich (#21) and Dyson Stevenson (#26) play give-and-go on an offensive-zone rush but the Rocket tie-up Dyson from getting off a shot
- Wacey Hamilton gets called for tripping because the refs are sadists who want to watch the Utica faithful suffer even further
The score at the end of the 2nd period: 5-0 Rocket
White towel —
Is it possible for a team to forfeit the third period and just call it a game?
Cause that’s how bad this is
Probably won’t bother recapping the remainder of this game…they’re not trying, so, why should I?
- Comets start the period with two minutes of penalty-killing, but who cares, no one cares…
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-1 Rocket: Oh my god, they get on the board! Only four more to go! The Comets fourth-line gives a jolt of energy into the Utica faithful after Matt Petgrave (#22) sens a shot towards the net of McNiven, and Dyson Stevenson (#26) gets a last-second tip on the puck to send it top shelf.
- Fourth-line out pressuring for the Comets again; they seem to be the only line actually generating anything for this club. As Tortorella once said, “good for ~him~ them, bad for us.”
- Possibly the only interesting moment from the last five minutes, as the fourth-line mucks it up a bit after a stoppage in play
- Comets to the powerplay off a delay-of-game from Ryan Culkin
- GOAL – UTICA – 5-2 Rocket: Jonah Gadjovich (#21) cuts the Rocket’s lead to three with a tip-in of a Carter Camper (#19) slap pass on the powerplay.
- Comets pull Kielly with 5:30 left for the extra-attacker
- Hamilton, Lind, Goldobin, Graovac, Rafferty, Petgrave are the first six for Utica
- Facing the 6-on-5, Yannick Veilleux slashes Justin Bailey — Comets to the powerplay with 3:27 remaining in the third, their SEVENTH of the game
- Kielly stays on the bench, Cull rolling with the 6-on-4 powerplay
- Goldobin, Camper, Rafferty, Baertschi, Graovac, Bailey
- Even with the two-man advantage, the Comets are finding it hard to get shots on goal
- 1:18 left, and Baertschi takes a roughing penalty after giving a shove to the face of Ryan Culkin after being ridden into the boards.
Final Score: 5-2 Laval Rocket
|1st||LAV||Alex Alain||Lukas Vejdemo||Ryan Poehling||PPG|
|1st||LAV||Jake Lucchini||Gustav Olofsson||Nikita Jevpalovs||5v5|
|2nd||LAV||Laurent Dauphin||Cale Fleury||Nikita Jevpalovs||PPG|
|2nd||LAV||Yannick Veilleux||Kevin Lynch||—||5v5|
|3rd||UTI||Dyson Stevenson||Matt Petgrave||Jonah Gadjovich||5v5|
|3rd||UTI||Jonah Gadjovich||Carter Camper||Guillaume Brisebois||PPG|
- Comets end up out-shooting the Rocket, but a burnt-out team and a worn-out goalie combine for a quick and early demise to this Comets team.
- Good showing from the Gadjovich/Stevenson combo late in the game to try and make things interesting, but it was all too-little-too-late.
Comets Three Stars
- Jonah Gadjovich
- Dyson Stevenson
- Eric Kowiatek (the guy who designed the Flying Comet jerseys)
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets blew a golden opportunity to head into March on a significant momentum swing. But with Reid Boucher out of the lineup, a goalie playing on fumes, and, perhaps, a team burnt out from their dominant win over the Toronto Marlies, and it’s easy to see how this one got away from them so fast.
Comets get a couple days to regroup before they begin another 3-in-4, starting this upcoming Wednesday with a roadie against the Rochester Americans. Fortunately for the Comets, the Amerks lost in regulation tonight against the Syracuse Crunch. The gap between them in third, and the Amerks in second, remains a four-point spread.
Sorry this one sucked Canucks Nation, blame the team though, not me