Good afternoon Canucks Nation, it’s time for another catch-up with the Farm!
Full disclosure, I am incredibly hungover. Last night I met up with a cousin of mine, whom I had not seen in over four years!
Like the genius I am, I didn’t eat anything prior to meeting up, and then I went on to have seven or eight High Life IPA’s thanks to my good friends at the Brewhall in Vancouver!
Last night the Utica Comets eked out a 2-1 regulation victory over the Checkers, even after doing their usual second-period collapse where they got outshot 12-to-5.
Fortunately, stalwart rookie netminder, Michael Di Pietro, put up an impressive 33-save performance, posting a 0.971 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against average.
Tonight, it looks like Cull will be giving Mikey a bit of a break, as Jake Kielly looks to get his first AHL start of the season.
One of the more notable things to note from the Comets win last night was Justin Bailey getting crushed along the end-boards by Cavan Fitzgerald. Last night’s Game highlights, including the hit on Bailey, and Lind stepping up to “fight” Fitzgerald..
Although this is far from the same team that won the Calder Cup last season, the Checkers are a much tougher team than their record would indicate. Comets coming away with four points off this double-header weekend will do wonders for their playoff push.
The Comets record in the second game of back-to-backs remains at seven wins, nine losses, and one shootout loss.
Slightly under a 0.500 points-earned-percentage
THE STARTING LINEUP
|Baertschi (#47)||Camper (#19)||Boucher (#24)|
|Bailey (#95)||Hamilton (#36)||Lind (#13)|
|LeBlanc (#3)||Stevens (#16)||Perron (#27)|
|Stevenson (#26)||Graovac (#44)||Jasek (#9)|
|Sautner (#6)||Rafferty (#25)|
|Petgrave (#22)||Chatfield (#5)|
|Teves (#4)||Eliot (#52)|
|Dylan Blujus||David Pope (concussion)||Vinny Arseneau (done for the season)||Jonah Gadjovich (ill)||Carter Bancks (lower body)||Olli Juolevi (hip soreness)|
|Guillaume Brisebois (technically)||Nikolay Goldobin (vet)||Seamus Malone|
Goldobin gets the veteran-scratch for a third consecutive game. Have to feel for the guy, but hard to ignore how ineffectual he has been at 5-on-5.
With Blujus out with injury, Sautner slides back in with Rafferty as the team’s top pair. He took a dirty hit in the first period from last night’s action and is feeling the effects today. That opens the door, again, for Josh Teves and Mitch Eliot to come into the lineup to try and impress the bench boss for more ice-time.
[Comets in White]
- FYI: I didn’t realize the sound was shut off on my capture device until midway through the second period, so apologies for the lack of audio.
- Charlotte is wearing some unfortunate jerseys, meant as throwbacks to the Miracle-On-Ice USA Team. Charlotte isn’t the first thing I think of when I see that abbreviation
- Kielly tested early off a one-timer from Stephen Lorentz
- Three icings in the opening 57 seconds …could be a long night
- Mitch Eliot with a wrister off an o-zone draw for the Comets first of the night
- Lukas Jasek (#9) with a takeaway and some nifty puck protection to find space for a shot towards the net. Jasek peels back to the blue line to catch a clearing attempt and floats a shot into the glove of Charlotte netminder, Keith Kinkaid
- Quick puck movement for the first-line, as Sven Baertschi (#47) sends a rink wide pass to Carter Camper (#19) at center-ice, who then springs Reid Boucher (#24) into the Checkers zone for a breakaway. Kinkaid makes the save
- Justin Bailey (#95) skates end to end, then lays a dangerous hit on Joey Keane, sending him crashing head-first into the boards. Comets to the PK
- 1st peeker: Stevens, Boucher, Chatfield, Sautner
- John Stevens wins the d-zone draw and then generates a two-man rush alongside Boucher, killing precious seconds off the penalty
- Charlotte with several shot-attempts on the powerplay, but all end up going wide of the net or over the head of Kielly
- Kielly goes post-to-post to make a massive one-timer save on Stelio Mattheos. Tyler Graovac (#44) shows Kielly some love for the stop
- Bailey leaves the box, and the game resumes at 5-on-5
- Jake Kielly, the difference-maker for the Comets early, as he makes another huge stop. This time, Kielly makes a point-blank stop on Alexis D’Aoust, who picks up a missed shot-attempt and backhands a shot from the crease of Kielly’s net
- Sven Baertschi (#47) takes a tumble into the Checkers endboards, skates gingerly back to the bench. Hopefully nothing major
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) engaging in a physical battle with Stelio Mattheos around the Comets goal-line after Mattheos nearly makes head-contact with his check on Rafferty
- Justin Bailey (#95) blocks a pass, forcing the puck into the Checkers zone, and Kole Lind (#13) nearly capitalizes on the opportunity with a wraparound goal
- Matt Petgrave (#22) with a giveaway under pressure, then Jake Bean dekes to get around the check of Sven Baertschi (#47) to wire a shot on Kielly
- Comets gain the Checkers zone, and a forechecking Boucher (#24) pokes the puck loose, allowing Baertschi (#47) to steal for a turning slapper on Kinkaid
- LOL, Kielly embracing a longstanding Comets tradition by blocking a shot with the mask
- The forechecking pressure of John Stevens (#16) allows Stefan LeBlanc (#3) to come up with the loose puck. LeBlanc goes cross-ice to Brogan Rafferty (#25), who attempts to set-up Francis Perron (#27) with the tip-in from the slot
- Lukas Jasek takes a high-sticking penalty off an offensive-zone draw and the Comets are back to the penalty-kill
- Brogan Rafferty sent out as the 2nd PK d-pairing *eyes emoji*
- GOAL – CHARLOTTE – 1-0 Checkers: The Checkers capitalize on the powerplay, as a heavily screened Kielly can do nothing to stop a gorgeous tip from Charlotte’s, Ryan Bourque, off a shot from Joey Keane. That’s two games in a row where the Comets gave up the opening goal against the Checkers.
- Also, loving Big Pimpin as the goal song
- Justin Bailey (#95) pokes the puck up-ice for a breakaway off a d-zone draw. Bailey cruises down the left-wing before slamming on the breaks to get around a Checkers defender. Bailey sends a pass over to Kole Lind (#13), who joined him on the rush, but Lind can’t get a good enough touch on the puck to get it on goal
- Ryan Bourque takes a high-sticking penalty, and the Comets close out the remaining 1:40 of the first with a powerplay
- 1st peeper: Baertschi, Bailey, Graovac, Boucher, Rafferty
- Comets sub-out Graovac for Perron, who promptly sets up Bailey (#95) for a quick shot through traffic on Kinkaid
- 2nd peeper: Lind, Jasek, Petgrave, Perron, Camper
- 1st peeper comes back out for the final o-zone draw in the final five seconds of the period
The score at the end of the 1st period: 1-0 Checkers
Not sure I like Graovac on the first powerplay unit, the guy simply doesn’t have the legs to chase down pucks along the wall.
Overall, it was a bit of a hot-and-cold period of play from the Comets. To start, the team was giving up some high-danger scoring opportunities, but by periods-end, they managed to reel the Checkers back.
Have to feel for Kielly, a bit, on that opening-goal as there was literally nothing he could do to stop that one. Penalty-killers have to do better at clearing space around Kielly’s net, so he has clear sight-lines on the puck.
The dreaded enemy of the Comets, the second-period, could mean a comeback opportunity, or a full collapse. Fingers crossed its the former. Points are critical these days as two teams behind them in the standings, the Binghamton Devils and Laval Rocket, are both on decent win streaks to put them in contention for playoff spots. The Comets already got two points off this conference-foe, but another point or two could be all the difference between getting in or falling out.
- Comets early powerplay ends without much going for it
- Slow goings through the opening four minutes
- Jalen Chatfield (#5) whips a shot through traffic to Tyler Graovac (#44), whos redirect-attempt goes wide off Kinkaid’s leg
- Comets controlling the Checkers in their zone quite well; looking like a powerplay opportunity for the Comets
- Just realized I’ve been recording everything with the sound off …awesome
- Kole Lind (#13) rips a shot on Kinkaid, and Justin Bailey (#95) follows up on the rebound for a chance of his own
- GOAL – CHARLOTTE – 2-0 Checkers: The Checkers quickly spoil the Comets second-period pressure by scoring their second of the night. Clark Bishop finds himself alone on the Comets right-circle, and he rifles a shot towards the crease of Kielly’s net. Mark Cooper crashes the crease to get a last-second redirect of the puck under Kielly’s pads.
- Clark Bishop beats Kielly glove side but rings his shot off of he goalpost
- Mitch Eliot (#52) knocks Steven Lorentz down at the Comets blue line, then Justin Bailey (#95) draws a slashing penalty against Max McCormick to put the Comets on the powerplay
- 1st peeper: Bailey, Graovac, Camper, Boucher, Rafferty
- very interesting to see Baertschi not out for the 1st unit… I wonder what that’s about?
- Tyler Graovac (#44) registers a shot on the powerplay, and a Charlotte fan shows off his dedicated boo’ing
- Carter Camper (#19) sets up Justin Bailey (#95) for the redirect in the crease, but Kinkaid makes a huge save to keep the puck out
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Checkers: Reid Boucher (#24) scores again! His 33rd of the season! Every point that Boucher scores is breaking franchise records, he’s now one point away from tying Alex Grenier for career-points with the Comets. At his current pace, that seems like an inevitability for him to both match and surpass that total.
- Before the faceoff, Sven Baertschi heads down the tunnel with the athletic trainor….oh god
- Alexa, please play Let the Bodies hit the Floor
- Game-pace slowing down considerably in the final ten minutes of play as both teams electing to play dump-and-chase
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) attempts to clear the puck from behind the Comets goal line, but the Checkers intercept it. Steven Lorentz gets set up with a golden one-timer opportunity, but Kielly makes the save
The score at the end of the 2nd period: 2-1 Checkers
So tilting, realizing I didn’t have sound captured through the first twenty minutes of play.
Despite how dull the period was, the Comets did well to generate shots on goal, as they held the Checkers to just five total. One of those being a goal, but, HEY! Can’t save ’em all!
Concerning that, Baertschi went down the tunnel with the athletic trainer seemingly unprovoked. Fingers crossed that this isn’t concussion-related.
Kole Lind and Justin Bailey have had really impressive games so far, but have been unable to capitalize on any of the multiple scoring chances they’ve created.
- Baertschi not on the bench to start the third 🙁
- Lind subs in on the Comets first-line alongside Camper and Boucher
- Reid Boucher gets stood up at center-ice while trying to transition, but Lind recovers the puck for the zone-entry. Checkers eventually ice the puck
- Puck takes an odd-bounce off the stanchion, and Charlotte’s Jacob Pritchard gets a dangerous opportunity from it. Fortunately, he whiffs his shot high over the net
- Comets off to their third penalty-kill of the night after Dyson Stevenson gets called for tripping
- Kielly with the save on Oliwer Kaski’s one-timer from the left circle
- 2nd peeker: Boucher, Bailey, Rafferty, LeBlanc
- LeBlanc still getting played as a forward but sent out on the penalty kill as a d-man
- Lukas Jasek (#9) steps up on Roland McKeown to force a turnover. Lind and Jasek forecheck
- Off the ensuing play from Jasek, Jalen Chatfield (#5) jumps to glove down a Checkers clearance attempt. Chatfield quickly moves down the right wing before handing off to Carter Camper (#19) at the bottom of the circle. Camper sets up Lukas Jasek (#9) for the one-timer on goal, but Kinkaid makes the huge stop
- Kinkaid loses his stick!
- Comets pressuring hard while Kinkaid is without his stick, culminating in Mitch Eliot (#52) rocketing a shot off of Kinkaid’s mask and out of play
- Fantastic pressure displayed by the Comets off of that effort from Jasek to force the turnover
- John Stevens (#16) with an outlet feed to Stefan LeBlanc (#3), who weaves into the Checkers zone for a shot on goal
- Kole Lind (#13) displaying some solid puck-protection inside the Checkers zone that allows the Comets to set Jalen Chatfield (#5) up for a shot-attempt
- Lind getting some long looks out here — displaying great puck control in the offensive zone to allow the Comets to set up a cycle
- Brogan Rafferty (#25) with a blatant giveaway inside the d-zone that results in a dangerous scoring chance for the Checkers Boston Leier
- Leier, ironically, was Kielly’s teammate through the majority of this season down in Kalamazoo
- Weird string of events, as Kole Lind (#13) takes a high-stick off a whiffed dump-in attempt from Charlotte. Lind gathers himself and joins the Comets for a rush into the offensive zone where he then draws an incredibly weak slashing penalty against Steven Lorentz
- 1st peeper: Bailey, Graovac, Camper, Rafferty, Boucher
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-2 Tie: Wow, what a quick response! Who else but Reid Boucher (#24) to rifle a one-timer past Kinkaid for his 34th goal of the year! Fantastic drop-pass from Tyler Graovac (#44) to set up Boucher for the game-tying goal.
- Physical board battles in the Comets zone followed by Lind and Camper trying to set-up one-timers in the Checkers end
- Appears to be a noticeable momentum shift for the Comets who are moving the puck up-ice considerably better than the Checkers
- Matt Petgrave (#22) goes end-to-end to create some shot-attempts for the Comets, including one of his own
- Josh Teves floats a shot into the breadbasket of Kinkaid, and Kole Lind gets in a bit of Lindstigating as the Comets are really turning it on late here in Charlotte
- First-line moving the puck efficiently. Reid Boucher (#24) draws in a defenceman before handing off to Kole Lind (#13), who attempts a shot on goal, but it’s a muffin.
- Comets late surge pays off, as this one heads to overtime!
The score at the end of the 3rd period: 2-2 Tie
Fantastic battle from the Comets to even things up at two apiece
I originally had a point in my second-period musings that said the Comets shouldn’t bank on getting another powerplay to try and even things up. But sure enough, that’s exactly what it took, and Reid Boucher, once again, proves the COmets hero.
Loved the compete level from Kole Lind that entire third period. It genuinely felt like he was on the ice for 90% of the time — an impressive game from him to turn this game on its head for Utica.
- Rafferty, Jasek, Graovac the first trio for Utica
- Not sure I’d pick the guy with one-eye, a guy coming off IR, and another guy coming off IR as my first trio to roll out in OT
- 2 minutes into OT and the Checkers have held the puck for the entire time
- Justin Bailey caught out on an incredibly long shift after going end to end to out-race an icing. Jake Kielly gloves down the puck at the side of the net, mercifully allowing Bailey to change
- 1:30 left and Kole Lind finally out for OT
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Comets: Brogan Rafferty (#25) goes full god-mode as he dangles around two Checkers defencemen before drop-passing to Kole Lind (#13) for the game-winner! I audibly yelled, “what the fuck” at Raff’s absolutely disgusting display of dangles to weave the puck through the feet of the Checkers’ defencemen. Stoked to see Lind, finally, wind up on the scoresheet as he had nothing to show for an incredible game-played up until that point.
Final Score: 3-2 Utica Comets
|1st||CHA||Ryan Bourque||Joey Keane||Gustav Forsling||PPG|
|2nd||CHA||Mark Cooper||Clark Bishop||Jacob Pritchard||5v5|
|2nd||UTI||Reid Boucher||Brogan Rafferty||Carter Camper||PPG|
|3rd||UTI||Reid Boucher||Tyler Graovac||Carter Camper||PPG|
|OT||UTI||Kole Lind||Brogan Rafferty||—||3v3|
- Lmao, Rafferty got the first star of the evening, but after having as many giveaways as he did, I don’t know if I’d be willing to give him that much. That overtime play was certainly something though.
- Fantastic comeback win from the Comets to earn a crucial four-points on the road. Comets finish their night getting outshot 27-to-26, but the resilience they showed in the final twenty minutes of play was really quite something. Despite their best efforts at 5-on-5, the bounces just were not going their way. Checkers’ fans can’t even argue that the Comets were gifted a powerplay to even things up, as there was a blatant non-call on Lind mere seconds before Steven Lorentz’ slashing penalty
- I said it a few times tonight, but Kole Lind had himself a statement game. The stat-lines won’t do justice to the kind of work that Lind was putting along the end-boards that resulted in numerous scoring opportunities for the Comets. Linds OT winner was his 14th of the season, which now has him sixth on the team, with 0.54 primary-points-per-game. Reid Boucher sits first with an astonishing 1.10 primary-points-per-game.
- Carter Camper recorded two assists tonight, which has him leading all centermen with 32 assists on the year. Should Carter Bancks return, the team is going to have to sit one more veteran. Earlier this season, I chided Trent Cull for his decision to scratch Camper in favour of having both Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton on the starting lineup. Please write your local MP, should Camper get taken out of the lineup, because he has been integral to the Comets goal-scoring this season.
- Lukas Jasek looked ok in his first game back since injury/illness. He started strong, but later in the game, he looked slow, which makes me wonder if he’s entirely over whatever it was that had him sidelined?
- Poor Sven Baertschi, I genuinely hope him leaving the game has nothing to do with head-trauma. He looked solid in the opening goings of the first period, but after that shakeup along the endboards, he became less noticeable.
- Brogan Rafferty had a game that fully encompassed why it is tough to project how he fits in an NHL lineup. He has tremendous skating and puck handling through traffic, with the offensive flair of a power-forward and the passing skills of an NHL defensemen. Unfortunately, he also has some of the worst egregious giveaways among Comets defensemen. Everyone is understandably excited at this management group finding another NCAA free-agent d-man, who’s tearing up the AHL. Those same people have pencilled Rafferty into next-years starting Canucks lineup. However, can you imagine what Travis Green would do after seeing a tape-to-tape giveaway in the D-zone like the one Raff had tonight? Food for thought
- Jake Kielly, too, had a really impressive showing for the Comets! 25 saves on 27 shots for a 0.926 save percentage and a 1.88 goals-against-average. Not bad at all for someone making their first AHL start! Kielly truly did set the tone for the Comets after he made those huge stops early to prevent Charlotte from generating a lead. I’m sure Trent Cull and co. are relieved to see they have a backup who may be more reliable than they had expected.
Comets Three Stars
- Kole Lind
- Reid Boucher
- Jake Kielly
HM: Carter Camper
The Comets Trajectory?
The Comets win tonight moves them into second place, as they edge the Rochester Americans on regulation-wins. The Comets will look to maintain that place in the standings when they return home this upcoming Wednesday, as they take on division-rival, the Syracuse Crunch.