Damn, Utica! Back at it again with dem back-to-backs!
I glowed about this young Comets teams’ 5v5 play in my latest prospect update; Just a few days later, the Comets saw departures of several key figures to the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues are facing a brutal run of injury luck as of late. Carl Gunnarsson is out due to knee surgery, Ivan Barbashyev is out for six-weeks, plus the absences of Tyler Bozak, Colton Parayko, Vlad Tarasenko, Robert Thomas, and Jaden Schwartz.
As such, the Blues called up several key contributors to the Comets; and thus, their first real test as a rookie group begins.
- Dakota Joshua has proven himself as an effective penalty-killer with fantastic wheels and a great motor. Kind of like a more defensively oriented version of Justin Bailey. Offensive chops haven’t stood out, but his one goal was an absolute beauty created from hard work and skating. The Comets PK will really miss him.
- Sam Anas is a lethal powerplay phenom. At 5v5, he and his linemates have struggled, as I’ve written about considerably. The powerplay offence is booming with him on the ice, but that three-distributor first-line has struggled in toughs at 5v5 to produce and outshoot their opposition. Comets will struggle to find a fit on that first-line with him gone.
The AHL Short King! Dynamite offensively. Good wheels. Eh defensive play. Fun to watch!
Lind/Baertschi/Anas have been stapled to each other at 5v5 but look awkward as neither three are electing to be "the shooter." Instead you have all 3 guys trying to play "distributor" at once https://t.co/mtEJojlt4h pic.twitter.com/Po7cotVUYC
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) February 25, 2021
- Steven Santini is the Comets premiere minute-munching defenceman on a pairing with rookie Tyler Tucker. Without him, the most experienced D-man on the Comets is Mitch Reinke, who’s been an effective 2nd-pairing player but carried only 46 games of AHL experience into this season. Might see Jett Woo on his proper right-side, especially with Jack Rathbone joining the Comets for tonight’s action! It’ll be a very inexperienced bunch but might look better because guys are in their comfortable positions.
- Lastly, Nathan Walker jumped from middling AHL success with the Comets straight into the Blues active roster. He looked ok in limited viewings, but I haven’t found him to be that impressive. Those two holes in the top-six will be challenging for Trent Cull and company to fill adequately.
Just want to slide this in here again to remember the good times we had with this rookie team. You know, just in case the season goes south from here.
Everyone’s favourite East-coast tire-fire, the Buffalo Sabres, called up quite a few players from the Rochester Americans lately, so maybe the Comets Youth Group will fare much better than I think.
The lingering misery of that Mike Smith shutout has pushed me to be even more of a fatalist/cynic regarding how the Comets will perform tonight.
However, because I’ve already dealt with a fair share of bad news lately, I want to fight against that pull to the dark side!
Instead, I want to remain as hopeful as possible during these trying times!
Tonight’s Amerks squad is without Rasmus Asplund, Casey Fitzgerald, and Jacob Bryson. That’s the ‘Merks first-line center and their number one d-pairing.
Comets won’t be alone in their battle against depth issues tonight.
The last time these two met, the Comets narrowly won the 5v5 control battle. Unfortunately, a late penalty from rookie Carson Focht gave the Amerks a late powerplay tying-goal to force a shootout.
Given that Rochester was coming off of a week-long break, and the Comets were on the heels of a back-to-back. The shootout loss was completely forgivable.
Rookies make mistakes, and all things considered, they were playing way above expected given their last back-to-back ended in a blowout 6-1 loss to Syracuse (their opponent for tomorrow).
Tonight’s do something belongs to Will Lockwood.
Despite his very favourable shot-control metrics at 5v5, there’s just been such a lack of offence generation that it’s almost painful watching him play.
He has NHL skating, plays hard, fights for loose pucks, and steals pucks off of opponents. But nothing offensive ever gets generated for all his efforts.
Need to see him do something with all of the little things that he excels at. Especially tonight, where he’ll likely see himself in the Comets top-six for a considerable amount of ice-time.
Sounds like Jack Rathbone will make his pro debut tonight for the Comets, skating on a pair with Jett Woo.
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) February 26, 2021
- Looks like Cull is looking to just completely load up the first line and trusting Focht with two decent two-way players in McKenzie/Stevens
- These guys have been pinned to each other so often that the forward groups have barely any recorded on-ice shot-attempts with each other during the first five games.
- It should be an interesting night as we watch them try to cobble together some chemistry.
- JettBone hype
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- Rathbone (#3) with an early drive on net for his first shift!
- Good pressure through the opening minute and a half! Gadjovich line with John Stevens and Will Lockwood forecheck heavily and eventually force the Amerks into icing the puck.
- With a solid effort, Sven Baertschi (#47) fishes the puck back to Teves (#4) off the faceoff draw. A shot from Lukas Jasek (#9) skitters out towards the right circle, and Mitch Eliot (#52) steps up for a blast into the pads of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Eliot’s shot trickles dangerously out into the open crease, but Jasek can’t put it away
- Impressive first-shift from the loaded-up first-line! Controlling play in the offensive zone for a solid minute
- Jett Woo (#22) with an easy poke to break up a fumbled zone-entry attempt by Rochester
- 16:35 into the first and Jon Gillies faces his first shot of the night from Rochester
- The first d-zone faceoff for Utica comes with 16 minutes remaining, lol
- Rathbone (#3) steps up in the neutral zone for a hit
- [GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets] Well, that didn’t take long! Two shifts into his AHL career, and Jack Rathbone picks up his first career assists. Brilliant job by Rathbone (#3) to settle a rebound at the blue line before playing give-and-go with Will Lockwood (#10) for a one-timer. Luukkonen stops the initial blast, but John Stevens (#16) picks up the rebound but waits for Luukkonen to move before putting his shot into the wide-open net. Good stuff from the Comets early
- Gadjovich barely got a piece of that Rathbone rebound. Thus Rath settles for a secondary-assist. But boy, was it a good one!
- Jasek (#9) almost scores off of a brutal giveaway from Amerk defender, Ryan Scarfo
- The Comets are pouring on the offence when this first-line is on. Jasek (#9) with a quick set-up for Woo (#22), who steps up into the play for a quick wrister
- Jasek (#9) strips the puck off of an Amerk trying to break out of the zone and sets up Kole Lind (#13) for a chance all alone at the net
- A relentless shift from that first-line holy moly. Just utter destruction
- Gillies gloves down a loose puck in the defensive zone and the Amerks mercifully get a TV timeout.
- Just a small clip showing off Lockwood’s (#10) end-to-end skating. A couple of decent hits were thrown in there as well.
- Comets a bit on their heels around the 12-minute mark; give up a dangerous 2-on-none chance after the Comets get caught trying to make a change without possession
- Pretty interesting gameplay here; Lind (#13) flips his stick to his off-hand specifically for faceoff draws
- Rathbone (#3) misses a Rochester stretch-pass into the Comets’ zone but spins and takes the body of Jean-Sebastian Dea, who drops off for his fellow Amerk attacker.
- Rath definitely caught with his feet planted a bit, but he quickly works to recover. Fortunately, the Amerks try the Newell Brown drop-pass approach to entries that goes nowhere.
- Comets first-line facing their first sustained pressure of the game. They ice the puck after a long shift trying to clear.
- Rathbone (#3) takes a big hit behind the Comets net, and Woo (#22) gives the Amerk a couple shoves to let him know his opinions on it
- Jasek takes a slashing penalty as the first-line struggles to regain possession and clear.
PK1: Teves, Kaspick, Eliot, J. Stevens
- PK1 with a great job to rim the puck out of the zone and keep the Amerks in the neutral zone
PK2: N. Stevens, Curtis McKenzie, Woo, Tucker
- Amerks spending a ton of time cycling but not generating any shots. Amerks blow the zone for themselves, and PK2 changes.
- Great early PK from the Comets
- Oof, Tanner Kaspick (#26), after two solid PK shifts, waves Will Lockwood (#10) to hop over the boards. Lockwood hops over the boards way too early and plays the puck.
- Comets immediately back onto the PK for ‘too many men.’
PK1: Jasek, J. Stevens, Tucker, Woo
- Amerks fumble the puck behind the Comets net, and Woo (#22) clears with a weak backhand
- Kaspick and Lockwood step on for a shorthanded spin.
- Gillies gloves down a shot, and Nolan Stevens steps on in exchange for Lockwood alongside Eliot and Teves.
- Nolan Stevens (#17) backhands a stolen puck out to Tanner Kaspick (#26), who sends Josh Teves (#4) out of the d-zone for a shorthanded drive. Teves displaying some great speed. Unfortunately, his shot-attempt gets deflected wide.
- Teves (#4) with two solid efforts to disrupt Amerk shots on goal
- Gadjovich leaves the box, and we’re back to 5v5.
- Rathbone (#3) plays the puck along the wall then returns to the net-front to shovel away an Amerk centering feed
- Behind the Comets’ net, Tyler Tucker (#2) struggles to catch up to Brett Murray, who centers for Remi Elie. Jon Gillies with a big save as the Comets continue to struggle to regain their early-period momentum.
- Comets finally gaining a semblance of momentum as Rathbone (#3) and Lockwood (#10) generate shots on goal
- Lind (#13) wins a neutral zone faceoff back into the Comets’ zone. Teves (#4) reverses for Mitch Eliot (#52), but he gets pinched along the boards by Rochesters’ Michael Mersch. Lind leaves the half-circle to pick up the briefly loose puck allowing a golden scoring chance for the Amerks.
- Comets survive a strange first period.
- Comets initially led in shots six to two before finishing the period down in shots, twelve to ten.
- Bizarre momentum shift against the Comets. They’ll be glad to get the reset here
- Tyler Tucker with a great takeaway in the defensive zone. Unfortunately, he ices the puck after his takeaway.
- Carson Focht caught on the ice for a long shift to start the first period.
- Great puck movement from the Comets to move up ice and set up for a shot by Teves (#4)
- Teves on the retreat gets caught up in a battle along the boards and gets dinged for hooking. Comets to their third PK of the night
PK1: Reinke, Kaspick, Woo, J. Stevens
- [GOAL-ROCHESTER – 1-1 Tie] Wellp, that was quick. Five seconds. That’s all it took. Just tactical precision to win the draw, cycle to the outside, then capitalize on a rebound. Steven Fogarty left along in the slot gets a goal that Gillies had no chance on.
- Comets fourth-line out for a shift, and they force the Amerks to ice the puck.
- Luukkonen nearly hands the puck to Arseneau in the crease, but an Amerk defender clears.
- Lockwood (#10) with a big shoulder into Steven Fogarty
- Carson Focht (#19) displaying some great edgework in the offensive zone to create space and separation for a shot
- Great pressure from the Focht line to force the Amerks to ice the puck. Starting to generate momentum
- Baertschi (#47) with a shot that gets deflected high in the air. Jasek (#9) sights the puck and gives it a tap between his legs to set up Baertschi for a follow-up try
- Great looking shift from the first line results in a ‘too many men’ penalty taken by the Amerks. Comets to their first powerplay of the night
PP1: Reinke, Lind, N. Stevens, Baertschi, McKenzie
- Veteran heavy powerplay unit, but I think I’d have Rathbone out there no matter what
- Shorthanded chance against powerplay one gets deflected out of play by Gillies.
PP2: Rathbone, Focht, Jasek, McGing, Gadjovich
- Another shorthanded chance for the Amerks after PP2 fails to maintain the zone.
- PP1 back out for the d-zone draw as the powerplay comes to a close
- Fantastic shift off of an offensive zone draw from Will Lockwood (#10). Cuts through traffic to set up John Stevens (#16), but the pass is in Stevens skates. Great hustle through the neutral-zone to lay a hit and let his d-man steal the puck
- Delayed penalty for the Comets as Tyler Tucker draws a trip against Andrew Oglevie.
- Comets controlling the puck for a long time on the 6v5 to set up for the zone-entry
PP1: Lind, McKenzie, Reinke, Baertschi, N. Stevens
- Lind loses the draw, and the Comets have to reset
- Comets put themselves offside and again have to reset
- PP1 just struggling to break into the zone. Finally, they do with 9:35 left in the second period.
- Great speed by Focht (#19) for the powerplay zone-entry
- Powerplay opportunity ends, and then Rathbone ices the puck.
- Dangerous giveaway from Jasek. Fortunately, the Amerks veteran line whiff on their one-timer chance.
- [GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Comets] Powerplays? Who needs ’em! Lockwood (#10) and the third-line capitalize again for the Comets with a quick bang-bang play behind the Amerks goal-line to set up John Stevens (#16) for his second of the night! A great forechecking presence from this line forces the Amerks into a bunch of egregious turnovers behind their net.
- Lockwood line kept out for the center-ice draw, and Jett Woo (#22) generates two shots on goal, one while being hauled to the ice
- Momentum picking up for the Comets in the latter half of this period
- Comets force another turnover in the offensive zone, and Jasek (#9) finds himself alone at the net (like Lind earlier). Jasek from in-tight on the Luukkonen elects to hand off to a trailing Lind (#13). Lind knocks the net off its moorings while missing the pass.
- Great pressure late from the Comets; back to back shifts capitalizing off of their aggressive forechecking
- [GOAL – ROCHESTER – 2-2 Tie] Oof, brutal play by the Utica Comets fourth-line allows the Amerks to tie this one late in the period. Hugh McGing (#14) sends a breakout pass out of Vinny Arseneau’s (#18) reach in the neutral zone. Arseneau goes full ‘controller disconnected mode as the Amerks enter the Comets d-zone off a pretty egregious giveaway from Tyler Tucker (#2). Back to square one for the Comets.
- Lind (#13) with great moves through center-ice to gain the zone and drop-off for Baertschi (#47) to take a shot
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen pushes his net off of its moorings as the Comets bear down on him. The ref blames the on-ice crew, and the Comets play-by-play commentator takes issue with the ref. The commentator starts blaming Luukkonen. Hahaha
- Hahaha, a light breeze pushes the net off of its moorings on the ensuing faceoff draw, and the commentator’s booth has an “uh, ok, yeah, that one was bad!” moment.
- Good shift from the fourth-line with less than three minutes remaining
- Oof…. tough turn of events. Lockwood (#10) with a great backhand saucer to Tucker (#2) for a shot. Tucker then goes knee on knee along the blue line as the Amerks try to break out.
- Comets to close the second on their third PK.
PK1: Jasek, Kaspick, Teves, Eliot
- Jasek (#9) gloves down a puck and leads a shorthanded drive for him and Tanner Kaspick (#26)
- McKenzie, N. Stevens hop on and generate another shorthanded chance — Reinke and Woo hop on to replace Teves/Eliot
- Comets young PK groups close out the period with another clear
- Comets close the period heavily, leading in shots fourteen to seven
- A great second half from them despite the late PK
- Comets start the opening 18 seconds on the penalty kill.
- Right before a d-zone whistle, the refs blow the whistle to allow the Comets’ lone goalscorer from tonight, John Stevens, to leave the ice under his own power. Tough loss to the Comets to start the period. Not sure what that was about.
- Wow, Gadjovich gets called for a hold while battling along the boards for the puck in the offensive zone. Horrendously soft call. Both teams seem to be in disbelief.
PK1: Lockwood, Kaspick, Teves, Eliot
- Wow. What a shift from Lockwood (#10) on the PK, end to end skate before picking off an Amerks breakout pass. Lockwood then patiently holds in front of Luukkonen before setting up Kaspick (#26) for an incredibly dangerous scoring chance.
PK2: Jasek, McKenzie, Woo, Tucker
- McKenzie chews time off the Gadjovich penalty by tying the puck along the Amerks endboards.
- Tucker (#2) gets caught puck-watching, opening up J.S. Dea for a dangerous scoring chance at the front of the Comets’ net. Woo (#22) with a great effort behind the Comets net to try and regain possession on the play
- Woo (#22) with a brutal shot block off of his ankle, followed by Curtis McKenzie (#81) with a block of his own as the Gadjovich penalty winds down
- Bench loved that McKenzie block.
- Comets’ first line is just getting caved in their end by the Amerks — turnovers galore as they struggle to break out cleanly from the zone.
- [GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Comets] Haha, naturally. After several minutes pinned into their end, the Comets first line break out and smoothly hand off the puck to Jonah Gadjovich (#21), who rifles one past Luukkonen to break the tie. Think everyone in the o-zone got a touch on this puck before Gadjovich put it in. Very Canuck-ian goal from the Comets here.
- The lines getting mixed and matched because of John Stevens’ absence; Jasek back playing center for the Comets as he takes a spin with Arseneau and McGing, haha. What a combo
- The line gets a shift, and they spend it all in the offensive zone dominating with chances, haha.
- [GOAL – UTICA – 4-2 Comets] Wow. What a turnaround! Nolan Stevens (#17) threads a pass to the blue line to Josh Teves (#4), who settles the puck before wristing a shot past a screened Luukkonen for his first career AHL goal. Good for Teves after a brutal run of luck in his pro-career. Great job by McKenzie (#81) screening Luukkonen on that play. Luukkonen had zero clue where that shot came from.
- Two goals in less than two minutes for the Comets
- Kaspick, Lockwood, Gadjovich out for the center-ice draw, and they too start pouring on the pressure in the offensive zone.
- Rathbone (#3) displaying some incredible speed on a rush with Lukas Jasek (#9), who drops off for Eliot (#52) to absolutely hammer the puck on Luukkonen
- [GOAL – UTICA – 5-2 Comets] Eh, Woah!? Vinny Arseneau (#18) how da fuck are ya!? Amerks with a terrible giveaway bounce in the defensive zone. Arseneau in the high-slot spins with the takeaway and rips one past Luukkonen. No clue what this commentator is talking about, saying Arseneau doesn’t have good mitts. What goal was he watching, lol? Arseneau with his first goal of the year, and it’s a beaut, Clark!
- Three goals in five minutes from the Comets. Talk about a momentum shift!
- Focht with a decent toe-drag and shot through the legs of an Amerk defender into the glove of Luukkonen
- Lockwood (#10) capitalizes on another Amerk d-zone giveaway and hands off to Rathbone (#3) for a blast towards Luukkonen. Gadjovich (#21) with a late tip on the shot-attempt that just goes wide of the goal
- Eliot (#52) with a great sliding play to block Amerks captain, Steven Fogarty, from a prime scoring chance off of a fortunate bounce inside the Comets zone
- Gadjovich (#21) with great wheels to beat out a high-flip from inside the Comets d-zone for a tight-angle shot on Luukkonen
- The loaded-up first line reunites late in the third for a shift and immediately lays on the pressure, with Woo and Teves backing them up.
- Arseneau (#18) with a monstrous hit on the forecheck
- Rochester’s Steven Fogarty takes a tripping penalty with five minutes left in the third.
- [GOAL – UTICA – 6-2 Comets] Baertschi (#47) with a lethal shot to put the Comets up by four with less than four remaining in the final frame. Rathbone (#3) picks up his second assist on the night with the handoff. McKenzie (#81), again screening Luukkonen, opens up the glove side for the Comets shooter.
- [GOAL – UTICA – 7-2 Comets] What a slaughter. Fourteen seconds after the Baertschi tally, Rathbone earns himself another primary assist as he fakes the shot to get around Brandon Biro before wheeling down the left-wing. Rathbone (#3) throws a shot off of Luukkonen’s pads, and Gadjovich (#21) buries the uncontrolled rebound.
- Comets end up in the Amerks zone off of the center-ice draw, and the Amerks start mucking things up after Lockwood and Kaspick crash the net.
- Arseneau, Focht, and Arseneau out for a spin
- LOL, Arseneau throws a light body check on Oskari Laaksonen, who was without the puck, then he shoots the puck at Brett Murray after getting pulled to the box lmao
- Arseneau takes a four-minute minor with three minutes left in the game.
- Comets penalty-killers keeping the Amerks to the perimeter and clearing the zone easily
- The Amerks are hardly trying, but a great effort from Lockwood (#10) here to clear the zone
- Mitch Eliot (#52) blocks a shot in the slot then evades a check before leading the break-out for a shot on Luukkonen
- Comets kill the PK and hold the Amerks to one shot on the four-minute PK.
- Comets finish the third crushing the Amerks fifteen to seven in shots on goal; 39 to 26 overall.
Comets annihilate Amerks 7-2
- Wow, what a turnaround from this very inexperienced Comets group. The first period started out fantastic for them, just laying on the pressure and shots; then they take back-to-back penalties and spend the next twenty minutes trying to regain a semblance of momentum. The Steven Fogarty goal to tie it up late in the second didn’t phase them at all, and they came out in the third firing on all cylinders. I really think those back-to-back blocks from McKenzie and Woo pumped up the team to start stringing together some meaningful 5v5 offence.
- Tonight was an absolute 5v5 clinic! Comets scored Six of their seven goals at evens in rapid-fire fashion. Complete domination of an opponent that looked completely out of sorts after failing to generate anything on the powerplay. Outside of the lone goal early in the second, the Comets penalty kill looked fantastic. Impressively so because it was held together by players who’ve struggled to find a place in this lineup; Teves and Kaspick, in particular, had fantastic games tonight for Utica at evens and shorthanded.
- Speaking of Teves, I thought he looked great tonight. His skating, in particular, makes him such a good option for the penalty kill. I can’t even fault him too much on that hooking penalty that resulted in the lone powerplay goal-against. It was soft. Like, incredibly soft. Kudos to Trent Cull for not punishing Teves by limiting his ice time thereafter. And Kudos to Teves for finally putting a leash on his own adventuring in the offensive zone. By keeping himself outside of the circles, he provided way more utility with his shot attempts. By that, I mean, when he skates past the hash-marks for shot attempts that sail wide, the Comets have to put in extra-effort to backcheck now that they’re four-deep into the offensive zone. If he misses the net on his shot attempts, but he and his d-partner are still along the blue line, there isn’t nearly as much risk. He was safe, and that’s exactly what this d-core needed in the absence of Steven Santini. After all the time he’s spent riding the pine, it was nice to see him earn his first AHL goal. It’s been a tough road for him to make his game work, and tonight he did it. Hopefully, he can remain consistent and continue to play this refined game.
- I’m going to go out on a limb and say my DO SOMETHING section this season is revolutionizing player-development! Every time I pick a guy, they go out and have an incredible game that night. Last week, although he didn’t end up on the scoreboard, Kole Lind had one of his best two-way games of the season and looked his most comfortable as a center. Tonight, it was Will Lockwood, who arguably had two solid assists on goals were it not for a phantom tip by Jonah Gadjovich for his lone assist of the night. Lockwood was great! Did everything I hoped to see of him in the pre-amble. He used his aggression, skating, and edgework to wheel in the offensive zone and create shot-attempts. And not just shot-attempts but dangerous shot-attempts! I was thoroughly impressed by his work rate at evens and while shorthanded. Like Teves previously, hopefully, he can maintain a semblance of consistency with this kind of play. The Lockwood of tonight would be found money for the Canucks if he can generate shot-assists as frequently as he was tonight.
- It’s weird, but John Stevens left this game at the perfect time. After scoring two goals to keep the Comets in it when they were at their relative-worst. Steven’s absence forced Cull and company to completely re-jig their line combinations. And each combination worked incredibly well. Practically every line was hemming the Amerks into the offensive-zone through their relentless forechecking pressure and shot-control. A lot of that kudos goes to the players for their work-rate and effort-levels tonight, but kudos to the coaches for making it work through the final 16 minutes.
- Tyler Tucker struggled away from Steven Santini; he got exposed a bit on several defensive plays. Had multiple plays where he had fantastic takeaways only to ice the puck and put the Comets at a disadvantage. Reinke is an okay d-partner, but he’s a compliment player, not a driver. Kind of like Reinke/Teves in the early parts of this season, they both need someone more effective to make them not stand out with their errors. Unfortunately, Reinke has proven ineffective with Teves, so the Comets are a bit stuck hoping that Tucker/Reinke can put it together on their own. The most that can be said about the Canucks d-prospects tonight is they were absolute difference-makers for the team tonight.
- Jett Woo had a tonne of shots on net and looked effective all night. He and Rathbone controlling the blue line as effectively as they were was mouth-watering. Loved to see him sticking up for Rathbone after that one hit.
- Jack Rathbone is smurfing in the AHL. I can’t believe the Canucks are this dogshit and didn’t even consider giving him a game to see what he can do. His skating is easily the best on the team. Three assists in one game are no joke. He looked so god damn good tonight like a seasoned pro. He had one moment where he was caught flat-footed skating backwards, but he made up for it by playing the body. And fortunately, the Amerks offence looked like garbage all night at evens. Kind of a shame he wasn’t sent down earlier. Didn’t know how badly Canucks nation needed JettBone in their life.
- Jonah Gadjovich had a great game! His three points tonight place him in a tie for first with Sam Anas among Comets scorers with seven points overall. His skating is still a yikes at times, but he can occasionally display great wheels to chase down pucks. I wonder if he slides up permanently alongside Lind and Baertschi as that lines goalscorer. He’s an underrated shot from the circle’s and a solid net-front guy when he gets there; Relentless on rebounds. Could be a decent fit if the coaching staff didn’t like Lind/Baertschi/Jasek as a trio.
- I thought the Lind, Baertschi, Jasek trio were dynamic and fun as hell to watch. For my money’s worth, That opening ten minutes of the game was unbelievable from them. That first shift saw them pin the Amerks into the d-zone for a full minute and a half. Of course, you want them to capitalize on the o-zone time, but you have to love the demoralizing effect their pressure causes. Worth another look I think, but it’s good to know after a game like tonight that the Comets have options with their forwards.
- Carson Focht had a quiet night on the scoreboard, but he looked great on that two-way punch line with Nolan Stevens and Curtis McKenzie. Had a few good looks and chances.
- Nolan Stevens played great, once again, the Blues prospect finishes his night with two assists, five shots on goal and a +2 in the always useful plus/minus stat.
- Curtis McKenzie finished the night with one assist and zero shots but as stated earlier, his role at the net-front were the reason why both Teves and Baertschi’s goals went in.
- Thought Mitch Eliot looked really solid in both ends of the ice
- A couple of times, the Comets looked lost trying to break out of their end, but when they managed to regain possession, they were slick in quickly moving the puck up-ice to generate chances of their own. Amerks are solid at the cycle game and maintaining the zone, but incredibly opportunistic and picky/choosy with their shooting lanes, to a fault.
- Blues prospect Hugh McGing finished the night as the only player with a negative plus/minus and you kind of have to laugh at that given the final result.
- Arseneau is always a blast to watch. Total cannonball player with a bomb of a shot; I don’t care what that commentator says, Arseneau has hands that aren’t just for fighting. Finished the night with a wicked goal, four shots, and four PIM’s. Solid night for the journeyman!
- Powerplay truly needs work. Needs to be overhauled entirely as far as I’m concerned. PP1 just doesn’t have a real shooter option. PP2 is the real prize; it’s young and inexperienced, but Gadjovich, Jasek, Focht, and now Rathbone are a great mix to produce offence. If anything I would just remix the two to get a mixture of both shooters and playmakers.
- PP1: Lind, Baertschi, Rathbone, Gadjovich, Lockwood
- PP2: Focht, Jasek, Nolan Stevens, McKenzie, Eliot
- RE the above: I don’t think Reinke is anything special on the powerplay, so get Rathbone playing there instead. Eliot has a bomb of a shot and if Reinke really is the Comets guy for the powerplay, then make Eliot/Reinke your PP2 duo and take out one of Nolan Stevens or Curtis McKenzie.
COMETS HARVEST THREE STARS
- Jack Rathbone
- Jonah Gadjovich
- Will Lockwood
HM: Jett Woo, Sven Baertschi, and John Stevens
Next Up on the Docket
The Comets back at it tomorrow afternoon against the Syracuse Crunch, who, once again, get the favourable opportunity of playing the Comets on the heels of a back-to-back.
As I wrote earlier, the Comets got demolished six-to-one the last time the Comets had to close a back-to-back against Syracuse.
However, despite their result, the Comets Youth Group impressed in their last back-to-back outing against a well-rested Rochester squad!
Barring more call-ups by the Blues, let’s remain positive that this group at the very least shows well regardless of the result!
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Cheers for tuning in, and I’ll catch you tomorrow night for the back-to-back closer redux against Syracuse.