After posting last night’s recap, I stayed up until midnight recording a deadline recap episode of the CreaseCast podcast. Check it out!
After a 5:30 AM wakeup, safe to say I’m feeling pretty exhausted.
Thus, this will probably be a lowkey game recap that relies a lot on gifs to summarize my thoughts instead of words.
Comets run it back against the Syracuse Crunch tonight, with both teams running the same lineups.
Still keep shaking off those cobwebs, boys!
- The only switch-up in tonight’s lineup is the starting netminders.
- Starting his first game of the season for Utica is Evan Fitzpatrick.
- Starting for Syracuse is Spencer Martin, the soon-to-be brother-in-law of Jonah Gadjovich!
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- It seems like the players feel pretty low-key, too; very slow goings through the first four minutes of play.
- both teams whistling shots wide of each other’s nets; nothing dangerous yet
- Curtis McKenzie nearly sends Bärtschi into the offensive zone for a breakaway, but Bärtschi loses an edge, forcing the Comets to reset from the neutral zone
- So far, the game has been the complete opposite of last night’s “special-teams fest.”
- Seven minutes straight of uninterrupted 5v5 hockey
- Bärtschi (#47) picks off the breakout pass of Syracuse D-man Alex Green before springing Lukas Jasek (#9) and Curtis McKenzie (#81) into the offensive zone for a scoring chance. McKenzie almost makes it two wraparound goals in two games!
- Bärtschi postures up and reverses a hit on Devante Stephens.
- A strong shift just now from the Focht, Lockwood, Stevens line, with Focht in particularly looking very confident with his puck movement.
- Another hit laid on Bärtschi.
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 1-0 Crunch: Taylor Raddysh with an impressive solo effort to open the scoring for the Crunch. Boris Katchouk starts the play by wheeling around the Comets’ end boards before attempting a hand-off to Vladislav Kolyachonok. Sven Bärtschi barely gets a stick on the hand-off, and Raddysh picks up the loose puck before wheeling towards center. Curtis McKenzie pokes the puck off of Raddysh’s stick, but it goes right back to Boris Katchouk, who sets up the, now all alone, Raddysh for the tap-in goal.
- Syracuse scores on just their second shot on goal after Utica spent most of the first period controlling the pace of play in Syracuse’s zone.
- Aw, Jack Rathbone’s dad is in attendance. That’s sweet
- Jett Woo (#22) pump-fakes on the right side before passing to Jack Rathbone (#3) for a shot through traffic off of Spencer Martin’s right pad.
- Rathbone (#3) drags around the defender for a wrister on Martin while Gadjovich (#21) screens his brother-in-law to be.
- Haha, awkward. The clock at the Adirondack Bank Center breaks with 2:30 left in the first, so both teams begin the intermission early.
- So the Comets and Crunch will play the remaining 2:30 of the first period before the officials roll the clock over and the goalies switch sides.
- Antoine Morand picks up a roughing minor penalty with less than 50 seconds remaining in the “first period.”
PP1 – Bärtschi, Anas, Gadjovich, Jasek Reinke
- Comets are forced out of the offensive zone and end up facing off a high-danger scoring chance from the Crunch’s penalty-killers. Not a great start
- PP1 generates nothing as the first-period session expires
- PP2 takes the second-period faceoff
PP2 – McKenzie, McGing, Focht, Rathbone, N. Stevens
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-1 TIE: The Comets rookie powerplay group tie the game at once apiece off some crisp passing plays between Carson Focht (#19), Jack Rathbone (#3), and Nolan Stevens (#17). Spencer Martin kicks out a Rathbone point-shot right onto the tape of Stevens stick. Stevens buries the puck under Martin’s blocker side. Great set up from the Comets young forwards and an excellent finish from Stevens.
PK1 – Kaspick, Lockwood, Woo, Tucker
- PK1 kept in their end for a solid minute, but they deny any shot attempts by the Crunch. Great work by them to keep the Crunch to the perimeter looking for outlets.
PK2 – Stevens Bro’s, Eliot, Wesley
PK3 – Jasek and McKenzie sub on for the Stevens Bro’s
- Jasek (#9) and McKenzie (#81) pressuring the Crunch while shorthanded. McKenzie nearly forces the Crunch to score on their own netminder.
- Shawn Cameron (#15) creates a great scoring chance for Utica after leaving the penalty box. John Stevens (#16) patiently dekes around the Crunch’s defence and Spencer Martin before handing off to Jonah Gadjovich (#21). I don’t think Gadj was expecting the pass as he fails to generate a shot.
- Cameron generates another chance for Utica off the next faceoff. He’s definitely looking to make an impression with Trent Cull after an unfortunate penalty.
- Curtis McKenzie (#81) chases fumble puck at the Comets blue line and gives himself a breakaway opportunity. McKenzie draws the hook against Alex Green, and the Comets get their second powerplay of the game.
- Cull rolls out PP2 to start.
- Focht (#19) with a shot on Martin followed by a Rathbone (#3) shot on Martin. Fantastic volume pressure against Syracuse from PP2 early on the powerplay.
- PP1 subs on for PP2
- Anas (#7) misses a check at the Crunch’s blue line, giving Syracuse a dangerous shorthanded two-on-one opportunity. Evan Fitzpatrick comes up with a massive save for Utica.
- GOAL – UTICA – 2-1 Comets: Wow, what an absolutely baffling line change from the Syracuse Crunch. Lukas Jasek (#9) breaks the tie for Utica after two players from the Crunch elect to make the long change while Utica maintains puck possession in the neutral zone. Sam Anas (#7) desk through the slot before dishing a no-look feed to Jasek, who rips a one-timer past a very pissed-off Spencer Martin.
- A scrambly moment in the crease of Martin’s net, and he gets up shaking his head after the whistle.
- Being put to work in tonight’s matchup is Spencer Martin
- Comets are just completely pouring on the offence in this period. Syracuse looks entirely out of sorts with the long change.
- Syracuse then gets caught with too many men on the ice. Comets to their third powerplay of the game
- PP1 starts for this powerplay
- Gadjovich (#21) screening well to allow Anas (#7) to put a shot off Martin’s glove.
- PP1 is caving the Crunch on this powerplay. Crunch players look completely gassed trying to clear the zone.
- Syracuse’s first PK group finally dump the puck and change personnel with less than thirty left on the powerplay.
- Spencer Martin “loses” his helmet and takes his precious time putting it back on. Brilliant play to buy his team some reset time.
- PP2 gives up a shorthanded rush to the Crunch before time expires on the powerplay. Tremendous pressure despite the lack of scoring on this one.
- Tyler Tucker gets into a shoving match with Gabe Fortier after Fortier gets a little too close to Fitzpatrick off of a save.
- Sean Day rips a shot that echoes off of Fitzpatrick’s goalpost
- Shots heavily favour Utica, but that bomb almost undid a ton of work put into this period by the Comets
- Focht (#19) with a solid defensive effort to break up a two-on-one play.
- Grigori Denisenko puts his crossovers to work to race around Rathbone (#3) for a wraparound attempt on Fitzpatrick.
- Time winds down on the period, and the Comets are legitimately crushing Syracuse in shots on goal.
- Syracuse had a couple of good looks late in the period. Comets hopefully won’t try to sit back with the one-goal lead.
- Spencer Martin throws the puck right onto the stick of Lukas Jasek (#9). Jasek immediately rips a shot into Martin’s pads before throwing his hands on his head as he realizes he had Bärtschi wide open on the doorstep.
- Jasek (#9) and Bärtschi (#47) exchanging saucer passes to produce a shot attempt.
- Comets continuing to hammer the Crunch at 5v5 with shot-attempts
- A bit of a lul mid-way through the period as Syracuse attempts to mount some pressure in the Comets zone. Comets d-men doing great to push loose pucks out the neutral zone
- GOAL – UTICA – 3-1 COMETS: Jett Woo (#22) with his first goal as a pro, and it’s an absolute beauty! At the end of a long shift for Lukas Jasek (#9), he battles along the Crunch’s end boards for the loose puck. Eventually, Jasek draws a holding penalty as he picks off a pass from the front of the net while tied up. Nolan Stevens (#17) quickly redirects Jasek’s pass to Woo, who rifles a shot. The initial shot gets blocked, but Woo picks up his own rebound, dekes forehand backhand through traffic before flipping the puck past Martin. Brilliant sequence as the result of hard work from both Jasek and Woo.
- Rathbone claps iron then flexes for the crowd.
- Jett Woo, thinking he’s untouchable, runs a little interference in the defensive zone and the Comets head to their second penalty kill of the game.
PK1 – Stevens Bro’s, Tucker, Reinke
- Nolan Stevens with a good shot block to force the Crunch out into the neutral zone for a reset
- Lockwood and Kaspick step on for the Stevens Bro’s
- Katchouk claps iron! Close call for the Comets!
- Comets kill Woo’s penalty, and we’re back at 5v5 with less than six minutes remaining in the game
- 2:38 left, and a giveaway from Mitch Eliot in the d-zone prompts Syracuse to pull Martin for the extra attacker
- Tyler Tucker attempts to hit the empty net but ices the puck
- Josh Wesley (#24), without his stick, ties up his man at the front of the net to deny a prime scoring chance for Syracuse. Comets just barely miss the empty net.
- GOAL – SYRACUSE – 3-2 COMETS: With less than fifty seconds remaining in the game, the Crunch’s Boris Katchouk rifles a shot, bar down, past an exhausted Tyler Tucker (#2) and over the shoulder of Evan Fitzpatrick.
- Crunch pull Martin after winning the faceoff draw
- Comets put out Rathbone and Woo to close the game out and do a great job tying the puck up along the wall.
- Syracuse put themselves offsides on an entry attempt. The final faceoff at center-ice is mostly a formality as there is only one second left on the clock.
- Comets dominate in back to back outings
- The Final shot totals 40 to 18, favouring Utica.
Utica Comets def. Syracuse 3-2
- Watered down forward, defence, and goalie talent aside, it is quite impressive that this Comets team has come back from a month-long layoff with two dominant games in a row. Especially considering these past two games followed two very concerning games in a row over the weekend. Doubling an opponent in shots on goals is hard when fully healthy, let alone in back-to-backs after missing a month of play due to COVID-19—really impressed by the resiliency of this group these past two games. I might have to lift my moratorium on the DO SOMETHING section of my game recaps; the rust appears to have been shooketh away.
- Lukas Jasek and Sven Bärtschi looked great together tonight. Jasek’s play reminds me of Bärtschi, though the difference in their shot quality and their overall utility as players remain the separator.
- Jack Rathbone was flexing all night on every shift. He led the Comets in shots on goal with seven total.
- This is blowing my mind.
Today I learned that Jett Woo’s dad was in both of the Goon movies. pic.twitter.com/Og4kk7bDgS
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) April 14, 2021
- Quiet night from Will Lockwood again. Two nights in a row with zero shots on goal. I’m still hesitant with my critique as none of us know the extent of COVID’s impact on this Comets roster.
- Carson Focht with another solid effort tonight. Crisp passing on display whenever he was in the offensive zone and even displayed solid defensive chops on the few times when he was tasked with playing D. Which honestly wasn’t often tonight at the Comets thoroughly dominated the Crunch in all facets of the game.
- I wonder if the Comets would get more out of Mitch Eliot if they put him on PP2 as a one-timer option. He has the second-best slapshot among blueliners (second to Rathbone) and is one of the team’s only high-volume shooters. If the Comets re-jigged their powerplay units so that Eliot could slide in as, essentially, a forward to take one-timers, then I think they might get more use out of him than as just a 3rd pairing penalty killer.
- Overall, impressive work rate from this young Comets group. They didn’t get rattled by that late goal from Syracuse, and kudos to the coaching staff for trusting the rookies, Woo and Rathbone, to shut down that final minute of play for the team. Good stuff. You love to see it.
- Really pulling for this kid. Hope his goal tonight opens the floodgates!
"It was pretty special. I was having doubts that I would ever get one this year."
-Jett Woo while laughing about his first professional goal
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) April 15, 2021
COMETS HARVEST THREE STARS
- Jett Woo
- Lukas Jasek
- Evan Fitzpatrick
HM: Sven Bärtschi, Nolan Stevens, and Evan Fitzpatrick
Next Up on the Docket
The Comets will be back in action this Friday when they take on the Providence Bruins at 3 PM EDT.
I won’t be recapping this one because I have a full-time job. But Check out Chris Faber on Twitter, as he’ll likely have gifs of all the goals!
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Hope everyone enjoyed this recap. Unfortunately, the next one won’t be coming until this Monday when I cover yet another game against the Syracuse Crunch.