Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #46

Utica Comets at Belleville Senators

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter


Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Wacey Hamilton: C – Lower-body injury, (broken foot) 6-8 weeks. AHL deal.
  2. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, (ankle) week-to-week. AHL deal.
  3. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, (concussion protocol) no timeframe. AHL deal.
  4. Dylan Blujus: RD – Upper-body injury, (chest) day-to-day. AHL deal.
  5. Guillaume Brisebois: LD – Upper-body injury, (broken fingertip) day-to-day, NHL deal.
  6. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  7. David Pope: LW/RW – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Seamus Malone: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  9. Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  10. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  11. Joe Roberts: PxP – Healthy scratch. (New dad).

Comets Starting Lines

(1st forward line/defensive pair listed started the game. The remainder are in no particular order)

47 Sven Baertschi – 16 John Stevens – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

95 Justin Bailey – 19 Carter Camper – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 9 Lukas Jasek – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

21 Jonah Gadjovich – 27 Francis Perron – 13 Kole Lind

48 Olli Juolevi – 5 Jalen Chatfield

6 Ashton Sautner – 25 Brogan Rafferty

 4 Josh Teves – 22 Matt Petgrave

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

This period went by fairly quickly as the Sens play an uptempo style of hockey that is entertaining to watch.

Mikey DiPietro was back between the pipes today and he came up with an early stop on Filip Chlapik that he had some trouble with before it was cleared out of harm’s way.  He had to come up with another stop soon after as the Jasek line was hemmed in.

Kole Lind was lined up with Jonah Gadjovich and Frankie Perron today and he did a good job to pressure the Sens’ defence as that line went to work. They were unable to generate a scoring chance and the Sens went the other way.

Brogan Rafferty showed a nice physical edge as he rode his man off the puck in the defensive zone before Jordan Murray let fly from distance. Mikey DiPietro stopped and held for a whistle.

We had some good back and forth before Rudolfs Balcers took the puck hard to the net where Mikey DiPietro barred the door for another save. Logan Brown followed up by forcing a Gadjovich turnover at the Comets blue line but the Sens were unable to take advantage.

The play went back and forth as MacEwen filled his man in on the forecheck at one end, while his former junior linemate Vitaly Abramov was shut down by DiPietro at the other.

Olli Juolevi has been dishing the sweetest stretch passes all season, but every once in a while, he gets picked off and that happened in the first period. The Sens were unable to make him pay, but DiPietro would have to stop and freeze an Erik Brannstron offering that resulted from the takeaway.

Ashton Sautner is as steady as they get on this Comets blue line and he showed a smart stick to foil a Sens’ zone entry before Jasek was denied by Joey Daccord at the other end. Jasek’s shot came at the 9:19 mark and was the first one credited to the Comets in the game.

Kole Lind was dinged for a high-stick at the 10:53 mark and the Comets were off to the penalty kill. Olli Juolevi was the first over the boards for the kill and ended up clearing the puck out of play to send the Comets to a two-man down situation for 1:14.

It took just nine seconds for Drake Batherson to hammer a sweet one-timer past DiPietro for his 14th goal of the season. Logan Brown grabbed his 20th helper of the year on the play, while Erik Brannstrom earned his 13th.

The Comets still had Juolevi’s penalty to kill off and Jalen Chatfield came up with a timely shot block and Boucher followed up by heading into the Sens’ zone and flipping the puck into Daccord to get an offensive zone faceoff.

We saw Josh Teves getting some penalty killing time with Juolevi in the box. That happened earlier in the season, but it isn’t something that we have seen a lot of. DiPietro got a piece of a one-timer and the Comets came up with a good kill on the Juolevi minor.

The Sens were playing a fast game that was giving the Comets some trouble before Rafferty had a blast soaked up by Daccord.

At the other end of the ice, Juolevi made a smart pay to cut off a pass meant for Joe LaBate. Batherson soon got in behind Olli for what would have been a scoring chance but he ended up offside. Ashton Sautner followed up with a knuckler that was juggled by Daccord, but the save was made.

Time was winding down as Lukas Jasek hit a streaking Josh Teves for a chance that was denied in close. The Sens finished the period up 7-5 on the shot clock.

Second Period

Zack MacEwen was playing a physical game in this one and he started the period off with a heavy hit on the forecheck before Justin Bailey was whistled for roughing at the 2:42 mark. The Comets were off to the kill.

The Comets did some nice work while shorthanded and DiPietro shut down a chance from the side of the net for another good kill.

MacEwen was working the corner in the offensive zone and found Rafferty with a nice pass but the point-producing defender was stymied by Daccord with a big stop. The Comets had some pressure but it was short-lived as DiPietro had to come up with a save on Chlapik. The Carcone line followed up with a dangerous shift that saw DiPietro rob Frank Corrado with a flash of the leather.

Carter Bancks came up with a nice play to force a Belleville turnover that led to a Lukas Jasek offering being denied by Daccord. Bailey and MacEwen followed up with a play off the rush that saw Bailey call his own number for a shot that Daccord was ready for.

Filip Chlapik was dinged for holding at the 10:26 mark and the Comets had a power play to work with.

We saw a new look with Matt Petgrave, Kole Lind, Carter Camper, Jonah Gadjovich, and Nikolay Goldobin. Petgrave got a couple of shots through that didn’t lead to a change on the score and the next unit took over.

Daccord made a pair of big stops on Bailey and Boucher as the Comets were trying to get some fresh legs out before they allowed a shorthanded goal to Morgan Klimchuck. Kole Lind wasn’t able to hold the line and Alex Formenton sent Klimchuk in all alone for his 10th goal of the season. Formenton earned his 13th helper of the year on the shorthanded tally.

Balcers nearly put his team up 3-0 when he broke in and ripped a shot off the iron. Soon after, Balcers was whistled for hooking and the Comets had a power play to work with… until they didn’t.

Zack MacEwen took his team off the man advantage when he interfered with Daccord and was sent off to the box. Once again, the Comets nearly went down 3-0 when Petgrave got caught pinching with just Juolevi back but Mikey DiPietro came up with another save.

The Comets had a brief penalty to kill after the four aside wrapped up and Stevens made sure that Daccord had to come up with a shorthanded save. The Comets came up with a good kill.

MacEwen was out of the box and looking to make some noise with another big hit in the offensive zone. At the other end, it was Ashton Sautner with a shot block but the Sens kept possession and DiPietro had to come up with a save on Jonathan Aspirot.

It was at this point when I noticed that Trent Cull had juggled his defensive pairs as Josh Teves was now with Jalen Chatfield, while Olli Juolevi was paired with Matt Petgrave. Teves came up with a solid hit to take Patrick Kelly off the puck in the defensive zone before Rafferty’s long shot was gloved down by Daccord at the other end.

The Comets managed to pull to within a goal as time was winding down when Brogan Rafferty put a shot off the iron and Justin Bailey cleaned up the trash for his 24th goal of the season. That represents a new career-high for TheGentleman. Rafferty picked up his 32nd assist of the season on the play, while Carter Camper was credited with his 20th.

Utica showed an edge of 15-10 on the shot clock for the middle frame.

Third Period

Mikey DiPietro had a lot of shots to handle as the final frame got underway. The Sens were pressing and the Comets didn’t have much of an answer for their speed. He had to glove down an early shot from Frank Corrado before shutting down a pair of Alex Formenton chances.

Jordan Murray tried his luck with a muffin that DiPietro gloved down for a whistle. The Sens kept pressing and DiPietro had to come up with another stop before Reid Boucher was sent off for interference.

DiPietro denied an Erik Brannstrom shot before gloving down the Drake Batherson chance that followed. He would kick out another shot from the point and the Boucher penalty came to an end.

Francis Perron was playing against one of his former teams today and he was looking to light Daccord up with a shot off the right side that was turned aside. Christian Jaros followed up with a high shot that DiPietro squeezed for another save.

At the other end, MacEwen made a power move out of the corner to get a shot away with a crowd forming but couldn’t get it to go.

Justin Bailey was whistled for cross-checking at the 5:57 mark and the Comets were back to the kill. It took Rudolfs Balcers mere seconds to put the Sens up 3-1 with his 10th goal of the season. Filip Chlapik picked up the primary assist for his ninth of the year, while Drake Batherson earned his 32nd.

MacEwen was doing his best to help his team get that one back when he drew a penalty while dishing the puck to Camper for a shot that was denied by Daccord. Hubert Labrie was the Bellevillian who was off to the box for his tripping infraction.

Kole Lind had a chance from in close denied before Petgrave put a shot off the blocker of Daccord and the Comets came up empty once more. They did put on a little bit of pressure for a shift or two following their failed power play but were unable to make anything happen.

The Sens eventually went the other way where DiPietro swallowed up another shot from Balcers and held for the whistle.

Filip Chlapik put Belleville up 4-1 when he skated past Petgrave and beat DiPietro from an odd angle. Not unlike the ugly goal that beat McIntyre yesterday, this goal shouldn’t have gone in. The goal was the fifth of the season for Chlapik, while Jaros picked up his 11th assist of the year on the play.

I feel like I have mentioned Josh Teves’ name a fair bit for a guy who hasn’t been able to find many minutes this year, but he was noticeable again today. He picked off a pass and sent the Comets into the offensive zone, but they were unable to get any traction. Alex Formenton went the other way and got in behind Juolevi, but DiPietro beat him to the puck to foil any thought of a scoring chance.

It wasn’t long after when Formenton was sent off for slashing.

The Comets had a little bit of pressure as Baertschi had a one-timer turned aside before Daccord managed to deny a Rafferty shot through traffic. The Comets came up empty, but Ashton Sautner scored his first of the year immediately after their power play ended. Sautner put his shot from the left circle through Daccord. John Stevens earned his fourth helper of the year on the play and third point since yesterday.

DiPietro was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker but the Comets came up empty and dropped their fourth consecutive game. Belleville held a 14-12 advantage on the shot clock for the final frame, while the Comets were up 32-31 for the game.

I was a bit frustrated to see Matt Petgrave getting power-play time ahead of Olli Juolevi today. I get that OIli has struggled this year at holding the line and that he’s been turnstiled for more goals-against than we would like, but he is a prospect of the team and shouldn’t be yielding those minutes to an ECHL player, in my opinion.

If the team felt the need to pull Olli from the power play for a game, why not try Ashton Sautner there? When I spoke with Kole Lind a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned Sautner as the man with the hardest shot on the team. My guess is that he might be able to sneak a few shots through and at the very least, is far less likely to lose the line the way others have this season.

Today’s loss by the Comets, combined with a win by Rochester has the two clubs tied for second overall in the North Division with Rochester having three games in hand. The Comets need to sort things out over the All-Star Break.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

  1. Justin Bailey (24) from Brogan Rafferty (32) and Carter Camper (20).
  2. Ashton Sautner (1) from John Stevens (4).

Mikey DiPietro: 27 saves in the loss

Special Teams

Power Play: 0/4. One shorthanded goal allowed.

Penalty Kill: 4/6.

PP1: Boucher, Bailey, MacEwen, Baertschi, Rafferty.

PP2: Camper, Lind, Gadjovich, Goldobin, Petgrave.

PP3: Baertschi, Goldobin, Bailey, MacEwen, Rafferty.

PP4: Gadjovich, Jasek, Camper, Lind, Petgrave.

*Reid Boucher did not make an appearance on either power-play unit for the club’s final man-up situation as he seemed to be benched or possibly knicked up. He was clearly a frustrated player in the final frame before he was parked.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Stevens, MacEwen, Goldobin, Baertschi, Boucher, Jasek, Bailey, Sautner, Chatfield, Teves, Juolevi.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Rudolfs Balcers. One goal.

2nd Star: Joey Daccord. 30 saves for the win.

1st Star: Filip Chlapik. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Ashton Sautner. Sautner picked up his first goal of the season today and while he doesn’t pile up many points, he is now up to eight points in his 39 games played. Sautner is a steady defender for the Comets who eats minutes on the penalty kill and can bring a physical game.

2nd Star: Brogan Rafferty. Rafferty picked up another assist today and now has 38 points in his 42 games. He now needs just two points to tie the Comets single-season record for points by a defender. He finished today with three shots on goal.

1st Star: Josh Teves. Teves has looked like he is trying his hardest to get noticed by the coaching staff since he’s been back in the lineup. He is jumping up for offensive opportunities when he sees them, he is playing with a physical edge, and is a plus-10 on the season. He only has two points in his 24 games this year, but I feel like he has shown well enough to stay in the lineup for a longer look.

*Honourable mention: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella took an ill-advised penalty to take his team off the power play today, but I thought he was bringing a much needed physical edge to the game when few others on his squad were doing the same.

Next Game

Game 47

Utica Comets at Cleveland Monsters

Friday, January 31st, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific





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