Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #13

Utica Comets at Binghamton Devils

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter


Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Jonah Gadjovich: LW/RW – Upper-body strain, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  2. Carter Camper: C – Middle-body injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  3. Reid Boucher: LW/RW – Lower-body injury, day-to-day. NHL deal.
  4. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  5. Dylan Blujus: RD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  6. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  7. Seamus Malone: W/C – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.

Today’s Comets Lines

(First line and defence pair listed started the game. The remainder are in no particular order)

95 Justin Bailey – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 15 Zack MacEwen (A)

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 44 Tyler Graovac – 13 Kole Lind

27 Francis Perron – 9 Lukas Jasek – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

18 Vincent Arseneau – 14 Justin Bailey – 26 Dyson Stevenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Michael DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

Michael DiPietro was getting his second consecutive start in this one and he would have to come up with 11 saves in the opening frame.

Justin Bailey was the first to get a shot on goal with a point shot that Louis Domingue gloved down for the whistle. At the other end, DiPietro stopped a point shot of his own and the Comets went back the other way.

The Devils goaltending wasn’t so great in the first three games of this series, but the acquisition of Louis Domingue has proven to be the tonic the team needed between the pipes. The Devils’ netminder turned aside a Brogan Rafferty offering before shutting down the Lukas Jasek chance that followed.

The Comets fourth line had a great shift in the offensive zone, unfortunately, they also ended up being hemmed in their own end as the shift came to a close. No damage was done by either team.

The lines were being shuffled a bit throughout the opening frame as we saw Graovac take a shift between Bailey and MacEwen after he started the game between Goldobin and Lind. Bailey got a shot away on that shift but Domingue gloved it down once more.

Wacey Hamilton, who had started the game with MacEwen and Bailey found himself between Goldy and Lind.

Guillaume Brisebois has been getting his shots through this season and that continued in the first period against the Devils. He let fly with a shot that Domingue turned aside before Ashton Sautner came up with a stiff hit at the other end of the ice.

The Devils started to press as DiPietro had to whip out a pad save before gobbling up a Nathan Bastian shot and holding for the whistle. Olli Juolevi tried to ring the puck around the boards and a bad bounce had the puck land on the tape of Chris Conner. Conner tried his luck with a shot and DiPietro made an alert save.

Stefan LeBlanc was making his season debut and the rust showed when he made an ill-advised pinch that led to Ben Street going the other way with a shot the DiPietro steered aside. Unfortunately, Joe Morrow jumped on the rebound and it was a 1-0 game. The goal was Morrow’s first of the season, while Street grabbed his 11th helper of the year on the play and Colton White earned his third.

The Comets were looking to get that one right back with a Brogan Rafferty shot that was tipped wide by Justin Taylor.

Lukas Jasek was dinged for hooking at the 9:20 mark and the Comets were off to the penalty kill.

It took all of nine seconds for the Devils to go up 2-0 after Ben Street buried his shot on a back door play. The goal was the sixth of the season for Street while Joey Anderson and Brett Seney each grabbed their seventh assist of the year on the play.

The Devils kept it coming as DiPietro had to steer aside a shot from Michael McLeod and a brief melee broke out. McLeod was dinged for a cross-check, while Justin Bailey was sent off for roughing.

The teams skated at four aside and we saw Brisebois trying to get another shot through but it went off a leg. Colton White went the other way with a backhander that he put wide of the net. Joe Morrow followed up with a blast from the slot and DiPietro flashed the leather with an around the world save.

Seney followed up with a shot from the right circle and DiPietro was ready with another stop. Seney was then sent off for goaltender interference and the Comets had a power play to work with. The Comets used some different looks with the man advantage in this one as we saw Goldobin, Rafferty, Juolevi, Graovac, and Bailey as a unit.

Goldy came up with a takeaway but put his shot off the side of the net before Domingue came up with a pair of saves on Bailey. The next unit of MacEwen, Perron, Lind, Eliot, and Brisebois took over and Brisebois got a shot through that was denied by Domingue and the Comets came up empty.

At the other end of the ice, Lukas Jasek overskated the puck and DiPietro had to make a quick save on Nathan Bastian to keep his team within a pair.

Stefan LeBlanc didn’t pile up many points last year, but he was looking for his first goal of the season when he snuck a shot through but Domingue was ready with a pad save. Justin Taylor followed up with a backhander from in tight that went off the mask of Domingue.

Zack MacEwen was in a lengthy board battle in the offensive zone that eventually led to Tyler Graovac getting a shot away that was kicked aside by the Devils netminder. The line blender was turned on again as Graovac was between MacEwen and Bailey, while Bancks, Hamilton, and Jasek formed another line.

Guillaume Brisebois came up with a timely shot block in his own end before Brett Seney fired a shot off the iron.

Joe Morrow was dinged for interference at the 19:29 mark and the Comets would finish the period on the power play.

Rafferty, Juolevi, MacEwen, Graovac, and Goldy were the chosen five but it was Chris Conner getting the only shot that looked dangerous and DiPietro had to make a shorthanded save.

That was it for the opening frame as the Comets were down 2-0 on the scoreboard and 14-12 on the shot clock.

Your first-period shot map:

Second Period

The Comets still had 1:31 of power-play time remaining to start the second and we saw Juolevi try a point shot that went off a leg and wide of the net. Mitch Eliot followed up with a shot of his own that was turned aside. Goldy, Graovac, MacEwen, Eliot, and Juolevi were the first group out on the power play.

Brisebois, Perron, Bailey, Goldy and Graovac finished this one off as the Comets were unable to make a full change before the power play ended with no change to the score.

Once again, it was the forward trio of Bancks, Hamilton, and Jasek deployed immediately after the power play ended. Jasek got a backhander away that was denied by Domingue and the Devils held their 2-0 lead.

Guillaume Brisebois has been having a steady season and he showed great work to break up what would have been an odd-man rush by the Devils after Rafferty turned the puck over. Brogan tried to make up for that gaff with a point shot that was kicked out by Domingue.

Chris Conner and Zack MacEwen collided at the Comets blueline and TheBigFella looked like he was shaken up on the play but he stayed in the game. Conner, for his part, was soon sent off for interference and the Comets were back to the power play.

Graovac, MacEwen, Juolevi, Eliot, and Goldy were the first group deployed but they were unable to make anything happen. They were replaced by Perron, Brisebois, Rafferty, Lind, and Bailey.

Perron had a chance denied, as did Brisebois before Rafferty had his one-timer turned aside as well. Kole Lind was also denied a goal by the Devils netminder as the Comets were pressing, but came up empty.

That was when the Comets came with the pain as BigVinny dished out a board rattler in the offensive zone and Brogan Rafferty followed suit in his own end when he blew up Ryan Schmelzer. The Devils pressed and we saw Juolevi make a diving play in conjunction with a Tyler Graovac backcheck to foil another Devils chance.

As mentioned, Stefan LeBlanc was playing in his first game of the season after being a healthy scratch through the first 12 games. Well, after shaking off some rust early on, he started to settle in and play his game. He got a shot away that was steered aside by the stick of Domingue before the Devils netminder stopped another and held for the whistle.

We had some back and forth before Brett Seney let fly from the high slot and DiPietro was there with another save.

The Devils were clogging up anything that looked remotely like an offensive lane as they looked to be trying to relive their parent club’s Stanley Cup years with a stifling style of hockey.

The Comets were getting some chances, however, as Graovac tried a spin and fire move that was stopped by Domingue… but Graovac would try that move again later in the game to better results. Graovac and his linemates were putting on the pressure but were unable to make anything happen.

The Devils applied some pressure of their own as Seney put one off the side of the net before Ashton Sautner was dinged for holding.

Trent Cull sent TheTwins out along with Brisebois and LeBlanc. LeBlanc did great work on the kill for Utica late last season and he will be another option going forward this year. Bancks and Hamilton were replaced by Bailey and Jasek and eventually, Juolevi and Rafferty replaced Brisebois and LeBlanc. Juolevi came up with a timely shot block, as is becoming his way, and the Comets had another good kill in the books.

The middle frame wound down with some slow play until Joey Anderson had a shot denied by DiPietro at one end and Brisebois got another shot through at the other that was steered aside by Domingue. That was it for the second period. The Comets showed an 8-6 advantage on the shot clock.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The Comets entered the third period down by a pair of goals, but they were looking to make the comeback to end their losing skid at four games.

Bailey, Hamilton, and MacEwen had an early chance but the puck ended up gliding harmlessly through the Devils crease untouched. MacEwen followed up with a chance that was denied before Lind wired a shot off the blocker of Domingue and out of play.

At the other end, Colton White fed Joe Morrow for a shot that was swallowed up by DiPietro for a whistle. Mikey followed up with a nice save off a net-side chance before firing out a quick leg to shut down a redirected shot. DiPietro was playing well once again.

The Comets finally got back down to the other end and Juolevi sent a floater into the glove of Domingue. LeBlanc came back with another chance that was knocked down by Domingue who followed up with another save on Goldobin.

Zack MacEwen has had a bit of a slow start this season, but I had a feeling that he was going to have a big game, as evidenced by my prediction of two goals and an assist for him today. Well… I wasn’t correct with my prediction, but you could see TheBigFella’s game starting to show up in this one. He whipped out a nifty little how’s she goin’ to get around his man before letting fly with a shot that was deflected out of play.

This was were LeBlanc pulled out the WD-40 and rid himself of the remainder of his preseason rust after burying a nice cross-ice feed from Wacey Hamilton behind Domingue for his first goal of the season. Hamilton picked up his second assist of the year on the play, while Mitch Eliot grabbed his first. That makes points in consecutive games for Eliot after he too sat as a healthy scratch for all but three games this year.

We had some back and forth before Domingue decided that Lind and Goldobin were being shut down on consecutive chances. A brief scrum broke out after Lind clocked Seney and the Devils forward didn’t appreciate it. The Comets would end up taking a bench minor for abuse of the officials on the play and they were back on the kill.

Bancks, Hamilton, Sautner, and LeBlanc got this one started and they saw DiPietro gobble up a Joe Morrow offering before MacEwen, Bailey, and Brisebois replaced Bancks, Hamilton, and LeBlanc. The Comets came up with a good kill.

LeBlanc looked a bit better as this game went on and he came up with a dandy of a defensive play to shut down a Brandon Baddock chance before MacEwen tried a spin and fire move at the other end that was denied by Domingue.

That spin and fire move was a popular one today… do you remember when I mentioned Graovac trying it earlier in the game to no avail? Well, this was the point in the game when he tried it successfully.

We’ve seen Gravy whipping out some disco moves over his last couple of games and Graovac pulled off the spin and fire to even the score at two for his first of the season.  Justin Bailey picked up his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Brogan Rafferty earned his sixth.

Less than 30 seconds later, Hamilton was headed off to the box for goaltender interference. Trent Cull sent out the foursome of Juolevi, Sautner, Bancks, and Jasek to kick things off.

DiPietro denied a Ben Street one-timer before kicking aside a shot from Brett Seney. Bailey and MacEwen replaced Bancks and Jasek, while Sauter was repaced by Brisebois. There was a scramble in DiPietro’s crease and the young netminder came up with a wild save top keep the game knotted at two.

Graovac, Bancks, Juolevi, and LeBlanc steered this one home for another good kill.

The Devils were still pressing and LeBlanc came up with another good defensive play in his own end to stymie a Brandon Baddock opportunity. Rafferty followed up with a nice play to foil a chance by Ben Street.

Time was winding down as Juolevi came with a point shot that was kicked out by Domingue before Perron sent a floater off his blocker and out of play. MacEwen hit Graovac with a sweet feed and Domingue robbed the big pivot with the wave of his blocker.

That was it for the third period as the Comets ensured that they’d leave Binghamton with at least a point. Utica led the third-period shot clock by a count of 12-9 and had outshot the Devils 32-29 in regulation.

Your third-period shot map:


Trent Cull elected to go with the trio of Lind, Hamilton, and Brisebois to start things off and they weren’t able to make anything happen. Graovac, Rafferty, and Bailey followed and they had a little more luck.

Bailey took a drop pass from Rafferty and let fly with a shot that was denied before DiPietro had to stop Marian Studenic at the other end.

Goldy, Sautner, and MacEwen took over and we saw Domingue absolutely crush the overtime-hero dreams of Zack MacEwen with a ridiculous blocker save. TheBigFella returned the favour seconds later when he put this one away with his third goal of the year.

Let’s hope the monkey is now off Zack’s back. Nikolay Goldobin picked up his 10th helper of the season on the play, while Ashton Sautner grabbed his second.

Your overtime shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Today’s Comets Goals:

  1. Stefan LeBlanc (1) from Wacey Hamilton (2) and Mitch Eliot (1).
  2. Tyler Graovac (1) from Justin Bailey (4) and Brogan Rafferty (6).
  3. Zack MacEwen (3) from Nikolay Goldobin (10) and Ashton Sautner (2). Overtime winner.

Special Teams:

Power Play: 0/3

Penalty Kill: 3/4

PP Units:

Goldobin, Graovac, Bailey, Rafferty, Juolevi

Perron, Lind, MacEwen, Brisebois, Eliot

MacEwen, Goldobin, Graovac, Juolevi, Rafferty

Goldobin, MacEwen, Graovac, Eliot, Juolevi

Brisebois, Perron, Bailey, Graovac, Goldobin

Perron, Bailey, Lind, Rafferty, Brisebois

Penalty Killers: Hamilton, Bancks, Jasek, MacEwen, Graovac, Brisebois, Sautner, LeBlanc, Juolevi, Rafferty

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Joe Morrow. One goal.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen. One goal, overtime winner.

1st Star: Ben Street. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Stefan LeBlanc. LeBlanc has been sitting since preseason and was seeing his first action of the year today. He had some rusty moments early in the game but he was able to shake that off and come up with a solid performance. He finished the day with three shots on goal and earned his first goal of the year. He stepped right into his old spot on the penalty kill from the end of last season and didn’t look out of place.

2nd Star: Zack MacEwen. TheBigFella has had a bit of a slow start this year, in my opinion, but I felt like today might be the day that he would free himself from those shackles and he didn’t disappoint. MacEwen was seen doing good work in his regular role on the penalty kill and had a better game than he’s had in his last couple. He’s seen about 37 different linemate combos so far this year, which is nothing new for him at this point, but it was nice to see him rewarded with the overtime winner. He was also credited with five shots on goal for the game.

1st Star: Michael DiPietro. DiPietro made his second straight start and he rewarded the faith that the coaching staff showed in him. He is now 4-2-0-0 on the season while posting a goals-against-average of 1.95 along with a 0.930% save percentage. The rookie netminder came up with 28 saves for the win today and has not looked out of place as an AHL goaltender. I spoke more than once during the offseason about the possibility of DiPietro starting in Kalamazoo in order for him to get regular game action. There has been no need for that as the coaching staff has shown no hesitation in giving him minutes in the AHL. I am very happy to be wrong about how DiPietro is being used this season.

Next Game

Game #14

Syracuse Crunch at Utica Comets

Monday, November 11th, 2019

3:00 pm Eastern/12:00 noon Pacific