Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #20

Syracuse Crunch at Utica Comets

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter


Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Olli Juolevi: LD – Lower-body ailment, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  2. Wacey Hamilton: W/C – Upper-body injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  3. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  4. Lukas Jasek: W/C – Undisclosed injury, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  5. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  6. Stefan LeBlanc: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.
  7. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Justin Taylor: F – Healthy scratch. PTO.

Today’s Starting Lines

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

62 Antoine Roussel – 17 Seamus Malone – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

47 Sven Baertschi – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

21 Jonah Gadjovich – 27 Francis Perron – 95 Justin Bailey

74 Tanner Sorenson – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 26 Dyson Stevenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

6 Ashton Sautner (A) – 5 Jalen Chatfield

8 Dylan Blujus – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame was a back and forth affair that saw the teams finished tied with nine shots apiece, two penalties each, and the Comets up 1-0 when the buzzer sounded.

Mikey DiPietro has been great this season and he continued with his strong play in this one today. Although he wasn’t overly busy in this contest, he was sharp when he needed to be. The young netminder did good work to steer aside an early Chris Mueller offering before denying the Boris Katchouk redirect chance that followed.

At the other end of the ice, Justin Bailey and Jonah Gadjovich were denied on back-to-back chances by Syracuse netminder Scott Wedgewood. There was more back and forth when DiPietro shut down a point shot with traffic forming in front of his net before Wedgewood kicked out a Carter Camper shot off the right side at the other end.

Seamus Malone was back in the lineup after missing the last few games with an upper-body injury and the rookie forward tried his luck with a spin and fire play that was kicked out by Wedgewood. The Syracuse goaltender followed up by denying a pair of chances from Guillaume Brisebois and Reid Boucher.

Justin Bailey skated into a scoring lane and let fly with a shot off the ensuing faceoff that Wedgewood stopped and froze and that was when we saw Jonah Gadjovich and Luke Witkowski getting scrummy after the whistle. No penalties were called on the play, but Antoine Roussel was soon sent off for holding. Roussel is with the Comets on a three-game/six-day conditioning loan from the Vancouver Canucks.

Bancks, Boucher, Chatfield, and Sautner got this kill started before Bailey and Perron took over up front and Brisebois and Blujus took over on the defence. Bancks and Boucher would be back out to steer this one home and the duo did great work. The Comets came up with a good kill.

With the teams back to even strength, we saw Camper try Malone’s spin and fire play but he put his chance off the side of the net. At the other end, Daniel Walcott had his chance off the rush kicked out by DiPietro.

The line of Gadjovich, Perron, and Bailey came with a chance of their own but Jonah put his shot over the net. Syracuse went the other way with some pressure but couldn’t make anything happen.

Tanner Sorenson was getting into his first action in the AHL with the Comets in this game and he was looking to make an impression offensively when he unloaded with a shot that Wedgewood denied. The 26-year-old forward was making his AHL debut after potting 142 points in 195 ECHL games split between Alaska and Kalamazoo. He is currently on an AHL deal with the Comets after putting up 22 goals and 42 assists to give himself 64 points in 55 games with the Kalamazoo Wings last season.

We had more back and forth before Otto Somppi took the first of his back-to-back penalties to give the Comets a pair of power plays to work with. The first was for slashing and we saw the first unit of Bailey, Baertschi, Boucher, Lind, and Rafferty step over the boards.

Boucher had a one-timer denied before the second unit of Eliot, Perron, Gadjovich, Camper, and Roussel took over. They came up empty as well, but as I mentioned earlier, Somppi gave them another crack with the extra man when he was sent off for hooking 29 seconds after returning to the ice from his slashing call.

This time, the first unit came up empty again, but the second unit made no mistake when Mitch Eliot got his shot through from the high slot for his second goal of the season. Both of Eliot’s tallies have come on the man advantage. Carter Camper set him up the goal, earning him his ninth helper of the season, while Frankie Perron continued to add to his totals with his 11th assist of the year.

Getting those point shots through has been a key for Eliot this year and he is giving the coaching staff another right-shot option on the power play.

It was a little over a minute after the Eliot goal when Brisebois was dinged for holding and the Comets would finish the opening frame on the kill.

We saw Bancks and Boucher doing their thing along with Sautner and Chatfield to start this kill off. Cameron Gaunce had a one-timer turned aside by DiPietro, while Sautner was showing a physical edge on the kill.

Bailey and Blujus swapped in for Boucher and Sautner before Somppi tried to make reparations for his penalty with a shot that DiPietro denied and the period came to a close. The teams finished tied with nine shots apiece on the shot clock.

Second Period

The middle frame was a penalty-filled affair that saw each team pick up a goal with the extra man.

The Comets still had 1:11 to kill off from Guillaume Brisebois’ first-period holding call and we saw Boucher and Bancks come away with a shorthanded chance that they couldn’t get to go. Utica would kill off the Brisebois minor.

The Comets were looking to go up by a pair when Jonah Gadjovich hit Frankie Perron with a feed that Perron fired off the target. Justin Bailey followed up with a shot off the left side that was gobbled up by Wedgewood and a brief scrum ensued.

The Comets were bringing the lumps as Mitch Eliot used a nice physical play to take his man off the puck in the defensive zone before Ashton Sautner followed suit by riding his man off the puck to break up his attempt at a play.

We had some back and forth as the Crunch started to press, but Luke Witkowski shut down their pressure when he was dinged for tripping at the 4:38 mark and the Comets were off to the power play. The Comets brought the shots as Wedgewood came up with a big save on Boucher before Rafferty buried his chance into the guts of the Syracuse netminder.

The Comets kept it coming as Rafferty let fly with another that was swallowed up before a brief melee broke out. The end result was Chris Mueller and Kole Lind heading off with matching roughing minors.

Mitch Eliot got another shot through traffic that Wedgewood got a piece of before Reid Boucher was dinged for a slash at the 7:09 mark. It was off to the penalty kill for Utica.

Bancks, Roussel, Chatfield, and Sautner kicked things off before Bailey, Perron, Brisebois, and Blujus took over. It’s nice to see Perron getting looks on the PK. The crafty winger-turned-pivot is quickly becoming an all situations player for Trent Cull and his coaching staff.

The Comets were under some pressure when Sautner came up with a timely shot block, as is his way, and Jalen Chatfield stretched the ice with a pass to Boucher right out of the box. Reid went in for his chance but Wedgewood was equal to the task with another save.

At the other end, Mikey DiPietro came up with a save in close before Alex Volkov was whistled for slashing at the 11:01 mark. It took Boucher just 17 seconds to put the Comets up 2-0 with his league-leading 14th goal of the season. Brogan Rafferty picked up the secondary assist with his point shot that Sven Baertschi turned into a backdoor play to Boucher for the goal. Sven grabbed his ninth helper of the year on the play, while Rafferty earned his 10th.

To their credit, the crunch came right back with some pressure, but they were unable to make anything happen. The Comets came with some pressure of their own when Ashton Sautner let fly with a shot with Frankie Perron lurking for a rebound but Wedgewood was there with another save.

The Comets kept it coming as Wedgewood had to come up with another save before Jonah Gadjovich was denied from in close as well.

Justin Bailey was sent off for a cross-check at the 13:07 mark and it was back to the kill for Utica.

Roussel, Sautner, Bancks, and Chatfield started things off and we saw Alex Bare-Boulet unload with a shot from the left side that was swallowed up by DiPietro before Boucher and Perron took over up front. Boris Katchouk came with a chance from in close that was also turned aside.

Chris Mueller was whistled for tripping at the 14:04 mark and we had some four aside action. Camper, Baertschi, Brisebois, and Rafferty started things off and DiPietro had to come up with a big save to stymie Dennis Yan from point-blank range. Seamus Malone and Antoine Roussel took over right before the Comets moved to a 50-second power play.

Rafferty let fly with a shot through traffic that was wide of the net before the Crunch went the other way. Danick Martel stole the puck and went in with Ross Colton for a chance that was gloved down and quickly played by DiPietro.

Rafferty unloaded another one-timer that was knocked down in front before Wedgewood covered the puck and froze it for the whistle. The Comets came up empty with the man advantage.

The Comets kept it coming as Wedgewood had to stretch out to get a big toe on a Carter Bancks offering to keep his team in the game. Bancks was soon fingered for a hook and the Comets were off to the kill.

Camper, Roussel, Chatfield, and Sautner kicked this kill off before they were replaced by Bailey, Perron, Brisebois, and Blujus. Bailey has done a great job of using his ample wheels to kill off precious seconds on the penalty kill this year and he did more of that when he used ALL of the ice to wheel around before firing a shot into the breadbasket of Wedgewood.

At the other end, DiPietro stopped and froze the puck for a whistle before the Crunch scored on a play that saw Martel just squeak his shot past DiPietro for his eighth goal of the season. Nolan Valleau earned his second helper of the year on the play, while Otto Somppi grabbed his fifth.

The middle frame wrapped up with a trio of penalties as Daniel Walcott was dinged for boarding Seamus Malone at the 19:07 mark before Kole Lind and Luke Witkowski were sent off for roughing and holding the stick respectively at the 19:38 mark. Utica finished the second period with an advantage of 12-10 on the shot clock.

Third Period

Brogan Rafferty was looking to put his team up 3-1 when he came with a pair of chances that Wedgewood had to glove down early in the final frame. Frankie Perron followed up by getting a piece of an Ashton Sautner offering and Wedgewood whipped out the mitt for another save.

No matter, however, as Dylan Blujus grabbed a Tanner Sorenson shot that went off the target and snuck it past Wedgewood for his third of the season seconds later. The play started when Sorenson whipped a shot wide of the net and Blujus let fly with the rebound. Sorenson earned his first AHL point in his first AHL game, while Dyson Stevenson grabbed his second helper of the year on the play.

Syracuse thought they had answered back quickly when they put the puck past DiPietro but the goal was waved off immediately when the officials determined it was knocked in by a high-stick.

The Comets were starting to press as Wedgewood had to come up with a big save on a Boucher chance before Mitch Eliot let fly with a quick shot off the right boards that was denied by the Syracuse netminder. Kole Lind was there for a followup chance and was denied as well when the puck pinballed around the Syracuse crease.

Jonah Gadjovich has had some health issues as an upper-body strain held him out of 14 games, but that hasn’t kept the power forward from playing his physical brand of hockey. Jonah brought the pain with a solid hit on Dominik Masin before blowing up Alex Volkov with another hit at the other end of the ice.

Justin Bailey was being whistled for tripping but during the delayed penalty, Mikey D made a diving save to keep his team up by a pair.

The Comets netminder followed up by gloving down the Cameron Gaunce point shot that came next.

That was when Gadjovich and Witkowski decided to play whack-a-mole with each other’s faces while the officials tried to keep them apart. Both men were sent off for roughing and each was given an extra 10 for continuing an altercation. Oh yeah, and Justin Bailey was headed off for that trip as well.

With the Comets back on the kill, we saw Bancks, Roussel, Sautner, and Chatfield get things started. They were out for pretty much the duration of this kill and we saw DiPietro come up with a stop on Alex Barre-Boulet and the Comets had another good kill in the books.

We had more back and forth as Malone put a puck to the front of the net but Wedgewood was there with another save. At the other end, Perron did great work to break up a Walcott play to help his team keep the lead.

The Comets used a nice play from Boucher to Malone to break out before Malone’s play to Baertschi at the side of the net was deflected out of play. The Comets came right back as Bailey broke in with speed but saw Wedgewood bar the door for another save.

The Comets kept it coming as Wedgewood denied a Baertschi chance after Seamus Malone set him up with a nice cross-ice feed. Brisebois tried a chance of his own but the Syracuse netminder was ready with another stop. Brogan Rafferty was next with a shot from the high slot that was turned aside before Carter Camper found himself all alone in close but Wedgewood was there with the poke check.

The Syracuse coaching staff summoned Wedgewood to the bench for the extra attacker with roughly 2:45 remaining and that was when Reid Boucher dished to Sven Baertschi for an empty-net-goal from the Comets side of center ice. The goal was the third of the season for Sven, while Boucher picked up his seventh helper of the year on the play.

There was a bit of back and forth as time wound down and we saw Camper have a one-timer set up by Lind but denied by Wedgewood before the final buzzer sounded. Utica finished the period with an edge of 14-5 on the shot clock and held a 35-24 advantage for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

  1. Mitch Eliot (2) from Carter Camper (9) and Francis Perron (11). PP goal.
  2. Reid Boucher (14) from Sven Baertschi (9) and Brogan Rafferty (10). PP goal.
  3. Dylan Blujus (3) from Tanner Sorenson (1) and Dyson Stevenson (2).
  4. Sven Baertschi (3) from Reid Boucher (7). Empty-net-goal.

Special Teams:

Power Play: 2/6

Penalty Kill: 5/6

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

PP2: Perron, Camper, Gadjovich, Roussel, Eliot.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Bailey, Perron, Boucher, Roussel, Camper, Sautner, Brisebois, Chatfield, Rafferty, Blujus.

The Three Stars in the building today were: 

3rd Star: Sven Baertschi. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Mikey DiPietro. 23 saves.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. One goal, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars: 

3rd Star: Jonah Gadjovich. Jonah came into this game on a nice little run of points, and while that run of points came to an end today, Jonah did play a solid physical game. He was looking to make plays and had no issue with tangling with the much more seasoned Luke Witkowski. Jonah has four points in six games this year and brings a much-needed blend of size and skill to the roster.

2nd Star: Mikey DiPietro. He only had to make 23 saves, but a few of those were of the game-saving variety. Mikey D gives this Comets a chance to win in every game that he plays. His record now stands at 6-3-1-0 for the season and he has posted a goals-against-average of 2.15 along with a save percentage of 0.926% in his 10 starts this season.

1st Star: Reid Boucher. Another goal and another assist have Boucher now sitting with 14 goals to tie Stefan Noesen for the AHL lead, along with his seven helpers to give himself 21 points in 15 games this season. Boucher is doing this while also playing a physical game and eating up minutes while the team is shorthanded. Five of his 14 goals have come on the power play and he has been credited with 68 shots on goal this year. Three of his goals have been game-winners as well.

Next Game

Game #21

Utica Comets at Toronto Marlies

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

1:30 pm Eastern/10:30 am Pacific