Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #42

Cleveland Monsters at Utica Comets

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter



Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Francis Perron: W/C – Upper-body injury, (eye) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  2. Wacey Hamilton: C – Lower-body injury, (broken foot) 6-8 weeks. AHL deal.
  3. Sven Baertschi: LW – Lower-body injury, (high ankle sprain) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  4. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, (ankle) week-to-week. AHL deal.
  5. Dylan Blujus: RD – Upper-body injury, (chest). AHL deal.
  6. Brogan Rafferty: RD – Undisclosed soreness, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  7. Vincent Arseneau: LW/RW – Upper-body injury/AHL suspension. AHL deal.
  8. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  9. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  10. Matt Petgrave: LD – Healthy scratch. AHL deal.

Comets Starting Lines

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

95 Justin Bailey – 9 Lukas Jasek – 13 Kole Lind

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 19 Carter Camper – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

17 Seamus Malone – 16 John Stevens – 21 Jonah Gadjovich

11 David Pope – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 74 Tanner Sorenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 5 Jalen Chatfield

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame of this game saw some back and forth hockey with the Comets coming out on top on the scoreboard and the shot clock.

Guillaume Brisebois and Jalen Chatfield were paired together again today and they worked a nice play along the right-side boards in the Comets end that saw Brisebois ride his man off the puck and Jalen scooping it up and clearing the Comets zone.

Unfortunately, seconds later Chatfield was sent off for a cross-check and the Comets had an early penalty to kill. The Comets killers made easy work of this one and they came away unscathed.

Brett Gallant and Ashton Sautner had some words after the kill but cooler heads prevailed before the fists had a chance to fly.

We saw some back and forth without any shots from either side before Gabriel Carlsson blew up Carter Bancks in the Comets end but the captain ate the hit to clear the puck.

Reid Boucher got the first shot on the Monsters’ net but it was a muffin from distance and Veini Vehvilainen steered it aside with ease. His next test was a little tougher as David Pope and John Stevens worked a give-and-go that Pope was denied on. The Monsters’ netminder also turned aside the Olli Juolevi shot that followed.

At the other end of the ice, DiPietro swallowed up a long shot before taking a few extra pokes from Markus Hannikainen for his efforts.

Tanner Sorenson has drawn a couple of penalties during his time with the Comets and he drew another one on Hannikainen when he took the puck hard to the net and was hooked.

It took Kole Lind eight seconds to redirect an Olli Juolevi shot into the Cleveland net for his 12th goal of the season. Juolevi grabbed his 16th assist of the season and 11th point in his last 11 games and Nikolay Goldobin earned his 24th helper of the year on the play.

It was nice to see Lind get a goal with his grandparents in the building all the way from Shaunavon Saskatchewan.

It took Carter Camper just 39 seconds to put the Comets up by a pair after taking a sweet feed from Goldobin for his sixth of the season on a filthy backhander at speed. Goldy picked up his 25th assist of the year, while Reid Boucher earned his 24th.

Not long after, it was Seamus Malone’s turn to head to the box after he was whistled for hooking. The Monsters took a page from the Comets’ book and made quick work of their man advantage when Ryan MacInnes buried a rebound 10 seconds in. The goal was the fifth of the year for MacInnes, while Trey Fix-Wolansky grabbed his eighth assist of the season and Andrew Peeke earned his ninth.

DiPietro shook the goal off and came up with an alert save on the stuff play from the side of the net that came after as the Monsters were pressing. The Comets netminder swallowed up the next shot and held for a whistle to get a line change for his team.

Seamus Malone has looked good since his return from injury and he used a nifty play to chip the puck past his man and went in to get a shot away that was turned aside. That line of Malone-Stevens-Pope was full value today.

The Monsters didn’t have a ton of chances, but Mikey D was there when they did get them. DiPietro had to come up with a couple of stops as the puck bounced around his crease before kicking out a long shot from Ryan MacInnes.

The Monsters continued to press and Mitch Eliot came up with a timely shot block. Eliot was having a solid game today and he was getting some heavy shots away in the offensive zone as well.

Justin Bailey has been on fire lately and he was looking to set Lukas Jasek up for a goal with a nice cross-ice feed but with no traffic in front, Vehvilainen made an easy save.

Doyle Somerby was dinged for a cross-check at the 16:57 mark and the Comets were off to the power play. The Comets first unit couldn’t muster much and the second unit gave up some shorthanded time in their own end before Brisebois hammered the puck off the iron. The Comets came away empty.

That was it for the opening frame as the Comets held a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard and a 12-7 advantage on the shot clock.

Second Period

Well, the Comets took it to Cleveland in the middle frame as they would have a 5-1 lead by the time the buzzer sounded to end the period.

Things started early when the Jasek line went to work and Lukas jumped on a loose puck from a Justin Bailey shot just 26 seconds in for his 11th goal of the season. Bailey grabbed his 13th assist of the year on the play, while his little brother, Kole Lind earned his 25th.

There was more back and forth before that new line of Malone, Stevens, and Pope went back to work with another great shift that ended with Seamus Malone celebrating his third goal of the season. John Stevens was originally credited with an assist, but that has since been taken away and the goal deemed to be unassisted.

Cleveland called their timeout after the goal and when they got back to the game DiPietro had to come up with a save on Steve Johnson… yeah, this game had a John Stevens and a Steve Johnson.

The game slowed a little as the refs wanted to get a bunch of whistling done… apparently. Goldy has seen enough and stole the puck and fed Boucher with a fantastic pass, but Boucher’s tough angle shot sailed wide. `

Back in the other end, DiPietro came up with another save as Cleveland put some traffic in his face. There was some sloppy play from both sides for a couple of shifts before DiPietro shut down a Calvin Thurkauf offering.

Goldy was feeling it in this one as he came up with another takeaway in the offensive zone and dished to Boucher for another shot that was turned aside. The Monsters went the other way and DiPietro was there with another save.

When the Comets had worked their way back into the Cleveland zone, Jalen Chatfield picked off an outlet pass and dished to John Stevens who saw his shot turned aside. Jonah Gadjovich worked the puck back to Mitch Eliot for a bomb of a shot that was denied by Vehvilainen. Gadjovich got the puck back to Chatfield for another chance from the side of the net that was shut down.

It was at this point when I noticed that Guillaume Brisebois hadn’t been out for a couple of shifts and the defensive pairs were in the blender. He made a brief appearance… just long enough to take a penalty for putting the puck over the glass, but I did not see him in the final frame. As one of the team’s most consistent defenders this year, in my opinion, the Comets cannot afford to lose him for any length of time.

Back to the game, Jasek sent a cross-ice feed to Lind on the rush and Kole heeled his one-timer and fired it wide of the net. Boucher followed up with a shot from the high slot that was steered aside by the wave of a blocker and not long after was when Brisebois took that penalty to put the Comets down a man.

The Comets have given up a lot of shorthanded goals this year… nine to be exact, but coming into this game, they had also scored six. Well, you can bump that latter number up to seven as Reid Boucher sent Goldobin in alone where he may have scored the nicest goal that I’ve witnessed from him. He went in at speed and whipped out The Forsberg for his 14th goal of the season. Boucher, for his part, picked up his 25th assist of the year on the play.

Stefan LeBlanc didn’t get an assist on the play, but he got this started by pinching his man off the puck to force the turnover in the Comets’ end.

The Comets were still shorthanded and a little under a minute later, Justin Bailey and Calvin Thurkauf had some words and both were sent off for roughing.

The Camper line went back to work and we saw Goldy dish to Boucher… again, but the shot was denied. The puck went to Camper but he couldn’t get a stick on it.

At the other end of the ice, Mikey D did Mikey D things with a sprawling save on Fix-Wolansky.

With Bailey in the box, Jonah Gadjovich was taking a spin with Lind and Jasek and the rugged winger had a chance denied from the side of the net. Mitch Eliot followed up with another heavy shot that clanged the iron and wobbled around in the crease before the Cleveland netminder covered it up for a whistle.

The Jasek line kept it coming as Lind tried a spin-and-fire play out of the corner and put the puck on Gadjovich’s stick but he wasn’t able to get it to go. Lind followed up with a shot that Gadjovich got a piece of but the puck sailed wide of the target.

It was all Comets in the late going but they were unable to add to the score. They finished the second period up 12-9 on the shot clock and up 5-1 on the scoreboard.

Third Period

The final frame didn’t have as much flow to it as the Monsters seemed almost resigned to their fate and the Comets seemed content to try to finish up the game without allowing any more goals against.

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t see Guillaume Brisebois out for the third period and that meant more ice-time for a guy like Stefan LeBlanc. The ginger defender looked like he wanted to make sure he stays in the lineup when he unloaded with an early shot that rang off the iron behind Brad Thiessen. That’s right, folks… the Comets were once again the chasers of goaltenders as the man whose name twists my fingers up too much to type was replaced by Thiessen for the third.

The period had no flow in the early going as Bailey sent a knuckler off the glove of Thiessen before DiPietro steered aside along shot at the other end.

Reid Boucher looked frustrated in this game. He’s been putting up points of late, but it had been a few games since he lit the lamp. That frustration bubbled over when he was dinged for tripping and the Comets were off to the kill.

The Monsters had an early chance when a shot gave DiPietro some trouble as he juggled it out of his glove and Carter Bancks played hero when he calmly pulled the puck off the line and out of harm’s way. Bancks and Chatfield did some great work to kill time by tying the puck up along the boards for a bit before Stefan Matteau let fly with a shot off the left side that DiPietro gobbled up for a whistle. Mikey D kicked aside a Dillon Simpson point shot and the Comets had a good kill.

Boucher came out of the box and immediately had a scoring chance denied.

The Comets have been getting some solid shifts out of their bottom two lines of late and that continued today as Bancks dropped a pass to Sorenson who put his shot up high. Thiessen had trouble with it but the save was made and the score remained the same.

Back in the Comets end, Juolevi continued to impress with a simple physical play to take his man off the puck in the defensive zone before Thurkauf made it a 5-2 game with a one-timer that beat DiPietro. The goal was the fifth of the year for Thurkauf with the assists going to Derek Barach with his second and Markus Hannikainen with his seventh.

As we have seen so many times this year, that goal was like water off a duck’s back as DiPietro gloved down the next shot that came his way. Mikey D has done a fantastic job of putting goals against in the rearview mirror quickly this season.

The Comets got a good shift from the Camper line in the offensive zone but the Monsters would eventually clear the puck out and DiPietro was making another save. Juolevi followed up with a smart stick to force a turnover in the Comets’ end before the teams traded chances. DiPietro kicked out a shot at one end and Thiessen shut down a Boucher offering at the other.

Boucher would not be denied all night, however as he took a nice feed from Camper and beat Thiessen for his 23rd goal of the season. Camper picked up his 18th helper of the year on the play, while Goldy earned his 26th.

That was it for this one as the Comets skated away with a 6-2 win. Cleveland held a 10-6 advantage on the third period shot clock, but Utica showed a 30-26 edge for the game.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

  1. Kole Lind (12) from Olli Juolevi (17) and Nikolay Goldobin (24). PP goal.
  2. Carter Camper (6) from Nikolay Goldobin (25) and Reid Boucher (24).
  3. Lukas Jasek (11) from Justin Bailey (13) and Kole Lind (25).
  4. Seamus Malone (3) unassisted.
  5. Nikolay Goldobin (14) from Reid Boucher (25). Shorthanded goal.
  6. Reid Boucher (23) from Carter Camper (18) and Nikolay Goldobin (26).

Mikey DiPietro: 24 saves for the win.

Special Teams

Power Play: 1/2

Penalty Kill: 3/4

PP1: Boucher, Goldobin, Bailey, Lind, Juolevi.

PP2: Camper, Gadjovich, Jasek, Eliot, Brisebois.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Stevens, Jasek, Boucher, Goldobin, Bailey, Brisebois, Sautner, LeBlanc, Chatfield, Juolevi.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Mikey DiPietro. 24 saves for the win.

2nd Star: Kole Lind. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. One goal, three assists.

Canucks Army’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Olli Juolevi. He picked up an assist today and forced turnovers with simple, yet effective physical plays as well as a few well-placed sticks to break up some plays. Olli is up to two goals and 17 assists, giving him 19 points in 33 games played. He is providing some nice secondary offence from the backend. Juolevi now has 14 points in 19 games since he missed time with hip soreness. He is also a plus-six over that span as he rounds out his overall game in Utica.

2nd Star: Reid Boucher. You just knew that Reid wasn’t going home without a goal today. He put six shots on net and several more off of the target in his bid for his 23rd goal of the season. He also picked up a pair of helpers for his efforts. Boucher is now up to 23 goals and 25 assists, giving him 48 points in 37 games. Seems good, no?

1st Star: Nikolay Goldobin. I mean, the man had an upper lip the size of New York after taking seven stitches in last night’s game and went out today and picked up four points. He’s now up to 14 goals and 26 assists, giving him 40 points in 36 games, moving him into sixth overall in AHL scoring. That shorthanded goal was about as nice a goal as we’ve seen from Goldy, so all the props to him for his game today.

Next Game

Game #43

Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch

Monday, January 20th, 2020

1:00 pm Eastern/10:00 am Pacific

That early game on Monday will represent my 200th consecutive game covering the Utica Comets for CanucksArmy. I have enjoyed learning on the fly since taking this gig and have enjoyed covering the Comets immensely. For any of you who have been reading my work since the beginning, I appreciate you sticking it out and hanging around for more. I can’t wait to see what the next 200 games hold!





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