Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #12

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Utica Comets

Friday, November 8th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Scratched Today For Utica

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

Today’s Comets Lines

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

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

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 (A)

4 Josh Teves – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Michael DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

Hey, guess what? The Comets opened the scoring in this one and would finish the opening frame up 1-0.

The line of Justin Bailey, Wacey Hamilton and Zack MacEwen had some good pressure in the Pens’ zone early before Michael Kim was sent off for high-sticking on MacEwen. The Comets were off to an early power play.

We saw a new-look PP unit of Kole Lind, Francis Perron, Justin Bailey, Guillaume Brisebois and Mitch Eliot. It took Eliot a whole six seconds to earn his first AHL goal when he got his point shot through to beat Dustin Tokarski. It wasn’t a pretty one, but that matters not. Kole Lind earned the lone assist on the play for his seventh of the season.

Tyler Graovac came looking for another but had his chance turned aside by Dustin Tokarski before Kevin Czuczuman went the other way with a shot that was gloved down by Michael DiPietro.

Ashton Sautner was back in the lineup after returning from a stint in Vancouver and he was bringing his rugged style of play to the table with a solid hit in his own end.

We had some back and forth before DiPietro stopped a pair of chances from Jordy Bellerive and held for the whistle. The Wacey Hamilton line came with more pressure and ended up getting shut down by Tokarski before a brief melee broke out. Zack MacEwen would be the only player whistled for a penalty as he was headed off for roughing.

I may not have seen this right, but I’m fairly certain that Olli Juolevi and Ashton Sautner did not leave the ice for this penalty kill. They were joined by Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton. Tyler Graovac and Lukas Jasek would replace the forwards, but both defenders remained. The Comets came up with a good kill.

DiPietro steered aside a David Warsofsky blast from the point before we had some back and forth. The Comets netminder stymied Adam Johnson after he beat Juolevi wide and went in alone before Hamilton was dinged for tripping. This time, we saw MacEwen, Bancks, Sautner, and Juolevi climb over the boards and once again, I don’t think Juolevi left the ice.

Zack MacEwen forced an early turnover for Utica before DiPietro had to come up with a save on Oula Palve. Sam Miletic followed up with a chance of his own and DiPietro gloved his offering down for another save. Mikey D kept the saves coming with another on Stefan Noesen from the side of the net.

Brisebois, Bailey, and Jasek replaced MacEwen, Bancks, and Sautner and we saw Juolevi use a smart stick to break up a Pens play. Anthony Angello got a shot away that was stopped and held by DiPietro and the Comets had another good kill in the books.

After the kill, Brisebois had a shot deflected out of play before DiPietro fought off a Ryan Haggerty wrister at the other end.

The Comets were looking for a goal as Goldobin hit Sautner with a nice feed for a shot that was denied by Tokarski before Jake Lucchini went the other way and ripped a shot wide and jumped on his own rebound for another chance. Mikey DiPietro was equal to the task.

Zack MacEwen was sprung for a big shot off the right side that was deflected out of play.

Josh Teves has been having a solid season, in my opinion, and he looks like he’s becoming more comfortable in the league with every game. He used some great body positioning to take the much larger, (6’5, 209lbs) Anthony Angello off the puck and forced a turnover in the Comets favour.

Mikey DiPietro has been quite good so far in his rookie season and he stopped and froze a shot before having to gobble up another Sam Miletic offering. Olli Juolevi got a late shot through traffic but Tokarski was ready with the save and that was it for the opening frame.

The Pens held a 12-8 advantage on the shot clock for the first period.

Your first-period shot map:

Second Period

The Comets were handed an early opportunity to go ahead by a pair of goals when Goldy drew a tripping penalty on Andrew Agozzino just 57 seconds in. It was some great work by Goldy to show no quit on his play to draw the penalty.

The Comets rolled out the same group that had success in the opening frame but they quickly gave up a shorthanded chance to Jake Lucchini when Eliot lost an edge… and the puck, but DiPietro said no. MacEwen, Goldy, Graovac, Rafferty, and Juolevi took over but they were unable to make anything happen and the Comets came up empty.

Josh Teves has had some good moments this year and he showed one of those right after making a gaff. The rookie defender made a pinch and paid for it when the puck went the other way. To his credit, Teves got on his horse and was back in the play in time to foil a Penguins’ chance.

The Comets got an odd-man rush from a pair that you might not expect as BigVinny broke in with PTO forward Justin Taylor. Arseneau called his own number and fired wide. Zack MacEwen grabbed the puck and fed Vinny from behind the net, but the big forward was at the end of a long shift and was unable to take the pass cleanly.

Kole Lind has shown a playmaker’s form at times this year and he used a nice feed to hit Goldy in the high slot. Goldy probably should have taken his shot, but he dished to Brisebois for a chance that was gobbled up by Tokarski.

That is becoming a bit of an issue in Utica during this losing skid, in my opinion. It feels like the team has been making one-too-many passes far too often lately. They need to shoot when the opportunity is there and look for the rebounds and dirty goals if the first shot doesn’t go in.

At the other end, Warsofsky let fly with a shot that was swallowed up by DiPietro. MacEwen went the other way for a wrister from the high slot that was steered aside by Tokarski.

The action was back and forth as Sam Miletic fired a wrister of his own that DiPietro was ready for. At the other end, Rafferty came up with a good pinch that led to some extended time for the Comets in the offensive zone and Utica had a couple of shifts of good pressure.

Justin Taylor fired a shot off the pad of Tokarski before Lind came up with a great forecheck that forced a turnover in the Comets favour, however, Sautner and Agozzino started to scuffle and the whistle was blown. Both were given delay-of-game penalties for their efforts.

Brogan Rafferty has been having a nice rookie campaign so far and he was looking for another goal when he let fly with a shot off the right boards that Tokarski swallowed up. At the other end of the ice, Rafferty wiped out under pressure and DiPietro had to come up with a glove save.

The rookie netminder then had a couple of adventurous attempts at playing the puck before Tyler Graovac drew a tripping call on Matt Abt.

While up a man, Rafferty let fly with a shot through traffic that caused some trouble, but it did not make it past Tokarski. Eliot tried his luck with a one-timer that was gloved down and the Comets came up empty.

Josh Teves used a smart stick to force a turnover in the late going, but the Comets were unable to make anything happen. The middle frame ended with the Pens showing a 9-8 advantage in shots.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The final frame started off with so much promise. The Comets were only up by a goal, but they were up.

Kole Lind and Nikolay Goldobin worked their way into the Pens’ zone early, but Kole dished the puck right into Goldy’s feet and the play died. The miscues continued as Josh Teves set Carter Bancks up in the high slot for a chance but the captain whiffed on his shot.

Lukas Jasek followed up with a nice takeaway in the offensive zone and dished to Dyson Stevenson, who probably should have taken a shot, but instead dished to Vinny Arseneau and once again, it was one play too many.

The fourth line managed to get their stuff together long enough to have a solid shift in the offensive zone, but they were unable to make anything happen with it.

The Pens went the other way and Andrew Agozzino got a shot away and kept on rolling until DiPietro was laid out inside his net. DiPietro stayed down briefly but would stay in the game. Agozzino would end up with a goaltender interference penalty and Josh Teves was dinged for hooking. The thing is… Teves wasn’t even on the ice when the play happened. It was Olli Juolevi who was doing the hooking.

At any rate, the teams were skating at four aside.

Zack MacEwen was looking to make something happen when he dropped a pass to Ashton Sautner, but the Comets defender was tied up and unable to make a play. TheBigFella didn’t have a ton of room, but maybe he should have taken a shot instead.

Tyler Graovac followed up with a nice feed for Rafferty, but Tokarski came up with a big save. Graovac has been shaking off some rust over his last couple of games, but he was looking a bit better as this contest went on. The team could use some help from somewhere, it might as well be him if he can keep things going in the right direction.

Mitch Eliot already had a goal, but he was looking for a second with a big shot that was soaked up by Tokarski for a whistle. Francis Perron forced a turnover in the offensive zone and sent a pass to Lukas Jasek but he bobbled the puck before spinning and firing. Tokarski came up with the save and held with Arseneau lurking for loose change.

At the other end, DiPietro had to come up with a game-saver after a Brogan Rafferty turnover led to an Agozzino chance. The saves kept coming as Mikey kicked out a David Warsofsky offering from the point. Jake Lucchini came with a quick shot, but DiPietro had a quicker leg for another save.

We saw a couple of sloppy shifts from both sides before Brisebois used some good body positioning to take his man off the puck in the defensive zone and the Comets were able to head the other way.

Josh Teves was dinged for holding at the 13:40 mark and that was when things started to go wrong for the home team. Bancks, Hamilton, Juolevi, and Sautner started this kill off and they did great work to keep the Pens to the outside. When Agozzino finally did get a scoring opportunity, DiPietro was there to rob him of a goal.

The Comets managed to change-up three of their four killers as MacEwen, Jasek, and Brisebois joined Sautner, but the Pens took advantage and evened the score at one. It was Zach Trotman getting a piece of Joseph Blandisi’s shot for his first goal of the season. Blandisi grabbed the only assist for his second helper of the year.

As if giving up the tying goal with less than five minutes remaining wasn’t bad enough, Jordy Bellerive made it a 2-1 game just 34 seconds later with his second of the year after tipping a floater past DiPietro. Trotman earned his second assist of the year on the play, while Jake Lucchini grabbed his third.

That was not an ideal sequence of events.

The Comets came looking to even the score with Goldobin and Jasek looking dangerous, but Goldy put his pass just out of Jasek’s reach. At the other end, DiPietro had to be sharp to get a glove on an Anthony Angello offering.

Brogan Rafferty tried to set Brisebois up for a late goal, but Tokarski swallowed up the Brisebois shot like it was the best cup of Utica Coffee Roasting’s Yirgacheffee that he had ever tasted.

Zach Trotman was dinged for roughing at the 17:50 mark… but Wacey Hamilton was as well and the teams played some four aside hockey.

The Comets started out with MacEwen, Goldobin, Sautner, and Eliot and Trent Cull summoned DiPietro to the bench with about 2:10 left in the game.

Zack MacEwen has had what has to be a frustrating start to his 2019/20 season for him and that frustration showed with the goaltender interference penalty that he took at the 18:19 mark. He also took a hefty slash to the back of his leg on his way to the bench, but that went uncalled by the officials.

With MacEwen in the box and DiPietro back in the net, the Comets used the trio of Brisebois, Sautner, and Bancks to start the kill off. Brisebois used a good stick to deflect the puck out of play to relieve the pressure that the Pens were applying.

Graovac, Goldobin, and Juolevi took over and DiPietro headed back to the bench in favour of another skater. Justin Bailey had a late shot denied buy Tokarski before the Comets called their timeout with 20 seconds left on the clock.

Nikolay Goldobin had a late shot off of a faceoff win that was stopped and held and that was about it for this one. The Pens held a 10-7 advantage in shots in the final frame and a 31-23 advantage overall.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Today’s Comets Goal:

Mitch Eliot: (1) from Kole Lind (7). Power play goal.

Special Teams:

Power Play: 1/3

Penalty Kill: 3/4.

PP1: Goldobin, MacEwen, Graovac, Juolevi, Rafferty.

PP2: Perron, Bailey, Lind, Brisebois, Eliot.

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Hamilton, Jasek, MacEwen, Graovac, Goldobin, Bailey, Juolevi, Brisebois, Sautner, Rafferty.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Mitch Eliot. First career goal.

Zach Trotman: One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Jordy Bellerive: Game-winning goal.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Guillaume Brisebois. Guillaume didn’t pick up any points in this one, but I thought he was one of the Comets better defenders today. He was credited with three shots on net and continues to lead the Comets blueline in that category with 21 on the season. Brisebois isn’t flashy, but he is becoming a steady, consistent rearguard for the Comets.

2nd Star: Mitch Eliot. Eliot led the Comets with four shots on goal today, although it seemed to me like he might have had one or two more. He scored his first pro goal in his third AHL game and is now up to eight shots on the season. If he keeps up at that pace, he will be giving himself a chance to pick up a couple of points this year. The Comets need to shoot the puck more and if Eliot can keep getting his shots through, the coaching staff will be more inclined to give him more games and more minutes.

1st Star: Mikey DiPietro. I know, that second goal was a stinky one, even if it was tipped, but overall, DiPietro had a sound game in this one. He stopped 29 of 31 shots that he faced and a few of his saves were big ones. He is now 3-2-0-0 on the season with a goals-against-average of 1.96 and a 0.929% save percentage.

Next Game

Game #13

Utica Comets at Binghamton Devils

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific