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Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #36

Utica Comets at Hartford Wolf Pack

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific

Pre-Game

Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter

Post-Game

Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Francis Perron: W/C – Upper-body injury, (eye) week-to-week. NHL deal.
  2. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Lower-body injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  3. Seamus Malone: W/C – Undisclosed injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  4. Olli Juolevi: LD – Undisclosed injury, no timeframe. NHL deal.
  5. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  6. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  7. Justin Bailey: LW/RW – Veteran scratch. NHL deal.

Today’s Comets Lines

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

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 19 Carter Camper – 13 Kole Lind

47 Sven Baertschi – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

21 Jonah Gadjovich – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 18 Vincent Arseneau

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 9 Lukas Jasek – 74 Tanner Sorenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 5 Jalen Chatfield

6 Ashton Sautner – 25 Brogan Rafferty

8 Dylan Blujus – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Mikey DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

Well, this was an ugly opening frame of hockey from the Comets and they would finish the period down 2-0 and having been outshot 16-3… 16-3!

There was some early back and forth, but this was all Hartford in the first period.

Vinni Lettieri leads the Wolf Pack attack and he opened the scoring for his club with some nice hand/eye coordination when he batted a puck out of the air and past DiPietro for his 13th of the season. Boo Nieves picked up his 15th assist of the year on the play, while Darren Raddysh grabbed his 11th.

The Comets were trying to mount an attack, but they just couldn’t get much in the way of sustained zone time in the Pack’s end.

Mikey DiPietro had a busy period of hockey and he did good work to shut down a Phil Di Giuseppe offering from in close before Vincent LoVerde made it a 2-0 game for the home team with his fourth of the season. Danny O’Regan earned his 16th helper of the year on the play and Di Giuseppe picked up his 10th.

The Comets were in a 2-0 hole, but Jonah Gadjovich was trying to change that with a shot off the right side. Unfortunately, the big winger put his shot wide. Ashton Sautner followed up with a shot through traffic that Sven Baertschi tipped wide of the net as well.

It was back to the DiPietro show when the Comets netminder stopped and held a shot from in close before he made a sprawling save on a Shawn McBride offering.

Vinny Arseneau was dinged for slashing on the play and headed off to the box.

DiPietro shut down a pair of one-timers before he swallowed up a chance from Vitali Kravtsov from in tight.

Goldy was out on the penalty kill and was credited with the Comets first shot on goal from distance as Adam Huska was not a busy man.

DiPietro denied another shot from Di Giuseppe before Boucher came up with a steal and let fly with a shorthanded backhander that Huska was ready for. The Comets came up with a good kill.

Sven Baertschi had a chance gloved down and the Comets were back to the kill when Dylan Blujus was sent off for a cross-check.

Carter Bancks came up with an early shot block before Tim Gettinger was denied by DiPietro in close. Matt Beleskey followed up with a one-timer that Mikey D turned aside and the Comets had another good kill in the books.

They were quickly headed right back to the kill when Dylan Blujus stepped out of the box and put the puck over the glass for a delay of game call.

Ashton Sautner stepped up at the Comets blue line and absolutely destroyed Lettieri with a clean hit before DiPietro gloved down a Nick Ebert chance and the Comets had another good kill.

Hartford looked to be trying for another goal in the late going but DiPietro came up with a huge stop on Ryan Gropp.

Hartford showed a 16-3 advantage on the shot clock for the first period.

Second Period

The middle frame took a while to get going as we saw a lot of whistles, and maybe that played into the Comets favour somehow. They were the only team to grab a goal in the second period.

Trent Cull changed up the lines to start the middle frame as we saw Baertschi with Camper and Lind followed up by Goldobin with Hamilton and Boucher.

The Comets started to get some shots on goal in the second period after having just three in the opening frame. Boucher had his backhander turned aside by Huska and the Wolf Pack netminder denied the Arseneau chance that followed as well.

Nick Jones decided to try the all or nothing approach to goal-scoring when he crashed the net with the puck and took everything into the end boards. The officials weren’t falling for it and there was no goal on the play.

Ashton Sautner found Boucher for a one-timer from the high slot that Huska gobbled up before Kravtsov was denied by DiPietro.

We had some back and forth before the Comets came alive as Carter Camper dropped for Baertschi for a shot that was kicked out by Huska before Lind put the rebound chance off the side of the net. Goldy followed up with a shot off the blocker of Huska before he stole the puck back to set up Boucher for another shot that the Hartford netminder was ready for.

Rafferty let fly with a long shot that was swallowed up and a brief melee broke out involving none other than TheShaunavonShiftDisturber, as is his way. That nickname got the seal of approval from Hayley Wickenheiser, who also hails from Kole’s hometown.

Vinni Lettieri ended up being whistled for holding and the Comets were off to the power play.

Darren Raddysh ended up with a shorthanded chance that was swallowed up by DiPietro before the Comets’ first unit started to get some nice puck movement happening at the right end of the ice, unfortunately, they couldn’t make anything happen.

The second unit took over and we saw Brisebois have trouble holding the line again and he took a slashing penalty after chopping down Tim Gettinger on his break. DiPietro made the save and the Comets PP was over.

Utica would kill off the Brisebois minor and DiPietro came up with another big save on Lettieri soon after. The penalty troubles continued when Lukas Jasek was dinged for putting the puck out of play and he headed off to the box.

Blujus came up with a big shot block and a clear on the same play. Boucher ended up getting decked by Gettinger and after the smoke cleared, Gettinger was sitting for two minutes for boarding, two more for roughing and Ashton Sautner was headed off with him after being dinged two minutes for roughing as well.

Mitch Eliot has barely played this year and it showed when his pass was picked off by Di Giuseppe, who went in for a chance that DiPietro denied before gobbling up the shot that followed from Kravtsov. Nick Jones found himself with a golden opportunity from point-blank range. He whipped out all of his moves but DiPietro wasn’t buying what he was selling and stayed with him for the save.

Reid Boucher pulled the Comets to within a goal after Kole Lind put in the work and Reid banged home the rebound for his 21st of the season. Lind earned his 19th helper of the year on the play and is now just one point shy of 30 on the season.

Vinny Arseneau followed up the Boucher tally with a heavy shot that was kicked out by Huska, but the Comets were showing a bit of life.

The Wolf Pack wasn’t about to lie down as they turned things around and we saw DiPietro make a diving save before getting his shoulder on the next Hartford shot sent his way.

Wacey Hamilton and Nick Jones were sent off for roughing at the 18:20 mark and the period ended with some four aside action that saw Baertschi tee up Sautner for a shot that was gobbled up by Huska.

Utica had the shot advantage for the middle frame by a 16-14 margin.

Third Period

With the teams starting out at four-on-four play we saw Rafferty try to go end-to-end but he was blown up by Mason Geertsen just inside the offensive blue line. Don’t worry, folks… Rafferty stayed in the game.

The Comets started to apply some pressure and Ryan Gropp sent the puck over the glass and was headed to the box for a delay of game penalty.

Once again, the first unit couldn’t make anything happen and the second unit had to take over. They didn’t fare any better and ended up giving up yet another shorthanded chance that DiPietro had to shut down when Nick Jones got free. DiPietro came up with a huge glove save on Jones and the Comets power play fell flat once again.

The Comets were trying to claw back but Boucher’s one-timer was turned aside and the Rafferty chance that followed was fired off a body and wide of the net.

This was not Guillaume Brisebois’ best game today as he coughed up the puck more than once, leading to Hartford scoring chances. One of those miscues came and DiPietro stymied Matt Beleskey to bail out his defender… again.

Vinny Arseneau is pretty much a human bowling ball and he levelled Di Giuseppe in the Comets end and had to answer the bell when Geertsen came calling. The two massive men threw down, with Geertsen getting the takedown after some heavy blows were traded.

Arseneau was sent off for an early shower after being assessed with a game misconduct on the Di Giuseppe interference play and five for fighting. Geertsen was also given five for his part in the fisticuffs. The end result was the Comets being down a man for five minutes.

Lettieri let fly with a one-timer that was stopped by DiPietro and Danny O’Regan took an ill-timed slashing call to cut his team’s five-minute advantage down significantly. During the four aside play, Rafferty had a chance from the side of the net that Huska turned aside before Baertschi let fly from the right side, only to see Huska gobble up his offering.

The Wolf Pack pressed and Goldy was caught napping and flat-footed when Di Giuseppe blew by him and walked in alone for his 11th goal of the season. Beleskey picked up his fifth helper of the year on the play, while Raddysh grabbed his 12th. Di Giuseppe was credited with a game-high of 10 shots in this contest.

The Comets still had some time left to kill off of the Arseneau penalty and DiPietro had to steer aside a Kravtsov shot before stopping and freezing the Nick Ebert shot that followed. Mikey D came up with another save on Di Giuseppe and the Comets had another good kill in the books.

The problem was, Boucher was quickly sent off for slashing and it was right back to the kill. The Wolf Pack was all over the Comets and we saw Bancks wave at Di Giuseppe as the winger skated past him in the defensive zone but DiPietro was there with the save. LoVerde followed up with a one-timer that was also denied and the Comets killed off the Boucher minor.

Trent Cull called his timeout with 1:23 remaining and kept DiPietro on the bench for the extra attacker. Boucher was also ejected from the game at this point for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he showed his frustration and the officials felt abused.

The Comets tried to get to within a goal as Baertschi rang the iron behind Huska and Goldy found himself wide open but put his shot wide. The game wrapped up with Goldy foiling an empty-net goal chance from the Pack.

Hartford held a 10-8 advantage on the third-period shot clock.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goal

Reid Boucher (21) from Kole Lind (19).

Special Teams:

Power Play: 0/3

Penalty Kill: 8/8

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

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

Penalty Killers: Bancks, Hamilton, Boucher, Goldobin, Jasek, Baertschi, Sautner, Brisebois, Blujus, Rafferty, Chatfield.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Mikey DiPietro. 37 saves.

2nd Star: Phil Di Giuseppe. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Adam Huska. 26 saves for the win.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Reid Boucher. One goal, 12 minutes in penalties and eight shots on goal. Reid was a busy man today. There were not a ton of positives to take away from this one after the team got just one goal and spent far too much of the game playing shorthanded. Reid getting back into scoring mode after seeing his 16-game point streak come to an end after Friday’s game was a positive in my mind. He is up to 21 goals and 20 assists in 31 games this season.

2nd Star: The Penalty Killers. After the penalty kill has taken a bit of a hit of late, it was nice to see the team shut down every chance that Hartford had today. That is your silver lining from today’s game, even if Hartford doesn’t exactly instill fear around the league when they are a man up.

1st Star: Mikey DiPietro. He took the loss today, but Mikey D made several big-time saves in this game to give his team a chance to stay in it. He finished with 37 stops on 40 shots and now has a record of 9-5-1-0 along with a 2.72 GAA and a 0.907% save percentage. The Comets need to find a way to stop hanging their netminders out to dry this year as for the most part, they have received solid goaltending this season from all of their stoppers.

Next Game

Game #37

Utica Comets at Belleville Senators

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific