Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #30

Laval Rocket at Utica Comets

Friday, December 20th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific



Scratched Today For Utica

  1. Wacey Hamilton: C/W – Upper-body injury, week-to-week. AHL deal.
  2. Dyson Stevenson: W/C – Undisclosed injury, no timeframe. AHL deal.
  3. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  4. Mitch Eliot: RD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  5. David Pope: LW – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.

Today’s Comets Lines

77 Nikolay Goldobin – 19 Carter Camper – 27 Francis Perron

47 Sven Baertschi – 17 Seamus Malone – 24 Reid Boucher (A)

95 Justin Bailey – 9 Lukas Jasek – 13 Kole Lind

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

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 8 Dylan Blujus

31 Zane McIntyre

32 Richard Bachman (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame saw thew Comets take over half a period before they looked like they remembered there was a hockey game to play as they were being outshot 5-1 with a little over nine minutes remaining.

There was some early back and forth before the Rocket got down to business. Zane McIntyre was back in the pipes again today and he had to steer aside a pair of long shots before Vincent Arseneau blew up Michael Pezzetta just inside the offensive zone.

Otto Leskinen had a chance kicked out by McIntyre and the Comets netminder followed up with another save on a Maxim Lamarche offering that probably should have beat him. The saves kept coming as McIntyre gloved down a Josh Brook shot that was redirected on the way to his net.

This was when the officials did a headcount and realized that Hayden Verbeek was not on the roster card and they tossed him from the game. File that one under “oops” for the Rocket.

McIntyre kept the saves coming as he shut down a Maxim Lamarche chance from the blueline before gloving down the next shot that came his way.

Jake Evans tried his luck with a shot off the rush that was blocked by Dylan Blujus before the Comets finally got their first shot on net after some nifty puck movement in the offensive zone. Guillaume Brisebois played trigger-man but Cayden Primeau was equal to the task.

There was a little more back and forth before McIntyre shut down a Nikita Jevplaovs offering.

Vincent Arseneau was dinged for tripping at the 12:44 mark and the Comets were off to the kill. The Comets did great work to keep Laval to the outside and we saw former Utica defender Evan McEneny let fly with a point shot that was blocked by Blujus. Alexandre Alain unloaded with a shot off the shoulder of McIntyre before the penalty expired and the Comets had a good kill.

Unfortunately, Alain followed up with a nice shot off an even nicer pass and Laval went up 1-0. The goal was Alain’s seventh of the season, while Otto Leskinen picked up his 12th helper of the year on the play and Ralph Cuddemi earned his first.

Roughly 30 seconds after the Alain tally, Will Pelletier was sent off for interference and the Comets had a power play to work with.

Boucher had a one-timer turned aside and Brogan Rafferty had his chance shut down as well and the Comets came up empty.

Sven Baertschi took a long cross-ice feed and sent the puck through the crease where Primeau was alert to keep it moving as it passed him.

Evan McEneny was dinged for holding at the 18:56 mark and Utica finished the period up a man. They would have to wait until the middle frame to score though, as the period ended with Laval up 1-0 on the scoreboard and 9-4 on the shot clock.

Your first-period shot map:

Second Period

The Comets power play carried over from the middle frame and Kole Lind had a chance gobbled up. The Comets came up empty.

Utica kept the pressure on as the Camper line went to work but they couldn’t make anything happen. At the other end, Alexandre Alian fired a shot through traffic that was stopped and held by McIntyre for the whistle.

Vinny Arseneau likes to make the boards rattle with a solid hit and he did just that before heading off for a line change. Laval worked their way into the Comets end and McIntyre got a glove on a shot but Laval stuck with it and they were soon up 2-0.

Yannick Veilleux was the goal scorer with his first of the season. Veilleux is with the Rocket on a PTO, (professional tryout offer) but normally plies his trade in the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings… yeah, those Wings, the Comets farm team. Michael McCarron picked up his fourth helper of the year on the play, while Ralph Cuddemi grabbed his second of the year and second of the game all at once.

It wasn’t great to be down 2-0, but it was kinda great when Kole Lind pulled the Comets to within a goal less than a minute later. The goal was Kole’s ninth of the season after taking a sweet feed from his point-pacing teammate Brogan Rafferty with his 22nd helper of the year. Lind and Rafferty were both up to 25 points on the season after the goal.

The Comets kept the pressure up until Seamus Malone passed the puck to… well, nobody, and the Rocket went the other way. The Comets regained control of the puck and Boucher fed Malone for a pass. Seamus tried to send it to Baertschi for a scoring chance but put the pass just out of Sven’s reach.

It was Laval’s turn to apply the pressure as the Jasek line was hemmed in their own end for a shift. McIntyre had to steer aside a long shot before the Comets went the other way and Rafferty fired one off the shoulder of Primeau.

Carter Camper followed up with a feed to Gadjovich in close but Jonah couldn’t get his stick on the puck. At the other end, Olofsson fired a shot through traffic from the left side that slid through the Comets crease and McIntyre steered it aside.

Justin Bailey became the third Comet of the season to hit double digits as Boucher and Goldobin have already pulled that feat off. Bailey was the beneficiary of some great hustle and a stiff physical play from Reid Boucher and buried his shot behind Primeau for his 10th of the season. Boucher, for his part, picked up his 15th assist of the season. Ashton Sautner was credited with his fifth helper of the year on the play as well.

Laval came right back as McIntyre had to kick out a Leskinen point shot before Stefan LeBlanc ripped one off the iron at the other end. LeBlanc was then quickly dispatched to the penalty box for holding and the Comets had another penalty to kill.

Utica had killed off roughly a minute of the LeBlanc minor when Baertschi drew a penalty on Xavier Ouellet… or did he? The officials apparently changed their mind and the Comets were still on the kill. The AHL officiating can be very, very strange at times. The Comets came up with a good kill.

Ashton Sautner dished out a solid hit in the neutral zone before the very same Xavier Ouellet was whistled for hooking and the Comets had another power play to work with.

Boucher ripped a shot off the blocker of Primeau and out of play after a Comets faceoff win before Jake Evans got a shorthanded breakaway when Rafferty couldn’t hold the line for Utica. McIntyre came up with the big save to keep his team in the game.

Justin Bailey had a chance denied at the other end before Otto Leskinen was dinged for tripping and the Comets had a five-on-three for roughly 1:30. Baertschi had a chance from in close turned aside and followed up by firing his next offering through the crease and out the other side.

The Comets were pressing and Kole Lind looked like he had the go-ahead goal in his sights until Primeau flashed the leather with a big glove save. The Comets called their time-out with 0.24 remaining on the clock. The had a couple of late chances that they couldn’t bury and we went into the final frame knotted at two.

Laval showed an edge of 13-10 on the shot clock.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The Comets were still on the power play to open the final frame and we saw Carter Camper let fly with a shot that was gobbled up by Primeau before Brogan Rafferty absolutely hammered one home to put his team up 3-2. The goal was Rafferty’s fourth of the season, while Guillaume Brisebois earned his ninth helper of the year on the play and Camper grabbed his 17th.

The goal came 14 seconds into the period and Joe Cox was sent off for a hook on Kole Lind at the 1:06 mark and the Comets were right back to the power play.

Once again, we saw Jake Evans on a shorthanded break and this time he fired a shot off the mask of McIntyre. Evans always seems to be a shorthanded threat for the Rocket. At the other end, Gadjovich had a chance in close but wasn’t able to put it past Primeau. The Comets came up empty once more.

Laval started to press and the Comets were doing a decent job of keeping them to the outside until Blujus and LeBlanc took simultaneous penalties. Blujus was dinged for boarding, while LeBlanc was fingered for a cross-check.

It took Michael McCarron a little over 30 seconds to even the game at three with his fifth of the season. Josh Brook picked up his fifth helper of the year on the play, while Jake Evans earned his 13th.

Being two men down isn’t a lot of fun, and Laval would find out all about that soon enough.

The Comets still had the other penalty to kill off and Carter Camper was blown up by a solid hit before the team came up with a good kill.

Guillaume Brisebois isn’t as flashy as Brogan Rafferty and wasn’t picked as high as Olli Juolevi, but the third-year defender has been playing with a new level of confidence in his game this year and it shows. Breezy unloaded with a shot through traffic that was turned aside and he followed up with another that was redirected out of play.

The lines went into a bit of a blender as Camper was now occupying Malone’s spot between Baertschi and Boucher.

The games between these two clubs can often become physical affairs and Rafferty found that out when McCarron crushed him behind the Comets net. To his credit, Brogan stayed with the play and did a good job of using his body to shield the puck from McCarron as he moved it to a teammate.

Malone found himself on the fourth line between Gadjovich and Arseneau and the trio had a good shift in the offensive zone that led to a Gadjovich chance that he couldn’t get to go. A brief melee ensued and McCarron soon found himself being ejected from the game for a spear and the Comets had a five-minute major to work with.

Nice work, McCarron… me thinks your coach will have a few words for you after that one. McCarron may even end up getting a suspension out of the deal as he smashed his stick on the cross-bar as he left the ice and threw the remnants in the general direction of the ref.

The Comets were not messing around as Lind was flat out robbed by Primeau before the Laval netminder shut down Baertschi’s chance that followed. Goldobin followed up by ripping a shot off the knob of Primeau’s stick before Antoine Waked was dinged for kneeing and the Comets had a full two minutes of five-on-three action.

They would score twice with the man-up as Baertschi and Goldy put the final nails in the Laval coffin. First up, it was Baertschi on a play from Goldobin and Rafferty.

Sven was on that loose puck like white on rice… in a dirty area of the ice. Some might call that a hard skill play. The goal was Sven’s fifth of the season, while Goldy earned his 17th helper and Rafferty grabbed his 23rd.

It wasn’t long after when Goldy was celebrating his 11th of the season after receiving a Reid Boucher pass and wiring it past Primeau. Reid picked up his 16th assist of the season on the play.

With the teams back to five aside action, Brisebois took a high hit in the Comets end and looked to be a little shaken up but he stayed in the game.

Ashton Sautner was sent off for a high-stick at the 18:38 mark and the Comets would finish the game shorthanded. The Rocket also summoned Primeau to the bench for a sixth attacker and McIntyre had to come up with a huge save during a scramble and the buzzer soon sounded to end the game.

The Comets came away with the win, outshooting Laval 10-4 in the final frame, but being outshot 26-24 overall.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals:

  1. Kole Lind (9) from Brogan Rafferty (22).
  2. Justin Bailey (10) from Reid Boucher (15) and Ashton Sautner (5).
  3. Brogan Rafferty (4) from Guillaume Brisebois (9) and Carter Camper (17). PP goal.
  4. Sven Baertschi (5) from Nikolay Goldobin (17) and Brogan Rafferty (23). PP goal.
  5. Nikolay Goldobin (11) from Reid Boucher (16). PP goal.

Special Teams:

Power Play: 3/8

Penalty Kill: 4/5

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

PP2: Goldobin, Perron, Camper, Gadjovich, Juolevi.

PP3: Boucher, Bailey, Baertschi, Lind, Juolevi.

PP4: Goldy, Camper, Perron, Gadjovich, Brisebois.

Penalty Killers: Jasek, Bancks, Boucher, Camper, Bailey, Baertschi, Brisebois, Juolevi, Blujus, Sautner.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Seamus Malone. Not sure why…

2nd Star: Sven Baertschi. One goal.

1st Star: Brogan Rafferty. One goal, two assists.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Zane McIntyre. He wasn’t as busy as he has been in some games, but McIntyre had several big stops to help his team take the win today. Zane now shows a record of 9-5-1-0 this year to go along with a goals-against-average of 3.12 and a 0.899% save percentage. He’s going to want to tighten things up, but he had a solid outing for the Comets today.

2nd Star: Reid Boucher. Ho-hum, another two points for Reid. TheRidiculousOne just keeps piling up points and is now up to 20 goals and 16 assists, giving him 36 points in 25 games. He leads the AHL in goals and in points and he is doing it in all situations. He has six power-play goals and another pair while shorthanded. Reid is as complete of a hockey player as you will find in the AHL and he has been an absolute treat for me to watch over the past three seasons.

1st Star: Brogan Rafferty. You weren’t expecting someone else were you? Brogan has now wrestled the AHL’s overall points lead by a defender away from former Canuck Derrick Pouliot and is three points up on him at the time of this writing. Rafferty now has four goals and 23 assists to give himself 27 points in 30 games. That is a blistering 68 point pace in his rookie campaign. There is still some work to do for Brogan in his own end, but he has been having a very encouraging rookie season.

Next Game

Game #31

Utica Comets at Rochester Americans

Saturday, December 21st, 2019

7:05 pm Eastern/4:05 pm Pacific.