Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #14

Syracuse Crunch at Utica Comets

Monday, November 11th, 2019

3:00 pm Eastern/12:00 noon Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter


Scratched Today For Utica

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

Today’s Comets Lines

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

95 Justin Bailey – 44 Tyler Graovac – 15 Zack MacEwen

77 Nikolay Goldoboin – 36 Wacey Hamilton (A) – 13 Kole Lind

27 Francis Perron – 9 Lukas Jasek – 34 Carter Bancks (C)

18 Vincent Arseneau – 14 Justin Taylor – 26 Dyson Stevenson

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 25 Brogan Rafferty

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner (A)

3 Stefan LeBlanc – 52 Mitch Eliot

64 Michael DiPietro

31 Zane McIntyre (backing up)

First Period

This first period had a pretty decent pace to it as these two clubs got off to playing hockey right away.

Brogan Rafferty fanned on an early shot attempt and it led to the Crunch heading the other way on an odd-man rush. Guillaume Brisebois came up with a good sliding play to help disrupt the Syracuse chance.

We had some early back and forth before Mikey DiPietro gloved down a floater and held for the whistle. DiPietro has been very good so far this year, but he would end up letting in an ugly one in the opening frame, but we will get to that in a minute.

Vinny Arseneau enjoys the physical side of the game and he made sure that Jimmy Huntington knew that when he clobbered him with a solid hit along the boards.

The line of Justin Bailey, Tyler Graovac, and Zack MacEwen is made up of some rather large men. That trio did great work cycling the puck in the offensive zone but couldn’t make anything happen that resulted in a goal. They were, however, able to apply enough pressure to force Luke Witkowski into a delay of game penalty when he fired the puck over the glass.

The Comets rolled out Rafferty, Brisebois, Lind, Bailey, and Perron to get things started before MacEwen, Goldobin, Graovac, Eliot, and Juolevi took over. Eliot and Juolevi had chances turned aside, as did Graovac before Goldy fired a shot off the knob of goaltender Spencer Martin’s stick. The Comets had good pressure but came up empty.

Kole Lind was dinged for tripping as soon as the penalty ended and the Comets had a penalty to kill.

Juolevi, Sautner, Bancks, and Hamilton came out to start the kill and we saw Juolevi block a shot and immediately start to favour his right arm. He blocked one more for good measure before getting a line change. Olli would soon leave the game and did not return for the remainder of the period.

Jasek, Bailey, Brisebois, and LeBlanc took over and Bailey used his wheels to break the other way and draw a penalty to put the teams to four aside action. Ross Colton was the guilty party heading off for hooking.

After the brief four aside play, Utica went to the power play but we saw the Crunch with a pair of shorthanded chances. First up was Cory Conacher being denied by DiPietro before Borris Katchouk was turned aside as well. Sautner, Perron, Lind, and Bailey were the power-play unit of record at the time. The Comets came up empty.

We had more back and forth before Mikey DiPietro did… well, he did this.

Unfortunately, soon after, Boris Katchouk handcuffed him with a knuckler from outside the blueline and the Crunch went up 1-0. The goal was the first of the season for Katchouk, while Cory Conacher and Chris Mueller each earned their sixth helper of the year on the play. That one was stinky, folks.

Kole Lind followed up with a shot from an odd angle that was denied, but when your team is having trouble scoring, you shoot from anywhere and look for the rebounds.

We had some decent pace as Tyler Graovac had a chance denied before Luke Witkowski went the other way and had an opportunity turned aside and the Comets got lucky with a quick whistle.

Stefan LeBlanc was dinged for holding at the 19:51 mark and the Crunch made him pay pretty much right at the buzzer. That was when Chris Mueller tipped a Cameron Gaunce offering past DiPietro to put his team up 2-0. The goal was the fifth of the season for Mueller, while Gaunce grabbed his 11th helper of the year on the play and Dennis Yan earned his third.

The was it for the first period. The Crunch held an 11-7 advantage on the shot clock.

Your first-period shot map:

Second Period

The good news for the middle frame was the Olli Juolevi was back out and ready to continue playing… the bad news? this period was sloooow.

The Comets were sloppy in their own end early as the Crunch pressed before Kole Lind was able to go the other way for a shot that was denied by Martin.

We had some back and forth before Syracuse sent too many men over the boards and were whistled for it. The Comets had an early power play to work with.

MacEwen, Goldy, Graovac, Eliot, and Juolevi got things started and we saw Graovac put a shot off the side of the net before Rafferty, Bailey, Perron, Lind, and Brisebois took over. Perron had a chance turned aside and the Comets came up empty.

Brisebois used a nice play off the boards to get the puck to Kole Lind but the Comets winger was unable to make anything happen. Justin Bailey followed up with a slick takeaway but put his offering over the target.

Mitchell Stephens went the other way with a shot off the shoulder of DiPietro. There was more back and forth before Brogan Rafferty was sent off for tripping at the 11:18 mark.

Sautner, Juolevi, Bancks, and Hamilton started this one off before Brisebois, LeBlanc, Jasek, and Bailey took over. Jasek had a very effective forechecking shift that killed off time before Bancks and Hamilton were back out to steer this one home. Brisebois came up with another good shot block and the Comets came up with a good kill.

Syracuse kept the pressure on until Jasek hit Lind with a pass on the rush but Kole was denied in tight by Martin. At the other end, DiPietro came up with a save but as play continued, MacEwen was buried into the boards by Dennis Yan and the Crunch forward was sent off for boarding.

MacEwen was able to bounce back up and join the power play. Juolevi had a one-timer kicked out before the second unit took over. The Comets came up empty once again. Man, that power play needs work.

Frankie Perron didn’t care that the power play was over, he was still hunting for a goal. He had his chance kicked out by Martin, who followed up with another stop for good measure.

We saw Lukas Jasek out late with Arseneau and Stevenson for a shift that saw some fireworks as Dominik Masin caught Dyson Stevenson with a high-stick and the ShanavonSlugger took exception. The two men were soon teeing off on each other. Both were sent off for fighting while Stevenson was given an extra two for roughing and Masin got an extra two for the high-stick.

Syracuse came looking for a goal as Cory Conacher came down the right side with a shot that was steered aside by the blocker of DiPietro. The Comets rookie netminder followed up with back-to-back saves on Cal Foote and Nolan Valleau and the period came to a close.

Utica held a 7-4 advantage on the shot clock.

Your second-period shot map:

Third Period

The third period started off with MacEwen blocking a shot and coming away with a bit of a stinger, but he would stay in the game.

We had some back and forth before Cory Conacher and Taylor Raddysh had an odd-man rush that ended when DiPietro proved equal to the task on the Raddysh chance.

Brogan Rafferty hadn’t taken a penalty through the team’s first 13 games, but he took his second of the game at the 3:03 mark when he was sent off for holding and the Comets had another penalty to kill.

Bancks, Hamilton, Sautner, and Juolevi started things off before Jasek and Bailey took over upfront. DiPietro had to make a blocker save on Conacher before the former Comet fired his next shot off the iron. The Comets came up with another good kill.

When I spoke with Mitch Eliot at prospects camp this year, he told me with a smile that he enjoys the physical side of the game and takes great pleasure in taking his man off the puck along the boards. Well, Daniel Walcott must not have read that interview as Eliot stood him up at the Comets blueline when he tried to enter the zone.

Stefan LeBlanc was whistled for holding at the 5:34 mark and it was back to the kill for Utica.

Sautner came up with a timely block before DiPietro shut down a Chris Mueller chance from in close. Graovac and Jasek were out on the kill and they went in for a shorthanded chance. Jasek dropped to Graovac and the big pivot saw Martin whip out a leg for the save. The Comets came up with another good kill.

Both teams had a stretch where they couldn’t get out of the neutral zone as things were getting clogged up until eventually, MacEwen got in for a chance that was denied by Martin. Rafferty followed up with a chance through traffic that Martin knocked down for another save.

There were some blind passes being made in this game that accomplished little more than turning pucks over as some sloppy play started to creep back in.

Trent Cull had seen enough and the line blender was put into full effect. It looked to me that he had decided to park Justin Taylor and Dyson Stevenson for much of the final frame.

Kole Lind and Frankie Perron teamed up for a pair of chances that were denied in quick succession by Martin before Lind had a bouncer swallowed up as well. Tyler Graovac used a nifty feed to get the puck to Brisebois for a chance that was gloved down by Martin before Bailey showed a great second effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone. The Comets were unable to capitalize.

Daniel Walcott was sent off for tripping at the 16:06 mark and the Comets had a late power play to work with. Graovac, Goldobin, MacEwen, Rafferty, and Juolevi were deployed and we saw Rafferty fire a shot off the blocker of Martin before Goldy put a shot off a leg and wide of the net.

There was a bit of a goal-mouth scramble and TheBigFella dished a sweet feed to Goldobin who buried it for his third of the season. MacEwen grabbed his fifth assist of the year on the play, while Rafferty earned his seventh.

The Comets were looking to get another one quickly as Brisebois settled down a Perron pass and fired it through traffic but Martin was there with the save. DiPietro was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker and Boris Katchouk managed to take the puck from Goldy and waltz in for his second of the game into the empty net. This one was over. The unassisted goal was the third of the season for Katchouk.

The final frame finished with both teams showing nine shots for the third period, while Syracuse held a 24-23 advantage for the game.

Your third-period shot map:

Today’s Official Boxscore

Today’s Comets Goal:

Nikolay Goldobin (3) from Zack MacEwen (5) and Brogan Rafferty (7). Power play goal.

Special Teams:

Power Play: 1/5.

Penalty Kill: 4/5

PP Units:

Perron, Bailey, Lind, Rafferty, Brisebois.

MacEwen, Goldobin, Graovac, Juolevi, Eliot

Sautner, Rafferty, Perron, Bailey, Lind

Graovac, Goldobin, MacEwen, Rafferty, Juolevi

Penalty Killers: 

Bancks, Hamilton, Bailey, Jasek, Graovac, Sautner, Brisebois, Juolevi, LeBlanc, Rafferty.

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Nikolay Goldobin. One goal.

2nd Star: Chris Mueller. One goal, one assist.

1st Star: Boris Katchouk. Two goals.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

This wasn’t an exciting game, although there were some good moments from the team. That said, I’m not sure there were many star-worthy players from the Comets in this game. Today, I will just hand out a couple of honourable mentions instead.

I thought that Lukas Jasek had some nice moments in this game, particularly on the penalty-killing shift where he did great work along the boards deep in the Syracuse zone to kill some time.

When I first saw the Goldobin tally, I thought that Zack MacEwen had taken a shot and Goldy had deposited the rebound. Upon closer inspection, TheBigFella actually sent a pretty filthy pass Goldy’s way to set that goal up, so kudos to Zack for that one.

Finally, although Mikey DiPietro gave up one of the stinkiest goals that he will probably let in for the rest of his career on the first Katchouk tally, he also made a miraculous sprawling series of saves before that to help keep his team in the game.

Next Game

Game #15

Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch

Friday, November 15th, 2019

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific