Utica Comets Post-Game Report

Game #41

Hartford Wolf Pack at Utica Comets

Friday, January 17th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific


Pre-Game Predictions From Twitter


Today’s Comets Scratches

  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) day-to-day. AHL deal.
  6. Brogan Rafferty: RD – Undisclosed injury, week-to-week. NHL deal.
  7. Richard Bachman: G – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  8. Josh Teves: LD – Healthy scratch. NHL deal.
  9. Matt Petgrave: LD – Healthy scratch. (en-route).
  10. Tanner Sorenson: W/C – 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

18 Vincent Arseneau – 34 Carter Bancks (C) – 11 David Pope

55 Guillaume Brisebois – 5 Jalen Chatfield

48 Olli Juolevi – 6 Ashton Sautner

 3 Stefan LeBlanc – 52 Mitch Eliot

31 Zane McIntyre

64 Mikey DiPietro (backing up)

First Period

The opening frame saw Hartford with the bulk of the control as they doubled up the Comets on the scoreboard and on the shot clock.

Reid Boucher did what Reid Boucher does when he picked off a Hartford play just outside the offensive blueline and sent a nice cross-ice feed to Nikolay Goldobin for a shot that Tom McCollum was ready for.

Seamus Malone was back in the lineup today and he was also back on the wing. He came up with some good pressure in the offensive zone to force the Wolf Pack defender into feeding the puck to his own goaltender to get a whistle.

The Comets have more than a few players who can force turnovers and Olli Juolevi is one of them. He picked off a Hartford pass in the Comets end and cleared the puck with no harm done.

I have given Kole Lind the nickname of TheShaunavonShiftDisturber and he lived up to that moniker with a brief scrum after a whistle… as is his way. We would be hearing from Kole again later in the period.

The Carter Camper line had some good pressure in the offensive zone that ended with a Boucher blast that was deflected out of play. John Stevens and his line followed up with some good pressure as well, but the Comets hadn’t tested McCollum much.

David Pope changed that with a hot shot off the right side that McCollum steered aside.

Zane McIntyre hadn’t seen much action until Patrick Newell let fly with a shot that the Comets netminder shut down. McIntyre followed up with a pair of saves on Mason Geertsen and Shawn McBride as the Wolf Pack started to press.

There was more back and forth and we saw Lukas Jasek force a turnover in the neutral zone but the Comets couldn’t make anything happen.

Hartford continued to press and they were soon up 1-0. They had the Comets hemmed in their end and took advantage when Nick Jones snuck a point shot through traffic for his fifth goal of the season. Libor Hajek earned his first assist of the season on the play, while Darren Raddysh grabbed his 14th.

Just under a minute later, Kole Lind was whistled for a high-stick and because it caused some leakage, Kole had to sit for four minutes.

The Comets killers did great work to keep the Pack to the outside and killed off the first two minutes, but they wouldn’t make it through the next two without surrendering a goal. This time it was Vinni Lettieri with a bomb and Hartford was up 2-0. The goal was Lettieri’s 18th of the year, while Vincent LoVerde picked up his 12th helper of the season and Danny O’Regan earned his 17th.

That was it for McIntyre as Mikey DiPietro replaced him in the Comets net.

The Comets tried to get that goal back when Goldy dropped a nice pass for Camper, who dished to Boucher at the side of the net. Reid fired wide.

Boucher soon broke back in and put a shot off the post. Jalen Chatfield did great work to hold the line but the Comets were unable to make anything good come of the play.

Mitch Eliot likes to dish a solid hit along the boards and he erased his man just inside the Comets blueline and cleared the puck the other way where Seamus Malone was dinged for hooking.

As he has done so many times on the kill already this year, Lukas Jasek forced a turnover and cleared the zone for the Comets before Vinni Lettieri let fly with a shot that DiPietro kicked out. Nick Ebert had a chance as well and he saw the same result as DiPietro’s legs were proving quicker than the shots coming off of the Hartford sticks. The Comets couldn’t get out of their zone, but they came up with a good kill.

With time winding down, The Lindy & Bails Show kicked things into gear and pulled the Comets to within a goal after Bailey sent Lind in along the right side and Kole ripped one home for his 11th of the season. Bailey earned his 12th helper of the year on the play. Good on Kole for getting that goal back that Hartford scored while he was doing time in the box.

That was it for the opening frame as the Wolf Pack held a 10-5 advantage on the shot clock.

Second Period

There was moring scoring to be had in the middle frame as these two clubs had a slow start to the period but an exciting end.

Lukas Jasek and Kole Lind tried their luck with a play off the rush, but Kole fired his shot wide of the net. The Pack went the other way and had their way with the Comets in the defensive zone before DiPietro shut down a pair of chances from Mason Geertsen.

Jonah Gadjovich always brings a physical brand of hockey to the table and he crushed Lewis Zerter-Gossage with a heavy hit in the offensive zone. That line of Malone-Stevens-Gadjovich was a handful today.

Mitch Eliot was also a handful as he was trying his best to get shots through when he wasn’t pasting guys to the boards. McCollum had to come up with a pair of stops on Eliot as the rookie defender was looking to make an impression and stay in the lineup with fellow righty Brogan Rafferty out for the next week or two.

At the other end, Steven Fogarty had a break off of a turnover and DiPietro came up with a timely save. The Comets tried to break out until Goldy whipped out a nifty pass… that was picked off. No harm came from it, but those are the plays that are keeping Goldobin in a Comets jersey rather than a Cancuks one.

Stefan LeBlanc hasn’t seen a ton of time this year, but he was looking to make an impression as well. He tried his luck with a cheeky shot that almost caught McCollum napping and the netminder had to make a quick save.

Mikey DiPietro was doing his best to help his team in the game with a stop on a bouncer through traffic before getting his blocker on the shot that followed. The Comets went the other way and evened the game at two. This time it was Olli Juolevi dong the damage.

Goldobin and Boucher worked a nice passing play and Juolevi jumped into the rush to join them. Boucher made the pass and Juoevi let fly wit a wrister that beat McCollum for his second of the season. Boucher and Goldobin each earned their 23rd assist of the year on the play.


There was a better pace to the game after the Juolevi goal as the teams had some good back and forth. We saw Jonah Gadjovich fill his man in on the forecheck as the Stevens line had another strong shift of disturbing the peace in the offensive zone.

At the other end, Nick Jones got in behind the Comets defence and DiPietro came up with a big save. Mikey D was strong in goal after taking over for Zane McIntyre. Darren Raddysh followed up with a shot from the high slot and DiPietro shut him down as well.

Seamus Malone is not the biggest guy on the ice and as such, he’s had a bit of a tough time staying healthy. He takes some lumps out there, but that is in part because of the areas of the ice in which he chooses to play. He got rocked by Steven Fogarty in the Comets end, but this time he was able to bounce back up.

Carter Bancks is one of those players who will do whatever he needs to in order to help his team win and he came up with a big shot block after some pressure in the Comets end and soon after the home team was celebrating another goal.

Justin Bailey followed up the Bancks shot block with a physical shift in the offensive zone that saw him crush his man behind the net before putting his 20th of the season behind McCollum. Kole Lind played set-up man for his 23rd helper of the year.

That was it for McCollum as he was replaced by Adam Huska. All four netminders saw action today.

Unfortunately, Lukas Jasek lost his man on his next shift and 59 seconds later the game was tied at three. Shawn McBride was the goal scorer with his first of the season, while Ryan Gropp earned his third assist of the year on the play.

David Pope has been getting into some games after spending a good portion of the season with Kalamazoo and he got a shot away that Huska gloved down before Ashton Sautner jumped on a Reid Boucher rebound and put it off the shoulder of Huska. The Hartford netminder followed up by stopping a Boucher offering with his face.

The Comets kept their foot on the gas as Camper tried his luck with a stuff play from the side of the net but Huska said no. There was some good back and forth before Bailey and Lind got after it again. Kole came with a hard shot off the left side that was turned aside before Bailey had his chance denied as well. Bailey didn’t let up, stole the puck back and ripped his 21st of the season with an unassisted tally.

The Comets were up 4-3.

It wasn’t long after the Bailey goal when Goldobin was hit up high by a puck, or a stick, or a body part behind the Comets net and ended up heading off for repairs. He would return for the final frame.

This period ended with Bailey looking for his third hat trick in his last four games but Huska came up with a pair of saves. The shots were closer in the middle frame with Hartford showing a 13-12 edge.

Third Period

The third period saw some good back and forth in the early going, but neither team was putting any shots on the opposing net.

The Stevens line had another strong shift as the newcomer is starting to find a groove with the Comets and seems to have formed some chemistry with Jonah Gadjovich.

Justin Bailey has been on fire of late, so when he was dumped and skated slowly back to the bench, Comets Nation was holding their collective breath. Thankfully, he would be okay.

The Pack got dinged for having too many men on the ice at the 4:53 mark and the Comets were off to the power play. As we have seen more than a few times this season, Olli Juolevi was burned at the offensive blueline and DiPietro had to come up with a shorthanded save on Tim Gettinger.

The second unit took over and Mitch Eliot sent a pass along the blueline to Brisebois for a shot that was denied by Huska and the Comets came up empty.

It would be the Comets turn to kill a penalty soon after when Vinny Arseneau was sent off for holding.

Hartford went to work and hemmed the Comets in, but the penalty killers were doing some decent work to limit the shots. DiPietro did have to come up with a couple of saves, however, as he got his big toe on one shot before denying a Vincent LoVerde one-timer and a scramble broke out.

Ashton Sautner ended up taking a rough ride on that shift and Steven Fogarty was whistled for interference to send the teams to eight seconds of four aside action leading into a Comets power play.

We saw a new wrinkle on the first unit as Guillaume Brisebois had taken the place of Juolevi. I wonder if that had something to do with Juolevi not being able to hold the line on the Comets previous man-up situation. At any rate, Boucher had a one-timer denied by Huska before Brisebois used Bailey as a screen and let fly with a shot that Huska kicked aside.

The second unit took over and they were pressured by a shorthanded Hartford squad. DiPietro was quick to come up with a save and held for the whistle to get some relief for his team. The Comets power play came up flat once again.

Trent Cull juggled things around a little in the final frame and we saw Carter Bancks out with John Stevens. The duo nearly hooked up for a goal but Huska was equal to the task.

One line that wasn’t messed with was that of Bailey-Jasek-Lind as that trio was money today. Bailey wasn’t just about scoring goals as we saw him abuse his man in the corner before stealing his lunch money, along with the puck and dishing for Jasek but Lukas wasn’t able to get his shot away cleanly.

Ashton Sautner is the kind of player that coaches call a warrior. The rugged defender came up with a shot block that looked to sting and he left the ice slowly. He headed to the room at the next whistle.

The team is already without Rafferty, so losing Sautner for any length of time could be a huge blow to what has otherwise been a relatively healthy back end this year.

Olli Juolevi might have had some issues on that shorthanded scoring chance against, but he showed poise when he calmly gathered the puck out of the Comets crease during a scramble and cleared it out of harm’s way. His occasional defence partner Jalen Chatfield followed up with a shot that was swallowed up by Huska for a whistle.

The Hartford coaching staff summoned Huska to the bench with 2:32 to go in the game and Carter Camper quickly made them pay with his fifth of the year into the yawning cage after a Juolevi shot block came to him for the freebie. Olli grabbed his 16th assist of the year on the play to bring him to 18 points on the season.

Huska was back in the net briefly but was recalled to the bench with roughly 1:30 left and we saw Kole Lind break out and wait for Bailey so he could set up the hat trick goal for the speedy winger. Bailey made no mistake into the empty net and had his third hat trick in four games… it might be a coincidence, but those three hat tricks have come since I gave Bailey the moniker of TheGentleman. 

The game finished up on a bit of an ugly note as Vincent Arseneau and Mason Geertsen decided to drop the gloves and Geertsen landed a haymaker that dropped Arseneau. The big man looked like he wasn’t sure of where he was. He was helped off the ice while giving a thumbs up to the home crowd, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a concussion from that fight. At the very least, he will be missing tomorrow’s contest after taking his third game misconduct with the instigator that he took to start the donnybrook.

That was how this one ended as the Comets came away with a 6-3 win after outshooting Hartford 11-5 in the final frame. The teams finished the game tied with 28 shots apiece.

Today’s Official Boxscore

Comets Goals

  1. Kole Lind (11) from Justin Bailey (12).
  2. Olli Juolevi (2) from Reid Boucher (23) and Nikolay Goldobin (23).
  3. Justin Bailey (20) from Kole Lind (23).
  4. Justin Bailey (21) unassisted.
  5. Carter Camper (5) from Olli Juolevi (16). Empty net goal.
  6. Justin Bailey (22) from Kole Lind (24). Empty net goal.

Mikey DiPietro: 20 saves for the win.

Special Teams

Power Play: 0/2

Penalty Kill: 4/5

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

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

PP3: Boucher, Goldobin, Bailey, Lind, Brisebois.

PP4: Camper, Jasek, Gadjovich, Eliot, Juolevi.

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

The Three Stars in the building today were:

3rd Star: Olli Juolevi. One goal, one assist.

2nd Star: Kole Lind. One goal, two assists.

1st Star: Justin Bailey. Three goals, one assist.

CanucksArmy’s Three Stars:

3rd Star: Guillaume Brisebois/Ashton Sautner/Jalen Chatfield/Olli Juolevi. This group of defenders did some great work today, especially in the final frame where they helped limit the Pack to just five shots on goal while they were trying to make a comeback. Juolevi picked up a pair of points, but the work of those other three should not go unheralded today. The Comets are running into some injury issues on the blueline, so this group will need to keep digging deep.

2nd Star: Kole Lind. A goal and two helpers have Lind up to 11 goals and 24 assists to give him 35 points on the season and places him 14th overall in AHL scoring. Kole is now on pace for a 65 point season. With Rafferty missing today’s game, Lind is the only player to suit up for all 41 Comets games this year. It would seem that the player has been developing his game well in Utica and he is oozing confidence on the ice right now.

1st Star: Justin Bailey. With his mother in attendance, Bailey reeled off his third hat trick in his last four games. He’s now tied with Reid Boucher for second overall in the AHL with 22 goals. That has him one behind his career-high of 23. He’s up to 34 points in 40 games, placing him one spot behind Lind in the AHL scoring race. Bailey is on pace for a career-high of 64 points in the AHL. His combination of size, speed, and skill is pretty tantalizing, especially when he has put up 17 points over his last 11 games.

Next Game

Game #42

Cleveland Monsters at Utica Comets

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

7:00 pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific