Comets Rally for Point in St. John's

Comets Rally for Point in St. John's

by Mark Caswell, Jr.

Nov 1, 2016

Despite two late third period goals to tie the game at 3-3, the Utica Comets lost 4-3 in overtime to the St. John’s IceCaps Tuesday night at the Mile One Centre. The Comets record now sits at 2-5-1-0.

For the fourth time in his first seven games of the season, Jordan Subban (0-2-2) recorded a multi-point night.  John Negrin (0-2-2) also picked up a multi-point night while Phil DeSimone (1-0-1), Carter Bancks (1-0-1), and Darren Archibald (1-0-1) handled the goal scoring. Still in pursuit of his first professional victory, Thatcher Demko backstopped the Comets with a 21-save performance.

For the second straight game the Comets allowed the game’s first goal while a man down, and fell into an early 1-0 deficit. A failed clearing attempt by the Comets ended up in the back of their net after Nikita Scherbak scored in his third consecutive game just 3:06 into the contest.

The Comets tied the game with a power-play goal of their own just 31 seconds into the second period when Bancks cleaned up a rebound off Alexandre Grenier’s blast from the top of the circle. Joseph LaBate picked up a secondary assist on the goal.

The remaining 19:29 of the second period featured a show put on by both goaltenders, Demko for the Comets and Charles Lindgren for the IceCaps. Each rookie netminder flashed highlight-reel worthy saves to keep the game locked at 1-1 after two periods of play.

The low-scoring affair would end right there as the third period saw the teams combine for four goals.

The IceCaps kicked off the third period scoring party with a power-play goal just 1:10 into the third period when Daniel Carr’s wrist shot beat Demko up top. Eight minutes later Scherbak picked up his second of the night with the team’s first even strength goal of the evening.

Once again the game changed just a minute later when the Comets mounted their comeback.

Negrin’s hustle to keep the puck in the IceCaps zone paid off when DeSimone redirected Subban’s slapshot from the point past Lindgren for his first goal as a member of the Comets. The scoring play began when Negrin’s first shot was blocked, and he craftily kept the puck from escaping the zone. After he corralled the bouncing puck, he slid it over to Subban who did the rest.

The comeback would be completed just under four minutes later when the defensive tandem of Subban and Negrin teamed up again. This time it was Subban who set up Negrin for the shot on net. Archibald swooped into the slot and redirected the Negrin shot over Lindgren’s glove to tie the game at 3-3.

Overtime saw the team’s trade odd-man rushes before Mark Barberio one-timed Terry’s pass into the back of the net.

For the second consecutive game the Comets power play went 1-for-5 on the evening. With a man down the Comets killed off 2-of-4 IceCaps opportunities. Michael Chaput failed to record a point for the first time as a Comet, and saw his season-opening eight-game point streak come to an end.

The Comets won’t travel far nor will they wait long to try to avenge the loss. The Comets and IceCaps wrap up the two-game series in St. John’s with another game tomorrow evening. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. eastern.

UTICA COMETS (2-5-0-0) vs. ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS (3-4-1-0)
Mile One Centre, 6 p.m. Eastern
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: Radio: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
Follow and Interact Live: Twitter | Hashtag: #WePlayForU

Tonight’s Game:The Utica Comets are set to square off with the St. John’s IceCaps for a two-game series on “the rock”, starting tonight at 6 p.m.

With two wins in seven games, good for four points, the Comets currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference’s North Division, just three points behind their opponent tonight, who lay claim to fifth place.

Last Game: Derek Hulak’s (1-1-2) goal with 6:18 remaining in the third period vaulted the Utica Comets to a 4-3 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday evening. Michael Chaput (0-1-1) picked up an assist on the team’s second goal of the game to extend his season-opening point streak to seven games.

Jordan Subban (1-1-2), David Shields (0-2-2), and Hulak recorded multi-point games for the Comets. Curtis Valk (1-0-1) scored his third goal of the season, and paced the Comets with seven shots on goal. Richard Bachman picked up his second victory of the season with a 31-save performance.

Head-to-Head: The Comets are 2-1-1-0 all-time against the St. John’s at the Mile One Centre.

Scouting the IceCaps: Fresh off a weekend split with the Rochester Americans that kicked off the team’s home portion of their schedule, the IceCaps are in the middle of a six-game homestand. Paced by the Chris Terry’s sixth-best in the league nine points (4-5-9), and Charles Hudon’s team-leading five goals, the IceCaps have scored the third most goals (26) in the league thus far. Yann Danis and Charlie Lundgren make up the goaltending duo, with Lundgren laying claim to a perfect 3-0-0-0 record to go with a 2.00 GAA, and a .946 save percentage.

Leader of the Pack:Jordan Subban’s fourth tally of the season picked up Saturday evening vaulted him to the top of the league’s leaderboard for goals by a defenseman. Even more impressive, he has appeared in just six games, while the all other defensemen who have three goals, have appeared in eight contests. With four goals on 16 shots (25%), Subban is tied for the league lead in shooting percentage for defensemen with teammate Chad Billins (1:4) and former Comet Kane Lafranchise (1:4).

We’re Going Streaking: In just his first eight games with the Comets, Michael Chaput has already etched his name in the Comets record book. His eight-game point streak is the third longest point streak in Comets history. His eight assists thus far is the second most in the AHL, trailing only Brandon Leipsic’s 10 assists in eight games with the Toronto Marlies.

Comets Franchise Point Streak Leaders
1. Cal O’Reilly – 14 (from Mar. 7, 2015 to Apr. 10, 2015)
2. Benn Ferriero – 9 (from Jan. 9, 2014 to Jan. 28, 2014)
3. Michael Chaput – 8 (from Oct. 15, 2016 to Current)
4. Cal O’Reilly – 7 (from Mar. 30, 2014 to Apr. 13, 2014)

Power Play Surge: Converting at a 23.3% rate (7 for 30), the Comets power play has been red hot to start the season and is ranked eighth in the league.

Next Game: The Comets won’t travel far nor will they wait long. The Comets and IceCaps wrap up the two-game series in St. John’s with another game tomorrow evening. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. eastern.

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