Chaput Extends Point Streak in Loss
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Oct 28, 2016
Michael Chaput (0-1-1) extended his season-opening point streak to six games in the Utica Comets 4-2 loss to the Providence Bruins at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night. The Comets’ third consecutive loss moved the club’s record to 1-5-0-0 on the season.
Derek Hulak (1-0-1) and Jordan Subban (1-0-1) accounted for the Comets scoring. Chaput’s third period assist gave him seven on the season, good for second most in the American Hockey League. Goaltender Thatcher Demko stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced in his third professional start.
Utica once again came out hot to start the opening period, and outshot Providence 6-0 in the game’s first six minutes. Derek Hulak put the Comets on the board with 13:30 remaining after he won a footrace to the puck and beat the Bruins’ goaltender, Dan Vladar, blocker side high. Utica continued their first period dominance by killing off back-to-back minor penalties to Alexandre Grenier and Andrey Pedan to preserve the 1-0 lead through 20 minutes.
The two teams played evenly throughout the first half of the second period, however it would be the Bruins who ultimately claimed victory. Despite multiple chances on two power plays, the Comets could not convert. Providence tied the game when Jake DeBrusk beat Demko on a tic-tac-toe passing play from Peter Chelarik with 8:30 to go in the middle stanza. The Bruins took the lead four minutes later when rookie Matt Grzelcyk buried a rebound shot. Wayne Simpson and Sean Kuraly picked up the assists as the visitors took a 2-1 lead into the break.
The teams continued the back-and-forth pace to start the final period before Providence extended their lead on what would stand to be the game-winning goal. Tyler Randall found Chelarik who blasted a one-timer past Demko with 14:12 to go.
Subban brought the Comets to within one just five minutes later when his wrist shot from the slot beat the Bruins’ goaltender over his blocker.
The Comets pressed hard as they tried to find the equalizer late in the third, however, Hulak was whistled for high-sticking penalty with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Anton Blihd took the opportunity to pot an empty net goal to seal the game for the visitors.
The Comets power play went 0-for-2, while the penalty kill went 1-for-3. The lone power play goal allowed came with an empty net.
The Comets are back in action on the road tomorrow night at the Hartford Wolfpack. Faceoff from the XL Center is scheduled for 7pm.
UTICA COMETS (1-4-0-0) vs. PROVIDENCE BRUINS (1-3-20)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7 p.m.
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: Radio: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets put their perfect 2-0-0-0 record against the Providence Bruins on the line tonight at the Utica Memorial Auditorium at 7pm. In each game against the Bruins, the Comets have had a player record a hat trick (Nov. 7, 2015 – Hunter Shinkaruk, Mar. 3, 2016 – Chris Higgins).
Giveaways: All fans in attendance at tonight’s game will receive a 2016-17 Comets magnet schedule, courtesy of Celtic Harp. In addition, all fans 12 and under will get costume teeth, thanks to Dr. Lavelle.
Last Game: The Utica Comets opened up the home portion of their schedule with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Binghamton Senators at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Wednesday night. It was the second consecutive loss for the Comets, moving their record to 1-4-0-0 on the season.
Carter Bancks (1-0-1), Alexandre Grenier (0-1-1), and Michael Chaput (0-1-1) paced the Comets with one point apiece. Chaput extended his point streak to five games with an assist in the first period. Goaltender Richard Bachman suffered the loss and stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced.
Head-to-Head: The Comets are 2-0-0-0 all-time against the Bruins, and scored five goals in both contests.
Scouting the Bruins: Like the Comets, the Bruins have limped out of the gate with just one win. Sporting a 1-3-2-0 record, the Bruins have suffered a pair of losses to the undefeated Albany Devils, a loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the St. John’s IceCaps and the Toronto Marlies. Former Canucks defenseman, Matt Bartkowski (1-2-3), Peter Mueller (2-1-3), Austin Czarnik (1-2-3), and Alex Grant (1-2-3), pace the Bruins with three points (1-2-3) each. Czarnik, currently on recall with the NHL Bruins, has posted his three points while only appearing in two of the team’s six games. With both of their goaltenders, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre, currently on recall, Dan Vlader and Matthew Ginn bear the goaltending responsibility. Of the two, only Vlader has seen AHL action this season and has a 0-0-1-0 record to go along with a 3.90 GAA and .897 save percentage.
Leaderboard Alert: Newcomer Michael Chaput has recorded seven points (1-6-7) in five games thus far. His six assists thus far is tied for the second most in the AHL, he only trails Brandon Leipsic’s 9 assists in six games with the Toronto Marlies. Chaput, a third round draft pick of the Flyers in the 2010 NHL Draft, won a Calder Cup championship last season with the Lake Erie Monsters. He finished second on the Monsters last season with 45 points.
Power Play Surge: Converting at a 26.1% rate (6 for 23), the Comets power play has been red hot to start the season and is ranked seventh in the league. The Comets lone goal on Friday night against the Binghamton Senators came on the power play.
The Streak: With tonight’s game, the Comets have sold out 57 straight home dates, including all 15 Calder Cup playoff games played at The AUD, as well as every regular season game played during the 2015-16 season. The sellout streak dates back to April 10, 2015. The first two home games on Wednesday, Oct. 26 vs. the Binghamton Senators and Friday, Oct. 28 vs. the Providence Bruins sold out last week. A limited number of tickets remain available for purchase at EmpireStateTix.com for the Comets next home games of the season on Friday, Nov. 11 vs. the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Military Night), and on Saturday, Nov. 12 vs. the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Your Safety Matters: Earlier this month the Utica Memorial Auditorium announced that hand-held metal detector wands will be used at all main entrances to the arena. Fans are strongly encouraged to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier than they usually would, and even earlier if they typically arrive close to puck drop. These new security measures are consistent with those in effect at other sporting venues, including the NBA, MLB and NFL.
Next Game: We hit the road for Hartford, CT immediately following tonight’s game for a game tomorrow night against the Wolf Pack. Puck drop from the XL Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.