Comets Drop 6-3 Decision in St. John's
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Nov 2, 2016
The Utica Comets rallied from down 3-1 before ultimately losing 6-3 to the St. John’s IceCaps Wednesday evening at the Mile One Centre. The Comets have collected three of a possible six points during the first three games of their four-game road trip, and the club’s record now sits at 2-6-1-0.
Joseph LaBate (1-1-2), Michael Chaput (1-2-3), and Alexandre Grenier (1-2-3) collected multi-point games for the Comets. Chaput’s three-point night vaulted him to second in the American Hockey League in points (12), just one point shy of the league lead, and tied him with Brandon Leipsic for the league lead in assists (10). Richard Bachman picked up the loss with a 18-save performance.
Charles Hudon, the IceCaps leading scorer, wasted little time giving his team the lead. Just 2:11 into the game, he received a two-line pass from Philip Samuelsson, split the Comets defensemen and wristed a shot past Bachman’s blocker for his sixth goal of the season.
The Comets tied the game up 11 minutes later when LaBate put the finishing touches on a perfect tic-tac-toe play. From the half wall, Carter Bancks started the scoring play when he cycled the puck to Alexandre Grenier below the goal line. Grenier quickly one-touched a pass behind the net to Michael Chaput, who one-timed a pass to LaBate in the slot. LaBate redirected the pass between Lindgren’s legs for his first goal of the season.
The 1-1 tie was short-lived as Nikita Scherbak scored for the third time in the two-game series to re-establish the IceCaps one goal lead just 1:09 later.
The goal-scoring duo of Hudon and Scherbak teamed up on the IceCaps third goal of the game 4:35 into the second. Hudon scored his second of the night after Scherbak won a length of the ice race to the puck and found Hudon in the slot unmarked.
The Comets eighth-ranked power play unit came through once again to bring the score to 3-2 when Grenier one-timed Jordan Subban’s pass past Lindgren’s glove. The Comets have scored a power-play goal in seven of the nine games they have played so far this season.
Six minutes later the Comets served up a dish of déjà vu. For the second consecutive night, the Comets erased a 3-1 deficit to the IceCaps. Chaput and Grenier both picked up their third points of the evening when Chaput rifled a wrist shot past Lindgren after Grenier connected with him on a cross-slot pass.
The IceCaps grabbed the lead for good, and then extended it, with a pair of goals from Bobby Farnham and Daniel Carr just 1:08 apart to start the third period. Farnham tapped in a rebound 3:48 into the third, before Carr scored on an odd-man rush at the 4:56 mark.
An empty-net goal with eight seconds left for the IceCaps wrapped up the game's scoring.
The Comets power play unit converted on two of their six man-up advantages, while the penalty killing unit was a perfect 1-for-1.
After a travel day that brings the Comets back to the States tomorrow, the Comets have a couple of days to rest before their lone game of the weekend on Saturday in Syracuse. Puck drop on the second game of the Galaxy Cup series is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the OnCenter War Memorial.
UTICA COMETS (2-5-1-0) vs. ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS (4-4-1-0)
Mile One Centre, 6 p.m. Eastern
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Tonight’s Game:The Utica Comets finish their two-game trip to St. John’s to take on the IceCaps tonight at the Mile One Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.
With two wins and an overtime loss in eight games, good for five points, the Comets currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference’s North Division, just four points behind their opponent tonight, who lay claim to fifth place.
Last Game: 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.
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.
Head-to-Head: The Comets are 2-1-2-0 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 second-best in the league 11 points (4-7-11), and Charles Hudon’s team-leading five goals, the IceCaps have scored the most goals (30) in the league thus far. Yann Danis and Charlie Lundgren make up the goaltending duo, with Lundgren laying claim to a perfect 4-0-0-0 record to go with a 2.22 GAA, and a .938 save percentage.
Fire Away: Comets forward Curtis Valk is firing at the net from all angles, and it shows, as he is third in the league with a total of 28 shots in seven games. Valk has led the team in shots in three of the seven games he has played this season, including seven shots on goal on Oct. 29 at Hartford.
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 seven 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 former Comet Kane Lafranchise (1:4). Subban’s 9 points (4-5-9) not only paces the Comets, it is the third most points collected by anyone in the league.
Streak Busters: Last night Comets forward Michael Chaput saw his season-opening eight-game point streak end. The streak was the third longest point streak in Comets history, trailing Cal O’Reilly’s 14 game points streak, and Benn Ferriero’s eight game streak. 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 Oct. 29, 2016)
4. Cal O’Reilly – 7 (from Mar. 30, 2014 to Apr. 13, 2014)
Power Play Surge: Converting at a 22.9% rate (8 for 35), the Comets power play has been red hot to start the season and is ranked eighth in the league.
Next Game: After a travel day that brings the Comets back to the States tomorrow, the Comets have a couple of days to rest before their lone game of the weekend on Saturday in Syracuse. Puck drop on the second game of the Galaxy Cup series is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the OnCenter War Memorial.