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Comets Monthly: November 2019

by Cory Hergott @CoryHergott / Freelance writer

After being the toast of the AHL with eight wins and collecting all 16 points available to them in October, things didn't go quite as well for the Utica Comets in November. The club went 5-7-1-0 and collected 11 of a possible 26 points.

November saw more player movement for the Comets than October did as the team lost Sven Baertschi, Zack MacEwen, Tyler Graovac, Jalen Chatfield, and Nikolay Goldobin to recall by the big club during the month.

Baertschi spent 25 days with Vancouver, while MacEwen and Graovac have been up for 17 days and counting. Nikolay Goldobin and Jalen Chatfield are currently up with the Canucks as well.

This isn't to say that things were all bad in November as the Comets had some bright spots, to be sure.

After scoring just four times on the man advantage in the first month of the season, the Comets popped 12 goals with the extra man in November. Their power play now sits sixth in the AHL with a 22.1% success rate. Only seven teams have a better success rate on the penalty kill than Utica's 85.6% in that category as well.

Nikolay Goldobin, Kole Lind, and Brogan Rafferty each earned five power-play points in November, while Reid Boucher grabbed four.

The team is currently sitting 10th overall in the AHL while outscoring their competition by a 77-61 margin. That goal differential isn't as wide as it was in October when the team had outscored their opponents by 25 goals.

Jonah Gadjovich has had to battle the injury bug again this year as he was only able to play three games in October. He was also held out for the bulk of November but he returned with a vengeance, picking up three points in his four games. He is now up to five points in eight games this season.

Nikolay Goldobin and Reid Boucher paced the Comets attack with 10 points each for the month, while rookie blueliner Brogan Rafferty piled up nine.

Rafferty is having a fine rookie campaign as he currently stands atop the rookie lead amongst defensemen in the AHL with 16 points in 22 games. That has Brogan on pace for a 55 point season. For reference, the Comets record for points in a single season was set by Bobby Sanguinetti when he put up 40 back in the 2014/15 season. Brogan's 40 shots on goal sit third on the team behind Reid Boucher and Justin Bailey.

Kole Lind has also been having a solid season with 16 points of his own in 22 games. Lind put up 17 points in 51 games last year, so his improvement has been quite noticeable. The

second-year pro is playing with confidence and brings a pesky element to his game that wasn't as prevalent last season.

After starting just three of the Comets games in the first month, Mikey DiPietro took control of the crease with eight of the team's 13 starts in November. The rookie stopper finished with a record of 4-3-1 for the month and looked every bit the part of a pro goaltender.

In his 13 starts this season, DiPietro has allowed more than two goals just three times. He is currently sitting atop the rookie goalie heap in the AHL with a 2.44 goals-against-average along with a save percentage of 0.913% and is the 12th ranked netminder in the league.

Reid Boucher leads the AHL with 15 goals and sits sixth overall with 24 points. The thing is, he has done all of that in just 16 games this year. Five of his goals have come on the man advantage while two have come while his team was shorthanded. Four of his tallies have been game-winners as well.

Newcomers Francis Perron and Justin Bailey have also been contributing as they sit with 15 and 13 points respectively through the club's first 22 games. Bailey has become an effective regular on the penalty kill, while Perron's playmaking has been a boost offensively.

Guillaume Brisebois has been having a solid, steady season and is currently on pace for a career-high of 27 points while forming the Comets top defensive unit with Rafferty. Guillaume is eating minutes on the penalty kill for the Comets again this season as well.

Lukas Jasek has been used out of position as a winger playing the middle and he has been doing great work in a shutdown role for the team. Although he currently has just seven points in 21 games, the second-year pro has taken on a prime role on the team's penalty kill and is showing well there.

Finally, rookie defender Mitch Eliot didn't see any action for the Comets in the first month, but he got into 11 games for November and acquitted himself well with two goals and three helpers. Both of his goals came on the power play as Eliot has a knack for getting his shots through to the net.

Comets Top Five Scorers

  • Reid Boucher - 15 goals, nine assists, 24 points in 16 games.
  • Nikolay Goldobin - Eight goals, 12 assists, 20 points in 18 games.
  • Kole Lind - Four goals, 12 assists, 16 points in 22 games.
  • Brogan Rafferty - Two goals, 14 assists, 16 points in 22 games.
  • Francis Perron - four goals, 11 assists, 15 points in 20 games.

Plays of the Month

On this play, we see some slick puck movement from Justin Bailey and Brogan Rafferty before Goldy bangs home his second of the season.

Tweet from @UticaComets: Incredible display of passing and @NG078 taps in his second of the season! @brogan_rafferty and @JustinBailey95 have the assists!#UTIvsBNG

TheBigFella h as been up with the big club for a good portion of the month, but he managed to pull off this play before being summoned to Vancouver.

Tweet from @UticaComets: .@zmacewen11 called game.

I spoke above about Brogan Rafferty and the season that he's been having offensively, but he's been doing other things away from the puck as well.

Tweet from @UticaComets: BOOM! @brogan_rafferty #UTIvsBNG

Mikey DiPietro played the bulk of the games this month for Utica and he did things like this on the regular.

Tweet from @UticaComets: Still not sure how this stayed out.#SYRvsUTI

Here, we can see Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin in their natural habitat... the offensive zone with a red light shining behind the opposing team's net.

Tweet from @UticaComets: Tic-tac-toe and it's 2-0 Comets!#ROCvsUTI

And finally, we have one of Jonah Gadjovich's markers from this month. Jonah has missed his share of time due to an injury this season, but he's been producing well while in the lineup.

Tweet from @UticaComets: A little spin-o-rama from @JGadjovich for his second of the season!#UTIvsLAV

Once again, the Comets have 13 games on the docket for this month. The power play is back on track and the penalty kill is still clicking along well, so there is some promise that December could be headed in the right direction.

Stay tuned to this space for your Utica Comets recap at the end of December and find out how the team is looking heading into 2020.

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