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Comets’ Rafferty takes ’massive step’ – Sports activities – Uticaod

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Brogan Rafferty had a powerful month.For the 24-year-old Utica Comets rookie defenseman, the month of December included extra standout play — he completed with 16 factors in 13 video games — as he continues to flourish throughout what has been a profitable first half of the season within the American Hockey League.There was additionally a private milestone as Rafferty proposed to girlfriend, Michelle, throughout a visit dwelling to the Chicago space whereas on Christmas break. Since she stated sure, Rafferty stated there was a flood of well-wishes from teammates and on social media.On Thursday there was extra excellent news because the undrafted Rafferty was named the American Hockey League’s Rookie of the Month to place an exclamation level on December.”I took a giant step (in December). I form of rounded out my sport in being a extra full participant and simply engaged on all aspects of my sport,” Rafferty stated Thursday. “The month went properly for me and the crew. We completed 2019 very properly. … It’s a good factor to construct off of going into the second half of the season.”Rafferty, who made his NHL debut with the dad or mum Vancouver Canucks final April after three robust seasons at NCAA Division I Quinnipiac College, stated he additionally labored to enhance his defensive sport.”I simply needed to be tougher to play towards defensively. (I) don’t need to give guys an inch, make them work for it and allow them to know it’ll be a tough evening defensively once I’m on the market,” stated Rafferty, who has been paired with Guillaume Brisebois this season. “I’m previous the purpose of adapting and I’m extra on the level of simply working to get higher and ideal these areas as a lot as I can.”Rafferty leads all AHL defensemen with 30 factors and seems a possible candidate to be at the very least one Comets’ consultant for the All-Star Traditional later this month in California. He’s tied in scoring for all rookies with Chicago ahead Lucas Elvenes. Rafferty, who has helped lead the Comets’ energy play, has 25 assists, that are third-most within the league.”I’m simply nervous about making myself the most effective participant I could be,” Rafferty stated. “I play with some actually, actually good gamers they usually make it simpler. They make the factors come.”Rafferty is the primary Comets defenseman to earn a participant award in the course of the crew’s seven seasons. Teammate Reid Boucher has earned Participant of the Month honors twice.Rafferty had three targets and 13 assists in December. That features six multi-point video games — and two three-point efforts — to assist the Comets to a 7-Three-1-2 mark in December and transfer right into a tie for first place within the North Division.He capped 2019 with a game-tying purpose early within the second interval Tuesday after making a pleasant spin transfer to create house after which had his shot from the left circle look off Rochester’s Andrew Hammond and dribble in for his fifth of the season.”He’s accomplished an excellent job,” Comets coach Trent Cull stated Thursday. “He’s very cognizant of issues. If one thing doesn’t go properly, he is aware of. He’s a pleasure to educate. I believe the most effective factor for him is to simply hold taking part in.”Rafferty is aware of the professional schedule could possibly be an element. He performed 38 video games in every of the final two school seasons. Utica has greater than 40 regular-season video games remaining.”It’s going to be a giant take a look at for me,” Rafferty stated. “I’m wanting ahead to it.”Roll callForward Dyson Stevenson, who missed six video games in December with a lower-body damage, appeared to endure one other lower-body ailment Thursday. He wanted to be helped off the ice.It’s unclear what his standing is for the weekend.Francis Perron (eye) was the lone participant to overlook follow. His timeline for return is unclear.

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