The Utica Comets helped make history.
They did not get a win.
The Comets and Syracuse Crunch met in the main event of the Frozen Dome Classic on Saturday at the Carrier Dome, playing before the largest indoor crowd in American Hockey League history – 30,715.
It was a festive occasion, complete with handshakes between the teams afterward – usually not done in the regular season – and post-game team pictures, as well.
The Crunch got the best of it of the deal, just barely, with Yanni Gourde’s second-period goal standing up as the winner.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Crunch (10-5-3-0), who are fourth in the Eastern Conference with 23 points. The Comets lost a second straight game for the first time this season. They are 12-4-2-0 and still in first place – temporarily, at least – in the Western Conference with 26 points.
Gourde and Joel Vermin scored for the Crunch, with Tanner Richard, Jonathan Marchessault and Nikita Nesterov earning assists. Alex Friesen scored the Comet goal, with Ronalds Kenins and Nicklas Jensen assisting.
The Crunch took the lead with a goal just 49 seconds into the second period – and a second after Alex Biega came out of the box on a carryover penalty – as Gourde tipped in Marchessault’s shot from high in the slot. The Comets outshot the Crunch 11-9 in the period, and the Friesen-Kenins-Jensen line had a couple of particularly good chances, but couldn’t get anything past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Comets have good chances in the third period as well, and took things down to the bitter end, controlling a faceoff in the Syracuse end with 16 seconds left in the game and getting a couple of good looks before it was all over.
The Comets and Crunch will meet again Wednesday at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
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