- The Utica Comets led 3-1 late in the third period, outshot the Toronto Marlies 49-18 for the game — 49 shots is a team record — yet somehow lost a 4-3 overtime decision in their American Hockey League game Friday at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Bobby Sanguinetti (1-1-2) and Nicklas Jensen (2-0-2) both recorded two points for the Comets. Even with the Comets’ new all-time franchise record for shots on goal (49), the Utica club couldn’t beat the third star of the night, Toronto’s goaltender Antoine Bibeau. The Quebec native stopped 46 of the Comets 49 shots on net.
Even though the Comets controlled most of the game through two periods, the Marlies were the first ones to find a goal in the second stanza at 12:40. Andrew MacWilliam found the puck at the right point and after what looked like a harmless shot, the puck trickled in past Joacim Eriksson for the 1-0 lead.
Just 12 seconds before the period ended, the Comets took advantage of their second power play opportunity of the night. After a Cal O’Reilly feed from the boards, Jensen took control of the puck and snapped it towards net to bury it to the far side of Bibeau for the power-play goal and the 1-1 equalizer. Dustin Jeffrey was credited with the secondary assist. Up until this point, Bibeau had stopped all 28 shots the Comets had unloaded on him through two periods.
The Comets took the lead immediately upon entering the third period at 2:15. After the puck had been dumped into the offensive zone, Alex Friesen outskated the Marlies defenseman to retrieve the puck behind the net to set up the play. After some board play, Friesen fed the puck over to Wacey Hamilton who then quickly gave it to Sanguinetti for the point blank shot directly in front of Bibeau. Sanguinetti smacked it into the mesh for 2-1 lead and his fourth goal in three games.
A one-goal lead wasn’t enough because the Comets struck again nearly four minutes later. Sanguinetti found himself in on another play as he ripped off a slapshot from the left point. The puck found its way to the front of the net and with the help of Jensen, Brendan Gaunce found his second goal of the season to make it a two-goal lead for a score of 3-1.
The Marlies began to mount a comeback with their second goal of the game at 13:29. After a quick entrance into the Comets zone, Ryan Rupert set up Byron Froese who had just snuck past Comets defenseman Henrik Tommernes. Froese chipped it past Eriksson’s left side for his first of the year to make it a 3-2 game.
With just under four minutes remaining in the third period, the Marlies tied it up once again. After a quick shot that popped off of Eriksson’s left leg, Rupert found the puck and immediately buried the re-bound on Eriksson’s blocker side to tie the game at 3-3 and push it to extra time. Spencer Abbot was credited with the only assist on the play.
The Marlies found the game winner at 4:07 into the overtime period just after the teams flipped to 3-on-3 hockey for the remainder of the period. After some confusion in front of Eriksson, Connor Brown delivered the puck to Sam Carrick who snuck the puck past Eriksson’s right side to win the game for a final score of 4-3. Viktor Loov tallied the secondary assist on the overtime goal.
Even with the Comets loss tonight, they still lead the entire American Hockey League with 38 points on the season.
The Comets will return to The AUD in less than 24 hours to face the Syracuse Crunch for the third time this year. The Saturday night match-up will be celebrating the Utica Zoo’s 100th anniversary and will also give fans an opportunity to bid on some of the game-worn jerseys used in the Toyota Frozen Dome Classic. Autographed pucks will be available for purchase and among those who do will also be entered in a raffle to win a team-autographed jersey. Also, the first 1,500 fans to arrive at The AUD will receive a car air freshener courtesy of Honda.
Find out about Goals and Fair Promise