54 Shots On Goal But Utica Comets Drop To Toronto Marlies 2-3

Despite firing a franchise record 54 shots on goal, the Comets lost their fifth game in a row, as they fell to the Toronto Marlies 3-2 on Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Coming back from a five-day break, the Comets struggled in the first period to get one past the Marlies goalie Christopher Gibson. The Comets had a total of 18 shots on goal but had no luck. The Marlies top draft pick, William Nylander, was able to slip one in past Markstrom, just 1:51 into the game for the period’s lone tally.

In the second period, the Comets were able to hold the Marlies off for almost half the period before the Marlies got on the board again. Connor Brown’s shot slid right under Markstrom to give them a 2-0 lead. Four minutes later Marlies center Greg McKegg shot one right over Markstrom’s right shoulder to take a 3-0 lead.

Yet, the Comets were determined, leading with 33 shots on goal, they kept getting closer to getting the puck past Gibson. Then at 18:23 the Marlies’ Carter Ashton was called for slashing, giving the Comets a scoring opportunity. The opportunity for the Comets got better when the 5-on-4 then turned into a 5-on-3 when the Marlies’ Brendan Mikkelson was sent to the box for a high stick.

Brandon Defazio
Brandon Defazio

Going into the third period, the Comets still had a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity for 23 seconds. While getting called for a tripping penalty, the Comets were able to hold off the Marlies. Then the Comets gave them another power-play opportunity when they have too many men on the ice at 7:15. Yet the Comets decided to turn a bad situation into an opportunity when Brandon DeFazio got a breakaway that turned into a shorthanded goal. Putting the Comets on the board with a score of 3-1.

Five minutes later the Marlies lead was cut down to one with a shot from Tom Sestito, (pictured at top) his first as a Comet, making it 3-2. For the rest of the game the Comets had many opportunities just could not get the puck in the back of the net. In the last 33 seconds of the game, the Marlies’ Sam Carrick was called for slashing, giving the Comets two-man advantage on the ice. Unfortunately the Comets fell to the Marlies 3-2.

Tomorrow the Comets travel to Toronto looking to redeem themselves against the Marlies in a 3 p.m. game time.


Beer Around the United States: Good, Bad and Ugly

We have been talking about beer and beer festivals for a while.
First we talked about Oregon Beer is Going Wild
Then we talked about Oregon Beer Festivals
All our roads lead to Oregon. Now we found an interesting article ranking the states. for beer.  Yes, Oregon is at the top. For its population, Washington is close to the top
Beer Drinkers Map
Beer Drinkers Map

Blizzard of 2015, What Happened? Other Cool Snow Stories

If you have followed us very much, you know we have covered Winter, Snow and Railroads.
We have talked about big storms and blizzards.
Last week of January 2015 a blizzard was forecast for New York City. Guess what? It sort of turned into a non-event.


  • How much snow fell vs. how much was forecast


  • A look at some snowfall totals across the Northeast as of Wednesday after a massive winter storm and the National Weather Service’s forecast snow totals as of Monday night:
As New York City braced for a blizzard forecasters say could be historic, some residents are looking back to the one that historians say changed the city forever. Blizzard of 1888: How 1 storm changed New York City forever.
But “Old Man Winter” hit the country elsewhere. The  storm New York expected, went into New England.  Elsewhere, in Chicago, passengers shivered as an Amtrak train finally left 3.5 hours after its scheduled departure time.

American Hockey League All-Star Game: West 14 vs East 12

Kevin Montano/AHL

Charles Hudon of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Brendan Leipsic of the Milwaukee Admirals and Mark McNeill of the Rockford IceHogs all recorded hat tricks to pace the Western Conference to a 14-12 victory over the Eastern Conference in the 2015 AHL All-Star Game at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Monday evening.

The Western Conference earned a split of the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino following the East’s 15-11 win in Sunday’s Skills Competition.

Hudon, a 2012 draft pick by the Montreal Canadiens and the AHL’s leading rookie scorer so far this season, added an assist for a four-point night and was named the co-winner of the Turning Stone Resort Casino Most Valuable Player award, sharing the honor with Western Conference goaltender Jacob Markstrom of the hometown Utica Comets. Markstrom, currently second in

the AHL in goals-against average (1.92) and save percentage (.934), had the top performance by a goaltender in the game, stopping 16 of 18 shots in the first period.

The highest scoring game in All-Star history saw 26 goals scored by 17 different players. Rockford’s T.J. Brennan notched a goal and four assists, Chicago’s Ty Rattie picked up a goal and three assists, and Adirondack forwards Drew Shore and Emile Poirier added a goal and two assists apiece for the Western Conference.

Binghamton’s Shane Prince led the Eastern Conference offense with three goals and an assist; Norfolk’s Chris Wagner tallied a penalty-shot goal and added three assists; and Portland’s Brendan Shinnimin scored twice, notched an assist and recorded 10 of the East’s 59 shots on goal in the contest.

Goals were also scored by Grand Rapids’ Teemu Pulkkinen, Syracuse’s Jonathan Marchessault, Manchester’s Jordan Weal, Albany’s Joe Whitney, Springfield’s Austin Madaisky, Hartford’s Chris Bourque and Providence’s Alexander Khokhlachev

The road to the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs continues when the American Hockey League’s 79th season resumes on Thursday.

American Hockey League All-Stars In Utica Aud

The Comets’ trio of All-Stars earned plenty of points Sunday night, but not quite enough, as the Eastern Conference topped the Western Conference 15-11 at the AHL All-Star Skills Competition at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The All-Star Classic weekend kicks off it’s on ice portion tonight with the All-Star Skills Competition. Players will be in their normal team’s uniforms, as the East and West will square off and show off their skills. Check out the rules and events.


UticaCometsAllStarStartersall three Utica Comets All-Stars will be in the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic starting line-up. The starting line-up is determined by the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic Fan Balloting presented by CCM, as league fans voted to determine the starting lineups for Monday night’s 2015 AHL All-Star Game:. Read more about the line ups.

(Utica Comets photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

Comets All Star – Jacob Markstrom


Comets All-Star – Bobby Sanguinetti


Lions and tigers and logistics, oh my! How do you move a circus?

Some circus fans come for the elephants, the giraffes, the trapeze acts.
Some come to look at the train.
Circus Train: Long Island City
Circus Train: Long Island City
We have been writing about circus trains for a long time:   Circus Trains: The Second Greatest Show on Earth
“Rail and circus go together like peanut butter and jelly,” said John Williams, director of rail operations for Florida East Coast Railway, which is moving the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus circus from Miami to Jacksonville on Tuesday, as it makes its way to its next stop in Nashville.
“It’s an historic event,” he said. “Rail fans come and take pictures of the trains as they pass by. Florida East Coast has been doing this for at least 32 years, but transporting the circus equipment and animals and people has been around since the railraod.”
Circus Train: Long Island City
Circus Train: Long Island City
Maintaining that history is no easy task, Williams said. Staying on schedule is of the utmost importance: To be one minute late is unacceptable: “There’s no buffer,” he said.
That means doing as much as possible to eliminate delays, which occur more often than with regular freight.
Making it work means connecting key elements early on.
“If there are any issues, we have to check,” Williams said. “Sometimes it runs late, but we still need to get them across our lines.”
It takes four people to run the operation: a two-man crew on the locomotive (the conductor and the engineer), a supervisor and a utility man who follows the train on the road in case they need help.
That’s more than what Florida East Coast usually needs: Freight trains are only manned with two people.
When the crew arrives in Jacksonville, they’ll swap out with a new crew, and within 30 minutes the circus will be on the road via CSX to Nashville.
It takes 36 coach cars for the passengers, 21 equipment cars and 4 designated animal cars to pack in everything that fits under the big top.
The animal cars are specially designed to be larger than a normal freight car, so it can fit the lions (rolled into the car in cages) and elephants (walked onto the car).
The animal cars are climate controlled and loaded with water tanks, eliminating the need to stop.
For Williams, the joy of the move is something he said he looks forward to every year — with a particular joy when it’s done.
 “I always feel good when the train master calls when they get there,” he said, “and he tells me they are on time and everything went well.”


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Utica Comets Drop 4th Straight to Rockford IceHogs 3-0

Three different players scored goals as the Rockford IceHogs defeated the Utica Comets 3-0 in their American Hockey League game Saturday in Rockford.

It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Comets, their longest such string of the season, but they remain in first place in the North Division with 54 points at 24-11-5-1.

The Comets, who have scored just four goals in their last four games and 15 in their last nine, couldn’t get anything past Rockford’s Scott Darling, who stopped all 30 shots he faced. The IceHogs put 38 shots on Comets goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Klas Dahlbeck, Garrett Bass and Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored for the IceHogs, 25-13-4-2 for 56 points, in first place in the Midwest Division.

The Comets are off until Friday, when the Toronto Marlies visit the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

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Utica Comets 1 Drop to Grand Rapids Griffins 5

For the first time this season the Utica Comets have a losing streak. The Grand Rapids 5-1 victory over the Comets sent Utica to their third straight loss.

Dustin Jeffrey (1-0-1) found the Comets only goal of the game as the team struggled to stay out of the penalty box all night long. Pat Nagle, the Griffins goaltending prospect from the Eastern Coast Hockey League kept the Comets on a leash all night long by stopping 28 of the 29 shots the Comets released on him. Comets goaltender, Joacim Eriksson saw a plethora of shots from the Griffins and managed to stop all but three of the 35 he faced.

A stretch pass is what started it all for the Griffins just before the half-way mark in the first period. Alexey Marchenko fed the puck to Mark Zengerle from one blue line to the next and as Zengerle skated past the Comets defense he positioned himself in a good spot directly in the center slot. Before the Comets defense could catch up to him, Zengerle released a wrist shot that beat Eriksson glove side for the early 1-0 lead. Anthony Mantha took credit for the secondary assist.

As the teams headed into the second period, Jeffrey decided to integrate some of his chest bumping skills into his bag of hockey tricks. At 8:14, the veteran Comets forward found himself in front of Griffins goaltender Pat Nagle as the puck came flying towards his chest following a shot from Nicklas Jensen. The puck bounced off of Jeffrey’s chest and directly into the net to give the Comets even the score up at one. Bobby Sanguinetti also tallied an assist on the play.

Just as the period was winding down, the Griffins found a buzzer beater quite literally within the last second of the period. In the midst of a scramble in front of the Comets net, Mitch Callahan popped the puck through Eriksson’s legs for the 2-1 lead that just barley beat the clock. Teemu Pulkkinen and Nathan Paetsch both received assists on their second goal of the game.

Even though the Comets rank as the number one penalty killing team on the road, they ended up faltering on their fifth penalty kill of the night after a shot from Scott Czarnowczan. Following the wristshot from Czarnowczan, Eriksson tracked it down with his glove-hand but immediately lost control of the puck. As it dropped to the wayside, Marek Tvrdon guided it into the net behind Eriksson for the power-play goal and the 3-1 lead. Ryan Sproul also made an appearance on the scorers sheet for the secondary assist.

As the third winded down, Eriksson was pulled away from his duties with five minutes left in regulation to give the Comets the extra-attacker for the come-back attempt. What resulted was two empty-net goals both from Tomas Nosek. The first was a short-handed goal and went unassisted at 15:55 and his second came at 19:01 with assists from both Pulkkinen and Jeff Hoggan.

The Comets only have one more game to cross off of their list before the American Hockey League’s All-Star break. The Rockford IceHogs will host the Utica hockey club tomorrow night for an 8 p.m. EST match-up at the BMO Harris Bank center for their first meeting of the season







AirTrain Will Finally Connect LaGuardia To Subway, Cuomo Announces

New York will build an AirTrain to connect the hellish human zoo known as LaGuardia Airport to civilization, NY Governor Cuomo announced this morning at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York. “You can’t get to LaGuardia by train today,” Cuomo said. “And that really is inexcusable. That is something we’re going to correct over the next several years.”

Cuomo said the AirTrain will connect with the 7 train and the LIRR at Willetts Point. The train will run about 1.5 miles along the Grand Central Parkway, “in an area that we believe won’t create an undue burden to any of the neighboring structures, and create a ‘one ride’ from the subway system or the Long Island Railroad to LaGuardia, which is truly long overdue.”

Cuomo also said the state is looking for a high speed ferry terminal to connect LaGuardia to Manhattan, as well as a hotel business center and retail shopping at the airport.

The timetable and cost of the project was not disclosed this morning, but Cuomo indicated that some of the cost of the AirTrain could be funded by the $5 billion New York State took in last year through settlements with foreign banks. A spokesperson for the governor’s office said that a statement with more details would most likely be released later today.

The AirTrain to JFK opened in 2003 at a cost of $1.9 billion. The MTA is currently in the final stages of locking in its $32 billion Capital Plan, and faces a $15 billion budget gap. Asked last year about the possibility of connecting the airport to the subway, an MTA spokesman said, “We have nothing in our plans right now to bring rail service direct to LaGuardia. Right now, we’re building the Second Avenue
Subway, digging in Long Island and the East Side, finishing the 7 Line extension. We’ve got lots on our plate.” The MTA had no comment on Cuomo’s announcement today.

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Utica Comets 2, Milwaukee Admirals 3 (Shoot Out)

In their first shoot-out this season, the Utica Comets made it all the way to the fifth round until they fell to the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2 at the BMO Harris Bradley Arena on Wednesday evening.

Darren Archibald (1-0-1) (pictured above)and Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) scored the Comets only two goals of the night early on in the first period of the game. Jacob Markstrom was tagged as the second star of the game by stopping 24 of the 26 shots taken on him by the Admirals.

(Utica Comets photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

The game was barely able to get its feet off of the ground when Archibald scored the Comets first goal of the game just 37 seconds into the opening period. As the Admirals were attempting to exit their zone, Brandon DeFazio caused a disruption right at the blue line that turned the puck over right on to Archibald’s stick. It was him versus the American Hockey League’s leading goaltender, Magnus Hellberg, and with the flick of his wrist, Archibald buried a distanced shot past Hellberg for the early 1-0 lead.

Hunter Shinkaruk
Hunter Shinkaruk

At 12:30, Hunter Shinkaruk went back to the same spot Archibald found their first of the game and cashed in on what looked like it would be a harmless shot. Alex Friesen and Andrey Pedan teamed up to feed Shinkaruk the puck who then raced down the left wing. It didn’t take him long to release the rubber once he skated past the blue line, and it may have been a surprise to Hellberg who let the puck slip right through him which gave the Comets the two goal lead and Shinkaruk’s sixth of the season.

Following the Comets second goal of the game, Milwaukee made a decision to pull Hellberg and replace him with their back-up goaltender Marek Mazanec.

After pulling Hellberg the Admirals started to turn things in their favor. Milwaukee started to mount their comeback with 51 seconds left in the first period on the perfect tic-tac-toe play set up by Brendan Leipsic and Austin Watson. Viktor Stalberg received the last pass to the right of Markstrom and buried one into the open net to make it a 2-1 game as the Comets goaltender leaped across the crease while he tried to make the sprawling save.

It was a goalless second period until Milwaukee found the equalizer with only 10 seconds left in the period. While feeling pressure from the Comets defense, Viktor Arvidsson backhanded the puck towards the net. Markstrom had no issue with the save but the puck quickly came back to haunt him as Miikka Salomaki picked up the re-bound and banged in the puck to the right of Markstrom to make it 2-2. Joe Piskula received the secondary assist on the play.

After a scoreless third stanza, and overtime period, the Comets took part in their first shooutout of the season. Salomaki ended the game in the fifth round after popping in a backhander past Markstrom’s glove-hand for a final score of 3-2.

The Comets will have a day off on Thursday before they head to Grand Rapids Michigan to face the Griffins for their second and final meeting of the season. On Jan. 14, the Comets defeated the Griffins 4-2 at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.

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