A wild twelve goal game did not go the Utica Comets way as the Hamilton Bulldogs won 7-5 Monday afternoon at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. 12 different players scored goals during the contest.
Will Acton (1-1-2), Darren Archibald (1-1-2), Dustin Jeffrey (1-1-2), and Alexandre Grenier (0-2-2) all enjoyed two-point games for the Comets. Travis Ehrhardt (1-0-1) and Bobby Sanguinetti (1-0-1) recorded goals for Utica.
It did not take long for the Bulldogs to stake an early lead. Just 1:27 into the game rookie Daniel Carr netted his 15th goal of the year. The play started deep in the Comets zone. From the corner, Sven Andrighetto connected on a pass to Bryan Allen at the top of the circle. Joacim Eriksson had an answer for Allen’s blast, but the rebound found Carr’s stick who slipped it past the sprawled out goaltender for the early ‘Dogs lead.
The Comets tied it up just under ten minutes later. Darren Archibald dug the puck out from a scrum along the boards and passed it to a streaking Grenier. Grenier fired a shot on goal that was denied by Condon, but Acton was there to bury the rebound into the back of the net, and tie the game at one.
The tie did not last long as the Bulldogs got the lead back for good exactly thirty seconds later. A turnover on the breakout led to a two-on-one for the Bulldogs. Eriksson fended off Hamilton’s first attempt, and directed the rebound to behind the net. Gabriel Dumont quickly collected the puck and passed it behind the net to Jake Dowell, who quickly fed the puck to Nick Sorkin in the slot. A quick flick of the wrist later, and the Bulldogs led 2-1.
A little over four minutes into the second period the Bulldogs extended their lead to 3-1. Connor Crisp curled across the faceoff dot and slipped a backhand pass to Sahir Gill who was positioned on the goal line to Eriksson’s short side. Gill took a quick step in and flipped a backhand over Eriksson’s glove for the goal. Dumont picked up a secondary assist on the goal.
The scoring madness continued 57 seconds later when Darren Archibald scored his seventh of the season. The Comets broke into the Bulldogs zone on three-on-two. Acton curled up along the hashmarks which drew a defenseman towards him. Acton tapped a pass through the defender to a hard charging Archibald who ripped a quick wrist shot over the glove of Condon. Brandon DeFazio recorded an assist on the goal.
Exactly sixty seconds later the Bulldogs had their two-goal lead back, for a short while anyways. Rookie sensation Charles Hudon, from the corner, took a feed from Andrighetto and cut across the goal line. Defenseman Bobby Shea noticed the slot was left unattended and broke in hard. From there he one-timed the pass from Hudon past the left leg pad of Eriksson to re-establish the Bulldogs two-goal lead.
Dustin Jeffrey drew the Comets back to within one 38 seconds later. Alex Grenier won the faceoff back to defenseman Kent Huskins who passed it over to Dustin Jeffrey at the top of the circle. Jeffrey wristed a shot on goal that squeaked through the five-hole of Condon to bring the score to 4-3.
In what seemed like the longest amount of game time in between goals, Bryan Allen regained the Bulldogs two-goal lead. After Kane Lafranchise broke up a two-on-one Bulldogs rush, Andrighetto corralled the puck and connected with Hudon. Hudon found Allen all alone at the point for a slapshot that pinged off the crossbar and across the goal line for a 5-3 Bulldogs lead.
A giveaway by Comets defenseman Andrey Pedan in the Comets defensive zone found the stick of Andrighetto who broke in on Eriksson all alone. A slapshot from point blank range beat Eriksson for a 6-3 Bulldogs lead. Hudon picked up an assist on the play.
A three-on-one Comets break led by captain Cal O’Reilly led to the Comets fourth goal of the game. O’Reilly skated down the left hand side and passed to the trailing Bobby Sanguinetti who beat Condon’s left leg pad with a wrist shot to bring the score to 6-4. Jeffrey grabbed an assist on the play.
Scoring was a lot rarer in the third period. Once again the Comets cut the Bulldogs lead to just one with a goal from Travis Ehrhardt. Friesen started the play as he skated up the left side boards. After he protected the puck from a Hamilton defender, he backhanded a pass to Ehrhardt just below the right point. Ehrhardt wound up and fired a slapshot through a Nicklas Jensen screen and into the Bulldogs’ net to bring the score to 6-5. Jensen was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.
The Comets relentlessly peppered Condon with shots but could not find the equalizer late in the third. With three seconds left Hamilton’s Dumont scored an empty-net goal to cap off the game’s scoring.
The Comets head home for a five-game homestand starting Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium against the defending Calder Cup Champions, the Texas Stars. Tickets are available through www.ticketmaster.com or by visiting The AUD’s Box Office.