The Utica Comets were downed by the Albany Devils 2-1 Saturday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Brandon DeFazio found the Comets only goal of the game, which matched his season career high for goals with a total of 17. Devils netminder Scott Clemmensen, the first star of the game, made it difficult for the Comets all night as he stopped 30 of the 31 shots the Comets threw towards the drapes.
DeFazio opened up the scoring halfway into the first stanza after he received a pass from the left corner courtesy of Dustin Jeffrey. With the puck in the center slot DeFazio spiked it to the far side of the net right past Clemmensen’s leg for the 1-0 lead at 9:15.
Towards the end of the second period a screen in front of Jacob Markstrom is finally what caused the Comets to give up their one-goal lead. Brandon Burlon unintentionally set up Ben Thomson after a slapshot that re-bounded off Markstrom’s right pad. With Hunter Shinkaruk and Graham Black fighting for a position in front of the net, the screen was too thick for Markstrom to see through and Thomson raced in to pop it in for the equalizer at 17:19. Chris McKlevie was credited with the secondary assist.
As they entered the third period, the Devils figured out that screening Markstrom was their best chance at beating one of the top goaltending leaders in the American Hockey League. At 4:07 Reece Scarlett pounded one in from the point and zipped through for the 2-1 lead as Markstrom was entertaining the handful of Devils that were setting up camp in front of his crease.
Despite pulling Markstrom and having a 6-on-5 advantage for the remaining 1:18 in the third, the Comets couldn’t find the equalizer to push the game to extra time.
The Comets will play their fourth game of their five-game homestand this Tuesday against the Hamilton Bulldogs for the fourth time this season. In their last meeting, the Bulldogs downed the Comets 7-5.