Utica Comets 3 Overcome By Hamilton Bulldogs 6

It hasn’t happened often this season, but after Sunday afternoon’s 6-3 loss to the Hamilton Bulldog’s at The Utica Memorial Auditorium, the Comets have now lost three in a row.

Darren Archibald (1-0-1), (pictured above) Cal O’Reilly (1-0-1) and Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) scored the Comets three goals of the night but it wasn’t enough as the Comets struggled all night to keep up with the prowess of the Hamilton Bulldogs’ offense.

The Comets shot early and often in the opening stanza, which allowed them to open up the scoring just past the eight-minute mark. Andrey Pedan caught Hamilton’s defense off guard with a stretch pass up to Brandon DeFazio at the blue line. With the puck along the boards, DeFazio popped it over to Archibald who took a wrist shot and buried it top-shelf on the short side to give the Comets the early one-goal lead.

Just under six minutes later the Bulldogs found the equalizer after a series of tick-toe passes just inside the slot.

Drayson Bowman lifted a quick shot past Joacim Eriksson after receiving a pass from Darren Dietz at the right dot to keep the Comets at bay.

Just past the midway point in the second period, it was the Bulldogs turn to take the one-goal lead after Eriksson made a sprawling attempt to keep the puck out of the net. With mass confusion in the crease, the puck was air-bound as it bounced off some bodies and into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead at 12:27. Eric Tangradi received credit for the goal for his sixth of the season.

Cal O'Reilly
Cal O’Reilly

As the third period rolled in, so did the goals. The Comets were able to start the period off on the right foot by finding their first equalizer of the game just before the one-minute mark. Alexandre Grenier fed the puck to the blue paint as O’Reilly was there to catch and deliver the puck past the right post to make it 2-2. Nicklas Jensen tallied the secondary assist.

Hamilton bounced back the other way and took control of the lead off a rebound that popped out in front from Bowman at 3:40. Tangradi shifted the curtains as spiked it in the back of the net on the open side for the one-goal lead.

Brendan Gaunce
Brendan Gaunce

Less than two minutes later, the Comets answered back with a snipe from Gaunce. The rookie’s shot went top-shelf over the glove hand of Mike Condon to tie it up at 3-3. Both Peter Andersson and Dustin Jeffrey had their hands in on the play.

The Comets lost control of the game at 7:44 after a turnover in the defensive zone. Morgan Ellis outworked the Comets and fought his way to the puck and beat Eriksson for the 4-3 lead.

Nick Sorkin hunted for the puck on the Bulldogs’ fifth goal of the game as he tipped it in off of a slapshot from Hensick at 13:44. Sorkin’s goal gave the Hamilton their first two-goal lead of the game and was too much of a reach for the Comets with the clock counting down in the third. T.J. Hensick’s assist was his third of the game.

With a little more than two minutes left on the clock, Eriksson was pulled for the extra-attacker. The Comets had a handful of chances before they gave up the empty-net goal to Tangradi who netted his third of the game on a technicality. The puck rang off the post, but as he took the shot he was hooked which would have awarded him a penalty shot. With no goaltender in the net, the goal was awarded to the Bulldogs’ left-winger to make it a final score of 6-3.

Despite both teams having two power-play chances each, all of the goals were scored on even strength, with the exception of the empty-net goal.

The Comets will be staying at The AUD for one more game to face their North Division foes, the Rochester Americans this Wednesday, March 4th at 7 p.m.