After setting a franchise record last Sunday for five wins in a row, the Utica Comets did it again on Friday night as they trampled over the Oklahoma City Barons 4-2 to extend their win streak to six at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Rookie Hunter Shinkaruk (1-1-2) (picture at top) lit the lamp for his third game in a row after scoring the Comets’ third unanswered goal in the second period. After missing 31 games from an injury, Wacey Hamilton (1-0-1) (pictured above) made his presence known after netting the Comets’ fourth goal of the game. Both Cory Conacher (1-0-1) and Cal O’Reilly (1-0-1) found goals as well that led to the downfall of the Barons.
Even after dominating the entire first 20 minutes of the game and an 18-3 shot advantage, the Comets only found the net once after a spinning pass from the top of the circle. O’Reilly took notice of the chance and forced his way to the other side of the crease as he popped in Shinkaruk’s pass for the early 1-0 lead. With O’Reilly’s 50th point of the season, the Comets captain ran his point streak to nine games.
As the second period began, the Comets continued to cash in on their shot opportunities. At 3:54 Conacher sped into the zone and released a snap shot over Laurent Brossoit’s blocker side to put the Comets up two goals to none. Bobby Sanguinetti and Peter Andersson both assisted Conacher on his seventh goal of the season.
Just one minute later, Shinkaruk found himself on the right side of the puck as he received a dish from Alex Biega just inside the right circle. Shinkaruk knocked home the one-timer for his 11th goal of the season, which put the Comets up 3-0.
At 11:03 the Comets found their fourth unanswered goal of the game after Hamilton retrieved the puck after a forced turnover cause by Mike Zalewski. Hamilton walked into the slot and slipped it passed Brossoit’s right leg pad for the 4-0 lead.
The Barons finally answered back with less than two minutes left in the second period on the second half of a Comets double minor. After a set up from Ryan Hamilton, Jason Williams found a lane to shoot and snuck one past Joacim Eriksson’s blocker side to make it 4-1.
The third period only saw the Barons score once more but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Comets commanding three-goal lead. At 12:55, Oklahoma’s Mitch Moroz tipped in a shot from Jordan Oesterle to make it a final score of 4-2.
After Friday night’s win over the Barons, the Comets have extended their point total to 87 which gets them within eight points of clinching the first place within the North Division.
The Comets will be return to The AUD tomorrow night to take on the Rockford IceHog’s for their second and final meeting of the season.