The Utica Comets continued their red-hot pace on Saturday evening and defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime at the FirstOntario Centre. The win extended their win streak to an all-time high of nine games.
Joe Cannata backstopped his way to his third win out of four games this season after saving 27 shots of the 29 he faced from the wild pack of dogs. Cal O’Reilly (1-1-2) extended his point-scoring streak to 12 games with a goal in the first period. Cory Conacher (0-2-2) chipped in a multi-point night, and Bobby Sanguinetti (1-0-1) and Frank Corrado (1-0-1) both scored for the Comets who secured their 43rd victory of the season.
For the first time since March 21, the Comets failed to open up the scoring as the Bulldogs found their first goal at the 6:58 mark of the beginning stanza. A pass from inside the slot met Charles Hudon directly at the right dot and with a quick snap shot, Hudon buried it top shelf past Cannata’s glove side to put the Bulldogs up one nothing.
Utica quickly answered back less than two minutes after Hunter Shinkaruk popped it over to O’Reilly just above the slot. O’Reilly continued to race to the right of Joey MacDonald and sniped it past the veteran goaltender’s glove hand for the equalizer. Cory Conacher also received an assist on the play. With the primary assist, Shinkaruk extended his point streak to six games.
After a scoreless second period, the scoring resumed immediately at the start of the third after an unlucky bounce delivered the puck right into the slot for Drayson Bowman. Cannata was caught off guard as Bowman quickly spiked it into the mesh and scored to put the Bulldog’s up 2-1 at the 1:34 mark.
At 10:59 Corrado ended up with the puck just below the point and left MacDonald bewildered as he rocketed a shot past the goaltender to make it a tie game once again. Brendan Gaunce and Carter Bancks both had their hands in on the play.
With no more goals in the third, the game was pushed into overtime. Moments after 3-on-3 play began after the four-minute mark, Cory Conacher fired a shot on net from the center point which left MacDonald scrambling in net to cover the puck. Sanguinetti tracked down the puck with his foot in the crease and pushed it to his stick as he backhanded it over MacDonald for the game-winning goal.
The Comets will be at it again on Tuesday as they head back to The Utica Memorial Auditorium for a grudge match and their final meeting of the season against none other than the Hamilton Bulldogs at 7 p.m.