In front of the 26th sold out crowd and final regular season game at The Utica Memorial Auditorium, the Utica Comets (45-20-6-2) claimed the Galaxy Cup for the second year in a row after defeating the Syracuse Crunch (41-23-9-0) 2-1 Sunday afternoon. With the victory, the Comets reclaimed the Western Conference’s top spot with 98 points.
Rookie Hunter Shinkaruk (featured above) (1-1-2), and Cory Conacher (1-0-1) both notched goals to carry the Comets to their 25th victory at home for the 2014-2015 regular season. Cal O’Reilly (0-2-2) also dipped his hand in the cookie jar by adding two more assists to his overall point total (59) for the season.
The Crunch were the first ones to find the back of the net in the first period and it was ironically just after the Comets had finished killing off their second penalty of the game. At 7:55 Brayden Point won the faceoff for the Crunch just to the left of Jacob Markstrom. Kevin Lynch received the loose puck and snuck in past the Comets defense as he backhanded it towards the crease and through Markstrom’s legs for the one-goal lead.
No time was lost as the Comets scored early in the second period to tie it at one. O’Reilly and Bobby Sanguinetti took advantage of their power play situation and set up a nice play to get it to Shinkaruk who walked in front and backhanded it past Syracuse goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis for his 15th goal of the season at 4:45.
The Comets gained another chance on the power play just after the 13-minute mark and took advantage of the opportunity full-heartedly. Cal O’Reilly tallied his 49th assist of the season as he dished a pass to Cory Conacher just below the right point. With one swift swing, Conacher pounded it into the net for the Comets second power-play goal of the game and the eventual game-winner which put the Comets up 2-1 at 15:21. Shinkaruk also tallied an assist on Conacher’s 10th of the season.
After playing 38 games at home this season, the Comets have compiled a 25-10-3-0 record, which helped them achieve their first place standing within the Western Conference with the addition of Sunday’s two-points.
The Comets might be done at The AUD for the regular season but they still have three more games to go on the road. The Binghamton Senators will be welcoming the Comets back once again for their last meeting of the season this Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.