History was made Tuesday night as the Utica Comets advanced to the Calder Cup Finals after they silenced the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-0 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. In just their second year as a franchise, the Utica Comets have been awarded the Robert W. Clark trophy for being the 2015 Western Conference Champions.
Cory Conacher’s (1-0-1) game-winning second period goal ended up being all the Comets would need. From there the Griffins intensity couldn’t match up to the play that Jacob Markstrom provided in the crease with 21 saves as he recorded his second shutout of the postseason.
It took one whole period and a few minutes into the second period, but the Comets were fortunate to find their first of the night after a Cal O’Reilly pass met Conacher at the right circle. With a quick snap of the wrist, Conacher sniped the puck past McCollum on the short side to give the Comets the 1-0 lead at 3:16. Peter Andersson was credited with the secondary assist.
The Calder Cup Finals were all but a reality after the Griffins pulled their goaltender for the extra man with just a little less than two minutes left in the game. After multiple attempts to get the puck in the empty-net, Alexandre Grenier was finally able to put it away from center ice at 18:46 to give the Comets a two-goal lead with a little less than a minute left in regulation.
After taking a total of four penalties through the first two periods, the Comets withheld from taking any in the third to make their 2-0 all but certain.
The Calder Cup Finals begins this Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire at 6 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.