Utica Comets 2 @ Manchester Monarchs 3 In Overtime


An overtime goal review couldn’t help the Comets as they lost 3-2 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals to the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Michael Mersch’s three-point (2-1-3) improved the Monarchs record to 2-0 in postseason overtime games, and sank the Comets record to 3-4.

“We almost stole one from them,” said Comets forward Cory Conacher. “We have to play a lot better if we’re going to take this series.

Cory Conacher
Cory Conacher

Both Conacher (1-0-1) and Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) scored their fourth goals in five games for the Comets. Jacob Markstrom was named the third star of the game after he stopped 34 of the 37 shots the Monarchs unleashed on him over the course of three plus periods.

Sven Baertschi
Sven Baertschi

FINAL: Comets 2 @ Monarchs 3 OT (Series: 1-0 MCH)

(Lindsay A. Mogle/Utica Comets)

An overtime goal review couldn’t help the Comets as they lost 3-2 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals to the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Michael Mersch’s three-point (2-1-3) improved the Monarchs record to 2-0 in postseason overtime games, and sank the Comets record to 3-4.

“We almost stole one from them,” said Comets forward Cory COnacher. “We have to play a lot better if we’re going to take this series.”

Both Conacher (1-0-1) and Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) scored their fourth goals in five games for the Comets. Jacob Markstrom was named the third star of the game after he stopped 34 of the 37 shots the Monarchs unleashed on him over the course of three plus periods.

It wasn’t until the tail end of the first period when things started to ramp up for the Calder Cup finalists when Manchester’s own Brian O’Neill spiked a wild puck past the far side of Markstrom as he was fighting off unwanted company in front of the crease. O’Neill’s 10th goal of the postseason gave the Monarchs the 1-0 lead with just four minutes remaining in the period.

A goaltender interference penalty taken 48 seconds later by Justin Auger gave the Comets the spark they needed as Cal O’Reilly set up Alexandre Grenier with the puck to the left of Jean-Francois Berube’s net. Grenier saw the play develop further once Baertschi appeared to the right of the slot and with a quick feed across the paint, Baertschi slapped it past the netminder for the power-play goal and the equalizer at 17:01.

Despite being outshot 12-3 in the second stanza, the Comets were able to keep the game tied at 1-1.

The scoring resumed 2:23 into the third right as the Comets were about to kill off a penalty taken by defensemen Peter Andersson. A pass from Nick Shore at the left dot did the Comets in as Michael Mersch met the puck at the right post and popped it in for the power-play goal and the 2-1 lead.

Like clockwork, the Comets answered back again as Cory Conacher received a pass from Adam Clendening and snapped a shot off from just above the right circle. The puck was too quick for Berube as the goaltender slid across the crease with his glove hand just missing it by inches. Andersson received the secondary assist on the Comets second game-tying goal.

With no victor after three periods, the Comets initiated their seventh overtime game of the postseason but were unable to capitalize on their chances as Mersch found his second of the night just past the four minute mark into the first overtime period. The goal stood after the officials went to video review to see if the net came off its moorings before crossing the goal line.

The Monarchs outshot Utica 37-17 in the game. Both teams scored on the power play with Utica going 1-for-3 on the night, and the Monarchs 1-for-4.

The Monarchs and Utica will be right back it tomorrow night as the Utica Comets visit the Verizon Wireless Arena for Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals. Puck drop is slated for 5p.m.

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