t wasn’t the ending the loyal hockey fans of the Mohawk Valley wanted, but the Utica Comets were celebrated and bid a due by the loudest fans in the American Hockey League after ending just their second season in the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday night at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The series ended in five games as the Manchester Monarchs defeated the Comets 2-1 in Game 5 and claimed their right to hoist the most prized possession in the AHL, the Calder Cup.
Captain Cal O’Reilly (1-0-1) scored the Comets lone goal of the night in the remaining seconds of the third period and finished the postseason for a team high of 19 points. Monarchs’ goaltender Patrik Bartosak gave the Monarchs some breathing room as he stopped 30 of 31 shots en route to the team’s championship win.
The Comets gave up an early goal in the first period when rookie Adrian Kempe found his fourth goal in just three games after a sneaky drop pass from Nic Dowd left the puck right underneath Markstrom’s nose outside of the blue paint. Without hesitation, Kempe spiked the puck in on the short side to make it a 1-0 game at 10:02,
A hooking penalty called on Will Acton left the Comets vulnerable a little over three minutes later as the Monarchs took fully advantage of the situation and scored their fifth power-play goal of the series for the two goal lead. Vincent LoVerde was credited with the goal for his second of the postseason.
It was just a little too late as Bobby Sanguinetti dished one up to O’Reilly with just 15 seconds left in the third period. O’Reilly’s shot from the left circle launched past Bartosak’s right side to set the score at 2-1. Cory Conacher received his third and final assist postseason on the play.
After going 47-20-7-2 during their 76 game 2014-2015 regular season, and making it to the Calder Cup Finals with a final record of 12-11 in the postseason, the Utica Comets humbly ended their season in front of the most supportive fans in the AHL.