The Utica Comets rebounded from a tough loss last game, and came out strong behind another great crowd at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, when they defeated their arch-rival, the Syracuse Crunch 4-0. Joe Cannata had 30 saves two get his first career AHL shutout for the Comets.
Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1), Blair Jones (1-0-1), Linden Vey (1-0-1), and Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) all scored for the men in green. Jordan Subban (0-2-2) chipped in a pair of assists for his first career multi-point game in the professional ranks.
Gaunce started the game’s scoring when he put a wrist shot over the shoulder of Crunch goalkeeper, Allen York, to put the Comets ahead 1-0 just 4:12 into the game. Subban and Nicklas Jensen assisted on the goal. The Comets scored again just seven minutes later on a power play, when Subban fired a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper, and Jones finished it off for his first goal of the season to put the Comets ahead 2-0. Subban and Alex Friesen picked up assists on the goals.
It looked like both teams would go scoreless in the second period until the Comets capitalized on a power play when Vey snuck a wrist shot past the far side of York. Comets captain Alex Biega assisted on the goal.
Just 1:35 into the third period, Wacey Hamilton slipped a backhand pass through the legs of a Crunch defender to Hunter Shinkaruk, who finished it off for his fourth goal of the season.
Syracuse outshot the Comets 30 to 26, but couldn’t get the puck past the great goaltending of Cannata. With the shutout, Cannata raised his season save percentage to .940, and lowered his goals against average to 1.42. Cannata now has 110 saves in just five games this season. Allen York had 22 saves for the Crunch.
The Comets power play converted twice on seven opportunities, and the penalty-killing unit was a perfect six-for-six on the night.
With the win, the Comets improved to 2-3-0-0 on the season. The loss dropped the Crunch to a 2-3-0-0 record.
The Comets will hit the road on Friday for their next game, as they travel to Binghamton, NY to take on the Ottawa Senators AHL affiliate, Binghamton Senators at Floyd L. Maines Veteran Memorial Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.