An offensive explosion ended 7-5 in the Utica Comets favor versus the Binghamton Senators Friday night at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Hunter Shinkaruk’s two goals on the night gave him six goals in six games this season.
Shinkaruk (2-0-2), Blair Jones (2-0-2), Linden Vey (0-2-2), and Andrey Pedan (1-2-3) enjoyed multi-point nights for the Comets, while Ashton Sautner (0-1-1), Cole Cassels (0-1-1), and Joseph LaBate (0-1-1) all recorded their first points in the professional ranks. Jordan Subban (1-0-1) scored his first goal as a professional.
Just eight minutes into the game it would be rookie defenseman Subban who got the game’s first goal. After taking a pass from defensive linemate Pedan, Subban flicked a wrist shot on net. The puck seemingly had eyes as it navigated it’s way through several bodies in front and into the back of the net. LaBate also picked up an assist on the goal.
The early lead would not last, as the Senators tied the game back up just over two minutes later. A centered pass from Ryan Dzingel sprung Tobias Lindberg on a breakaway. Lindberg’s backhanded shot beat Comets’ goaltender Joe Cannata on the glove side.
The Senators took their first lead of the game when they capitalized on a Comets mistake deep in their own zone. Cannata, from behind his own net, coughed up a pass right to Dzingel, who quickly shot it into the vacated net.
With just 15 seconds left in the first period the Comets tied the game back up at two apiece. A four-on-one rush ended with a Jones wrist shot that beat Senators’ goaltender Matt O’Connor on the short side. Michael Zalewski, and John Negrin assisted on the tally.
Midway through the second period the Comets took advantage of a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity when Fedun walked into a slap shot from the high slot. Linden Vey and Alexandre Grenier picked up assists on the team’s third goal of the game.
The Comets doubled up their lead with three minutes remaining when Shinkaruk scored his fifth goal of the season. With the draw set-up to the left of the Senators’ net, Vey won it directly to Shinkaruk who quickly unleashed a shot that snuck past O’Connor. The assist marked Vey’s first multi-point game as a Comet.
It wouldn’t be long until Binghamton would cut the Comets lead in half. David Dziurzynski redirected a shot from Buddy Robinson past Cannata with just 1:12 remaining in the second frame.
Shinkaruk’s sixth goal in six games, and second of the night, came just 39 seconds into the third period. Pedan’s second assist of the game came when he found Shinkaruk all alone at the top of the crease. A shimmy, and a backhand later from Shinkaruk, and the Comets once again possessed a two-goal lead.
Dzingel struck again for the Senators, this time on the power play, to once again make it a one-goal game. After a pile-up in the Comets crease, the puck slipped out to the backside, right to Dzingel, who tapped it into the gaping net.
Just two minutes later the team’s once again found themselves tied. Lindberg took a breakaway pass from Dzingel and beat Cannata with a backhand from close range.
It would be Blair Jones with his second goal of the night that would put the Comets ahead for the third and final time in this game. From the half wall, Jones walked the puck in to the face-off dot to the right of O’Connor before he would unleash a wrist shot that beat the Senators’ goaltender to the short side. Ashton Sautner and Cole Cassels picked up their first professional points with assists on the goal.
Pedan added an empty-net goal to punctuate the game’s scoring.
Binghamton outshot the Comets 32-29, the third time this season the Comets were outshot by an opponent. The Comets power play converted twice on seven opportunities, and the penalty-killing unit allowed just one power-play goal on five kills.
With the win, the Comets improved to 3-3-0-0 on the season. The loss dropped the Senators to a 3-5-0-0 record.
The Comets three game road trip continues with a trip to Albany, NY on Saturday evening to take on the Albany Devils. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.