The Utica Comets fell 5-4 in a shoot out against the Toronto Marlies, after a hard fought back-and-forth battle at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night. The high-scoring game saw four lead changes, two apiece.
Wacey Hamilton (1-0-1), Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1), Mike Zalewski (1-0-1), and Travis Ehrhardt (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves in loss. Alexandre Grenier (0-2-2), and Carter Bancks (0-2-2) enjoyed multi-point nights.
The Comets and Marlies exchanged blows throughout the first period with the Comets striking first when Hamilton broke into the Marlies’ zone and put a wrist shot over the shoulder of the goalkeeper, for his first goal of the season. Taylor Fedun and Bancks assisted on the goal.
Toronto tied the game 1-1 just 42 seconds later on a Casey Bailey goal. Assisting on the goal were T.J. Brennan and Frederik Gauthier.
Utica came right back 1:11 later when Gaunce broke free on a breakaway and scored his second goal of the season. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Gaunce flicked a shot into the left corner of the net to give the Comets a 2-1 lead. Grenier and Alex Friesen were credited with the assists on the Gaunce goal.
The Marlies tied the score 2-2 when Kasperi Kapanen put a shot past Markstrom, from in front of the net. The goal came on a pass from William Nylander. Mark Arcobello also assisted on the play.
Toronto got their first lead of the game early in the second period when T.J. Brennan bounced a shot off Markstrom’s pad and into the net just 1:09 into the period.
The Comets came out firing in the third period and tied the game 3-3 just 1:02 into the period. Zalewski got past the defense on a breakaway and flicked a shot over the shoulder of the goalkeeper, for his first goal of the season. The goal was unassisted. The goal was his first goal at The AUD since his high school days, playing for the New Hartford Spartans.
The Comets regained the lead when Travis Ehrhardt took the puck behind the net, went back around the net and sent a shot past the goalkeeper for his second goal the season. Bancks and Grenier assisted on the goal.
With 9:20 left in the third, the Marlies had an answer once again, when William Nylander sent a shot by Markstrom to tie the game 4-4 and send it to overtime. Josh Leivo and Justin Holl set up the Toronto goal.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout Mark Arcobello went first for Toronto and scored the difference-maker for the Marlies.
Both teams got off their fair share of shots, with Utica getting away with a 36-35 advantage.
The loss drops the Comets to 4-4-1-1 on the season. Toronto improves to 8-3-0-1 with the win.
The Comets will be back in action Saturday night, when they take on the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate, Providence Bruins at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.