The Utica Comets rode six consecutive goals, three power-play goals, and Hunter Shinkaruk’s four-point night, to their seventh consecutive road victory when they defeated the Springfield Falcons 7-4 at the MassMutual Center Friday night.
Shinkaruk (1-3-4), Travis Ehrhardt (0-3-3), Brendan Gaunce (2-0-2), Darren Archibald (1-1-2), and newly-signed defenseman Danny Syvret (1-1-2) enjoyed multi-point nights, while goaltender made 30 saves in the victory.
The Comets shattered an 0-for-20 power play slump by scoring three power-play goals. The penalty-killing unit was a perfect 3-for-3 on the evening.
The Falcons jumped out to an early lead with a fortunate bounce 4:39 into the game. Christian Thomas, camped out behind the Comets net, threw the puck to the slot. The puck banked in off of Travis Ehrhardt’s skate and into the back of the net.
Just minutes later a pair of Canucks first round draft picks reset the game. Hunter Shinkaruk drew a pair of Falcons defenders to him at the half wall just before he slipped a pass Gaunce as he streaked down the slot. Gaunce quickly flicked the puck over the glove of the Falcons’ goaltender to tie the game at 1-1. Ehrhardt picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
The Falcons regained their lead when Craig Cunningham collected a rebound off a shot from the point, and buried it over a sprawled out Joe Cannata.
Michael Bunting made it a two-goal lead at the intermission when he wristed a shot past the blocker of Cannata from the top of the circle with 4:09 left in the first.
From here, it was all Comets, as the boys in blue would score the game’s next six goals.
After receiving a pass from Travis Ehrhardt, Archibald broke into the Falcons zone and fired an innocent looking wrist shot from the half wall that slipped under the glove of Langhamer to bring the Comets to within one just 36 seconds into the second period.
Five minutes later Negrin picked up his first goal of the year, also his first as a member of the Comets, and it could not have come at a better time. From just inside the blue line, Negrin hammered a one-time slap shot that rocketed its way past the Falcons netminder, to tie the game at 3-3.
The Comets claimed their first lead of the night when Grenier ripped a one-time feed from Danny Syvret past Langehamer at the 13:15 mark of the second period. Shinkaruk fed the puck to Syvret for his second assist of the game. The goal was the first of three power-play goals for the Comets, and snapped an 0-for-20 skid for the Comets.
In his first game as a member of the Comets, defenseman Danny Syvret doubled the Comets lead to 5-3 with a power-play blast from the blue line that snaked s way past heavy traffic in front of the Falcons net, and past Langehamer. Shinkaruk and Jensen picked up assists on the play.
5:28 into the third period, the Comets picked up their league-leading seventh short-handed goal of the season when Carter Bancks chased down an icing by Travis Ehrhardt. After Bancks beat the Falcons defender to the puck, Gaunce one-timed the feed from Bancks for his second goal of the night.
Things took a turn for the worse after the Comets scored their sixth goal.
With their team still on the power play, the Falcons put up their noted tough guy, Eric Selleck on the ice. Right from the drop of the puck, Selleck went right after Jon Landry. Landry turtled on the ice as Landry continued to throw punches. The incident drew a crowd, and a response, as both team’s head coaches got into a verbal sparring match. Selleck received a game misconduct and five for fighting for his efforts.
Hunter Shinkaruk scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season when he pinballed a shot into the net to give the Comets their third power-play goal of the night.
Springfield finally broke the Comets string of six consecutive goals with a tally late in third from Dan O’Donoghue.
The Comets improved their record to 14-10-2-1 with the victory. The team’s seven goals in the game matched a franchise-best mark, which has been done three times previously.
The Comets return to The AUD Saturday night for their final game before the Christmas break as the Hartford Wolf Pack make their final trip of the season to Utica. Puck drop for the 29th consecutive sell out at The AUD is scheduled for 7pm.