The Utica Comets rolled into Saturday night’s game versus the Albany Devils at the Times Union Center with an all-time record of 72-0-4-0 when leading after two periods. They left with 72-1-4-0 record in such games when the Albany Devils scored three times in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit entering the third period.
Chris Higgins (1-0-1), Taylor Fedun (1-0-1), and Darren Archibald (1-0-1) handled the scoring for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 27 saves in the loss. The Comets penalty-killing unit was a perfect 3-for-3, including killing off a 5-on-3 power play in the first period.
With a large contingent of loud supporters in enemy territory, the Comets kicked the game off on the right foot with a goal on their first shot of the game. On a two-on-one, Alexandre Grenier slipped a cross-slot pass through a defender to Chris Higgins. Devils’ goaltender, Scott Wedgewood, was late getting to the other side of the net, and Higgins deposited his sixth goal into the gaping net. T.J. Hensick was credited with the secondary assist as his breakout pass set the stage for game’s first marker.
After the Devils tied the game at 1-1 13 minutes into the second period, the Comets regained the lead four minutes when Taylor Fedun scored his sixth goal of the season. Fedun received a pass from Alex Friesen and flipped an innocent looking shot on net from the point. The puck fought its way through traffic and snuck its way past Wedgwood’s leg pad for the 2-1 lead.
The Comets took the 2-1 lead into the third period, where before tonight, guaranteed the Comets a point. Entering tonight’s game the Comets were 72-0-4-0 as a franchise when leading after two periods, and a perfect 21-0-0-0 this season. That changed.
The Devils struck three times in a span of five minutes in the first 10 minutes of the third period. In his second game with the Devils, Nick Lappin scored his first career American Hockey League goal 4:45 into the period, and then Jim O’Brien collected his second of the evening at the 6:38 mark. Under five minutes later, Ben Thomson scored his fifth of the season, the goal served as the eventual game-winner.
With Cannata pulled for the extra attacker the Darren Archibald jammed home a rebound with 1:22 to play to claw the Comets to within one. The Comets pressured again late with the empty-net, but could not find the equalizer.
With the loss, the Comets record dropped to 30-21-5-3.
The Comets three-in-three weekend concludes Sunday afternoon with the Comets lone trip to Providence this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 3pm at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. With at least a point in 23 straight home games, the Providence Bruins are just two games shy of tying the AHL’s record for consecutive home games without a regulation loss.