Comets Bow Out in First Round


The Utica Comets third season came to a halt with a 6-3 loss to the Albany Devils Thursday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Devils took the best-of-five series three games to one.

Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2) had a multi-point night for Utica, while Alex Friesen (1-0-1) and T.J Hensick (1-0-1) had the other two Comet goals. Travis Ehrhardt (0-1-1), David Shields (0-1-1), Jordan Subban (0-1-1), and Jon Landry (0-1-1) each had an assist on the night.

Albany fed off of a Comets mistake to jump out to a 1-0 lead early in the first. A Utica pass was picked off in the Comets zone by Matt Lorito. He took the puck down the center of the ice and ripped a shot past Joe Cannata.

The Devils were able to strike again seconds later on a Joseph Blandisi goal. Blandisi brought the puck down the left side of the ice and in on net. He made a move to get Cannata off balance and backhanded a shot into the net to give Albany a 2-0 lead.

Mike Sislo extended the Albany lead just over halfway through the first period. The Devils got out on a two on one and Blandisi skated down the right side with the puck. He then zipped a pass to Sislo, who streaked down the middle for a one-timer, Which gave the Devils a 3-0 lead.

Reid Boucher added on to the Devils lead in the second, turning defense into offense. Boucher stole the puck in the Comets zone, had an open scoring chance and took advantage, as he sent a shot past Cannata to make it 4-0.

Utica showed some urgency towards the end of the second, as they connected for a goal to make it 4-1. Shields fired a shot on net that deflected off the net minder. Ehrhardt grabbed the rebound and rifled a pass across the slot to Grenier who one-timed it into the open net to give the Utica crowd some life.

Albany was able to strike shortly after with a short-handed goal. Pavel Zacha got the puck on the goal line and passed it out to Blake Pietila, who put a wrist shot to the right of Cannata for a 5-1 Devils lead.

The Comets didn’t go away easy, as they cut the lead to 5-2 early in the third. Subban set up Friesen, who stood above the right circle. Friesen ripped a shot that went through the legs of the goalkeeper and kept Utica in it.

Hensick and the Comets chipped away at the Albany lead again midway through the third. Albany goaltender Scott Wedgewood went behind the net to get the puck and Grenier snuck up on him and stole it. Grenier found Hensick in the crease for a one-timer, as Wedgewood was trying to scramble to get back. The Hensick goal cut the Devils lead to 5-3.

Richard Bachman was pulled from net with just over two minutes left in the game and Pietila put one in from mid ice to close out the scoring and give the Devils a 6-3 win.

Utica totaled 35 shots on the night, while Albany finished with 34 shots. Cannata (23 saves) and Richard Bachman (5 saves) combined for 28 saves in net for the Comets. Wedgewood made 32 saves in goal for the Devils.

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