Utica Comets 4 over Oklahoma City Barons 2, Extend streak to 6 Games

After setting a franchise record last Sunday for five wins in a row, the Utica Comets did it again on Friday night as they trampled over the Oklahoma City Barons 4-2 to extend their win streak to six at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.

UticaCometsWaceyHamilton

Rookie Hunter Shinkaruk (1-1-2) (picture at top)  lit the lamp for his third game in a row after scoring the Comets’ third unanswered goal in the second period. After missing 31 games from an injury, Wacey Hamilton (1-0-1) (pictured above) made his presence known after netting the Comets’ fourth goal of the game. Both Cory Conacher (1-0-1) and Cal O’Reilly (1-0-1) found goals as well that led to the downfall of the Barons.

Even after dominating the entire first 20 minutes of the game and an 18-3 shot advantage, the Comets only found the net once after a spinning pass from the top of the circle. O’Reilly took notice of the chance and forced his way to the other side of the crease as he popped in Shinkaruk’s pass for the early 1-0 lead. With O’Reilly’s 50th point of the season, the Comets captain ran his point streak to nine games.

As the second period began, the Comets continued to cash in on their shot opportunities. At 3:54 Conacher sped into the zone and released a snap shot over Laurent Brossoit’s blocker side to put the Comets up two goals to none. Bobby Sanguinetti and Peter Andersson both assisted Conacher on his seventh goal of the season.

Just one minute later, Shinkaruk found himself on the right side of the puck as he received a dish from Alex Biega just inside the right circle. Shinkaruk knocked home the one-timer for his 11th goal of the season, which put the Comets up 3-0.

At 11:03 the Comets found their fourth unanswered goal of the game after Hamilton retrieved the puck after a forced turnover cause by Mike Zalewski. Hamilton walked into the slot and slipped it passed Brossoit’s right leg pad for the 4-0 lead.

The Barons finally answered back with less than two minutes left in the second period on the second half of a Comets double minor. After a set up from Ryan Hamilton, Jason Williams found a lane to shoot and snuck one past Joacim Eriksson’s blocker side to make it 4-1.

The third period only saw the Barons score once more but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Comets commanding three-goal lead. At 12:55, Oklahoma’s Mitch Moroz tipped in a shot from Jordan Oesterle to make it a final score of 4-2.

After Friday night’s win over the Barons, the Comets have extended their point total to 87 which gets them within eight points of clinching the first place within the North Division.

The Comets will be return to The AUD tomorrow night to take on the Rockford IceHog’s for their second and final meeting of the season.

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MTA Works to Minimize Record Crowds on New York City Subways

Overcrowded subways are causing more delays across the city’s transit system.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there were nearly 13,000 delays because of overcrowding in January. That’s almost double the number of delays in the same month last year.

The Second Avenue subway is expected to ease overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue lines and the MTA says three of the new stations will open by December of next year.

Transit officials say work on the 86th Street stop needs to be sped up to avoid delaying the project’s completion.

Crews are still working to get the 7 train to the far West Side this spring, but they’re dealing with some issues regarding the installation of elevators at the 34th Street/Hudson Yards station.

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Long overdue repairs to the 168th Street and 181st Street stops in Washington Heights are being pushed back.

We brought you a story in 2013 about bricks falling from the ceiling onto the tracks and passing trains. Now the MTA hopes to have everything fixed by next year.

Finally, the MTA is proposing changes to two bus routes in Brooklyn and Queens that serve an area where many pedestrians have been hit.

‘Exclusively for white people’ stickers put on Austin, Texas stores

Employees at several Austin businesses have found stickers saying “exclusively for white people” placed on their windows, sparking an investigation into their origin and condemnation from the mayor.
Mayor Steve Adler said the stickers discovered Wednesday morning were “an appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city.”
The stickers also say “Maximum of 5 colored customers / colored BOH staff accepted,” apparently referring to the “back of house” operations at a restaurant. They featured a city of Austin logo and claimed to be “sponsored by the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program,” though no such program exists.

Matt Every wins in come-from-behind fashion at Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second consecutive year, making an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Henrik Stenson and earn another trip back to the Masters.

Every rallied from a four-shot deficit last year for his first career victory. This one was even sweeter. He came from three shots behind Sunday with a 6-under 66, and he had to make the biggest putt of his career to get that handshake with the tournament host.

“The one on 18, straight downhill,” Every said. “That’s what you want under pressure.”

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Stenson closed with a 70 and extended a curious streak on the PGA Tour. It was the ninth straight tournament in which a 54-hole leader failed to win, and the Swede let this one get away.

He regained the lead with birdies on the 11th and 12th holes as Morgan Hoffmann began to fade, and Stenson had a one-shot lead with four holes to play. But he three-putted from 45 feet on the 15th, and three-putted again for par from 40 feet on the fringe at the par-5 16th.

Needing a birdie to force a playoff, Stenson was wide left on a 20-foot putt at the 18th.

Every finished at 19-under 269 and became the first player since Payne Stewart in 1987 to win at Bay Hill with all four rounds in the 60s.

A year ago, Every missed a 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole and had to wait a nervous 10 minutes to see if anyone could catch him. This time, he had no room for error. With a confident swing that held up all week, he drilled his drive down the left side of the fairway and hit his approach above the hole to set up his birdie.

He joined Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts as the only players to repeat at Arnie’s place. Woods won four in a row, and back-to-back on two other occasions. Roberts, like Every, won his first two PGA Tour titles at Bay Hill.

Matt Jones birdied three of his last four holes for a 68 to finish alone in third.

Hoffmann had a two-shot lead after a birdie on the eighth hole, but it was a struggle the rest of the way. Stenson caught him on the 11th, and Hoffmann made bogey on his next two holes to fall three shots behind. He hit his tee shot out-of-bounds into a backyard on the 18th hole for a double bogey and a 71 to finish fourth.

Rory McIlroy, in his final tournament before he goes for his third straight major and the career Grand Slam at the Masters, closed with a 70 and tied for 11th. The world’s No. 1 player had only one round in the 60s in his three events on the Florida swing.

“The main goal was to come here and try to win,” said McIlroy, who played Bay Hill for the first time. “Couldn’t do that. At least I got a couple of things out of this week, which is good.”

Zach Johnson holed a 5-iron from 207 yards on the par-5 16th for the second albatross in two days, after no one had made a 2 on a par 5 since Bay Hill began in 1979.

ANOTHER ALBATROSS: Zach Johnson holes 5-iron at par-5 16th

Every left Bay Hill a year ago believing he could win the Masters on his first try. He missed the cut and had only one top 10 the rest of the year. But he changed coaches in the fall and began working with Sean Foley to tighten up areas in his game.

Now he heads to Augusta with more confidence, and believes he has a swing that will get him in these positions more often.

DIVOTS: Sam Saunders, the 27-year-old grandson of Palmer, closed with a 73 and tied for 29th. … Harris English was at No. 52 in the world and needed a top 10 to crack the top 50 one week before that earns a Masters invitation. He had a 72-75 weekend and tied for 29th, likely dropping him at least one spot. The Valero Texas Open next week is the final event to make the top 50.

Utica Comets 4, Rochester Americans 1, Best In The West

For the first in the history of the franchise, the Utica Comets (39-19-6-1) pushed their winning streak to five games after Sunday afternoon’s match-up against the Rochester Americans (25-33-5-0) resulted in a 4-1 victory at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

Darren Archibald (1-0-1) (picture above) scored his second goal in three games and Frank Corrado (1-0-1) scored his first since returning from the Vancouver Canucks to help give them the early lead. Both Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) and Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) both found the back of the net later on in the game, which was more than enough to secure the Comets 39th win of the season.

It didn’t take much for the Comets to open up the scoring in the first period of play as Archibald found the net just past the three-minute mark. Negrin set up the opportunity in front as he directed one towards the net from the point. Mike Zalewski got a hold of the puck first and tipped it down towards the ice, but Archibald was there to collect the puck and bury it top shelf on Andrey Makarov’s blocker side for the early 1-0 lead.

Frank Corrado
Frank Corrado

With less than two minutes left in the first, Corrado took advantage of the Comets second power play of the period as he raced down the right wing. A slapshot is all that it took for Corrado to bury the power-play goal on the far side that gave the Comets the two-goal lead before heading into the second period. Jeremie Blain was credited with the only assist on the play.

The Americans answered back halfway through the second period at 10:20 after the Comets defenders were caught out of position. Matt Pelech found the hole and snuck through towards the left of the slot as he put it through Joacim Eriksson’s legs to make it 2-1.

The Comets took their two-goal lead back in the third period after a nice heads-up play by Alexandre Grenier. A dish to the center slot was enough for Shinkaruk to snipe it off the crossbar and in to make it 3-1 at 7:20. Cal O’Reilly tallied the secondary assist.

And for the second night in a row, Baertschi sealed the deal at 19:15 with his second empty-netter in just as many games to give the Comets the 4-1 win. Carter Bancks assisted Baertschi’s tenth point in nine games since being dealt to the Comets from the Adirondack Flames.

After defeating their fellow North Division foes Sunday afternoon, the Comets have secured a total of 85 points and could be gunning for the first place standing within the Western Conference depending on the outcome of the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Adirondack Flames game this afternoon.

The Utica Comets will be heading back to The Utica Memorial Auditorium for back-to-back home games that begin next Friday night March 27th. It will be their second and final meeting of the regular season against the Oklahoma City Barons and the action begins at 7 p.m.

Utica Comets 4 Over Syracuse Crunch 2

A three-goal third period propelled the Utica Comets to a 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch Saturday night at the War Memorial at OnCenter.

Joe Cannata
Joe Cannata

The new guys were the story for the Comets as Sven Baertschi (2-0-2) continued his torrid better than a point-per-game pace with the Comets, and Cory Conacher (1-0-1) scored his first goal with Utica. Goaltender Joe Cannata made 29 saves in his second American Hockey League start, and first AHL win of the year.

After a scoreless first period, the Crunch started the game’s scoring 5:41 into the second period. Bobby Sanguinetti blocked a shot from Jake Dotchin to the side of the net. Sanguinetti went to bat the rebound away, but got tangled up with goaltender Joe Cannata. Tanner Richard beat Sanguinetti to the puck and poked it past the sprawled out Cannata. Dylan Blujus recorded the secondary assist.

However, the Crunch’s lead would be brief. Jeremie Blain (pictured at top) rifled a shot on net that Allen York denied, but Baertschi was there for the rebound and golfed it into the Crunch’s net. Alex Friesen also picked up an assist on the play.

Cory Conacher
Cory Conacher

Just two minutes into the third period the Comets took the lead for good. Conacher broke into the Crunch’s zone, dropped a pass to Alex Friesen, who returned the pass right away. A flick of the wrist later gave the Comets the 2-1 lead.

After Frank Corrado rang a shot off the post, Cal O’Reilly gathered up the puck and slid a pass to Hunter Shinkaruk who was all alone in front. After he faked a pass to a Comet on the back door, Shinkaruk extended the Comets lead to 3-1 with a quick backhand shot.

Jonathan Marchessault cut the Comets lead in half with a power-play goal with just 4:33 to play in the third period. Richard and Blujus picked up their second points of the night with assists.

Sven Baertschi
Sven Baertschi

With just 45 seconds left the Comets emphatically slammed the door on this one. Alex Grenier broke Friesen out of the Comets zone, and into a two-on-one rush. After taking the pass, Baertschi fired the puck into the gaping net for exclamation point.

The Comets have won four straight games, and have now recorded points in five straight games.

The Comets wrap up their three-in-three weekend tomorrow afternoon in Rochester to take on the Amerks. Puck drop is set for 3:05pm from the Blue Cross Arena.

Utica Comets 4 Overtake Rochester Americans 2 At Aud

The Utica Comets didn’t disappoint the home crowd after defeating the Rochester Americans 4-2 Friday night in their first game at The Utica Memorial Auditorium since March 4th . The Utica Comets captured another two points to put them at a total of 81 before heading out on the road to finish their three-in-three weekend.

Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2 (pictured above), Darren Archibald (1-0-1), Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) and Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) all found goals for the Comets during Friday night’s victory. Bobby Sanguinetti (0-3-3) and Cal O’Reilly (0-2-2) both found their way on to the scorer’s sheet with a combined total of five assists.

 Brendan Gaunce
Brendan Gaunce

Despite outshooting the Americans 16-9 in the first stanza, the Americans were the only ones to find the back of the net in the opening period. Evan Rankin slipped a shot past Eriksson after a faceoff in the Comets zone at 18:02 with assists from Brady Austin and Michael Pelech.

The Americans found their second goal with only 12 seconds left after Justin Kea just beat Alex Biega into the zone. With Biega on his trail, Kea protected the puck and one handed it in through Eriksson’s legs for the 2-0 lead.

Darren Archibald
Darren Archibald

The Comets answered in a hurry once they hit the ice for the second period. Archibald received a pass inside the slot from Brandon DeFazio and popped it past Andrey Makarov to get the Comets within one just 12 seconds after the second period puck drop. Mike Zalewski received credit for the secondary assist.

Sven Baertschi
Sven Baertschi

At 6:17 Baertschi recorded his seventh point in seven games after a slap shot from the left point ripped past Makarov for the equalizer and the power-play goal. Both Bobby Sanguinetti and Cal O’Reilly chipped in on the play.

Utica found their third unanswered goal on a two-on-one opportunity that resulted from a smart heads-up play from Alexandre Grenier who jumped out of the penalty box just at the right time. With Gaunce rushing in on the left wing, Grenier fed the puck across the slot and Gaunce banged it into the mesh to put the comets up 3-2 at 12:52. Saguinetti also received credit on the play.

The Comets continued to cause havoc in the crease as the teams entered the third period. One minute after a hooking penalty was called Drew Bagnall, Grenier tipped in a wrist shot from Sanguinetti for their second power-play goal of the game that gave the Comets a final score of 4-2.

With Friday night’s victory over the Americans, the Comets now have a 12-point lead over their North Division foe, the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Comets will continue their three-in-three weekend with a game in Syracuse tomorrow evening. The 7 p.m. match-up at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena will be their second to last meeting with the Crunch this season.

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