Tag Archives: Utica Comets

Comets Have Overtime Loss But get Playoff Berth!

Despite losing 3-2 in overtime to the St. John’s IceCaps, the Utica Comets and their fans are celebrating tonight. With the overtime point, the Comets clinched their second consecutive appearance in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

IceCaps’ goaltender Zachary Fucale was the story of the game as he turned aside 47 of the Comets 49 shots on goal, including 18 in the third period. Both Comets goals came courtesy of the special teams with Wacey Hamilton’s (1-0-1) tally coming while short-handed, and Taylor Fedun’s (1-0-1) coming on the power play.

After the team’s combined for 25 shots in the scoreless first period, the IceCaps were the ones to break the scoreless tie 6:42 into the second period. The Comets clearing attempt was batted down by an IceCaps defender by what appeared to be a high stick, and kept in the Comets zone. From the boards, Jeremiah Addison wristed an off-angle shot that Cannata turned aside before Jason Gregoire stuffed the rebound into the net.

After turning aside the Comets first 30+ shots on goal, Zachary Fucale finally blinked 7:15 into the third period. With Taylor Fedun serving a four minute double-minor for high-sticking, Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton teamed up for a highlight-reel short-handed marker. On a 2-on-2 rush, Bancks entered the IceCaps zone and pulled up at the top of the circle. Hamilton raced to the slot and one-touched Bancks’ perfect pass past Fucale for the team’s league-leading 15th short-handed goal of the year.

The tied score did not last long as Jacob de la Rose sniped a shot over Cannata’s blocker to regain the lead.

With time winding down on regulation, the Comets got the one goal that would ultimately push them into the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs. From the point, Taylor Fedun one-timed T.J. Hensick’s pass through Joseph LaBate’s screen in front, and into the twine to force overtime.

In overtime, the Comets appeared to be headed for a 2-on-1 break but it was whistled down on a controversial embellishment penalty on Carter Bancks. Minutes later the Morgan Ellis netted the game-winning goal for the IceCaps.

With the overtime loss the Comets record dropped to 36-24-8-4.

The Comets wrap up their two-game road trip in St. John’s with a matinee game Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:30pm.

Comets on the Cusp

The Utica Comets fired 52 shots on goal, including a franchise-high 21 in the first period, on en route to a 4-2 win over the Binghamton Senators at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday night. With the win, the Comets can clinch their second consecutive playoff berth with a Syracuse Crunch regulation loss to the Albany Devils on Friday night, or a regulation or overtime win verses the St. John’s IceCaps on Saturday night.

Brandon Marino (1-0-1), Kellen Jones (1-0-1), Alex Friesen (1-0-1), and Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1) recorded the Utica goals on the night, while Richard Bachman made 21 saves in net to secure his 16th win of the season. The Comets 21 first period shots on goal tied the all-time franchise mark for shots in a period. That previous mark was hit twice before, once in the third period on Mar. 21, 2014 vs. Adirondack, a 4-3 loss, and again in the third period on Jan. 30, 2015 vs. Toronto in a 3-2 loss.

While the Comets peppered the Senators’ net with 21 shots, the Bachman only had to stave off five enemy shots in the first period. Despite the lop-sided shot totals, the game remained scoreless after the initial 20 minutes.

The team’s appeared to have saved all their goal-scoring efforts for the second period as they combined for five goals.

Marino connected for the first goal of the night midway through the second period. As the Senators were poised for a breakout, Ronalds Kenins stepped up and intercepted the breakout pass. Marino, on the opposite of Kenins, broke hard to the net. Kenins danced around a defender as Marino was cross-checked by a Senators’ defender into their goaltender Matt O’Connor. Kenins cut across the top of the crease and ricocheted a shot off of Marino and in.

2:57 later Kellen Jones extended the Comets lead to 2-0 with a Bobby Orr-esque tally. Michael Zalewski cut across the top of the circles, drew a defender to him, and slipped a pass to Jones as he darted from the near-side corner. As he was being tripped up by O’Connor, Jones managed to wrap the puck around the goaltender with both of his skates above his head.

Three minutes after the Comets grabbed a 2-0 lead, Alex Friesen made it a 3-0 lead after he picked off a Senators pass and slipped a shot between O’Connor’s legs on a breakaway.

Binghamton, more accurately Jason Akeson, struck twice on the power play in the period’s waning minutes to break-up the shutout bid and claw the visiting team to within a goal.

In the third period the Comets slammed the door shut when Alexandre Grenier put the finishing touches on a perfect pass from T.J. Hensick that was threaded through two defenders legs. Taylor Fedun recorded the secondary assist on the power-play goal with 4:48 remaining.

The Comets improved to 36-24-7-4 with the win, and the Senators fell to 27-37-6-1.

The Comets hit the road, well air, for a pair of games against the St. John’s IceCaps on “the rock”. Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 6pm start, and Sunday’s game is a 2:30pm start in the Eastern time zone.

Crunch Storm Back To Down The Comets

In a back and forth contest that saw three lead changes and two ties, the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Utica Comets 7-3, after pulling away in the third period to tie the Galaxy Cup series at 4-4.

T.J. Hensick (0-2-2) and Jon Landry (0-2-2) had multi point games for the Comets, while Joseph LaBate (1-0-1), Carter Bancks (1-0-1), and Alex Friesen (1-0-1) had the Utica goals.

The Comets kicked off the game’s scoring when they took advantage of a power play opportunity 9:02 into the first period. Jon Landry sent a pass to Hensick, who was camped on the right side of the ice. Hensick fired a wrist shot that zipped over the right shoulder of Gudlevskis after be redirected by Joseph LaBate.

The second period saw an uptick in action as things got physical, and the team’s combined for five goals in an 8:39 stretch.

Bancks extended the Utica lead to 2-0, 5:11 into the second period. Hensick threw a pass across the crease to Bancks, who was stationed on the goal line. Bancks squeezed a shot through the legs of Gudlevskis for his 14th goal of the season.

The Comets appeared to have all the momentum, and a power play, after Luke Witkowski viciously jumped an unsuspecting Jon Landry and found himself in the sin bin for 12 minutes. However, appearances can be deceiving and the game’s momentum took a giant swing in the visitor’s favor.

While short-handed, the Crunch cut the Comets lead to 2-1. After an offensive miscue on the power play, Matthew Peca sent a pass to Joel Vermin who got free on a breakaway and fired a shot past Joe Cannata.

Syracuse tied it just two minutes later on a goal when Cameron Darcy stole the puck from Joe Cannata behind the net and deposited it into the vacated net.

Just 58 seconds later, the Crunch took their first lead of the night. Syracuse worked the puck around in the Comets zone before Vermin rifled a shot that beat the stick of Cannata.

Three minutes after that the Comets stormed right back and knotted the game 3-3. On the power play, Grenier one-timed a shot on net that was turned aside by Gudlevskis, but Friesen was there to clean it up off the rebound to tie the game at three.

Syracuse dominated the third period to the tune of 16-5 in shots, and 4-0 in goals. Adam Erne got the visiting team going after he streaked down the slot and redirected Daniel Walcott’s centering feed past Cannata.

1:38 later Henri Ikonen extended the Crunch lead to 5-3 when he finished off a Tanner Richard pass as Cannata was pushed to the back of the net. Jeff Tambellini added two more to the Crunch’s tally, one being an empty net goal, to cap off the game’s scoring.

Utica finished with 28 shots on goal, and the Crunch had 31 shots. Cannata had 24 saves for Utica, and Gudlevskis saved 25 shots for Syracuse.

With the loss, Utica fell to 35-24-7-4, while the crunch improve to 31-27-10-3.

The Comets return to The AUD for a tilt against the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night. Puck drop is slated for 7pm.

Comets, LaBate Route Binghamton

The Utica Comets jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and never looked back en route to defeating the Binghamton Senators 4-1 Saturday night at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. The Comets, on a four-game winning streak, saw their magic number to clinch a playoff spot get reduced to just five points after the Syracuse Crunch lost to the Rochester Americans 5-1.

Joseph LaBate (2-0-2), Taylor Fedun (1-1-2), and T.J. Hensick (0-2-2) posted multi-point nights, while Carter Bancks scored his 13th of the season. Richard Bachman made 26 saves for his 15th win of the season. The power-play unit clicked twice in four chances, while the penalty-killing unit was a perfect 4-for-4.

The first period could not have been better scripted for the Comets. A three goal first period was kicked off 10:26 into the game when Joseph LaBate redirected T.J. Hensick’s shot from the top of the circle up and over O’Connor for his seventh goal of the season. It was a bit of a quirky goal as no player could find the puck that was suspended in the air for several seconds before it crashed back down to the crease, and kicked into the net for the power-play goal.

LaBate struck again seven minutes later when his slapshot from the top of the left circle was wired past O’Connor’s blocker for his second of the night.

The Comets concluded the 17-shot first period barrage with a second power-play goal on their second opportunity of the night. With LaBate wreaking Havoc at the top of the crease, Taylor Fedun blasted a slapshot through traffic and past O’Connor’s leg pad for his seventh of the season.

The Comets rode the early momentum into the second period and scored just 43 seconds into the period. Carter Bancks improved on his career year with a wrist over the blocker of O’Connor for his 13th goal of the season.

The Senators were finally able to get on the board late in the second period thanks to Mark Fraser’s second goal of the year.

With the win, the Comets record improves to 35-23-7-4.

The Comets put the finishing touches on their three-in-three weekend with a critical home game against the Syracuse Crunch. The Comets can seal the deal and win their third consecutive Galaxy Cup with a regulation win. Puck drop is scheduled for 3pm at The AUD.

Four Goal Third Period Catapults Comets to Win

The Utica Comets returned to the Utica Memorial Auditorium for their second home game of the week as they took on the Springfield Falcons in their continued push for a playoff spot.  A four goal third period lifted the Comets to a 5-2 victory over the Falcons for their second consecutive come from behind victory. Coupled with Syracuse Crunch’s regulation loss to the Toronto Marlies, the Comets magic number was reduced to nine points.

T.J. Hensick (1-0-1), Alexandre Grenier (1-2-3), Alex Friesen (1-0-1), David Shields (1-0-1), Brandon Marino (1-0-1) picked up goals for the Comets, while defenseman Jon Landry (0-2-2) recorded a multi-point night. Joe Cannata stopped 18 of the Falcons’ 20 shots on goal for the victory.

After dominating for the vast majority of the first period, the Comets were held scoreless in the first period for the second consecutive game. Despite outshooting the Falcons 10-5 after twenty minutes of fast-paced hockey, the Falcons maintained a 1-0 lead off of a goal from Dominic Mondardo, his sixth of the season.  Monardo found the back of the net at 10:31 of the first with a shot that came from the left of Comets goaltender Joe Cannata.  The puck trickled its way between the goaltender and the near post and, after withstanding review, the call on the ice stood.

The Comets finally got on the board as T.J. Hensick netted his ninth goal of the season off a feed from defenseman Jon Landry (0-1-1) to even the score.  Hensick (1-0-1) rifled a shot past the glove of Falcons goaltender Niklas Treutle at 12:48. Alexandre Grenier (1-2-3) also collected an assist on the play for his team-leading 37th point.

The Falcons responded within minutes to regain the lead as Springfield’s Ross Mauermann collected his sixth goal of the season, unassisted, at 2:03 of the second period.  Despite out-playing and out-shooting the Falcons 27-13, the Comets returned to the locker room trailing after two.

The Comets began both the second and the third periods on the penalty kill, however were able to rebound in the third.  Alex Friesen (1-0-1) redirected a shot from Taylor Fedun (0-1-1) for his eleventh goal of the season at 17:21 of the third, once again knotting the two teams.

Three minutes later Grenier put a shot on net from the perimeter that found its way past Treutle for the eventual game-winning goal.

The Comets offense did not take a break and propelled itself to score two more goals for a total of four goals in nine minutes. In a span of 20 seconds David Shields and Brandon Marino added insurance goals to push the final score to 5-2.

Overall, eight different Comets combine to tally a total of six points on the night. With the win, the Comets record improved to 34-23-7-4 on the season for a total of 79 points.

The Comets get no time off as they travel to Binghamton tomorrow to take on the Senators for the second time in a week, before returning home to play the Syracuse Crunch at The AUD on Sunday. Game time for Saturday is scheduled for 7:15pm.

Comets Storm Back For Crucial Win

After being held scoreless through two periods of play, the Utica Comets outscored the Rochester Americans 3-1 in the third period to pull out a come from behind win to defeat the Amerks, 3-2, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday night.

Mike Zalewski (1-0-1), Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1), and Carter Bancks (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Richard Bachman stopped 36 shots in net, including some stellar saves to keep the Comets within striking distance early.

The Amerks were able to find the back of the net first just 5:16 into the opening period. Justin Bailey intercepted a Comets pass in front of the Utica net, spun, and fired a wrist shot past the stick of Bachman for the 1-0 lead.

Utica kept the puck in the Rochester zone for a lot of the second period, but couldn’t find a way to get it past Linus Ullmark despite some good chances, and allowed the Amerks to bring their 1-0 lead into the third period.

The Comets started the third period on the penalty kill but came out firing on all cylinders, and scored a short-handed goal just 21 seconds in. Zalewski received a pass from Friesen, made a move towards the slot to beat a defender, and buried a wrist shot to the glove side of Ullmark in his first game back from an upper body injury.

Rochester took the lead back after back-to-back holding penalties were called on the Comets just 29 seconds apart. While on a three-on-five disadvantage, Chad Ruhwedel sent a pass to Matt Ellis, who brought the puck to the front of the net and finished off a backhander for a 2-1 Amerks lead.

Utica didn’t go away easily tying the game again with 9:15 remaining in the third. Grenier stole the puck from an Amerks defender behind the net, took it to the front of the net, and squeezed a shot past Ullmark for his 14th goal of the season.

The Comets took their first lead of the game with just 55.5 seconds to play in the third period. Hensick controlled the puck at the point, slid a pass to Shields who was stationed at the right point. Shields put a shot on net that Ullmark turned aside. After a scramble in front of the net, Bancks was able to punch it in to give the Comets a big 3-2 win.

The Comets had a total of 36 shots on goal, while the Amerks finished with 27 shots. Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in goal for Rochester.

With the win, the Comets improve to 33-23-7-4, while the Rochester loss drops the Amerks 32-32-2-1.

The Comets will stay at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday, as they welcome the Springfield Falcons to town. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Comets Snap Skid in Explosive Fashion

The Utica Comets offense exploded for five goals in a 5-1 win over the Binghamton Senators at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday evening. The win snapped the Comets five game losing streak and reduced their magic number to 17 points for the coveted third playoff spot in the North Division.

Kellen Jones (1-1-2), and Curtis Valk (1-1-2) enjoyed multi-point nights, while Ronalds Kenins (1-0-1), T.J. Hensick (1-0-1), and Jon Landry (1-0-1) also added goals. Joe Cannata made 35 saves in his 18th win of the season.

The Comets kicked off the scoring after a Ronalds Kenins slashing minor nullified the Comets first power-play attempt. Playing short-handed, Carter Bancks forced an offensive zone turnover along the half wall. Bancks collected the puck and quickly found Kellen Jones as he streaked into the zone. With a defender in his face, Jones flicked a shot over the blocker of O’Connor for his third goal of the season, and second as a Comet.

The Comets doubled down on their lead on their 10th shot of the game just 1:43 into the second period. As he slid across the slot on one knee, Ronalds Kenins one-timed a feed from Milos Bubela past the glove of O’Connor to give the Comets a 2-0 lead. The assist was Bubela’s first professional point since joining the Comets on an Amateur Tryout Contract last week.

The Comets were once again able to double their lead with two firsts just five minutes apart.

First, Curtis Valk recorded his first career American Hockey League goal with a slick wrist shot from the slot that raced by the leg pad of the Senators’ goaltender.

T.J. Hensick followed that up with his first goal as a member of the Comets just five minutes later. On a two-on-one, Kellen Jones’ pass across the crease to Carter Bancks was blocked by a sliding Senators’ defender. O’Connor, who had slid to the far side of the crease to challenge the shot, found himself out of position and could not regroup before Hensick jammed the loose puck into the short side.

The Senators pulled O’Connor in favor of Chris Driedger to start the third, however, just 2:03 into the period Jon Landry gave the Comets a 5-0 lead when his wrist shot from the point snuck through traffic and into the net. Curtis Valk and Alexandre Grenier assisted on the goal.

Joe Cannata’s shutout bid lasted 29 shots, 43 minutes, and 45 seconds. David Dziurzynski’s wrist shot from the point clanked off the crossbar and in on the Senators’ 30th shot of the contest.

With the win the Comets record improves to 32-23-7-4.

The Comets return home for an important playoff showdown against the Rochester Americans on Tuesday night at The AUD. The Americans entered Saturday night’s game against the Syracuse Crunch just four points behind the Comets for the third, and possibly final, playoff spot in the North Division. Puck drop is set for 7pm.

Comets Sunk In OT

After suffering a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hershey Bears on Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, the Utica Comets grabbed just three points during their season-high five-game home stand.

Jordan Subban (1-0-1), Carter Bancks (0-1-1), and T.J. Hensick (0-1-1) each recorded a point for the Comets in the loss. Richard Bachman kept the Comets in the game with some spectacular saves, stopping 29 shots for Utica.

Both teams had their chances during the first period, but thanks to the incredible play of both Bachman and Justin Peters the game remained scoreless.

The Bears eventually got on the board first with a tally 3:03 into the second period. Dustin Gazley dumped a pass off to Aaron Ness at the point. Ness quickly fired a one-timer to the glove side of Bachman for his fifth goal of the season.

Jordan Subban and the Comets came back to tie it in the third, on a five-on-three power play. Bancks sent a pass to Subban who was stationed atop the right point. Subban swiftly ripped a one-timer past Peters for his 11th goal of the season.

The Comets started off overtime with some scoring opportunities, but Jakub Vrana scored on a breakaway after he managed to beat a pinching Comets defender to get the puck out of the Hershey zone.

Utica finished with 27 shots on goal, while the Bears had 31 shots.

The loss drops the Comets to 31-26-7-4, while the Bears improve to 37-18-4-7.

The Comets will travel to Binghamton, Saturday, to take on the Senators, as they try to snap their five game skid. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Comets Drop Fourth Straight

The Utica Comets extended their losing streak to four game after losing 3-1 to rival Syracuse Crunch, in a chippy affair Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The regulation to the Crunch was the Comets first of its kind on home ice to their Galaxy Cup rivals. The Galaxy Cup series now rests at 4-3-0-0, in Utica’s favor.

Alex Freisen (1-0-1), Ashton Sautner (0-1-1), and Ronalds Kenins (0-1-1) each recorded a point for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 15 saves in his first regulation loss in 10 games.

After a scoreless first period that saw the teams combine for just 11 shots on goal and six penalty minutes, the second period got off to a raucous start.

The Comets found the game’s first goal just 4:12 into the second period. Kenins dug the puck out of a scuffle and poked it to Sautner, who was stationed at the point. Sautner wound up and unleashed a heavy slap shot on net that Friesen redirected past Gudlevskis for his 10th goal of the season.

Five minutes later the Crunch came back to tie it with 9:23 left in the second. Adam Erne came down the right side of the ice and put a wrist shot past Cannata’s stick to make it 1-1.

On the power play due to a controversial goaltender’s interference call on Brandon Marino, Syracuse came up with the game-winning goal with 59 seconds left in the period. After the Crunch worked the puck around, Matthew Peca sent a pass across the slot to Joel Vermin, who quickly tapped the puck into the open net.

The teams collected 33 combined penalty minutes, with most of them coming in a skirmish that saw Greger Hanson and Cameron Darcy drop the gloves. The fight alone resulted in 27 of the period’s 33 penalty minutes.

The Comets dominated the third period with an 18-3 shots advantage, but could not find the equalizer. In the game’s waning seconds Matthew Peca scored an empty-net goal to seal the deal.

The Comets finished with 29 shots on goal, while the Crunch had 18 shots. Kristers Gudlevskis made 28 saves in net for Syracuse.

The loss drops the Comets to 31-23-6-4 on the season, while Syracuse improves to 28-25-10-3.

The Comets will look to snap their losing streak Friday night, as they take on the Hershey Bears at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Comets Settle for One Point

The Utica Comets wrapped up their three-in-three weekend with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Binghamton Senators Sunday afternoon at The AUD. The point knocked Utica’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to 22 points.

Joseph LaBate (1-1-2) and Carter Bancks (1-0-1) handled the scoring for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 16 saves in the loss. The Comets fired a season-high 48 shots on goal, matching their total from their Nov. 14 game vs the Syracuse Crunch. The Comets power play clicked twice in seven tries, and the penalty-killing unit had a perfect night killing all three of the Senators power-play opportunities.

The Comets and Senators jumped out to a fast-paced first period. The home team started the game buzzing as they peppered Senators’ goalie Matt O’Connor with 18 shots in just the first period.  By comparison, the Comets limited the Senators to 19 shots on goal the entire game.

Joe Cannata came up big early on in the game.  Although he only faced six shots in the first stanza, Cannata was tested with a penalty shot.  Binghamton’s Fredrik Claesson was awarded the penalty shot after he picked up a puck on his way out of the penalty box and was hooked by Comets defenseman Jordan Subban.  Cannata played a big role in the Comets first period lead as he blockered away the point-blank shot by Claesson.

Not long after the penalty shot the Comets jumped out to their first lead of the day on a power-play goal from Joseph LaBate. The shot, taken by Taylor Fedun from the point, was redirected by Alex Friesen and then again by LaBate in front at 4:14 of the 1st.

Binghamton hit the ice hard for the 2nd period as Phil Varone tied the score at 1-1 after he deflected a puck over the shoulder of goaltender Cannata just two minutes into the second.

The Comets were able to capitalize on a 5-on-3 opportunity midway through the 2nd period to regain their one goal lead. Carter Bancks netted his 11th goal of the season off of a rebound from Senators’ goaltender Matt O’Connor. Joseph LaBate nabbed his second point of the game as it was his initial shot from the point that Bancks buried to take the lead.  Ronalds Kenins also collected a point for his assist.

The Senators responded within minutes to tie the game at 2-2 after a bouncing puck was mishandled in the Comets zone.  Senator’s Phil Varone quickly swooped in and wristed it past Cannata for an unassisted goal with 12:14 to play in the 2nd period.

Neither team could score in the third, or the overtime period.

Alex Friesen was able to beat Matt O’Connor, however, the Comets ultimately fell to the Senators as both Phil Varone and Casey Bailey found the back of the net for Binghamton.

The Comets record fell to 31-22-6-5 with the loss.

The Comets can seal the deal and win their third consecutive Galaxy Cup with a win over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday evening at The AUD. The Comets are 4-2-0-0 vs their rival to the West this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 3pm.