Comets Land First Point But Fall 2-1 in a Shootout
- Updated: October 25, 2013
Despite a gritty effort that earned the first standings point in franchise history, the Utica Comets fell 2-1 to the Syracuse Crunch in a shootout at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Goaltender Joacim Eriksson made 32 saves, as well as four more in the shootout, but the Comets fell just short and extended their winless streak to five games.
Benn Ferriero started the shootout on a positive note as the first Comets shooter roofed his attempt over Syracuse goaltender Cedric Desjardins. Eriksson was perfect on three straight, before he surrendered a goal to the Crunch’s Tanner Richard. Cedrick Paquette lost the puck on his attempt in round six, but it trickled through Eriksson’s five hole and won the game for Syracuse as Alex Biega could not convert to extend the shootout.
The Comets snagged their first lead in franchise history as Stuart re-directed Sauve’s shot from the point past Desjardins. With Syracuse’s Brett Connolly in the box on a hooking minor, the Comets were able to capitalize on the man-advantage as Stuart buried his second of the season. Dalpe also picked up an assist on the marker.
The Comets survived a scare late in the first as a Crunch shot snuck past Eriksson, but defenseman Peter Andersson sprawled across to prevent any damage and Utica was able to take their lead into the locker rooms.
The Crunch evened the score on a powerplay of their own 6:47 into the second period. Nikita Kucherov extended his team lead in goals with his sixth of the season after he buried a rebound off of a Matt Taormina point shot. Vladislav Namestnikov also recorded his fourth assist of the season on the goal.
Both goaltenders were sharp throughout the remainder of the second, with Eriksson robbing Kucherov of his second goal of the evening with a sprawling right pad save at the back door late in the period. Desjardins stopped all nine shots that came his way during the middle stanza.
A tense third period saw each team get their opportunities, but Eriksson and Desjardins both stood tall between the pipes. Overtime only flashed more of the same and neither team could convert despite up and down action. Eriksson came up with a point blank stop with the glove with just under three seconds to play to force the shootout.
The gloves came off early and often between these two budding rivals. Kelsey Wilson and Jean-Phillippe Cote scrapped in the first period, which set the tone for two more in the second. Kellan Lain took down Mike Angelidis drawing a huge roar from another animated crowd at The AUD. David Marshall and Tanner Richard also dropped the gloves late in the second period for the games third fight.
With his goal, Stuart takes over the active team lead in goals with two. Sauve is now second amongst active Comets with three points (0-3-3), trailing only Alexandre Grenier.
For the first time in franchise history, the Comets face opposition from Canadian soil, as they host the Hamilton Bulldogs tomorrow evening. The contest marks the third game of Utica’s six game homestand as the Comets and Bulldogs faceoff in the first ever meeting between the two teams. The Bulldogs defeated Rochester 4-3 tonight in an overtime contest of their own. Puck drop for tomorrow is set for 7 p.m.
SYRACUSE CRUNCH (2-2-0-1) @ UTICA COMETS (0-4-0-0)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
Radio: 94.9 K-Rock
The Utica Comets look to regroup tonight following a 4-1 loss against the Albany Devils in the franchise’s home opener, which extended the team’s winless streak to four games. Their opponent tonight is the Syracuse Crunch, who will make the short trip East for the first ever “Thruway Throwdown”. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM.
When They Last Met: Tonight will be the first ever meeting between these two franchises.
Comets Outlook: Despite playing before a sold out and exuberant crowd at the Aud., the Comets fell to the Albany Devils 4-1 in the first ever home game in team history. Comet defenseman Frankie Corrado scored the first goal on home ice as his slap shot found the back of the net in the third period to break the shutout. Joe Cannata was solid between the pipes as he made 19 saves on 22 shots.
Crunch Outlook: The Crunch travel to Utica on a winning note after they defeated the Binghamton Senators 4-1 in their most recent contest. Artem Sergeev, Vlad Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov and Cedric Paquette each found the back of the net while goaltender Riku Helenius made 26 saves on 27 shots to record the victory. The victory marks the most recent turn in a string of up and down performances by the reigning Eastern Conference Champions, who come in at 2-2-0-1.
Sweet Home Utica: After they begun their inaugural season with three games on the road, the Comets have finally returned to the comfort of home ice. Tonight’s game against Syracuse is the second in a string of six straight in Utica. The Comets’ home stand stretches through the Nov. 6 meeting with Toronto.
Empire State Of Mind: The Comets became the sixth AHL team in the state of New York when they joined the league. They are currently in the final of five consecutive games against NY opposition, following two apiece with Rochester and Albany. Utica will face Binghamton and Adirondack (Glens Falls) later on in the season.
Corrad-Oh Yeah: With his powerplay goal at the 13:12 mark of the third period, Frank Corrado netted the first ever Comets goal at the Aud. The goal was also the first of the young defenseman’s professional career, which is comprised of 13 AHL and seven NHL games.
Sauve For Men: With his assist against the Devils, defenseman Yann Sauve became the first Comets blueliner to net multiple points (0-2-2) on this young season. Sauve was recalled to the Canucks on Wednesday, where he was a healthy scratch against the New Jersey Devils the following night, before being reassigned to Utica.
Vancouver Bound: The Vancouver Canucks announced just yesterday that forwards Pascal Pelletier and Darrin Archibald had been recalled to the big club. Pelletier is the Comets leading scorer on the season with seven points (2-5-7) and has skated in 13 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins. Archibald leads the Comets in penalty minutes with 22 and has two points (1-1-2) over four games. The Newmarket, ONT native has yet to make his NHL debut.
Home Away From Home: Although the Crunch and Comets have never met in an AHL game, the Syracuse organization is no stranger to the Auditorium. 3,066 fans came out to the Aud. on Feb. 15, 2006 as the Crunch defeated the Binghamton Senators 9-4.
International Men Of Mystery: Syracuse possesses one of the most well traveled rosters in the AHL as they come to Utica tonight, with players representing six different countries. The Crunch lineup features 11 Canadians, six Americans and four Russians, in addition to Riku Helenius (Finland), Dmitry Korobov (Belarus) and Tanner Richard (Switzerland).
Scouting The Crunch: A pair of talented Russian forwards has carried the scoring load for Syracuse thus far. Nikita Kucherov leads Crunch with eight points (5-3-8) over just five games played. Kucherov’s five goals are tied for fifth best in the league and his eight points are tied for eighth. The Maykop native is also tied with Hartford’s Danny Kristo for the league lead in rookie scoring. Vladimir Namestnikov is second amongst Crunch forwards with six points (3-3-6) and has already notched two multi-point contests through just five games.
Matt Taormina enters tonight’s contest fifth amongst defensemen in the AHL in scoring with seven points (1-6-7), with his six assists ranking fourth amidst blueliners. Nikita Nesterov has three points (0-3-3) as a rookie.
Cedrick Desjardins and Riku Helenius have shared goaltending duties thus far for the Crunch. Helenius comes in with one more game played with three, and has compiled a 2-1-0 record, a .903 save percentage and a 2.35 GAA. Desjardins enters tonight’s action at 0-2-0 with a .831 save percentage and a 4.93 GAA.