Archibald Strikes Back!
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Nov 4, 2015
The Utica Comets delighted the sold out home crowd on Wednesday night, as they defeated the Portland Pirates by the score of 3-2 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Darren Archibald scored in his first game back with the Comets, after recently being signed to a Professional Tryout Contract.
Archibald (1-0-1), Ashton Sautner (1-0-1), and Blair Jones (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 25 saves in the victory.
The Pirates kicked off the scoring 8:19 into the first period when the puck got deflected into the air, Cannata lost sight of it, and the puck deflected off the back glass, off Cannata’s back and trickled into the net. Vinny Saponari was credited with the Portland goal. Zac Larraza and Chase Balisy assisted on the goal.
Archibald then scored a goal on his first shot back in a Comet uniform. The goal came 18:04 into the first period, when he received a pass from Alex Friesen and put a wrist shot over the shoulder of the goalkeeper to tie the game 1-1. Andrey Pedan also assisted on the Archibald goal.
The Comets struck again just 56 seconds later when Sautner fired a shot to the left of the goalkeeper on a perfect pass from Hunter Shinkaruk, for the first goal of his professional career. Blair Jones was also credited with an assist on the goal.
Portland came back to tie the game 6:53 into the second period on a goal from Rob Schremp. Assisting on Schremp’s goal were Cameron Gaunce and Rob Flick.
The Comets regained the lead when Blair Jones scored what proved to be the game-winning goal 18:39 into the second period. His shot deflected off the skate of a Portland defender and straight into the net for Jones’ fourth goal of the season. Carter Bancks assisted on the goal.
The third period was a defensive battle, as the two teams went back and forth. The Pirates had a chance late after Archibald and Alexandre Grenier were called for penalties, putting the Comets down two men. Utica managed to stop the Portland 6-on-3 attack to secure the victory.
The Pirates ended up with 27 shots on goal, after getting off 13 shots in the first period alone. Utica finished the game with 22 shots.
With the win, the Comets improve to 4-4-1-0 overall on the season, while Portland falls to 3-5-0-0.
The Comets will be back in action on Friday as they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, Toronto Marlies to the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets will be back at the Utica Memorial Auditorium tonight as they host the Florida Panthers American Hockey League affiliate, the Portland Pirates. The game will be the first of three straight home games for the Comets this week. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Comets currently sit in sixth place in the North Division, seven points behind the first place Toronto Marlies who have played two more games than Utica. The Pirates currently sit in last in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division, with six points in seven games.
Last Game: The Comets last game was a back and forth battle with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Travis Ehrhardt scored his first goal of the season to kick off the game’s scoring against the Sound Tigers. Alexandre Grenier added in a goal to give him his second goal of the season. Joe Cannata had 25 saves in the 3-2 overtime loss.
Ahoy, Matey: For the first time in franchise history, the Comets will play the Portland Pirates.
Scouting the Pirates: After winning three straight games from Oct. 17 to Oct. 23, the Pirates have lost three straight leading up to their contest against Utica on tonight. Leading the way in points for the Pirates is Wayne Simpson (0-8-8), and central, NY native Rob Schremp (5-2-7). Schremp’s five goals paces all Pirates players. Former Comets’ defenseman Yann Sauve will make his return to The AUD. Sauve spent the 2013-14 season in Utica as an assistant captain for the club. Sauve’s 13 assists were the third most by a Comets defenseman that season. In net, Mike McKenna has backstopped the club to a 2-2 record in four games. He has posted a 3.54 goals against average along with a .867 save percentage.
As the Hunter Goes: Hunter Shinkaruk has six goals in eight games for the Comets. All three Comets victories this season have come when the sophomore forward tallies a goal. Friday night in Binghamton, Shinkaruk recorded his second multi-goal game of the season with a two goal performance. The Vancouver Canucks’ 24th overall draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Level Draft enjoyed a 31-point rookie season with 16 goals in 74 games. His six goals are good for a fourth place tie among the AHL goal leaders.
We’re Going Streaking!: Comets forward Linden Vey is riding a four-game point streak that dates back to Oct. 24 vs the Syracuse Crunch. In that span Vey has collected five points (1-4-5). Defenseman Taylor Fedun has recorded a point in three-straight games with two goals, both on the power play, and an assist.
Milesone Alert: Tonight’s game marks Linden Vey’s 200th career American Hockey League game. Prior to joining the Comets, Vey spent three seasons in the Los Angeles Kings’ system playing for the Manchester Monarchs. The 24-year old recorded 67 points during the 2012-13 season, good for fifth most in the American Hockey League that season.
Team Effort: The Comets have 18 different players to get points so far this season, led by Shinkaruk with eight points (6-2-8). Linden Vey and Andrey Pedan have been great in setting up goals, as Vey leads the team with five assists, while Pedan is right behind him with four. Both Vey and Pedan have one goal each this season. Utica has been great when getting out to an early lead this year, as they are 1-0-0-0 when leading after the first period, and 3-0-0-0 when leading after the second period.
Welcome Back: On Tuesday the team announced the return of fan favorite, Darren Archibald. Archibald, 25, spent the previous two seasons with the Comets and collected 46 points (24-22-46) and 209 penalty minutes in 129 games. Last season the left winger recorded a career-high in games played (70), goals scored (14) and penalty minutes (107). During the Calder Cup Playoffs the Newmarket, ON native played in six games and scored a goal and two assists. His lone goal scored served as an overtime game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Wolves.
Going, Going…Gaunce: On Wednesday, Oct. 28, Brendan Gaunce was recalled by the Vancouver Canucks for the first time in his young career. Just a day later he made his National Hockey League debut against the Dallas Stars. He scored his first career NHL goal on Friday, Oct. 30 against the Arizona Coyotes with a first period goal against Anders Lindback.
Protecting the Pipes: Joe Cannata has been the go-to guy for the Comets so far this season. The Wakefield, MA native has started six of the team’s seven games to date. With a record of 3-3-1-0, and a goals against average of 2.15, Cannata is expected to get the start tonight for the Comets.
Next Game: The Comets will welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, Toronto Marlies to the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday, for the second of three home games this week. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.