Utica, NY – Justin Bailey recorded a hat trick as the Utica Comets downed the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 5-2 Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center to move into first place in the North Division. Reid Boucher and Jonah Gadjovich also scored for Utica. Michael DiPietro made 26 saves in the win.
Bailey got the Comets on the board 1:41 into the first when his shot from the right circle squeaked past Alex Lyon on the power play. Bailey scored again 1:24 later when he was set up by Kole Lind for a redirection at the side of the night. The goal chased Lyon from the game in favor of J-F Berube. Connor Bunnaman got one back for the Phantoms 4:21 into the first when he potted a loose puck that made its way through DiPietro. Boucher restored Utica’s two-goal lead with 6:12 remaining in the first when he put home a rebound off a Sven Baertschi shot. Mikhail Vorobyev netted a shorthanded goal a minute and a half later to cut the lead to 3-2.
Gadjovich pushed the Comets lead to 4-2 25 seconds into the middle frame when he redirected a pass from Ashton Sautner past Berube. Bailey earned his third of the night with 2:33 to go in the second period, taking a saucer pass from Nikolay Goldobin and blasting a one-timer past Berube.
The Comets locked things down defensively in the third period to secure the win.
The Comets are back at it tomorrow night at home against the Belleville Senators. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Box Office, over the phone by calling (315) 790-9070, or online at www.empirestatetix.com. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHLTV.
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