Syracuse, N.Y. – Reid Boucher returned from injury with a hat trick and led the way as the Utica Comets skated to a 5-2 road victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at the War Memorial.
Earning a power play in the middle of the first period, the Comets needed just seconds of the man advantage before Reid Boucher made his presence felt. A faceoff that drifted to Boucher near the slot allowed him time to look up and spot a corner to sail the puck in for his 11th of the season.
Five minutes later and on a power play of their own, the Crunch tied the game at one, courtesy of Alex Barre-Boulet. Moving in from the left wing circle, Barre-Boulet reached back and uncorked a slap shot that flew into the net for the equalizer.
After a solid display of back-and-forth action to start the second period, Utica established its second one-goal lead of the game while tallying their second power play goal. Nikolay Goldobin controlled on the left wing before steering a pass to Kole Lind for a re-direct for his fourth of the season. The Crunch responded just two minutes later as Boris Katchouk capitalized on Syracuse’s fourth power play of the night.
The tie game lasted just over a minute as Boucher tallied his second of the game just moments later. Hustling into the zone along the wing and flinging a shot from an acute angle, he zipped a shot that snuck into an impossibly small window. Syracuse netminder Spencer Martin reached back to try and prevent the puck from going in, but the effort was futile.
The Comets added to their lead with under three minutes left in the second as Carter Bancks registered his third of the year by angling a Francis Perron pass under the glove of Martin and into the net. The three goal outburst from Utica sent the team into the dressing room with a 4-2 lead after two periods.
Slamming the door shut during the third period, Utica used nine saves from Zane McIntyre and five killed penalties to take away Syracuse’s chances. Late in the action and facing an empty net, Boucher flew the puck down the ice and finished off his hat trick and the Comets’ 5-2 thrashing of their rivals.
The Comets go right back at it tomorrow night at home against the Rochester Americans. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and there is a team autograph session following the game. Tickets are still available at the Box Office, over the phone by calling (315) 790-9070, or online at www.empirestatetix.com or the ticket exchange site, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.
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