Utica, N.Y. – The Utica Comets almost clawed their way out of an early 3-0 deficit but ultimately fell to the Syracuse Crunch 5-3 Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center.
Gabriel Dumont struck 3:30 into the game with a shorthanded goal. Ross Colton extended the lead to 1-0 halfway through the opening frame after a Comets’ defensive zone turnover. Carter Verhaeghe made it 3-0 14 seconds later. Despite having four power plays and putting 15 shots on net, the Comets were unable to muster up a goal in the opening 20 minutes.
Things settled down in the middle frame, with the rivals combining for just 11 total shots in the period. However, neither team was able to find the net.
Boucher got the Comets on the board 3:39 into the third period after he beat Crunch goaltender Eddie Pasquale five-hole with a wrister from the slot. MacEwen and Jalen Chatfield picked up the assists. Verhaeghe scored his second of the night at the 11:36 mark of the third to restore Syracuse’s three-goal lead. MacEwen answered back 48 seconds later with the goalie pulled for a delayed penalty. Brendan Gaunce and Kole Lind tallied the assists. Anselmini brought the Comets within with 4:44 to go in regulation, beating Pasquale with a wrister from the left circle. Lind and Carter Bancks had the assists. Utica pulled Leighton in an effort to tie the game, but Jan Rutta hit the empty net with two seconds to play to secure the win.
The Comets are back at it Friday night for a rematch against the Crunch. Puck drop at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena is at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.