Syracuse, NY – The Utica Comets threw everything they had at the Syracuse Crunch down the stretch, but their comeback efforts fell short in a 4-2 final on Monday at the War Memorial.
The first period showcased fantastic pace and opportunity, but the goalies stole the show and led each team into the dressing room in scoreless fashion after 20 minutes. Zane McIntyre made seven first period saves, while his Crunch counterpart Scott Wedgewood made ten.
Hemming Utica in their own end, Syracuse tallied the first goal of the night at 5:02 of the second period after taking advantage of a tired Comets’ unit. Earning a deep takeaway, Boris Katchouk was fed in the slot for a one-timer that beat McIntyre over the left leg, marking the 10th of the season for the Crunch forward.
Syracuse continued the attack later on in the frame, earning a two-on-zero opportunity with Alexander Volkov and Gemel Smith hurrying up the ice. After a quick pitch and catch in front of the net, Volkov finished the play and doubled his team’s lead.
Syracuse padded their lead to a game-high three goals midway through the third period, after Alex Barre-Boulet fired a well-placed wrist shot into the stick-side corner.
The Comets got a spark minutes later from Jonah Gadjovich, who reached double digits with his tenth goal of the season. Josh Teves wrestled the puck free at the left wing wall and sent it to the front of the goal where Gadjovich was waiting to re-direct it over the line.
The Comets’ foot remained on the gas in the next couple of minutes and, after earning a power play, brought the score to within one. Justin Bailey received the puck in front of the net, where he used a spinning backhand pass to find a streaking Reid Boucher, who punched home his 23rd of the year.
Within a goal was as close as the Comets would get, as Gemel Smith found the empty net with under a minute remaining to seal Utica’s fate.
The Comets are back in action Wednesday night when the play host to the Binghamton Devils. 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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