Hartford, CT – The Utica Comets were provided 37 saves from Michael DiPietro and a goal from Reid Boucher, but they couldn’t halt the Atlantic Division leading Hartford Wolf Pack during a 3-1 loss on Saturday at XL Center.
Falling behind by a pair in the first, the Comets surrendered goals separated by 3:41 and trailed at the break. Vinni Lettieri batted a puck out of the air and over the head to DiPietro at 4:08 of the period, and Vincent LoVerde capped off a give-and-go sequence at 7:49. The Comets’ were outshot 16-3 during the frame, but their penalty kill did turn in a perfect 3/3 performance.
After continuing to chip away at the Wolf Pack, the Comets tallied their first of the night on the only strike of the second period. Kole Lind carried into a soft spot of the offensive zone where he freed space for a shot that was initially stopped by Adam Huska, but the rebound was put back by Boucher for his 21st goal of the season. The goal marked points in 17 of the last 18 games for Boucher.
While skating four-on-four during the third period, Hartford generated the difference-making goal, courtesy of Phil Di Giuseppe. Reeling in a stretch feed at the Comets blue line, Di Giuseppe hustled towards the net and chipped a forehand over the blocker of DiPietro. The goal, scored at 11:25 of the period, stood as the eventual game winner as Utica dropped the 3-1 decision.
The Comets return to the ice Wednesday night on the road against the Belleville Senators. Puck drop at CAA Arena is at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHLTV.
P. Di Giuseppe
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