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Comets Lose Fourth Straight

by Mark Caswell, Jr.

Nov 21, 2015

The Utica Comets losing streak ran to a season-high four games after the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the Comets 4-2 Saturday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Carter Bancks (1-0-1), and Alex Friesen (1-0-1) scored for the home team, while Joe Cannata made 28 saves in the loss.

Bancks opened up the game’s scoring with the team’s second short-handed tally of the season 7:48 into the game. Bancks jammed home a rebound after Sound Tiger’s goaltender Stephon Williams denied Wacey Hamilton’s shot on the two-on-one break. Alex Biega added the secondary assist.

Bridgeport scored two unanswered goals off the sticks of Scott Mayfield and James Wright, before the Comets struck again.

Friesen buried his first goal of the season after he collected a loose puck in the slot and wristed it through traffic and past Williams. The goal, a power-play goal, tied the game at 2-2 with 1:46 left to play in the second period. Jon Landry, in his first game as a Comet, teamed up with Andrey Pedan to assist on the goal.

In a span of 28 seconds, Matt Carkner and Jesse Graham each scored for the Sound Tigers to finish the game’s scoring.

After tonight’s loss, the Comets record fell to 5-8-1-1 and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers advance to 13-4-1-0. The Comets power-play unit converted on one of their nine chances, while the penalty-killing unit was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night.

The Comets next game is on the road against the Hartford Wolf Pack. After falling short to them at home on Friday night, this will be their third time meeting this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00pm.

Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7pm
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Tonight’s Game: The Comets will wrap up their short two-game homestand tonight when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers make their lone visit to The AUD this season. The Comets are looking to snap their three game losing streak when they face the Sound Tigers for second time this season. The Comets dropped a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sound Tigers back on Nov. 1 at the Webster Bank Arena. The Comets are 1-1-1-0 all-time vs Bridgeport. Puck drop is scheduled at 7pm for this sold out game.

The Comets sit sixth place in the North Division, thirteen points behind the first place Toronto Marlies, who have played two more games than Utica. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers rank second in the Atlantic Division, only four points behind first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Last Game: The Comets suffered just their second loss on home ice on Friday night when the Hartford Wolf Pack visited The AUD for the first time. Brendan Gaunce was able to find the net twice, while Richard Bachman made 21 saves in his first game at home.

Scouting the Sound Tigers: The explosive Bridgeport Sound Tigers line-up is highlighted by three players in the league’s top nine scorers, led by Joe Whitney, who paces the league with 20 points (5-15-20) in 16 games. Bracken Kearns (10-7-17), who is tied for the league-lead in goals, and Alan Quine (7-9-16), complete the trio of Sound Tigers in the league leader ranks. In net, Christopher Gibson leaves the way with a 7-2-1-0 record, a .917 save percentage, and a goals against average of 2.13, good for ninth best in the league.

Gaunce Goals: Gaunce netted both of the Comets’ goals Friday night against the Wolf Pack, giving him his fifth and sixth goals of the season. This makes Gaunce the Comets second highest goal-scorer behind league-leader Hunter Shinkaruk who has 10 this season. The first-round draft pick has now scored in four straight home games. Gaunce scored 11 goals and 18 assists last season with the Comets, and also added four goals and five assists in the Calder Cup playoffs.

Thinking Defensively: On Friday the Comets announced that the club had signed defenseman Jon Landry to a professional tryout contract. Landry, 32, recorded 14 points (3-11-14) and a team-leading +24-plus/minus rating in 64 games for the Hershey Bears during the 2014-15 season. A veteran of over 222 American Hockey League games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Iowa Wild, and Hershey Bears, the Montreal, PQ native has collected 85 points (13-72-85), 156 penalty minutes, and a +39 rating.

Lucky Number 3: When the Comets fail to reach the three goal mark in a game, the team is 0-6-1-0 this season. When they successfully strike three times, the team is 5-1-0-1.

SOLD OUT: Both games at The AUD this weekend were played in front of sold out crowds. The Comets have sold out 23 straight home dates, including all 13 games played at The AUD during 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, and dating back to Friday, April 10 of last season. A limited number of tickets remain for the Nov. 25 game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

That’s J-ust Weird: Goaltender Richard Bachman started Friday night’s game vs the Hartford Wolf Pack. It was the fifth time in the franchise’s history that the Comets net was occupied by a goaltender who’s first name did not start with the letter “J” (Joacim Eriksson, Joe Cannata, Jacob Markstrom). In such games the Comets are 0-6 all-time. Pat Nagle, and Clay Will each suffered a defeat in their lone starts, while Mathieu Corbeil and Richard Bachman now have two losses apiece.

Next Game: The Comets hit the road again, this time they are visiting the Hartford Wolf Pack. With the Comets falling to the Wolf Pack just two days before, they will be looking for redemption on Sunday at the XL Center in Connecticut. Puck drop is scheduled for 3pm.

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