Springfield, Mass. – The Utica Comets went 3/4 on the power play as they rolled to a 4-3 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday night at MassMutual Center.
After being shutout the night before, the Comets ensured it wouldn’t happen again and came out firing on all cylinders to start the contest. Earning a power play in the opening minutes, Evan McEneny put Utica ahead with a seeing-eye wrist shot from the point. A little over a minute later and on yet another man-up try, a perfectly executed passing play opened up Jonathan Dahlen for a one-time strike. The Comets added to their already impressive lead as Cam Darcy forced a steal with a forecheck and buried his seventh goal of the season at the 3:16 mark of the first.
The goal ended the night for Sam Montembeault and brought Chris Driedger into the game for Springfield. The T-Birds got on the board shortly after with a long-range wrister from Sebastian Repo.
The scoring came to a grinding halt after Repo’s tally and the two teams played to a scoreless middle session. Michael Leighton came up with nine saves and Driedger earned eight of his own as the 3-1 score held into the second intermission.
Jacob MacDonald pulled the Thunderbirds to within a goal early in the third with a shot that sailed past a screen and into the goal. Utica didn’t need long to re-establish their two-goal lead as Tanner Kero re-directed a pass from Reid Boucher into the net for the Comets’ third power play goal of the game. Springfield responded with a power play goal of their own at 11:38 of the period, setting the tone for a high-action finish.
With chances down the stretch from both teams, including with Driedger on the bench for an extra attacker, Leighton and the Comets slammed the door shut and earned the road win.
The Comets return to the ice Friday, February 8 when they face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center is a 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to use the ticket exchange site, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL TV.