Belleville, Ont. – Despite scoring four power play goals, the Utica Comets fell to the Belleville Senators 5-4 in a shootout Wednesday night at CAA Arena. Tanner Kero struck twice with additional tallies coming from Zack MacEwen and Michael Carcone for Utica. Ivan Kulbakov made 27 saves, yet his record fell to 5-4-2.
Jonathan Racine lit the board four minutes into the first period, firing a shot that beat Kulbakov on the short side. The Comets had several opportunities to tie the game, including two power plays, but were denied by Senators goaltender Filip Gustavsson.
Carcone evened the game with a power play goal two minutes into the second period, beating Gustavsson with a long shot from the top of the left circle. Evan McEneny tallied the lone assist. Filip Chlapik and Jack Rodewald scored 54 seconds apart to put Belleville back on top just minutes later. The Comets power play came alive midway through the period as Kero blasted a one-timer past Gustavsson to bring the Comets within one. Jonathan Dahlen and Olli Juolevi tallied the assists. Still up a man, MacEwen deposited a rebound 1:39 later to tie the game at three. McEneny and Dahlen picked up the helpers. Paul Carey responded to regain the lead for Belleville with 4:33 to go in the second.
Kero knotted things up at four with his second of the night at the 8:17 mark of the third period. Juolevi and Reid Boucher had the assists. Neither team found the net in the final 12 minutes and the game would head to overtime.
The two teams battled hard but Kulbakov and Gustavsson held strong to send the game to a shootout. This would be the Comets second time to a shootout in the last three games.
Rudolfs Balcers and Adam Tambellini scored in the shootout to give Belleville the win while none of the Comets shooters could beat Gustavsson.
The Comets return home Friday night to host the Syracuse Crunch in Game Two of the Galaxy Cup series on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to utilize the ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHLTV.