Toronto, Ont. – The Utica Comets had multi-point efforts from three different players, but a third period surge from the Toronto Marlies stalled the Comets during a 5-3 loss on Sunday at Coca Cola Coliseum.
Forced into an early shorthanded situation, the Comets surrendered the opening goal of the game for the second straight game. Jeremy Bracco held the puck at the right wing before spotting an open Adam Brooks for a backdoor finish, putting Utica behind 1-0.
The Comets trailed for just under three minutes before roaring back with a goal of their own. Forcing a steal after stalling a Marlies breakout, Lukas Jasek found a wide open Justin Bailey in front of the goal for a an odd-man attack from point-blank range. Bailey fed a pass along to Jonah Gadjovich, who snapped the puck off the inside of the post and in for his fourth of the year.
Later on in the period and while killing a penalty, the Comets earned their first lead of the contest with their fourth shorthanded goal of the year. Brogan Rafferty extended a pass to Carter Bancks, who executed a spin-o-rama along the right side before steering a backhand pass to the front of the goal where Jasek was crashing to poke in the late strike.
After exchanging chances, the Comets padded their lead while on a power play midway through the second. Rafferty slid a pass to Reid Boucher, who fired a cannon of a one-timer towards the goal. Bailey was camping out as a screen, and the shot deflected off the big forward and in, marking the sixth goal of the season for Bailey. It was the only tally of the second period and sent Utica into the break with a 3-1 lead.
Toronto started to claw back and they used a quick surge of energy to arn two goals over the span of 1:29 in the third period to tie the game at 3-3. Hudson Elynuik re-directed a long slap shot for his first of the season at 9:19 and Brooks registered his second of the night at 10:48 with a doorstep putback.
Continuing their third-period efficiency, the Marlies re-gained the lead four minutes later, as Jesper Lindgren’s long shot from the line was deflected in front of the goal and changed directions past DiPietro and in, opening up a 4-3 advantage for Toronto.
The Marlies capped off a four unanswered goal stretch in the third period with a two-on-one finish by Brooks, who earned a hat trick and put Toronto ahead by a 5-3 margin and out of reach for the Comets.
The Comets return to the ice Friday night when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. 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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