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Comets Storm Back for Win

by Mark Caswell, Jr.

Nov 22, 2015

Buoyed by three unanswered goals, the Utica Comets came back from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Hartford Wolf Pack 3-2 Sunday afternoon at the XL Center. The win was the first time the Comets won a game in which they exited a period trailing.

Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) continued his torrid pace to start the season with his 11th goal of the year. . Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2), and Jordan Subban (0-2-2) enjoyed multi-point nights. Richard Bachman recorded his first win as a Comet with a 16-save performance.

The Wolf Pack jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead when they scored on their first two shots of the game. Nick Tarnasky, on a two-on-one rush, beat Bachman with a wrist shot after a Comets neutral zone turnover.

Just a minute later, Jayson Megna scored his fourth goal of the season with a wrap-around, this one coming on the power play.

The Comets finally solved Mackenzie Skapski about midway through the second period. On the power play, Jordan Subban hammered a slap on net that Skapski denied. Grenier collected the puck and backhanded it over the sprawled out goaltender for his first power-play goal of the season, and third goal overall.

Shinkaruk re-gained a share of the American Hockey League lead in goals with his 11th goal of the season, his sixth on the power-play. Grenier cleanly won an offensive zone draw directly to Subban, who quickly settled the puck and slid it Shinkaruk. From the right face-off circle, Shinkaruk rifled a wrist shot past Skapski to knot the game at 2-2.

The Comets came out firing in the third period and their efforts paid off in the form of a go-ahead goal. Darren Archibald put home a rebound that came off of an Alex Biega blast just 4:49 into the third period.

With the win the Comets record improved to 6-8-1-1 on the season, while the win dropped the Wolf Pack’s record to 8-9-2-0 this season. The Comets power play converted on two of their five attempts, while the penalty-killing until was successful five out of six times.

The Comets next game is Wednesday night at The AUD when they welcome the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to the Mohawk Valley. Puck drop is scheduled for 7p.m. for the Comets 24th consecutive sold out home game.


HARTFORD WOLF PACK (8-7-2-0) vs UTICA COMETS (5-8-1-1)
XL Center, 3pm
Watch Live: AHL Live | Listen Live: Radio: 94.9 K-ROCK, Desktop or Mobile

Tonight’s Game: The Comets head to Hartford, CT for the second time this season to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Comets fell to the Wolf Pack3-0 back on October 17 in Hartford, when Magnus Hellberg and Wolf Pack shut out the Comets 3-0, and then 3-2 this past Friday night at The AUD. Puck drops at 3pm.

Last Game: The Comets were stymied by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, by the score of 4-2 at The AUD. Carter Bancks and Alex Friesen did the honors of scoring for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 28 saves in the loss.

Scouting the Wolf Pack: The Wolf Pack snapped a seven-game losing streak after beating the Comets on Friday night. The team followed up that win with a victory over the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms last night at the XL Center. Center Chad Nehring (4-7-11) leads the way in assists, points, plus/minus (+5), and penalty minutes (23) for Hartford. 2014-15 AHL All-Star, Magnus Hellberg has seen action in 14 of the Pack’s 18 games and has posted a record of 6-6-2, a 2.73 goals against average, and a .904 save percentage. The Uppsala, Sweden native shutout the Comets 3-0 back on Oct. 17

Z-man: Sophomore forward Michael Zalewski, is already racking up career numbers. His three goals scored in his last six games already matches the goal total he collected last season. The New Hartford, NY native posted 12 points (3-9-12) in 55 games last season with the Comets, and also chipped in three points (1-2-3) in 23 Calder Cup Playoff games. Five out of Zalewski’s seven career goals have either been game-winning goals (3), or game-tying goals (2), including his lone playoff goal which served as the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Oklahoma City Barons.

Making Debuts: In the past week there has been several roster changes as the Vancouver Canucks have recalled players from the Comets. Hunter Shinkaruk was called up to make his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens this past Monday. Alexandre Grenier also made his NHL debut on Wednesday when he faced the Winnipeg Jets. Both Shinkaruk and Grenier have been reassigned to the Comets roster.

The Graduates: When Shinkaruk and Grenier took the ice tonight for the Canucks, they became the 11th and 12th players to make their National Hockey League debut for the parent club after starting as a Comet. Shinkaruk and Grenier join Brandon DeFazio, Darren Archibald, Alex Biega, Kellan Lain, Joacim Eriksson, Brendan Gaunce, Ben Hutton, Jake Virtanen, Bo Horvat, and Ronalds Kenins in the exclusive club.

Enter Sandman: When the Comets escape a period, any period, with the game’s lead, they are a 5-1. The team is 3-1 when leading after one period, and 5-0 when leading after two. As a franchise the team is 56-0-4-0 all-time when leading after two periods of play. The team is 39-4-2-4 when they escape the first period with a lead.

That’s J-ust Weird: Goaltender Richard Bachman started Friday night’s game vs the Hartford Wolf Pack. It is just sixth 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 have recorded two losses apiece.

Next Game: The Comets return to The AUD on Wednesday when they welcome the Lehigh Valle Phantoms to the Mohawk Valley. Puck drop is scheduled at 7pm for this sold out game.

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