Hershey, Penn. – Michael DiPietro made 38 saves on his way to first star honors, and Reid Boucher earned the shootout winner as the Utica Comets defeated the Hershey Bears by a 2-1 margin on Saturday night at Giant Center.
Creating multiple chances in the first period, the Comets were rewarded midway through the opening frame. Sven Baertschi hurried the puck up the ice along the right wing side before firing a rink-wide feed onto the tape of Adam Gaudette. After reeling the pass in, Gaudette carried into the Hershey zone and lasered a wrist shot from the left dot into the short-side corner of the net. Gaudette’s first of the year was the only goal of the period and sent the Comets into the break with a 1-0 lead.
The second period saw the Bears gain their footing and outshoot the Comets by a 14-4 margin. However, DiPietro came up with a stop for each and every Hershey effort and the Comets penalty kill went 3/3 in the session, as the team maintained grip on their 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
Early in the third period, Hershey tied the contest at a goal apiece after Philippe Maillet snuck behind the Comets’ defense and scored on a wrist shot from the right-side circle. DiPietro stood on his head the rest of the way and the game eventually went to overtime tied at one.
Neither team could score in the overtime period, setting the tone for Utica’s first shootout of the year. DiPietro made saves in all three rounds, creating a chance for Reid Boucher to end it in the bottom of the third. Boucher weaved his way in and flung a wrist shot over the leg of Vitek Vanecek for the win.
The Comets return to the ice Wednesday night when they host the Binghamton Devils. Puck drop at the Adirondack Bank Center 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.
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