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Controversy Again Dooms Comets

by Mark Caswell, Jr.

Nov 1, 2015

The Utica Comets completed their three-in-three weekend with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday evening at the Webster Bank Arena. The game came to an odd conclusion when it put the on-ice officials in a position where the results of a reviewed play in overtime would decide who won the contest. Ultimately, the referees waved off a potential Comets goal, which awarded the Sound Tigers the win.

Travis Ehrhardt (1-0-1) and Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 25 saves in the loss.

Halfway through the first period the Comets struck first with Ehrhardt’s first goal of the season. From the corner, Linden Vey slid a backhand pass to Ehrhardt as he streaked in from the blue line. Ehrhardt chipped the puck over the blocker of Chris Gibson for his 10th career American Hockey League goal. Linden Vey extended his point-scoring streak to four games with the assist.

For the second time in as many nights the Comets allowed a 5-on-3 power-play goal. Ryan Pulock hammered a one-timed slap shot from just inside the blue line past Cannata. Joe Whitney added an assist on the goal for his league-leading 13th point.

One of the wackiest goals of the season gave the Comets the lead once again with 4:17 left in the second period when Andrey Pedan broke his stick on a slap shot attempt. With half the stick flying towards the net, Grenier redirected the off-target puck into the Sound Tiger’s net before Gibson could reposition himself. With the secondary assist, Taylor Fedun ran his point-streak to three games.

Once again on the power play, the Sound Tigers tied the game back up when Justin Vaive redirected a Pulock shot past Cannata.

In overtime, the Comets came out on the wrong end of a crazy play. A shot from Hunter Shinkaruk found its way behind the Sound Tigers’ goaltender. The Comets celebrated the would be game-winning goal. However, the referee immediately waved it off. A quick-thinking save from a Sound Tigers defenseman sprung Alan Quine on a coast-to-coast breakaway where he would score the game-winning goal.

The final play would be reviewed by the officials but the call on the ice stood.

The Comets power play failed to convert on three opportunities, and the penalty-killing unit killed just two of the four Sound Tigers’ power-play opportunities. The Comets were outshot 28-19, the fourth straight time they have been outshot.

With the loss, the Comets dropped to 3-4-1-0 on the season. The win improved the Sound Tigers record to 8-3-0-0.

The Comets return to the Utica Memorial Auditorium for a three-game home stand that starts on Wednesday, November 4 against the Portland Pirates. Puck drop is slated for 7pm. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online (EmpireStateTix.com), at The AUD’s Box Office between 10a.m. and 4 p.m., or over the phone at 1-866-688-8750.

Webster Bank Arena, 5 pm
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets complete their first three-in-three weekend tonight when they take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, C.T. Puck drop is slated for 5 p.m.

The Comets currently sit in sixth place in the North Division, six points behind the first place Toronto Marlies, who have played two more games than Utica. All-time the team’s are 1-1 against each other, and have not faced each other since the 2013-14 season.

Tonight’s Foe: The American Hockey League’s point leaders (14 points), also have played 10 games, the second most total in the league to date (10). Due to the new standings format (point percentage), the Sound Tigers sit in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Sound Tigers have plenty of offensive fire power, and have scored a league-high 35 goals. Former Albany Devils forward Joe Whitney (5-7-12) has posted 12 points to go with a +3 rating. Bracken Kearns (6-4-10), and Alan Quine (2-8-10) are tied for second with 10 points. Goaltenders Christopher Gibson and Stephon Williams have both appeared in six games thus far. Gibson leads the way with a 3-1 record, a 2.30 GAA, and a .915 save percentage.

Taylor Made: Comets defenseman Taylor Fedun has scored a power-play goal in back-to-back games for the Comets. The Edmonton, AB is no stranger to putting the puck in the net. In his last two AHL campaigns he has amassed 88 points in 130 games to go along with six NHL points in 11 games.

Good Will Hunter: Hunter Shinkaruk is off to an amazing start to the 2015-16 campaign with six goals, and eight points in six games, and is currently on a three-game point streak. In the team’s Home Opener the Calgary, AB native recorded his first professional hat trick. Last night in Binghamton, N.Y. he added two more goals to his total. The Vancouver Canucks’ 24th overall draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Level Draft enjoyed a 31-point rookie season with 16 goals in 74 games.

Cannata Get it Past Him: Despite letting in five goals in his last start, the Joe Cannata sports a 2.02 goals against average, good for sixth best amongst AHL goalies who have played in at least three games. The Wakefield, MA native has started all six games for the Comets this season, and has posted a 3-3 record, with a .919 save percentage. The 25-year old goaltender posted his first career American Hockey League shutout last Saturday night when he turned aside all 30 of the Syracuse Crunch’s shots.

Top 10: The Comets power play unit has converted on 20.6% of their chances this season, good for ninth best in the league. The league-leading Providence Bruins have cashed in on 28.9% of their chances thus far. The penalty-killing unit is even better, and ranks as the third best unit with a 90.6% success rate.

Fast Break: When the Comets score the game’s first goal of the game the team is 3-0 on the season. Conversely, when the team allows the game’s first goal, they are 0-4.

Lead Man: When the Comets escape a period, any period, with the game’s lead, they are 3-0. The team is 1-0 when leading after one period, and 3-0 when leading after two. As a franchise the team is 54-0-4 all-time when leading after two periods of play. Conversely, when they exit a period losing, the Comets have failed to win a game. The team is 0-2 when trailing after the first period, and 0-3 when trailing after two.

We’re Coming Home: After today’s contest the Comets return home for three games, starting on Wednesday, November 4 against the Portland Pirates. The Comets, in the midst of an 18-game sell out streak, still have tickets available at EmpireStateTix.com or at The AUD’s Box Office from 10a.m.-4p.m., Monday through Friday.

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