Crunch Runaway from the Comets
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Feb 28, 2015
Just as it was the last time the Utica Comets visited their thruway rivals, they were once again defeated by the Syracuse Crunch in a 4-1 final at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena on Saturday evening.
Hunter Shinkaruk found the Comets lone goal of the game but was unable to bury anything else past the rock solid Kristers Gudlevskis who backstopped 38 shots of the 39 the Comets took on him.
The first opportunity presented itself for the Crunch early on in the first period after Nicolas Deschamps took a shot on Pat Nagle from the right dot. Unable to cover the rebound, Nagle made an attempt at the sprawling save but it wasn’t quick enough to catch the rubber that Tanner Richard banged in on the opposite side for the early 1-0 lead at 6:24.
The Comets didn’t hesitate to fight right back after Matthew Corrente took a penalty for interference six minutes later. With the power play ticking down, Jeremie Blain rifled one towards the front of the net from the right boards. Hunter Shinkaruk who planted himself in front of Gudlevskis, caught the puck with his stick, spun around and popped it in on the open side for the equalizer and his second power-play goal of the season. Kent Huskins also received credit on the play.
Upon entering the second period the Crunch took back their one-goal lead after capitalizing on their first power play of the game. Gudlevskis got it all going for the Comets directly off of a clear and popped it back out of the zone up to Vladislav Namestnikov in the neutral zone. Yanni Gourde eventually took possession of the puck and snuck through the Comets defense as he lifted one past Nagle for the 2-1 lead at 7:45.
The goals kept piling on later on in the third as Richard found his second of the game off of a slapshot from Dylan Blujus. Richard tipped the puck in past Nagle at 8:27, which extended their lead to two. Carter Ashton received the secondary assist on the play.
The Crunch found the final goal of the game after Pat Nagle was pulled for the extra attacker. The Comets defensemen did their best to keep the puck out, but the inevitable happened once the Crunch’s point-leader, Jonathan Marchessault popped in the empty-net goal off of a feed from Slater Koekkoek to make it 4-1.
It’s back to The Utica Memorial Auditorium tomorrow afternoon as the Utica Comets will take on the Hamilton Bulldogs for a 4 p.m. matinee. In their last meeting, the Comets leashed up the dogs with a 5-2 victory at The AUD.
Three Stars: 1. SYR Kristers Gudlevskis (Win, 38 Saves) 2. SYR Tanner Richard (2 Goals) 3. SYR Kevin Lynch