FINAL: Comets 2 vs Devils 3 (OT)
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Feb 20, 2016
The Utica Comets jumped out to a quick start Saturday night, leading 2-0 after the first period, but couldn’t keep up the tempo, and ultimately fell 3-2 to the Albany Devils in overtime at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Ronalds Kenins (0-2-2) recorded his fourth multi point game in the team’s last five games with two assists. Brendan Gaunce (1-0-1) and Andrey Pedan (1-0-1) each scored for the Comets while Joe Cannata made 31 saves for the Comets.
The Comets potted the first goal of the game 6:51 into the first period. Kenins ripped a shot on net, and Yann Danis knocked it away, but Pedan came up with the rebound, brought the puck to the front of the net and backhanded it into the net.
Utica extended their lead to 2-0 with 2:38 remaining in the first. Hunter Shinkaruk passed it to Gaunce standing in the crease. Gaunce spun around and flicked the puck past Danis for his 15th goal of the season.
The Devils cut into the Comets lead and got on the board for the first 3:08 into the second. Jim O’Brien fired a shot from just inside the blue line, and Dan Kelly got a piece of it to redirect it past Cannata to make it 2-1.
Albany would tie it five minutes later when Mike Sislo jammed a rebound past Cannata for his league-leading 24th goal of the season.
With no goals from either side in the third, the game went to overtime. Matt Lorito ended it with 1:54 left in overtime. Lorito broke away with the puck and put a wrist shot past Cannata to give the Devils a 3-2 win.
Utica finished with 23 shot on goal, while Albany had 34 shots on the night. Danis made 21 saves for the Devils.
With the loss, the Comets drop to 25-18-5-3. The Devils improve to 30-13-7-0 with the win.
The Comets will stay at home for their next game, as they will take on the St. Johns IceCaps at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, Friday night. The two teams have split the first four games against each other this season, each winning two games. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tonight’s Game: It’s Clinton Comets Heritage Night at The AUD! The Comets, who will be clad in a throwback Clinton Comets jersey, welcome their nemesis, the Albany Devils, for a big North Division showdown.
The Comets, with 57 points, currently sit in third place in the North Division, eight points behind tonight’s opponent. Despite the Comets struggles all-time vs the Devils, Utica has a record 2-2-1-0 against Albany, and have won both of their team’s last duels.
Clinton Comets Heritage Night: Tonight the Comets will be donning special blue throwback Clinton Comets sweaters that will be auctioned off post-game during a live auction. For a full recap of events happening during tonight's game, click here. For the quick hit notes, scroll down below.
Last Game: The Utica Comets could not overcome two early Syracuse Crunch power-play goals and saw their eight-game point streak snapped at the War Memorial on Friday night by the score of 5-4. The Comets were able to cut the Crunch's lead to one goal on four separate occasions, but could not find the equalizer in their first regulation loss since Jan. 24 in Toronto.
Carter Bancks (1-0-1), Ashton Sautner (1-0-1), Andrey Pedan (1-0-1), and Brandon Prust (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Richard Bachman made 26 saves in the loss. Ronalds Kenins (0-2-2) recorded his third multi-point game in the team's last four games.
Scouting the Devils: The second-place Devils have built themselves a comfortable cocoon in second place. They are eight points clear of the Comets, and 17 points shy of first. It will be awhile until they can move. With 42 points on the season, Mike Sislo (23-19-42) finds himself atop the team’s points list, as well as ninth in the entire American Hockey League. In net, tonight’s expected starter, Yann Danis, has played in 34 games, and owns a 21-7-5 record, a .909 save percentage, and goals against average that ranks him third amongst all goaltenders of 2.24
Jumpman Jordan: It’s no secret that Comets defenseman Jordan Subban likes to jump into the offensive play when he can. His 28 points (8-20-28) ranks as third most on the Comets, and 13th amongst defensemen in the entire league. Selected by the Canucks in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, the rookie played the past four seasons with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL, where he racked up 165 points in 253 games.
Hunting Down Pelletier: Hunter Shinkaruk has potted a goal in three straight games and now has 21 on the season. His 21 goals not only paces the team, it also puts him just one goal shy of tying the franchise’s single-season record of 22 set by Pascal Pelletier during the 2013-14 season. Shinkaruk, 21, in just his second season as a professional, leads the Utica Comets in goals (21), power-play goals (10), and points (38) in 43 games played. The 24th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Level Draft made his National Hockey League debut for the Canucks against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 16. In 2014-15, his first professional season, Shinkaruk recorded 31 points (16-15-31) and 28 penalty minutes over 74 games played. The Calgary, Alberta native also scored six points (4-2-6) in 23 postseason games with Utica through the 2015 Calder Cup Finals.
Shields Up: The Comets have collected a point in 12 out of 13 games, and a record of 10-1-1-1, in games that defenseman David Shields suits up in. Shields, 24, signed his second PTO with the team over the weekend to extend his stay in Utica by 25 more games. He originally signed a PTO on Dec. 11 and joined the Comets with four seasons and over 200 games of AHL experience under his belt with the Peoria Rivermen and Chicago Wolves. Shields spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Wolves, where he collected 21 points (5-16-21) over 97 games played. Prior to joining the Comets this season, the Rochester, NY native has played in 15 games for the Adirondack Thunder, and has registered nine points (2-7-9) and 9 penalty minutes.
Next Game: The Comets will enjoy a week-long break and return to action on Feb. 26 at The AUD. National Hockey League All-Star Game MVP, John Scott, and the St. John’s IceCaps make their final trip to The AUD for a 7pm puck drop.
Mini-sticks: Wooden mini sticks will be given to the first 1,500 fans (all ages) that wear their youth hockey, or Comets jersey to tonight's game.
Throwback Game Notes: All fans that enter will be given a free copy of tonight's special edition game notes. The outer pages of the game notes will pay tribute to those special Clinton Comets players that dedicated their time to growing the sport in the Mohawk Valley. The inner pages will be loaded with up-to-date stats, notes, and information you need to know. If you like what you see, game notes are typically sold for $1 at the Fan Zone.
Get 'em While They're Hot:
Post-Game Jersey Auction: You can leave tonight's game with one of the game-worn jerseys the Comets are wearing. The jerseys will be auctioned off as part of a live auction post-game. To participate in the auction, please move to sections 204 and 205 at the conclusion of the game. All winning bidders will take home the jersey and snap a picture with that player.
Mystery Boxes: The Save of the Day Foundation will also be selling mystery boxes for $20 in the outer concourse. Each mystery box will contain prizes that include, but are not limited to, team-signed jerseys, game-used jerseys, Comets merchandise, signed Clinton Comets pucks, and 2015 AHL All-Star Classic memorabilia.
Fully Loaded 50/50: The 50/50 pot will begin with a $1,000 head start. Each period will feature special in-game prizes including a team-signed helmet, a Clinton Comets theme night jersey, and a Joe Cannata Frozen Dome Classic jersey.