Comets Sunk in OT
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Mar 25, 2016
After suffering a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hershey Bears on Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, the Utica Comets grabbed just three points during their season-high five-game home stand.
Jordan Subban (1-0-1), Carter Bancks (0-1-1), and T.J. Hensick (0-1-1) each recorded a point for the Comets in the loss. Richard Bachman kept the Comets in the game with some spectacular saves, stopping 29 shots for Utica.
Both teams had their chances during the first period, but thanks to the incredible play of both Bachman and Justin Peters the game remained scoreless.
The Bears eventually got on the board first with a tally 3:03 into the second period. Dustin Gazley dumped a pass off to Aaron Ness at the point. Ness quickly fired a one-timer to the glove side of Bachman for his fifth goal of the season.
Jordan Subban and the Comets came back to tie it in the third, on a five-on-three power play. Bancks sent a pass to Subban who was stationed atop the right point. Subban swiftly ripped a one-timer past Peters for his 11th goal of the season.
The Comets started off overtime with some scoring opportunities, but Jakub Vrana scored on a breakaway after he managed to beat a pinching Comets defender to get the puck out of the Hershey zone.
Utica finished with 27 shots on goal, while the Bears had 31 shots.
The loss drops the Comets to 31-26-7-4, while the Bears improve to 37-18-4-7.
The Comets will travel to Binghamton, Saturday, to take on the Senators, as they try to snap their five game skid. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets wrap up their season-high five-game homestand tonight against the Hershey Bears at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm.
The Comets are currently sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference’s North Division with 72 points, while the Bears are tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with 83 points. The Comets magic number to clinch a playoff spot resides at 20 points with 12 games to go.
Last Game: The Utica Comets extended their losing streak to four game after losing 3-1 to rival Syracuse Crunch, in a chippy affair Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The regulation to the Crunch was the Comets first of its kind on home ice to their Galaxy Cup rivals. The Galaxy Cup series now rests at 4-3-0-0, in Utica’s favor.
Alex Freisen (1-0-1), Ashton Sautner (0-1-1), and Ronalds Kenins (0-1-1) each recorded a point for the Comets, while Joe Cannata made 15 saves in his first regulation loss in 10 games.
Scouting the Bears: Fresh off of scoring eight times in a 8-0 victory against Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, and scoring 13 times in their last two games, the Bears enter tonight’s contest as one of the AHL’s elite teams. With 227 goals for this season, they are the third highest-scoring team in the league behind Toronto and Texas, and boast a roster that has just one player with a negative rating (Chandler Stephenson -3). The league’s top scorer, Chris Bourque (28-43-71), and his brother Ryan (10-18-28), were reunited when the Capitals dealt Chris Brown to the Rangers for Ryan, at the Trade Deadline. Tonight’s expected starter, Justin Peters, started for the Bears in their previous trip to The AUD back on Oct. 23rd, and shut out the Comets in a 1-0 win. On the season, Peters has collected a 13-8-7 record, a 3.21 goals against average, and a .891 save percentage.
Banck On Carter: With four points (2-2-4) in his last five games, the second-year Comets forward has eclipsed 30 points and double-digit goals for the first time in his American Hockey League career. Bancks’ previous career-high for points was 19 (5-14-19), set in 2010-11 with the Abbotsford Heat. With 31 points (11-20-31) in 64 games, Bancks is second on the active team in points, two behind Jordan Subban, and goals, just two behind Mike Zalewski). He is the only Comets player this season to appear in every game thus far.
Cold-Blooded Killers: The Comets penalty-killing unit is the best in the league at home with a success rate of 91.3%. The unit has killed 58 of their last 62 penalties at home (93.5%), including 40 of their last 44. Overall, the Comets penalty-kill is sixth in the league with an 85.4% conversion rate and have killed off 52 of their opponent’s last 56 power-play opportunities.
Next Game: The Comets hit the road for an away game for the first time since March 13, when they head south to take on the Binghamton Senators. The Comets own a 2-1-0-1 record versus the Senators this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15pm.