15_0501 Conacher.jpg

OT Loss to the Comets Forces Do-or-Die

by Mark Caswell, Jr.

May 1, 2015

With a power-play goal 2:19 into overtime, the Chicago Wolves defeated the Utica Comets 4-3 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night. The Wolves’ win knotted the series at 2 games a piece, and sets up Game 5 on Saturday night.

Sven Baertschi (0-3-3) and Cal O’Reilly (0-2-2) aided their teammates all night long by tallying a combined total of five assists. Cory Conacher (1-0-1), Adam Clendening (1-0-1) and Bobby Sanguinetti (1-0-1) all scored goals for the Comets.

Just two nights ago the Comets couldn’t solve Jordan Binnington until mid-way through the third period in Game 3. Tonight was a bit of a different story as a power-play opportunity helped the Comets net their first of the night just past the six-minute mark of the first period. A tic-tac-toe play from Baertschi, to O’Reilly and then finally to Conacher in the slot, opened the game’s scoring.

It wasn’t long after until the Wolves matched the Comets effort with the equalizer off a nasty looking rebound wildly bounced out to the left of the slot. Adam Cracknell was in the right place at the right time as Jacob Markstrom flew across the crease to attempt the near impossible save. Cracknell’s shot ended up spitting into the back of the mesh at 10:59 to tie the game up at one.

Baertschi’s speed helped the Comets just five minutes later as he sped through two defenseman and met Binnington at the crease alone with the puck. The right post temporarily bailed Binnington out of trouble as Baertschi tried to stuff it in on the right side. Fortunately for the Comets, the puck bounced back out and into the slot where it was spiked back towards the net by Clendening to make it a 2-1 game.

Another equalizer was found for the Wolves just 1:21 into the second period after a slapshot from Mathieu Brodeur landed in the crease and off of Clendening’s stick as he tried to ward off any oncoming attack.

With some help from Ty Rattie, former Comet Benn Ferriero found his first of the post season for the Wolves as they took their first lead of the game at 12:26 after he banged in his own rebound for a power-play goal that made the score 3-2.

With the introduction of the third period came a quick 5-on-3 opportunity for the Comets after both Cody Beach and Jani Hakanpaa took penalties nearly four minutes into the period. After two shots from the left dot, the third one finally went in and Sanguinetti tallied his second of the playoffs and the Comets’ second power-play goal for the 3-3 tie. O’Reilly tallied the primary assist for his second of the night and Baertschi also got his hands dirty for his third assist of the game.

With the score tied after three periods, overtime came at a cost to the Comets as they took a too many men on the ice penalty just 1:02 into the extra time. The Wolves capitalized on their fifth chance of the night off a saucer pass in front of the net that led to Joel Edmundson netting the game-winning goal for a final score of 4-3.

Three out of the four games played in this series have now gone to overtime and have all been decided by one goal. A total of 276:27 minutes have been played up until this point in the series.

Game 5 is scheduled to take place tomorrow night right back at The Utica Memorial Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Three Stars: 1. CHI – Joel Edmundson (1 Goal) 2. CHI – Adam Cracknell (1 Goal) 3. UTI– Sven Baertschi (3 Assists)

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