Questionable Bears Goal Dooms Comets
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Oct 23, 2015
A questionable Hershey Bears goal in the game’s final minutes was all the Bears needed to defeat the Utica Comets 1-0 on Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Comets’ goaltender Joe Cannata made 24 saves in the loss.
The game looked destined for overtime until the 18:49 mark of the third period found the puck in the back of the Comets net. After Cannata covered the puck with his glove, Bears’ forward Garrett Mitchell jammed the puck out of his glove, and through Cannata’s legs for the game’s only goal. The goal was assisted by Connor Carrick and Paul Carey.
The Comets power play failed to convert in their four attempts, while the penalty kill successfully killed all five of the Bear’s power-play attempts.
The Comets continue their time at home tomorrow against our close to home rivals, the Syracuse Crunch. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm following the Comets’ fan fest that starts at 3pm.
Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets will play host to the Washington Capitals American Hockey League affiliate, and will take on the Hershey Bears at the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the second game of a three game home stand. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Last Game: Just two days ago the Comets secured their first win of the season with a 4-2 win over North Division rivals, the Rochester Americans. In front of a sold out crowd, Hunter Shinkaruk thrilled the fans with his first career professional hat trick.
Welcome Back: For the first time since March 17, 1993, the Hershey Bears will return to the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Bears defeated the Utica Devils 6-2 in the game. The Devils’ loss snapped a four-game winning streak, which included a 5-1 win over the Bears the game prior, on Mar. 13.
Scouting the Bears: Hershey is off to a 1-2-0-0 start this season. Leading the way for the Bears is Carter Camper who has connected for a goal and three assists so far this season. Tied with him atop the Bears leaderboard is Left Winger Jakub Vrana, who has the exact same stat line (1-3-4). Goalkeeper Dan Ellis has started in two out of the Bears three games and has 48 saves with a save percentage of .875.
Hunter Shink-Hat-Trick: Hunter Shinkaruk had a stellar game against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday, as he scored three goals to lead the Comets to a 4-2 victory against the Amerks. The Calgary, AB native, put two of his goals in on power plays, both putting the Comets in the lead. The goals were the first three of the season for Shinkaruk, and he now has 23 goals in his 77-game AHL career, all with the Comets. Shinkaruk’s hat trick is the fourth in Comets history.
Dominating Both Sides of the Ice: The Comets had an incredible game, both offensively and defensively last game against the Amerks. Utica was putting the pressure on the Amerks goalkeeper all game, as they managed to get 47 shots on goal. The Comets defense was effective as well, holding the Amerks to just 14 shots on goal for the game.
Protecting the Pipes: Comets goalkeeper, Joe Cannata has been stellar in net for the Comets so far this season. The Wakefield, MA native now has 57 saves on the season, including 11 last game against the Amerks. Cannata also has a save percentage of .905 in three games this season.
Home Sweet Home: The Comets are off to a good start this season if they look to repeat last year’s performance at home, where they led the Western Conference with a home record of 25-10-3-0 and 53 points in the 2014-2015 regular season. With Wednesday’s win, the Comets are 1-0-0-0 at home on the young season, with 12 points, which puts them on good pace to repeat last year.
Team Effort: The Comets have 11 different players to get points so far this season, led by Shinkaruk (three goals, one assist). Nicklas Jensen and Alexandre Grenier have also been keys in the Comets offense. Jensen has one goal and one assist in three games, and Grenier got his first goal of the season in the win on Wednesday.
Bear-y Familiar: Comets assistant coach Paul Jerrard spent three seasons as a defenseman for the Hershey Bears, and won the Calder Cup with the team in 1997. From 2003-05 he served as Paul Fixter’s assistant coach with Hershey.
Next Game: The Comets will finish their three game home stand on Saturday when they take on the Syracuse Crunch at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.