COMETS VICTORIOUS IN WILD DIVISIONAL GAME AGAINST CRUNCH, 6-4Mar 5, 2023
Utica, NY. – The Comets, having taken points in four straight games, stepped onto the ice at the Adirondack Bank Center for a rare Sunday afternoon tilt. The game, against their division rival, the Syracuse Crunch, represented a four-point swing in the standings by not only garnering two points but keeping a division rival from achieving any point gain as well. The two teams battled were not unfamiliar with one another battling already eight times previously. In the ninth matchup of the season, the two coveted points ended up in the column for the Comets with a 6-4 win as they continue a point streak to five games.
In the first period, the home team scored first after winger Alex Holtz found the puck inside the left circle and wristed it behind Crunch goalie, Hugo Alnefelt at 5:25. The goal was Holtz’s fourth of the season and it was assisted by Riley Walsh and Brian Halonen. Syracuse struck back and tied the game, and it was Alex Barre Boulet who took advantage of an offensive zone faceoff win as he flipped a shot that got passed Comets netminder, Isaac Poulter at 9:02. Crunch forward Lucas Edmonds had the games next two goals as he scored at 9:58 on a deflection and at 17:51 on a partial breakaway. By the periods’ end, the Comets were down 3-1.
The Comets got within a goal when Brian Halonen skated into the Syracuse zone and blasted a shot that beat Alnefelt just eighty seconds into the second period that brought the Comets within a goal. The tally by Halonen was his 14th of the season and it was assisted by Walsh and Jack Dugan. As the period wore on, the Crunch once again achieved a two-goal lead after defenseman Trevor Carrick’s wrist shot floated glove side and in on Poulter 9:56. The Comets fought back again to get within one and it was the first AHL goal for forward Xavier Parent. The shot from the left-wing side found its way in low glove on Alnefelt and brought the Comets within a goal at 14:14. Tyler Wotherspoon and Robbie Russo both assisted on the Parent goal. The Comets weren’t done scoring and tied the contest late in the period. It was the first goal as a Comet by Timur Ibragimov assisted by Walsh, this third of the game, at 17:21 that put the game at 4-4. The period ended and the crowd rose to their feet to salute Utica as they fought back from down two goals to enter the final period of regulation.
In the final period of regulation, Utica took the lead after Filip Engaras fired a shot after stepping into the Syracuse zone. The shot beat Alnefelt glove side at 1:24. Nolan Foote assisted on the goal just as he would on the next goal of the game. As Foote and Ryan Schmelzer skated into Syracuse territory short-handed, the pass by Foote to Schmelzer resulted in a great save but Schmelzer put the rebound home at 2:45 for his fifth of the season. The goal put Utica up 6-4. That was all the scoring the Comets needed to win the contest and with the win, the Comets leapt to the second spot in the North Division for the time being as they acquired 62 points on the season with Syracuse staying at 61.
The Comets are back on the ice on Friday at home at 7:00 PM to drop the puck against their division rival the Belleville Senators. Great seats are still available, visit www.uticacomets.com for more information.