Making Moves: Utica Comets General Manager, Dan MacKinnon, announced today that the team has signed goaltender Brandon Kasel of the Adirondack Thunder to a professional tryout contract. Also, the team announced they have released goaltender David Tomeo from his amateur tryout contract.
Kasel, 25, hails from Ithaca, New York and played his collegiate career with Skidmore College. This season with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, Kasel has skated in five games with a record of 2-2-1 holding a .921 save percentage and a 2.42 goals against average. Kasel attending Comets training camp before the start of the 2021-22 season. Kasel played junior hockey for the Syracuse Stars which later became the Utica Junior Comets. The Stars program started in 1985 and includes former NHL goaltender and President of the Utica Comets, Robert Esche as an alumnus. Brandon played U-18 Midgets in 2014-2015 and one year of Junior Hockey for the Stars in 2015-2016.
Rochester Defeats Utica: The Comets took the road to battle their divisional rival, the Rochester Americans on Wednesday, and dropped the contest by a 7-6 score losing back to back games in regulation for the first time this season.
The Comets started the game allowing a goal 57 seconds in as a rebound off the pad of netminder Mareks Mittens was slammed home by Mason Jobst putting Rochester up 1-0. The Americans followed up with another goal and it was Matej Pekar who split the defense and made a nice moved around Mittens and struck at 1:50 to give Rochester a 2-0 lead. Once again, Rochester extended their lead as they got the benefit of a power-play goal scored by Brandon Biro at 8:59 as his shot drifted through traffic and into the cage. With Rochester holding a 3-0 lead and still on the power-play, it was the Comets’ turn and the captain led the way. Ryan Schmelzer found the loose puck inside the Utica zone and skated down the ice for a breakaway short-handed goal at 11:33. The Comets hit for one more goal in the first and cut the deficit to 3-2 when Tyler Irvine deflected the shot by Michael Vukojevic at 14:38 for his first AHL goal. With only 40 seconds left in the period, Rochester scored another power-play goal and it was Arttu Ruotsalainen who found the back of the net. The Amerks left the first period up, 4-2.
In the second period, Rochester continued the scoring when they received another goal from Ruotsalainen at 6:26 putting them up 5-2. Former Comets defenseman Mitch Eliot added another goal at 7:02 lifting the Americans to a 6-2 lead. Jack Quinn scored on a one-timer during a power-play at 11:27 and his team was up 7-2. Utica struck on a Robbie Russo point shot beat Americans goalie Robson through traffic and at 14:36 Utica cut the gap down to 7-3 as the second period ended.
In the final period of regulation, Utica defenseman Michael Vukojevic left the penalty box and deflected the Samuel Laberge shot into the goal at 9:48. The gap for Utica was 7-4. Schmelzer added another goal at 14:16 of the third to give the Comets their fifth goal. At 16:06 Tyler Wotherspoon fired a shot past Robson to close the gap to 7-6. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough to fully close the gap, and the Comets skated away losing the contest.
Comets Leading Scorers: The team’s leading scorer heading into the weekend is Chase DeLeo who has registered six goals and 20 assists for 26 points in 18 games played. Following him is defenseman Reilly Walsh who leads all d-men in scoring with four goals and 15 assists for 19 points in 25 games. Fabian Zetterlund is tied for second with Walsh with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 19 games played. Tyler Wotherspoon leads the team in plus/minus with a +18.