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The Last Time Out: The Utica Comets battled the Toronto Marlies for the fourth and final time in the regular season in a North Division matchup on Friday night in Utica. The Comets, despite trailing heading into the final period of the game, scored two goals and skated away with a 3-2 win.
In the first period, the Marlies skated away with the only goal of the period after Curtis Douglas shot the puck through Akira Schmid low glove side at 9:18. Despite the numerous quality chances, Toronto goalie, Joseph Woll was able to stop Utica from netting anything. In the middle frame, the Comets tied the contest after a point shot by Nikita Okhotiuk deflected right to AJ Greer who blasted the puck into the net at 9:11 for his 17thof the season. The Marlies punched back and recaptured the lead when Richard Clune moved the puck into the Comets zone on a 2-on-1 rush. His perfectly placed cross-ice pass to Joseph Duszak was slammed home for a 2-1 lead at 13:38. The Comets, once again, tied the contest. In the final period of regulation, it was Nolan Foote who blasted home his 11th goal of the season at 1:30 just as the Comets power-play expired. With the game at 2-2 and the Comets short-handed, it was Frederik Gauthier who scored a brilliant tally putting the puck off the post and into the net behind Woll at 11:44 for his fifth goal of the season. The Comets held strong for the remainder of the game and secured the victory, 3-2.
Comets Leading Scorers: The team’s leading scorers heading into the weekend is Chase DeLeo, scoring 12 goals and 29 assists for 41 points in 38 games played. Tied with him is forward Fabian Zetterlund with 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 points in 47 games played, Leading the AHL in rookies goals scored is Alex Holtz with 21 goals and 19 assists for 40 points in 35 games Reilly Walsh leads all d-men in scoring with six goals and 28 assists for 34 points in 50 games. Defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon leads the team in plus/minus with a +24 rating.
Roster Moves for Utica The Utica Comets General Manager, Dan MacKinnon, announced that the team has recalled goaltender Bradan Kasel from the Adirondack Thunder. In related news, the team has reassigned goaltender Mareks Mitens
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 19 games with a record of 6-11-1 holding a .895 save percentage and a 3.59 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.
Special Teams Ranking: Heading into the week, the Comets begin with the 6th ranked power play operating at 21.7%. At home, their power play ranks 9th in the league with a 21.6% average. On the penalty kill, Utica ranks 18th in the league at 80.6% while at home they are 3rd at 87.1.%