Oct 21, 2016
The Utica Comets drew first blood in the 2016-17 Galaxy Cup series, with a 5-4 victory over the Syracuse Crunch at the OnCenter War Memorial Arena Friday night.
The win was the Comets first of the season and improves the team’s record to 1-2-0-0 overall.
Defenseman Chad Billins (1-2-3) paced the Comets with a three-point night, while Jayson Megna (1-1-2), Michael Chaput (0-2-2), and Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2) all recorded multi-point efforts.
Goaltender Richard Bachman recorded his 102nd career AHL victory with a 19-save effort.
The high-scoring game took very little time to get going, in fact it took exactly one minute and 58 seconds of game action. With Cory Conacher in the penalty box for hooking, defenseman Chad Billins did not let a puck rolling on its side deter him from rifling a slap shot, knuckle puck style, off of a Crunch defender and over Gudlevskis shoulder for his first goal as a Comet.
The goal was the first power-play goal allowed by the Crunch in 12 opportunities.
Not even a full two minutes later the Comets struck again, courtesy of a set face-off play. Grenier wristed a shot past Gudlevskis seconds after Michael Chaput cleanly won the draw back to the 6-foot-4 forward.
The lead was short-lived as the Crunch tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of goals just two minutes apart. Free agent addition Gabriel Dumont scored his first as a member of the Crunch at even strength, and then Michael Bournival quickly followed that up with a short-handed tally.
However, 32 seconds after that, the Comets regained the lead when Carcone tapped in Jayson Megna’s perfectly threaded back door pass on a two-on-one rush.
The Comets went a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play in the first period, and capitalized on both Cory Conacher first period hooking penalties.
The six-goal first period ended when Curtis Valk one-timed Grenier’s pass, from one knee, past Gudlevskis outstretched glove.
The Comets finished the first period with four goals on just eight shots.
The second period had a drastically different look and feel to it as only the Crunch found the scoresheet.
Gabriel Dumont netted his second goal of the night on a spin-o-rama, backhand shot from the slot after he received a pass from the Crunch’s newly named captain, Luke Witkowski.
The teams battled through the first twelve minutes and 35 seconds of the third period to a score-less and shot-less until Megna broke through. Megna tucked the puck into the net past the diving Wilcox after he deke at the top of the crease shook a Crunch defender out of the play.
With goaltender Adam Wilcox on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, the Crunch crawled to within one when Michael Bournival scored his second of the night with 2:50 remaining. However, the Comets would hold strong from there and leave with the victory.
The Comets special teams pitched a perfect game, going 2-for-2 on the power play, and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Entering tonight’s game, the Crunch had killed off all 11 of their opponent’s power play opportunities.
The Comets hit the road to avenge their playoff loss against the Albany Devils. Puck drop from the Times Union Center is scheduled for 5 p.m.