Utica Comets remain unbeaten, defeat Syracuse Crunch

The Utica Comets began a three games in three nights stretch on Friday night.

They certainly did not have their best team defensive effort of the season to start the game, but the Utica Comets earned a 6-3 victory over the Syracuse Crunch anyways. The game, which was played at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, was the second meeting of the season between these two teams. The Comets won the first game, also played in Syracuse, by a score of 2-1.

The Comets would enter the game without their leading goal scorer. Alexander Holtz, who was pacing the team with five goals scored, was recalled by the New Jersey Devils (he made his NHL debut shortly after this game ended). It was going to be a “next man up” mentality on offense, and Tyce Thompson answered the call by opening the scoring with a power play goal six minutes into the first period. The Crunch would soon answer back with a goal of their own by Gage Goncalves to tie the score at one. Comets starting goaltender Nico Daws was tested early and often, as the Crunch outshot the Comets 17-5 for the period. It was because of his strong play that the score remained 1-1 heading into the second period.

Utica Comets vs Syracuse Crunch preview, Holtz recalled

Utica coach Kevin Dineen must have rallied the troops between the first and second periods. Although they still gave up fourteen more shots on goal in the second period, the Comets offense exploded in the middle frame. It started almost exactly halfway through, when Jesper Boqvist fired a one timer from the slot off a feed by Graeme Clarke and beat Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt to give Utica a 2-1 lead. Less than a minute later, the Comets made it 3-1 when Tyce Thompson kicked a pass out of his skates and had his first shot blocked, but banged home his second shot for his second goal of the game.

One minute after that goal, Thompson would complete the hat trick with this goal coming on the power play. He ripped a feed from Robbie Russo past Alnefelt from the top of the left face-off circle to extend the Comets lead to three.

Seconds after Thompson’s third goal, Utica’s AJ Greer to a double-minor penalty to the Crunch on a much needed power play. Forty seconds into it, Charles Hudon beat Nico Daws with a one-timer to bring the Crunch within two. The goal was the first power play goal the Utica Comets have given up all season. Twenty-three seconds later, the Comets would snatch the momentum right back, when Fabian Zetterlund sprung Aarne Talvitie on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity. Talvitie buried it, and Utica took a 5-2 lead into the second intermission.

The Utica Comets could have the best goaltending tandem in the AHL

Early in the third period, the Crunch would get another power play goal, when Gabriel Dumont tipped a shot past Daws to make the score 5-3. That would be it for the Crunch however, as Daws slammed the door the rest of the way. Chase DeLeo scored later in the third, when he ripped a drop by from Jesper Boqvist past Alnefelt to finish the scoring and give the Crunch a 6-3 victory.

Notes: Utica is now 5-0-0-0 (1st in North Division), Syracuse falls to 4-3-1-0 (6th in North Division)….Syracuse outshot Utica 43-27….Utica was 2 for 3 on the power play, Syracuse was 2 for 7 on the power play….With the win, Daws improved his record to 3-0-0….Michael Vukojevic played in his first game of the season and registered an assist….Utica’s next game is Saturday November 6th at home versus Toronto, Syracuse next plays on November 6th as well, at home against the Laval Rocket….Utica and Syracuse meet again on Thursday November 11th, this time at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica….This was the second of fourteen regular season meetings between these two teams.

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