The Utica Comets had a very good weekend in Syracuse, as they defeat the Crunch in two consecutive nights.
The Utica Comets offense is firing on all cylinders once again. After defeating the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at the Upstate Medical University Arena by a score of 8-5, they took the same ice on Saturday night with the same winning result. This time they defeated their North Division rival with a convincing 5-2 win.
The Comets came out of the gates in a very strong fashion, putting ten shots on Syracuse starting goaltender Hugo Alnefelt before his Crunch teammates got one of their own. The Comets were rewarded for their start with the only goal of the period at the 12:34 mark while on the power play. Utica goaltender Akira Schmid thwarted a shorthanded two-on-one bid for a goal by Syracuse and the Comets scored on the ensuing counterattack when Graeme Clarke put a loose rebound in the back of the Syracuse net.
In the second period, the Comets showed why they have the best record in the Eastern Conference when they dropped the offensive hammer on the Crunch. They got their first goal of the period at just 1:36 minutes in when after Syracuse’s Cole Koepke hit the post, Alexander Holtz carried the puck in the Crunch zone. He then found and fed Chase DeLeo who was streaking down the left side of the Syracuse zone and then beat Alnefelt with a backhand shot into the top of the net. The DeLeo/Holtz struck again just under three minutes later, this time Holtz slid a perfect pass from the right circle to DeLeo for a tap-in goal from the slot.
Utica made it 4-0 with just over six and a half minutes left in the second period with their second power-play goal of the game. AJ Greer got the puck to Alexander Holtz from the slot, and Holtz in turn rifled a shot past Alnefelt from the left circle. Less than a minute after the Holtz goal, Syracuse got on the scoreboard when an innocent-looking wrist shot by Alex Green from the right point eluded Schmid and wound up in the Utica net. The goal by Green concluded the scoring for the period and the game went into the second intermission with the Comets leading by a score of 4-1.
The Crunch dominated play for most of the third period, putting ten shots on goal through the first fifteen minutes of the period while holding the Comets to none. In that time, Schmid made another huge two-on-one save, and the Crunch hit the goalpost twice. Syracuse pulled Alnefelt with six minutes remaining for an extra skater and it paid off one minute later when Koepke scored from the high slot with a laser beam of a shot to get the Crunch within two. Syracuse elected to keep Alnefelt on the bench after forcing a faceoff inside the Comets zone but were burned by it this time when Fabian Zetterlund fired the puck into the open net from his own left circle to give the visitors a three-goal lead. The Comets shut the Crunch down for the rest of the game to earn the 5-2 win.
Notes: Syracuse outshot Utica 33 to 24…Syracuse was 0 for 1 on the power play, Utica was 2 for 4…Alexander Holtz led all Utica scorers with three points (one goal and two assists), Chase DeLeo (two goals), and Brian Flynn (two assists) were the Comet’s other multiple-point scorers…Sean Day led Syracuse scorers with two assists…This was Brian Flynn’s second consecutive multi-point game…This is the second consecutive game both Alexander Holtz and Fabian Zetterlund scored a goal…This was the seventh and final meeting of the regular season in Syracuse between the two teams with Utica winning five of them…Utica leads the overall regular-season series thus far 7-1-1…There are four remaining regular-season games between the Crunch and Comets, all of which are in Utica…One of those remaining games in the next game for both teams, as they will meet at the Adirondack Bank Center on Wednesday night.