It looked like the Utica Comets and Syracuse Crunch were going to a shootout on Wednesday night – but there was still 0.6 seconds left on the clock.
The Utica Comets earned another point in the standings on Wednesday night – that’s the good news. The bad news is they were denied a potential second point in stunning fashion as the Syracuse Crunch scored a last-second goal in overtime to skate away with a 3-2 overtime victory, in a game where the Comets just could not capitalize on opportunities they were presented with.
The home team got off to a good start, as they scored the game’s first goal just over three minutes after the opening faceoff. Alexander Holtz’s shot from the left circle was deflected right to Ryan Schmelzer who re-directed it past Crunch goaltender Max Legace and into the net for an early Utica lead. After the Schmelzer goal, the visiting team controlled play for long stretches of the period but could not get a shot past Comets netminder Akira Schmid, and the teams went to the locker rooms at the end of the first period with the home team leading by one goal.
The Crunch nearly tied the game just thirty seconds into the second period when their leading scorer Gabriel Dumont had a point-blank chance in front of the Utica net that Schmid turned aside. From there, Syracuse controlled play through the first half of the second period, outshooting the Comets 9-2 and in the process tied the game up when Alex Barre-Boulet tipped a shot from the right point by Sean Day past Schmid and into the net.
Immediately after the Barre-Boulet goal, Utica coach Kevin Dineen used his timeout, and despite a roughing penalty by Chase DeLeo, it seemed to calm his team down. Shortly after killing the DeLeo penalty, Utica took the lead when Alexander Holtz picked up a loose puck and fired a shot past Legace from the right circle to score his team-leading twenty-first goal. The Crunch snatched the momentum back with just two minutes left in the period when Remi Elie tipped a backhand saucer pass from the right circle by Otto Somppi to tie the game at two heading into the second intermission.
The third period did not feature a lot of shots (twelve total), but the Comets did have a golden opportunity with eight minutes left when they had forty-four seconds of five on three power play time that they could not capitalize on. With neither team scoring in the third period, the game headed to overtime where the Comets once again could not convert on a power play, this time courtesy of a Darren Raddysh tripping penalty. Raddysh went from putting his team in a precarious situation to the hero of the game when with 0.6 seconds left in overtime he snapped a wrist shot past Schmid to win the game for the Crunch and give them two points they desperately needed to stay in the AHL playoff race. Despite the overtime loss the Comets still have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 33-11-6-0 with 72 points and a .720 points percentage, while the Crunch is in sixth place in the North Division with a record of 23-32-6-1 good for 53 points and a .520 points percentage.
Notes: Utica and Syracuse tied in shots on goal with 23 each…Utica was 0 for 5 on the power play, Syracuse was 0 for 4…Seven different players had one point each for the Crunch…Alexander Holtz and Ryan Schmelzer (one goal and one assist), and Tyler Wotherspoon (two assists) led the Comets scorers with two points each and were the only Comets to record points…Ryan Schmelzer has an active four-game point streak going…Alexander Holtz has an active three-game point streak going and has multiple points in each of his last two games…Utica now leads the season series 8-1-1-0…Syracuse plays again on Friday night at Rochester, while Utica plays again on Friday night as well at home against Toronto.