Dec 31, 2022
Utica, NY – Having won seven of their of their last ten games, the Comets met the Belleville Senators on New Year’s Eve. The back and forth game led to overtime in front of a packed house, and Nolan Foote scored the game winner on a perfect feed from Andreas Johnsson to seal the 4-3 win for Utica.
In the first, the Comets heavy forecheck created their first goal. Nick Hutchison and Aarne Talvitie battled for a puck below the goal line and fed it up to Jeremy Groleau who’s slapshot was his first goal of the season. Just 36 seconds later, Jack Dugan got his fifth of the year. Ryan Schmelzer’s shot was stopped by Antonie Bibeau, but Dugan’s quick hands buried it to make it 2-0. That was the score at the end of one.
Belleville would cut the lead in half to start the second. Joe Carrol took a pass in the high slot and beat Comets goalie Nico Daws to make it 2-1. Zach Senyshyn brought the answer for Utica at 8:45 of the frame. He made an incredible move in the neutral zone around a Belleville defender, and beat Bibeau far side. Utica led 3-1 at the second break.
The Senators started the third with a pair of goals from their first round prospect Ridley Greig. Greig’s first goal was a chaotic one in front of the net. His second was a shorthanded breakaway. As the Comets powerplay worked in the offensive zone, a bouncing puck ended up on the prospect’s stick and he went the length of the ice to beat Daws. The game was tied at three after regulation.
Belleville had a great chance in overtime, but Reilly Walsh’s sliding shot block kept the puck out of the net. A bouncing puck in the neutral zone landed on Johnssons stick. Him and Foote exchanged two passes on the way in, and Johnsson fed Foote on the back door to scored the game winner. The crowd erupted in a celebration that was among the best the building has seen this season.
Next up for Utica is a Tuesday road trip to Toronto. They’ll be back at home on Friday night against the New York Ranger’s affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack. That weekend also features two Utica City FC games at the Adirondack Bank Center. Saturday is a dodgeball tournament, and Sunday is a Kids Day celebration. Tickets are available for the Comets at uticacomets.com/tickets and for soccer at uticacityfc.com/tickets.