Apr 1, 2022
Utica, NY – It was the penultimate battle of the I-90 rivals, the Utica Comets and the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night inside the Adirondack Bank Center. With the Comets winning nine of the previous twelve games, tonight in Utica, the Comets won their 10 against the Crunch skating away with a 5-3 victory.
In the first period, the Comets only had three shots on net but one of those was a perfect shot by Frederik Gauthier. Gauthier’s tally, a shorthanded breakaway goal at 16:24, was assisted by A.J. Greer and Nikita Okhotiuk. The Comets’ netminder Akira Schmid stopped all 14 shots he faced in the first twenty minutes.
In the second period, the Comets extended their lead to two thanks to a power play goal by Ryan Schmelzer at 17:53. Fabian Zetterlund retrieved the puck from a battle on the wall and sent a pass to Schmelzer who was all by himself in front of the Crunch net and wasted no time burying it. A.J. Greer picked up his second point of the night on the secondary assist.
Just nineteen seconds into the third frame, the Comets scored on the man advantage to take a 3-0 lead. Chase DeLeo stole the puck from the Crunch goaltender, who was attempting to play the puck behind his net, and sent it into the empty frame for his fifteenth goal of the year. Halfway through the period, the Crunch pulled their goalie to gain an extra attacker on the power play. Shortly after coming out of the penalty box, Aarne Talvitie scored on an empty Syracuse net to make it a 4-0 lead. In the final five minutes of the game, the Crunch gained some momentum. At 15:56, Gabriel Fortier scored to make it 4-1. Less than two minutes later, Syracuse cut the Comets’ lead to two when Simon Ryfors scored off an assist from Sean Day. At 17:51, it became a 4-3 game thanks to a goal by Crunch forward Alex Barre-Boulet. A minute later, the Comets scored an empty net goal to make it 5-3. It was forward Tyce Thompson who tallied the empty netter in his return to to the Comets lineup for the first time since suffering an injury in November. Thompson’s goal was assisted by DeLeo and Greer. Despite the late game surge by Syracuse, the Comets held on to win.
The Comets take to the road against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tomorrow night at 7:05 PM. They return home to celebrate Marty Brodeur Bobblehead night on Wednesday April 6th at 7:00 PM. Tickets are still available. You can purchase them by going to uticacomets.com/tickets.