Dec 31, 2021

The Comets took on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in their first home game in over two weeks. Utica jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period, but ultimately fell 6-5 in overtime.

Just under 3 minutes into the game, Chase DeLeo got the Comets on the board. Brian Flynn chipped the puck through the Phantoms defenseman then DeLeo won a foot race to find himself alone in front of the net. He shot the puck over the shoulder of Phantoms goalie Pat Nagle. 

Minutes later, Comets defenseman Colton White extended the Comets lead to two. Michael Vukojevic dished a pass across the blue line to White who sent a wrist shot that went through traffic and into the back of the Phantoms net at the 13:35 mark of the period. 

At 6:43 in the first period, it was Chase DeLeo who found the back of the net once again. The goal was the result of a solid breakout and offensive zone entry for the Comets. The puck went from Jeremy Groleau to Robbie Russo who found DeLeo in the high slot.  The Comets headed into the first intermission with a 3-0 lead after carrying the play for a majority of the period.

The Comets picked right up where they left off in the second frame. Five minutes into the period, Colton White picked up his second goal of the game. Fabian Zetterlund sent the puck to White, who once again fired a wrister that found its way to the top corner of the Phantoms net.

At the 13:41 mark, Lehigh Valley defenseman Logan Day scored his team’s first goal of the game.The goal was assisted by Maksim Sushko.

Less than 2 minutes later, the Comets regained control of their four goal lead thanks to a tally from Frederick Gauthier. Graeme Clarke gained possession of the puck in the neutral zone and found the tape of Gauthier who dragged the puck in and sent it over the shoulder of Nagle.

At 3:26, Lehigh Valley answered back. Forward Isaac Ratcliffe received the puck from Egor Zamula and sent a well placed shot past Comets goaltender Marek Mitens. In the final minutes of the period, Mitens made some key saves to keep the score at 5-2 heading into the second intermission. 

Lehigh Valley got off to a strong start in the third period. Just thirty-nine seconds in, former Comet Cal O’Reilly dished the puck to Hayden Hodgson who scored to make it a two goal game. Minutes later, the Phantoms reduced the Comets lead to one.

Garrett Wilson redirected a point shot from Egor Zamula that went through the legs of Mitens at 15:43. The Phantoms pressured hard for the remainder of the period. In the final minute, they pulled their goalie to gain an extra attacker and Hayden Hodgson scored his second of the night to send the game into overtime. 

The Phantoms completed their comeback with an overtime game winner from O’Reilly. Hayden Hodgson made a nice pass under a sliding Comets defenseman that found the tape of O’Reilly who scored for his third point of the night. 

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