COMETS LOSE TO DIVISION RIVAL CRUNCH, 8-5 | Utica Comets Official Website


Feb 18, 2023

Utica, NY. – The division rivalry between the Comets and Crunch always burns hot and there was no change in the normal ferocious pace when they met each other in Utica at the sold-out Adirondack Bank Center on Saturday night. Despite the Comets scoring first in the contest and the game remaining close into the final period of regulation, the Comets were defeated 8-5

The Comets started the scoring, and it was Brian Halonen who struck for the 1-0 lead when he found the loose puck in front of Crunch goalie Max Legace at 7:21. The goal was Halonen’s ninth of the season and it was assisted by Simon Nemec and Graeme Clarke. The Crunch tied the contest on the power-play as the period went on. It was Simon Ryfors who took a fortuitous bounce off his stick and into the net behind Akira Schmid at 14:50. The Crunch added another goal as defenseman Trevor Carrick redirected the pass of Gage Concalves at 18:51 to end the period putting the Comets down 2-1 after twenty minutes.

In the middle frame, the Comets leading scorer, Graeme Clarke made a spectacular play skating into the Crunch zone as he moved to his right side and wristed a perfect shot just under the crossbar and into the net for his team leading 17th goal of the season at 1:15 tying the game at 2-2. But, later in the frame, Lucas Edmonds found the puck between the circles in the Utica zone and put a quick wrist shot into the cage at 9:42. With the Comets down 3-2, Joe Gambardella tied the game and extended his point streak to six games. As his pass deflected off a Syracuse defenseman and through Legace at 16:45, the Comets tied the game at 3-2. The goal was assisted by Tyce Thompson and Jack Dugan for Gambardella’s seventh of the season. With the period nearly completed, the Crunch yet again achieved a lead after Gabriel Dumont scored with just 26 seconds left in the frame. The Comets left the second period down 4-3. 

In the final period of regulation, Dylan Blujus shot from the right point beat Legace for his first of the season at 5:11 tying the contest at 4-4. Gambardella added the assist on the tally and the crowd was right back into the game. But, only a few shifts later, Simon Ryfors added his second of the contest at 6:28 which was followed by goals from Edmonds, Balcers and Edmonds once again, who netted a hattrick. While Gambardella added his second of the game with 11 seconds remaining, the game was out of reach and the Comets dropped the contest, 8-5.

The Comets head on the road for the next four games as they play Toronto on Monday afternoon at 3:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena. The next home game takes place on March 3rd against Charlotte at the Adirondack Bank Center. Great seats are still available, visit

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