Jan 5, 2022

Last Time on the Ice: 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. 

Roster Reinforcements: Utica Comets General Manager, Dan MacKinnon, announced the team has recalled four players from the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL which include forwards Tyler Irvine, Patrick Grasso, Samuel Laberge and Jordan Kaplan

Irvine, Grasso and Laberge have all taken part in the Comets lineup this season. For Kaplan, it is his first recall to Utica. Kaplan, 24, spent three seasons at Sacred Heart University before transferring to the University of Vermont for his senior year. During his four seasons of NCAA hockey, he totaled 116 games while registering 26 goals and 32 assists for 58 points. Kaplan, 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, was born in Bridgewater, New Jersey. He finished his senior year at Vermont with nine games played scoring one goal and one assist for two points. In 19 games played this season, Kaplan has two goals and eight assists for 10 points. 

Last time Against TO: The Comets battled the Marlies last at home and skated away with a 5-2 victory back on November 6th inside the Adirondack Bank Center.

In the first period, it was off to a swift start that included Chase Deleo with an early goal on the power play as he fired a puck past Marlies goalie Michael Hutchinson at 5:29. The Marlies stuck back just twenty seconds later when Alex Steeves deflected the Josh Ho-Sang pass behind Utica netminder, Akira Schmid. This tied the game at 1-1. Although, The Comets were rewarded with four powerplay opportunities in the period they were only able to capitalize on one, ending the first period with a score of 1- 1.

In the second period, Steeves scored his second of the game as he left the penalty box for a breakaway, and he slid the puck between the legs of Schmid 19 seconds into the period. This was matched by Utica with a Joe Gambardella goal just minutes later as he pounced on a loose puck which was in the crease after AJ Greer hit the post. The goal was scored at 2:07 and the contest was tied 2-2 after forty minutes.

In the last period of regulation, the first goal occurred 9:29 into the period on a power play from forward Nolan Foote who scored his first as a Comet redirecting the shot from Reilly Walsh at 7:29. Towards the end of the period Comets winger Graeme Clarke maneuvered his way to the empty net which extended the lead by two and ultimately extending it by three quickly after Gambardella potted his second on another empty net tally. The Comets skated away with a 5-2 win.

The Comets scored two power-play goals on five chances while the Marlies went without a goal on the man advantage during three chances.

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