Utica, NY – On a night celebrating Halloween inside the Adirondack Bank Center, the Utica Comets welcomed the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time this season. The Comets were happy to welcome back Nico Daws in the lineup after his call up to New Jersey where he recorded his first NHL win. He was busy in net turning away all 10 shots he faced in the opening frame. His counterpart Sam Ersson stopped all six shots he faced in the first as well.
The second period offered a little more back and forth play with both teams trading chances. The Phantoms would be the first to strike 14:13 into the middle frame. It was German Rubtsov in front of the net, tipping in a shot in from the blueline by Linus Hogberg. Wyatte Wylie picked up the second assist. The Phantoms continued the pressure netting their second goal of the game a minute and half later when it was Hayden Hodgson re-directing a pass from Rubtsov pass the sprawling pad of Daws. The Comets gathered some momentum off of their lone power play chance of the period, but Ersson kept the Comets at bay. With less than 30 seconds remaining in the period, Nate Schnarr brought the crowd to their feet by finishing off a breakaway chance after a beautiful stretch pass from A.J. Greer. Tyler Wotherspoon picked up the extra helper and the score would remain 2-1 Lehigh at the end of 40 minutes.
In the third period, the Comets added to their lead when Holtz potted his first of the night on a two-on-one break with Chase DeLeo after firing the pass into the net at 1:08. With the game tied, 2-2, Nikita Okhotiuk fired a wrist-shot from a sharp angle that alluded Ersson short-side and into the net at 3:43. For the first time in the game, the Comets held a lead, and they wouldn’t relinquish it. Holtz added his second tally of the night on another Chase DeLeo setup at 12:56. It was Holtz’s fifth goal this season in four games played. Fabian Zetterlund potted in an empty net goal at 17:44 and the Comets skated away with a 5-2 victory.
The Comets have yet to give up a power-play goal this season in four games played. They didn’t strike on the man-advantage on one try tonight where the Phantoms failed on all three attempts with the extra attacker. The Phantoms outshot the Comets 33-22. Comets return to action on Friday night on the road against the Syracuse Crunch before returning home for back to back games against the Marlies and Rockets.