USPHL Weekend Wrap-Up (9/16/19)

The Utica Jr. Comets NCDC and Premier teams both opened up their 2019-20 season over the weekend. Both teams played a pair of games against the Boston Jr. Bruins.

NCDC

Saturday September 14, 2019

Boston Junior Bruins – 4
Utica Jr. Comets – 1

Utica found themselves down 1-0 only 1:45 into the opening period of the new season. Despite two power-play chances and 12 shots on goal during the period the Comets entered intermission trailing by one.

That changed in the second period when returning forward Donny Borgula scored at 14:25 of the second tying the game at one. Swede Christopher-Robin Ericson, who is playing his first season in North America, picked up an assist along with Florida native Walter Baumann. Unfortunately, Boston would find the back of the net 4:30 later taking the lead once again.

The Comets ran into penalty trouble in the third taking their only three minor penalties of the game. Although the Junior Bruins didn’t score on any of their three power-play chances, they did score two even strength goals to win the season opener by a score of 4-1. Isak Johansson made 34 saves in his first North American start after spending his career playing in his native Sweden.

BOX SCORE

Sunday September 15, 2019

Boston Junior Bruins – 6
Utica Jr. Comets – 1

This game was all Boston right from the drop of the first puck as Utica got in penalty trouble early. The Jr. A Jack Michels tripping penalty at 13 seconds followed by a cross-checking penalty to Tristan Hughes 26 seconds later but Utica down two men. Boston wasted no time taking advantage and scored at 1:19 and again at 2:39 of the first. The Junior Bruins added another power-play goal at 6:07 before finding the back of the net once more at 14:02. The Jr. Comets were out shot 25-12 and found themselves in a 4-0 hole with 40 minutes left to play.

Utica finally got on the board at 15:47 of the second on a power-play goal by Borgula with assists going to Alex Coady and Jack Silich. They had a great opportunity to get back in the game starting the third period with an almost full five minute power-play. A Boston player was assessed a five minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head with only 4 seconds remaining in the second.
However, that power-play was cut short when Ericson was given a minor for interference at 3:48 of the final period. Boston scored two more goals 20 seconds apart in the middle of the period for a final score of 6-1. 16 year old Justin Wu made his first USPHL start and stopped 41 of 47 shots.

BOX SCORE

Utica will travel to Marlborough, Massachusetts for three games in the Junior Bruins Shootout. They will look to capture their first win of the season against the South Shore Kings on Saturday before taking on the Junior Bruins Sunday, and Twin City Thunder on Monday.

TOP PERFORMERS

Donny Borgula - 2 Goals

PREMIER

Saturday September 14, 2019

Boston Junior Bruins – 4
Utica Comets – 6

The Premier team came out on top in what was a back and forth battle at the Adirondack Bank Center Saturday night. Boston scored the opening goal of the game while on a power-play at 9:04 of the first, but Utica answered back and took a 2-1 lead into intermission. Michal Biben scored on the power-play at 11:15 assisted by Drazen Medich and Christian Cupani. At 18:27, Saratoga native, Anthony Morin scored with assists going to Tyler Morin (no relation) and Bryce Grennan.

The Jr. Comets increased their lead at 7:44 of the second when former Mohawk Valley Raiders HS teammates Ronald Alesandro and Andrew Martino connected for a goal. The secondary assist went to Colby Smith. Boston cut the lead to one less than a minute later before Utica popped in two more to go ahead 5-2. Biben scored his second of the game at 12:52 with John Gutt and Morgan Clarke-Pizzo picking up helpers. Bryce Grennan picked up his second assist on the game on a shorthanded goal by A. Morin, his second score of the night. Boston scored a late one to pull within 5-3 as the teams headed off for intermission.

Boston got back to within a goal at 8:07, but Kurt Reger extended the Utica lead to 6-4 five minutes later. Returning goaltender Tripp Clarke stood tall in net turning away 28 of 32 Boston shots.

BOX SCORE

Sunday September 15, 2019

Boston Junior Bruins – 2
Utica Jr. Comets – 7

Unlike the Sunday NCDC game, this one was all Utica from the start. Martino scored the only goal of the first while on the power-play at the 15:18 mark assisted by JD Speer and Brennan Ash.

In the second Cupani, Clarke-Pizzo, and T. Morin (PP) all scored in the first 10 minutes putting Utica ahead 4-0. Boston got one back, but A. Morin regained the four goal lead with 3:22 remaining in the period.

With Clarke-Pizzo serving a major penalty for slashing Boston was able to get another on the board at 9:12 of the third. Utica responded by adding to their tally as Gutt and A. Morin put two more behind the Junior Bruins netminder. Colin Frost made 28 saves in his first start of the season.

BOX SCORE

The Premier team will also be traveling to the Junior Bruins Shootout for three games. They will be facing off against the Springfield Pics, South Shore Kings, and Connecticut Nighthawks.

TOP PERFORMERS

Anthony Morin - 4 Goals, 1 Assist
Morgan Clarke-Pizzo - 1 Goal, 3 Assists
Tyler Morin - 1 Goal, 3 Assists

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