Comets Point Streak Snapped in Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Utica Comets could not overcome two early Syracuse Crunch power-play goals and saw their eight-game point streak snapped at the War Memorial on Friday night by the score of 5-4. The Comets were able to cut the Crunch's lead to one goal on four separate occasions, but could not find the equalizer in their first regulation loss since Jan. 24 in Toronto.
Carter Bancks (1-0-1), Ashton Sautner (1-0-1), Andrey Pedan (1-0-1), and Brandon Prust (1-0-1) scored for the Comets, while Richard Bachman made 26 saves in the loss. Ronalds Kenins (0-2-2) recorded his third multi-point game in the team's last four games.
The Crunch jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with two power-play goals in the game's first 2:52. Matt Taormina scored his 11th of the season 1:14 into the game, and then Tye McGinn struck just 1:37 after that for his 16th of the year.
The Comets cut into the Crunch's lead with some heavy offensive pressure. Jon Landry wristed a shot through heavy traffic in front. Bancks redirected the Landry shot, and then quickly cleaned up his own rebound for his eighth goal of the season.
The Crunch were able to re-establish their two-goal lead when Jeff Tambellini tapped in a back door rebound after a Comets neutral zone turnover led to an odd-man rush.
The five-goal first period came to a close with a Comets goal with just 24 seconds left. With a delayed penalty upcoming on the Crunch, and an extra attacker on the ice, the Comets worked the puck around the Crunch's zone for a substantial amount of time. Eventually, Ashton Sautner unleashed a rocket of a slapshot that screamed over the shoulder of Gudlevskis to bring the score to 3-2. Brendan Gaunce and Ronalds Kenins chipped in with assists on the goal.
The goals kept coming in the second period.
Once again the Crunch answered the Comets goal with a goal of their own. The Crunch's leading goal-scorer, Jeff Tambellini, scored his second of the night just 2:34 into the second period to stretch the lead to 4-2.
Referees caught the Crunch with back-to-back penalties on the same play to set up the Comets with a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes. As the power play waned down, Andrey Pedan one-timed a pass from Kenins past the glove of Gudlevskis to cut the Comets deficit to 4-3. With the assist, Kenins has three multi-point games in his past four. Grenier recorded a secondary assist on the play to run his point streak to six games.
For the third straight time the Crunch followed up the Comets goal with one. With a two-on-one advantage down low, Blunden received a cross-crease pass from Erne for the power-play goal.
While killing a penalty, Brendan Gaunce intercepted a pass in his own zone and chipped it past a pinching Crunch defender to spring Brandon Prust on a semi-breakaway. Prust faked a shot to drop Gudlevskis to his knees before he wristed a shot under the goaltender's glove. Gaunce's helper gives him and two assist night and 11 points (4-7-11) in his past six games.
With the loss the Comets record dropped to 25-18-4-3. Utica still holds the edge in the race for the 2015-16 Galaxy Cup with a record of 4-2-0-0 against Syracuse.
The Comets return home tomorrow night for Clinton Comets Heritage Night at The AUD. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm but fans are highly encouraged to arrive early to take part in the special pre-game ceremonies. The Comets will don special throwback blue jerseys in honor of the Clinton Comets. The jerseys will be auctioned off as part of a live auction immediately following the game.
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