The Utica Comets were unable to fight out of an early 2-0 deficit against the Hershey Bears, and dropped a 4-2 decision on Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The loss brings the Comets record to 3-9-1-0.
Darren Archibald (1-1-2) and Curtis Valk (1-1-2) each tallied a goal and an assist for the second straight game. David Shields (0-1-1) and Cody Kunyk (0-1-1) also chipped in an assist each, and goaltender Richard Bachman stopped 27 of the 31 Bears shots on goal.
Utica controlled play throughout the game’s first nine minutes, however, it was Hershey that would break the scoreless tie. Liam O’Brien netted his first goal of the year, with Domenic Monardo and Christian Djoos picking up the assists with 11:33 to go in the opening period.
Late in the first period the Bears doubled down on their early with a power-play goal. With Chad Billins and Cole Cassels in the penalty box, Chris Bourque extended the Bears’ lead to 2-0 with a slap shot from the top of the circles. Paul Carey and Jakub Vrana tallied the assists.
Utica again started out strong and came out blazing to begin the middle frame, but an untimely tripping penalty to Colby Robak quelled their momentum. Hershey was unable to take advantage, and two minutes after the penalty expired, Valk regained the momentum put the Comets on the board after Archibald made a diving effort to keep possession.
The lead was short-lived as Hershey restored their two-goal lead five minutes later as Monardo found a wide open Nathan Walker in the slot who buried it past Bachman. The score would remain 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Archibald brought the Comets back to within one just 1:25 into the third period, when he potted the rebound on a shot from Shields.
The Comets pressed hard looking for the equalizer, killing off back-to-back minors in the process, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
With eight minutes left to play Walker scored his second goal of the game for the Bears with 7:56 remaining to give Hershey a 4-2 lead and the eventual victory.
The Comets power play went cold, going 0-4 on the night, while the penalty kill gave up one goal on six attempts.
The Comets continue their six game homestand Friday night at 7pm as they welcome the Springfield Thunderbirds to the Utica Memorial Auditorium.