Thatcher Demko’s 24-save effort, and Jake Virtanen’s first American Hockey League goal propelled the Utica Comets to a 2-1 victory over the Albany Devils at the Times Union Center on Friday evening. The victory over the Devils was the franchise’s first regulation win over Albany in 20 tries, including four playoff match-ups.
Andrey Pedan (1-0-1), and Virtanen (1-0-1) handled the scoring for the Comets. With several highlight reel-worthy saves, Demko improved his record to 5-4-1-0, and his goals against average to 2.66 on the season.
For just the sixth time this season the Comets were the ones to jump out to the game’s first lead. After he received a pass from Cody Kunyk, Pedan walked in to the face-off dot from the top of the circle, and wristed a shot past Ken Applby’s glove. Mike Carcone registered the secondary assist.
A minute later Virtanen doubled-down on the Comets lead. Demko kicked aside a point blank shot from the Devils. The puck kicked out to Virtanen who skated the length of the ice before be fired a shot into the back of net for his first goal as a member of the Comets.
Demko’s shutout bid ended with 2:22 left in the second period when Rod Pelley slipped the puck past the rookie goaltender after he received a pass from behind the net.
Both goaltenders shut down the scoring the rest of the way to give the Comets the 2-1 victory.
The Comets power play went 0-for-4 on the night, while the penalty kill turned in a perfect effort and allowed no goals in three attempts.
The Utica Comets return to The AUD tomorrow for Pink the Rink Night. All the details on the night, including how you can win a game-worn jersey for just $20, are online at uticacomets.com Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Prior to the game, forward Allan MacPherson was released from his PTO. He did not appear in a game for the Comets.