Springfield, MA– The Utica Comets tallied two goals within the first 1:28 and were able to protect the lead for a 2-1 victory against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
Brendan Gaunce tallied the first goal of the game for the second consecutive night with his second of year from Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton. Just eight seconds later, Curtis Valk scored on a breakaway after winning a faceoff to Chad Billins. Tom Nilsson received a pass from BIllins who sent Valk into the Thunderbirds zone for a 2-0 Comets lead just 1:28 into the game. At 17:17, Ian McCoshen scored on the power play with a low shot that slid past Richard Bachman after making an initial stop. Kyle Rau and Matt MacKenzie assisted on the goal. The Comets outshot the Thunderbirds 9-3 in the first stanza.
That was the only scoring during the game as Bachman remained flawless following the Thunderbirds goal in the first period. In the final two periods, he stopped a total of 29 shots. Mike McKenna stopped all 14 in the final two frames, 21 total, and fell to a record of 6-10-7. Bachman made 31 saves total to improve to a record of 10-10-2.
The Comets were scoreless on two power plays and surrendered one goal on three penalties.
The Comets return home tomorrow for a 5 p.m. faceoff against the Syracuse Crunch. Fans are encouraged to utilize the ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.
Following the game is an open skate with the players for all fans in attendance. Fans must bring skates into the arena with them as no re-entry will be allowed.
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