Utica, NY – The Utica Comets exploded for an early lead to beat the Binghamton Senators by a score of 5-2 on Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The Comets struck early with three goals in a matter of 1:54. Prior to the goal spurt, Curtis Valk was awarded with a penalty shot on Matt O’Connor at 5:11. Valk could not convert but the Comets continued the offensive attack. Darren Archibald began the scoring with a wrist shot past O’Connor for his team leading 18th goal of the year. Valk and Alexandre Grenier assisted. 1:10 later, Joseph LaBate scored his third of the season with a wrist shot over the glove of O’Connor. Chad Billins and Wacey Hamilton assisted on the score. Directly after the goal, the Comets were awarded the team’s first power play of the night. Just four seconds into the power play, Jordan Subban fired a slap shot for his 14th goal of the season with assists from Cody Kunyk and Archibald. Following the goal, the Senators took a timeout with the Comets leading by a 3-0 score. Nick Paul scored his tenth of the year just 19 seconds after the Comets goal. The shot found its way through traffic with assists given to Ben Harpur and Jason Akeson. Pascal Pelletier regained the three-goal lead with his seventh of the year on a wrist shot in the slot. Borna Rendulic assisted on the goal that saw the Senators pull O’Connor from the net. Chris Driedger took over in the net for the remainder of the game. All four goals were scored in a matter of 3:05. The Comets took a 4-1 lead into the second period.
The second frame did not have any scoring with the Comets outshooting the Senators 14-5 in the stanza. Thatcher Demko remained solid by stopping 17 of 18 shots through 40 minutes of hockey.
Eight minutes into the third period, Akeson closed the gap by scoring his tenth of the season with a power play tally. Paul and Casey Bailey assisted on the goal to bring the score to a 4-2 Comets lead. Driedger was pulled for the extra attacker but the Comets took full advantage of the situation. Grenier potted his 16th of the year with helpers from Valk and LaBate to seal the win.
Demko stopped 28 shots to move his record to 12-11-4. O’Connor took the loss with 10 saves on 14 shots in 12:33 of playing time. Driedger stopped all 26 shots in relief.
The Comets converted on one of four power play chances and killed two of three penalties. The Comets outshot the Senators 41-30.
The Comets will be back in action tomorrow night as they take on the Albany Devils. Puck drop from the Utica Memorial Auditorium is scheduled for 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to utilize the ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.
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