Utica Comets 1 vs. Iowa Wild 2

In just their third regulation loss at home this season, the Comets dropped a 2-1 decision against the Iowa Wild on Saturday evening at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Will Acton was the only Comet to score against the Minnesota Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate after a scoring drought since Dec. 3, 2014. Iowa’s goaltender John Curry was able to aid his team to safety after stopping 27 of the Comets 28 shots on net.

After a scoreless first period, the Wild found the scoreboard almost immediately after the start of the second stanza. Just 66 seconds after the puck was dropped, Marc Hagel obtained the puck in the offensive zone and spun it around towards the stick of Jordan Schroeder. With a quick smack the puck popped off of Joacim Eriksson’s left leg, which left a rebound opportunity available to the Minnesota native. With a quick swing at the air-bound puck, Schroeder capitalized on his second chance to make it a 1-0 game.

The Wild tightened their grip on the lead just short of four minutes into the third period after Jonathon Blum got the puck to Zack Mitchell in the blue paint. The puck was poked through Eriksson’s legs for Iowa’s second goal of the night to make it 2-0 and what would eventually be the game-winner. Schroeder received credit for the secondary assist, which also gave him his second point of the game.

It wasn’t until just past the halfway mark at 11:23 when the Comets found their only goal of the night. After what could be best described as confusion in front of Curry’s net, the puck darted out of reach for the veteran goaltender. Acton buried it into the mesh for his third of the season and the Comets first goal of the night to make it 2-1. Hunter Shinkaruk and John Negrin both received assists on the play.

After their three-game stint, the Comets will take a break until Jan. 9. The Comets will then head to Ontario to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs for the second time this season. In their first match-up, the Comets won 3-2 at The AUD.

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James Woods Goes After Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton over Murder of Police Officer

After Saturday’s ambush killing of two New York police officers, James Woods is pointing fingers at two people: the Reverend Al Sharpton and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

The 67-year-old actor returned to Twitter this week after a three-month hiatus to express his disgust for the aforementioned men. The blood of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu is on the hands of “race hucksters” Sharpton and de Blasio, Woods tweeted on Sunday. He’s been on a blame-spree ever since.

Beneath a photograph of Sharpton, Woods retweeted: “This disgusting pig is DIRECTLY responsible for the murder of two good policemen. No discussion.”

While that post has since been deleted, many of the Casino star’s sentiments remain on Twitter:

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Alec Baldwin clearly caught wind of Woods’s controversial remarks and responded on Twitter:

 Woods isn’t the only one with a strong opinion following this weekend’s tragedy. On Fox News, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani lashed out at Bill de Blasio, President Barack Obama, and Attorney General Eric Holder. Speaking on Fox News, Giuliani said: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police.”

He added, “They have created an atmosphere of severe, strong, anti-police hatred in certain communities, and for that, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

While Sharpton has yet to respond to Woods’s remarks, on Sunday, he condemned “eye-for-an-eye” violence and called it ridiculous to blame protesters or politicians for the officer deaths.

“We are now under intense threat from those who are misguided — from those who are trying to blame everyone from civil rights leaders to the mayor rather than deal with an ugly spirit that all of us need to fight,” he said. “There are those of us committed to nonviolence and making the system work. And there are those committed to anarchy and recklessness who could care less about the families of police or the families who have raised questions about police accountability.”

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Year in Review: All Aboard Florida speeds along

Drop-off site of the station in West Palm Beach.

If there is a Florida transportation winner of 2014, it most certainly is All Aboard Florida.

All Aboard Florida is the “proposed” high-speed rail service that would operate along the Florida East Coast Railway, but with a late October groundbreaking on the line’s Fort Lauderdale station, the project seems to have moved from “proposed” to underway in 2014.

The Coral Gables-based company began construction on what will be a 60,000-square-foot station at a 4.8-acre site adjacent to Florida East Coast Railway. In addition to $1.6 billion in federal loans the company applied for, All Aboard plans on borrowing $405 million to finance the project. The key features of All Aboard are:



  • To connect Miami and Orlando in less than three hours
  • Save time25 to 30 percent of time from existing travel options
  • Provide relief to the state’s congested roadways

Service for the high-speed rail is slated to begin in South Florida by the end of 2016 and will eventually connect passengers to Orlando by the beginning of 2017.

The entire economic impact of the Miami-to-Orlando railway project is estimated at $6.4 billion and is expected to create 10,000 jobs across Florida during its construction phase. By 2021, the project projects 2,200 ongoing jobs.


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Connecticut DOT seeks service provider for New Haven-Hartford Springfield line

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has issued a request for qualifications seeking a service provider to operate the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield passenger-rail line beginning in late 2016, the department announced late last week.

CTDOT is searching for an operator for the 62-mile long train line, now branded as the CTrail Hartford Line. The operator will provide train crews and station maintenance services, according to a CTDOT press release.

The deadline for the RFQ is Feb. 27, 2015, when a request for proposals will be issued. Responses to the RFP will be due in September 2015, with selection of a service provider anticipated for December 2015, department officials said.

The line is owned by Amtrak, which currently operates service on the line, including the Vermonter. Amtrak will continue to operate its trains and maintain the railroad right of way.

“This $365 million High Speed Rail Project will improve the quality of intercity service along the corridor and enhance regional rail connections,” said CTDOT Commissioner James Redeker. “Connecticut will add 22 CTrail trains per day to the 12 trains that Amtrak currently operates. This project will make rail travel far more attractive and competitive in the corridor.”

The department expects that by 2016’s end, the entire corridor between Hartford and New Haven will be double-tracked. Key to the program is installation of a state-of-the-art signal system that includes positive train control to ensure safety along the entire corridor. Station improvements will include the addition of high-level boarding platforms, pedestrian bridges, increased parking, ticket vending machines, passenger information displays and many other enhancements at the Meriden, Wallingford, Berlin and Hartford Stations, CTDOT officials said.

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NYC’s 2nd avenue subway has been in the works a long time

City officials have been talking about a second line on Manhattan’s East Side since the 1920s, and the construction has been delayed so many times that.. ….

For New Yorkers, the Second Avenue Subway is something of a punchline, an accepted local synonym for “when pigs fly.” It’s easy to see why: City officials have been talking about a second line on Manhattan’s East Side since the 1920s, and the construction has been delayed so many times that former man-in-charge Michael Bloomberg says he’s got a 50-50 shot at living to see it open (he’s 72).

The line eventually will run 8.5 miles under Second Avenue from Harlem to the Financial District. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the first phase, from 57th Street to 96th Street, will open in 2016, after nine years and some $4.45 billion. Still, it’s easy to be skeptical of either one of those numbers, even if you aren’t a jaded and cynical New Yorker.

But for the workers who spend their days digging, blasting, and building, the project is real. And progress is being made. To prove it, the MTA has published a fresh set of photos showing off what’s happening under the island’s mica schist bedrock. So take a look at a project that’s literally decades in the making.


See more pictures of 2nd Avenue Subway Construction

See a Railfan group about the 2nd Avenue Subway on Railroad.net

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Gov. Cuomo announces nearly $18 million for New York rail projects


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced $26.8 million in state funds awarded to 38 rail and aviation safety, security and economic development projects.

Included in the grants were $17.9 million from the state’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program awarded to 12 rail projects that call for repairing and replacing 65 miles of track and ties, rehabilitating grade crossings and bridges, and constructing new connections to improve safety and operations, according to a press release issued by the Cuomo administration.

“By investing in our transportation infrastructure, we are making long term improvements to our rail and aviation systems in order to better serve the people who use them, while also expanding economic opportunities throughout New York,” said Cuomo.

The funding, included in the state budget, is expected to generate $36 million in new investments for transportation projects statewide.

The passenger- and freight-rail awards include:

• $3.3 million to Norfolk Southern Railway to construct new connections and double track to improve operations at the Bison Yard in Buffalo;

• $3.1 million to the Central New York Railroad of Cooperstown to rehabilitate railroad track in Delaware and Broome counties;

• $2.3 million to MTA Long Island Rail Road to rehabilitate the Cypress Avenue railroad bridge;

• $1.9 million to Middletown & New Jersey Railroad LLC to rehabilitate railroad track in Orange County;

• $791,000 to Adirondack Railway Preservation Society to construct a maintenance and repair facility in Utica for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad; and

• $567,000 to Mohawk, Adirondack and Northern Railroad Corp. to repair culverts and bridges on the Lyons Falls and Rome Branch lines. Two crossings also will be rehabilitated.

For a complete list of projects, click on this link.

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Utica Comets Travis Green for All-Star Coach

The head coach of the team with the highest points percentage in each conference at the conclusion of play on Dec. 31, 2014, will be named that conference’s head coach for the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino, which will take place Jan. 25-26 in Utica, N.Y.

In addition, one head coach from each conference will be selected by league President and CEO David Andrews to fill out the All-Star coaching staffs.

Four teams remain mathematically alive for the best record in the Eastern Conference; two teams can still secure the top spot in the West:

Eastern Conference leaders (through Dec. 21)
.750 – Mike Stothers, Manchester Monarchs
.707 – Rob Zettler, Syracuse Crunch
.683 – Jared Bednar, Springfield Falcons
.617 – John Hynes, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Western Conference leaders (through Dec. 21)
.741 – Travis Green, Utica Comets
.690 – Gerry Fleming, Oklahoma City Barons

Rosters for the All-Star Classic will be announced in early January, and AHL fans will have the opportunity to determine the starting lineups for the 2015 AHL All-Star Game through on-line fan balloting.


A pair of wins this weekend would ensure the spot for Green. Utica hosts the Adirondack Flames on Friday and the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday.

Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20141222/Sports/141229856#ixzz3Mjm112Qc

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With help from Penney Vanderbilt