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COMETS GAIN POINT IN SHOOTOUT LOSS TO MARLIES, 7-6

Utica, NY. —   The Comets continued march toward the playoffs had another obstacle in front of them when they stepped onto the ice at home on Friday night to battle a divisional rival, the Toronto Marlies. The point separating Utica and Toronto could conceivably be erased this weekend by the Comets but it required a victory to start their three games in a three-night weekend. The contest had plenty of goals with both teams leading and then falling behind at times While the Comets surged in the middle frame, they couldn’t hold off the Marlies in the last period of regulation. Ultimately, the game was decided in a shootout with the Comets gaining a point in the 7-6 decision.

During the first period, it was the Marlies that scored first after Logan Shaw blasted a one-timer passed Comets goalie, Erik Kallgren at 4:09. The Comets trailed 1-0 relatively early in the contest. The Comets pushed back and it was Justin Dowling who sent the puck right to Brian Halonen who positioned himself directly in front of the Marlies crease. Halonen was able to drive the puck home at 9:02 for his 14th goal of the season tying the game 1-1. Later, the Marlies capitalized on an opportunity in front of the Utica goal when Zach Solow redirected the puck into the Comets net at 17:56 ending the period with the Comets down 2-1.

In the second period, the Comets captain, Ryan Schmelzer, stole a loose puck drove down the ice shorthanded, and scored on a breakaway at 8:09. It was his 13th goal of the season and it sent the home crowd to their feet as the game was tied 2-2. It was Nolan Foote who broke the tie after his wrist shot was tucked just under the crossbar and into the net at 13:17 for his first goal of the season. The lone assist was given to Kyle Criscuolo. Whilst the Marlies tied the game after a goal from Nick Abruzzese tied the game at 14:55 after he deflected a shot into the Comets goal, the Comets use 14 seconds worth of the second period to shift momentum in the game. First, it was Graeme Clarke who made a great move to drag the puck and change the angle as he fired a wrister passed Hildeby at 16:02 for his team-leading 20th goal of the season. It was assisted by Max Willaman and Criscuolo. The ensuing shift saw Foote bang home a rebound at 16:16 his second of the game assisted by Halonen and Dowling. As the period concluded, the Comets led 5-3.

During the final period of the game, the Comets surrendered a powerplay goal just 28 seconds into the frame as Ryan Tverberg beat Kallgren to cut the Utica lead to 5-4. Later, Shaw tied the game at 5-5 at 3:05 as his shot found the back of the net bringing the contest to 5-5. As the period rolled on, it was a rush into the Marlies zone by Brian Halonen who sent the puck to Dowling who proceeded to send the puck through Hildeby and in at 13:07. It was his 11th goal of the season. The crowd erupted as the Comets held a 6-5 lead. But, the Marlies tied the game at 17:46 after Abruzzese redirected a pass and scored tying the game at 6-6.

In overtime, no one scored so the game headed to a shootout and only Alex Steeves was able to strike as the Comets were defeated, 7-6.

The Comets are back in action tomorrow against the Belleville Senators on Saturday night at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available for both games inside the Adirondack Bank Center.

Single-game tickets are now available for the 2023-24 season. Visit uticacomets.com/tickets for more information. Season Ticket Memberships are also available for the 2023-24 Season. Tickets are still available. Visit www.uticacomets.com/tickets for more information.

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