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COMETS LOSE ROAD CONTEST TO SENATORS, 5-4

Belleville, ON. — Coming off a perfect game the previous night, the Utica Comets stepped onto the ice for a rematch of against Friday night’s opponents, the Belleville Senators. Utica, winners of their two previous games, hoped to continue excellent play against divisional opponents. With the momentum at the backs, despite being on the road, the Comets dropped the puck against the same team they shut down for a complete sixty minutes only twenty-four hours earlier with the hopes of continuing their winning ways. The contest went back and forth all night with the teams exchanging goals one after another. Ultimately, the Comets who were down by a goal several times, couldn’t fully climb back and dropped the contest as they lost the game 5-4. 

In the first period, the teams traded goals after Belleville scored first on a tally from Oskar Pettersen at 3:10 lifting the Senators to a 1-0 lead. Later, the Comets tied the game as Ryan Schmelzer cut to the goal and sliced the puck between the legs of Leevi Merilainen at 15:51. The goal was his eleventh of the season and it was assisted by Brian Halonen and Arnaud Durandeau. After twenty minutes of action, the game was tied 1-1.

Once again, the Senators acquired a lead after Jiri Smejkal deflected the puck over the shoulder of Utica goalie, Akira Schmid at 10:39 putting the Comets down 2-1. It didn’t take very long for the Comets to tie the game again after Graeme Clarke rifled a shot off the crossbar and into the Senator’s cage at 12:12. The primary assist belonged to Joe Gambardella as Clarke scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season. Belleville countered after a powerplay goal was scored by Jacob Larsson at 14:28 and the Comets were down 3-2. Yet again, the Comets pushed back and it was Halonen who fired the puck just inside the near post, low on the glove side of Merilainen at 17:08 for his 11th of the season. The goal, which tied the game at 3-3, was assisted by Schmelzer and Topias Vilen. However, only 24 seconds later, Angus Crookshank scored on a wrist shot ending the period’s scoring with the Comets down 4-3.

During the final period of regulation, the Senators added another powerplay goal after Garrett Pilon fired a slapshot over the shoulder of Schmid at 12:59. That goal put the Comets down 5-3. Kyle Criscuolo scored while the Comets had the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker as he fired the puck through a screen and cut the Comets deficit to 5-4 at 19:09 for his ninth of the season. It proved to not be enough as the Comets lost the contest 5-4.

The Comets are back at home on February 14th against the Rochester Americans for a 7:00 PM puck drop. Tickets are available for both home 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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