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DOWLING’S HEROICS LATE LEADS COMETS OVER MONSTERS, WIN 5-4

Utica, NY. — For the Utica Comets, it was a matchup against the top-ranked team of the North Division, the Cleveland Monsters. Insider the confines of the Adirondack Bank Center, the home team was prepared for a tough game against a team that they last faced here in Utica on December 23 in a close one-goal decision that went against the Comets. The game on Friday looked like the previously closely contested games between the division rivals. Despite the Comets losing a three-goal advantage, they sprung to life and skated away with a victory and collected points in their fifth straight game after Justin Dowling scored the game-winner with just 28 seconds left sending the fans in Utica into a frenzy in a 5-4 victory.

In the first period, the Comets roared out of the gate and struck first after Jace Isley deflected the Tyler Wotherspoon shot from the point for his first AHL goal at 3:00. The Comets then extended their advantage after Brian Halonen scored on a slap shot after the puck was delivered perfectly by Joe Gambardella. The goal at 6:00 was Halonen’s third goal of the season as it helped Utica to a 2-0 lead. The Comets weren’t through scoring after a nice shot by Chase Stillman slid passed Cleveland goalie, Jet Greaves at 10:37. It was Stillman’s fifth of the season and the second primary assist by Joe Gambardella. The period ended with the Comets holding a 3-0 lead.

In the second period, the Monsters got themselves on the scoresheet with a tally by Jake Gaudet after he found a loose puck to the right of Akira Schmid. At 6:54 he was able to fire it into the Utica net slicing the Utica lead to 3-1. The Monsters got another goal to cut the Utica lead to 3-2 after a one-timer by Owen Sillinger struck at 13:26.

During the final period of regulation, the Monsters tied the game after James Malatesta scored at 12:42 to make it a 3-3 game. However, less than a minute later, Robbie Russo slid the puck over to Graeme Clarke who proceeded to blast the puck passed Greaves at 13:26. The crowd went crazy in celebration as the Comets held a 4-3. The Monsters used a late powerplay to tie the game at 4-4 when Hunter McKown tipped a point shot at 17:50. The Comets got the final goal of the game came with only 28 seconds after Justin Dowling deflected the Xavier Parent shot into the net sending the crowd into jubilation. The Comets acquired a 5-4 lead and wouldn’t give it up winning the game in regulation.

The Comets are back in action tomorrow night against the Springfield Thunderbirds at home at 7:00 PM before a rare afternoon game on Monday afternoon at 1:00 PM against the Syracuse Crunch.

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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