Back to the grindstone
Well the long wait is finally over, but with all the excitement building around the Comets season opener, the team wasn't able to get it done last night as they fell 4-1 to division rival, Rochester Americans.
After watching last night's game, I don't believe that last night's score is completely telling of last night's performance. The Comets actually played pretty well given it was their first time playing together with the current roster in place, and opening up on the road against a rival who was coming off of a brutal loss just a few days earlier.
Utica outshot the Amerks 31-21 throughout the game, and while going 0 for 3 on the powerplay, had it not been for Rochester G Matt Hackett standing on his head, the game could have been very different.
The big factor in last night's loss were breakdowns in the defensive zone. The first Rochester goal by Dan Catenacci resulted from a giveaway by Comets G Joe Cannata right in front of his crease.
The second, a Luke Adam goal (1 of 2 for him for the night) came off of a failure to recognize him planted at the back door for an easy tap in with just 16 seconds left in the opening stanza. These are things that will improve with more time, and the building of more chemistry for this team.
From there the momentum went back and forth, with the Comets getting some much needed scoring chances, and Rochester coming right back the other way. The Amerks got a huge boost from their perfect penalty killing last night, as their third goal came shortly after a Comets powerplay ended, with Kevin Sundher placing a bad angle shot through Cannata's legs.
Their was a bright spot for Utica moving forward, however, as with 6:32 remaining in the 3rd, Pascal Pelletier ended Hackett's shutout by scoring the first goal in franchise history, giving the Comets signs of life on offense.
So, all in all, the first game in Comets history was not the storybook opening that we we're all hoping, but as I said in previous entries, Rome wasn't built in a day (okay, I'm paraphrasing). It is not easy to win at this level, and especially for a new team, with a new coach, on the road.
It's a long season with plenty of hockey left, so for Comets fans all over, just know that the pieces are there to have a competitive team. They just need some time to fit them all together.
Luckily, they quickly get another chance to earn their first victory and turn the tide around tonight, as they will be in Albany to face the Devils in another battle for Thruway supremacy. The Comets are 0-1-0, but a win tonight would give a major jolt to this team who still has yet to play in front of their home fans.
Tonight, its back to the grindstone as the Comets try to look for their first ever victory, and to stop the bleeding before it really ever had a chance to start. This is a work in progress, so just keep watching, and keep cheering.
Remember, just 6 months ago we didn't even know we would have a team to cheer for!
Again, its a long season, and it begins again tonight. Puck drop is at 5:05 p.m.