Crunch sink Comets with three-goal first period

The Utica Comets nearly climbed all the way back from a 3-0 deficit, but couldn't muster up the tying goal late, as they fell to the Syracuse Crunch 5-3, Wednesday.

Posted: Mar. 7, 2019 12:19 AM

Utica, N.Y. - The Utica Comets dropped their second straight game and third in their last four as they fell to the Syracuse Crunch, 5-3, in the eighth Galaxy Cup series meeting of the year, Wednesday.

The Crunch got the scoring going at the Adirondack Bank Center 3:30 into the game with a short-handed goal from Gabriel Dumont off of a back door feed from Andy Andreoff.

Nearly midway through the frame, Ross Colton extended the lead to 2-0 after a controlling turnover at the Comets blue line.

Just 14 seconds later, another Comets giveaway in the defensive zone lead to a goal by Comets killer Carter Verhaeghe. Despite outshooting the Crunch 15-8 in the first period, the Comets entered the locker room down 3-0.

There was no scoring in the second period, but 3:39 into the third, Reid Boucher put a wrist shot from the slot five-hole on Crunch goalie Eddie Pasquale to get the Comets on the board.

Verhaeghe notched his second of the night at the 11:36 mark to put Syracuse back up three, but Zack MacEwen responded with a goal just 48 seconds later during a delayed penalty to bring Utica back within two.

Brandon Anselmini scored his first career AHL goal with under five minutes to play, as the Comets brought their deficit to one, on the doorstep to a huge comeback.

However, in the last minute with Comets goalie Michael Leighton on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, Jan Rutta iced the game with an empty-netter.

The Comets killed off their lone penalty of the game, but went cold on the power play going 0-for-7. Leighton made 15 saves for Utica, while Pasquale required 30 saves to keep the Comets from clawing back.

These two teams battle again on Friday, at the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse at 7 p.m.

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