Utica City FC 10, Harrisburg Heat 5
Bo Jelovac put in a man of the match performance as Utica City FC defeated the Harrisburg Heat 10-5 to stay undefeated at the Adirondack Bank Center. Jelovac scored four times and added an assist, Liam Callahan contributed a pair of goals, and Andrew Coughlin made nine saves in the victory.
Lucio Gonzaga kicked things off for Utica City after he stole the ball and calmly side-footed into the back of the net. The strike was Gonzaga’s third goal of the season.
Joey Tavernese quickly followed with his sixth tally of the season. Tavernese was played through by Mohamed Kenawy to double the home side’s lead. Jelovac closed out an impressive first quarter for Utica City with turn and strike past Matt Perrela for his second of the campaign.
After Harrisburg opened the scoring in the second quarter, Slav Ubiparipovic scored his sixth of the campaign off the restart with a powerful left-foot attempt into the top corner. City made it 5-1 following a Liam Callahan strike before Harrisburg closed the first half with a pair of goals to shrink City’s lead to 5-3. Shots for the first half ended 14-13 in favor of Utica City FC.
The Heat opened the second half with an immediate goal from Julian Escobar to trim Utica’s lead to 5-4. Play got tense with under six minutes in the third quarter blue card. Both teams were issued blue cards. First, Mauricio Salles was booked for tripping, however, Harrisburg’s power play was nullified when Dominic Francis earned himself a blue card with a pushing infraction. Jelovac responded for Utica on the power play with a right-footed curler for his second of the game to give Utica a 6-4 advantage.
The final quarter opened with a Heat goal from Julian Escobar for his second of the contest to add drama to the action at the Adirondack Bank Center. A tripping blue card to Stephen DeRoux put City on the penalty kill, which they were able to erase. DeRoux atoned for his penalty with a side volley past Perrela to restore Utica’s two-goal lead. An acrobat backflip from DeRoux punctuated the celebration on his first goal of the season. Harrisburg pulled the keeper in favor of a sixth attacker, but it was quickly rebuffed by City with goals from Callahan and two from Jelovac.
Utica City FC is back in action at the Adirondack Bank Center after the Christmas holiday.
Charlotte Checkers 2, Utica Comets 1 (OT)
The Utica Comets increased their season-long point streak to five games, but fell in overtime to the Charlotte Checkers by a 2-1 margin on Sunday at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
The first period was a defensive display, as neither team found the goal in the opening 20. Thatcher Demko made five saves on five shots faced, and Callum Booth made all three stops required of him as the teams went into the first intermission facing a scoreless tie.
The Comets generated the first goal of the game early in the second period, after Lukas Jasek forced a steal in front of the Checkers’ net and lifted a wrist shot over the stick side of Booth. The goal was Jasek’s seventh of the season and was an unassisted tally. With ten seconds to play in the second period, sustained pressure by Charlotte allowed them to tie, with Morgan Geekie re-directing the tying effort.
Neither team earned a tie-breaker in the third period, setting the tone for an overtime session.
Just :22 into the overtime period, a steal by Aleksi Saarela allowed him space up the left wing, where he uncorked a shot that slipped through the legs of Demko for the game winner.