Devils spoil Comets’ home opener

( — The American Hockey League returned to Utica on Wednesday night but the Albany Devils put a damper on the party with a 4-1 win over the host Comets.

A capacity crowd was on hand at the Utica Memorial Auditorium to welcome the Comets, Utica’s first entry in the AHL since the New Jersey Devils moved their affiliate east to Albany in 1993.

Joe Whitney and Jon Merrill scored 26 seconds apart to stake Albany to a 2-0 lead in the first period and the Devils rolled to improve their record to 4-1-0-1.

Whitney finished with three points (2g, 1a) on the night, Chris McKelvie also scored and Keith Kinkaid stopped 22 shots in the win.

Frank Corrado scored the first home goal in Comets history, breaking up Kinkaid’s shutout bid with 6:48 left in regulation.

Joe Cannata made 19 saves for Utica, which is still searching for its first-ever win (0-4-0-0).

The pre-game festivities included a ceremonial puck drop from the legendary Gordie Howe.