(uticacomets.com) – The Utica Comets evened their preseason record to 1-1 with a 4-2 win over the American Hockey League’s newest franchise, the Adirondack Flames, at John F. Kennedy Arena in Rome, N.Y.
All proceeds from the game were donated to the John F. Kennedy Arena to benefit all the programs that call the arena home. The Comets will make their Utica debut on Wednesday, Oct. 22, against the same Adirondack Flames, in the team’s home opener. Last year the Comets defeated the Adirondack Phantoms at JFK Arena, by the same score of 4-2.
Dustin Jeffrey (2-0-2) and Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2) led the way for the Comets with two points apiece, while goaltender Joacim Eriksson (1-0-0-0) notched the win in relief ofJacob Markstrom, turning aside all six shots he faced.
The Flames got on the board first at the 17:15 mark. Bryce Van Brabant emerged from a battle for the puck in the corner. Van Brabant streaked across the bottom half of the faceoff circle and beat Markstrom high blocker with a wrist shot, for the unassisted tally.
Van Brabant would add an assist to his night after setting up the Flames second goal of the night. 7:41 into the second period, Van Brabant wristed a shot from below the goal line that ricocheted off of Markstrom’s leg pad and in to the slot, directly to an awaiting Kenny Agostino who would not miss from there.
Eriksson took over goaltending duties at the 9:59 mark of the second period as part of a pre-planned goaltending switch.
The third period was all Comets, starting with a highlight reel shot from Jeffrey. After receiving a breakout pass from defenseman Kane Lafranchise, Jeffrey streaked into the Flames zone, along the boards, and let loose a wrist shot that beat goaltender Mathieu Corbeil high on the short side.
Just two and a half minutes later, Jeffrey struck again. After drawing the lone defenseman on a 2-on-1 over to him, Grenier slid a pass over to Jeffrey who was in all alone. A quick deke, and a backhand flip over the extended leg pad of Corbeil, later, led to a tied game.
Two and a half minutes after that, Brendan Gaunce sliced across the top of the crease while firing a shot on goal. Corbeil denied the original shot, but Patrick Kennedy was there to put the rebound home.
With just 37 seconds remaining, Grenier broke out of the Comets defensive zone and put the game away as he scored on an empty net from the blue line.
After starting the game, Markstrom made 13 saves on 15 shots faced, in 29:59 minutes of action. The Comets went 1 for 5 on the power play, with the first goal of their night serving as lone power-play tally. The Comets penalty kill killed both Flames power plays on the evening.