April 20, 2024

Syracuse, NY – In the penultimate game of the 2023-24 season, the Utica Comets took the ice against their North Division rival, the Syracuse crunch. Saturday night’s game marked the final road game of the season. Although Utica realized the playoffs were no longer an option, they did their best to prevent Syracuse from becoming division champions by trying to steal a win before heading home for the final game of the season. Despite being down by a goal early in the game, the Comets fought back and earned a win against the Crunch by a 5-2 score.

Syracuse scored the only goal of the first period after Waltteri Marela struck at 2:03 on a shot that beat Utica goaltender Akira Schmid. The period ended with the Comets trailing 1-0.

Brian Halonen scored his twentieth goal of the year at 6:13 when his wrister beat Brandon Halverson to tie the game at 1-1. Later, Nolan Stevens got the fortuitous bounce on a centering pass that flew off a Crunch defender into the cage at 7:22. The goal was Steven’s fifth of the season and gave Utica a 2-1 lead.

In the final period of regulation, Dylan Wendt scored his first AHL goal at 9:07 after sending a shot from the slot past Halverson. The assists on the goal came from Stevens and Topias Vilen, giving the game a 3-1 Utica advantage. The captain, Ryan Schmelzer, scored another goal for Utica, further extending the lead to 4-1 after his shot found the back of the net for his 18th of the year. The Crunch got another goal and it was a Max Crozier point shot at 2:03 that made the game a little closer as the Comets had a 4-2 lead. The Comets Xavier Parent added an empty net goal to take the game to a 5-2 final.

Individual match tickets are now available for the final match of the regular season. The Comets will play the Rochester Americans at home for the final game of the regular season on Sunday at 3 p.m. Visit uticacomets.com/tickets for more information.