UTICA, N.Y. – The Utica Comets took game three of the 2016-17 Galaxy Cup match-up, defeating the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. It was the third consecutive win for the Comets, bringing their record to 6-9-1-0.
Curtis Valk (0-1-1) extended his team-leading point streak to five games with an assist in the first period on Alexandre Grenier’s (1-0-1) power-play goal. Derek Hulak’s (1-0-1) fourth goal of the season, scored in second period, served as the game-winner. Goaltender Thatcher Demko turned in a stellar performance and stopped 31 of the shots 32 shots he faced.
The Comets came out flying to start, dominating possession through the first eight minutes. With Tanner Richard in the box for holding, Grenier buried the rebound on a shot from Carter Bancks. Valk also tallied an assist on the power-play strike as the home team carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Despite the Crunch controlling the play to start the second period, Hulak staked the Comets to a 2-0 lead as he lifted a backhander over the shoulder of Gudlevskis with eight minutes remaining in the middle frame. The goal came on the team’s first shot of the period at the 11:15 mark.
The Crunch struck back 2 minutes later, as Richard beat Demko to bring the visitors back to within one through two periods.
A scoreless third period saw the two teams trade scoring chances early, with the Crunch slowly swinging momentum as the period went on. However, Demko turned aside all 13 Crunch shots to preserve the Comets victory.
The Comets power play went 1-for-4 on the night, while the penalty kill was perfect, shutting down all three Syracuse power plays. The Comets now own a 2-1-0-0 edge in the chase for the Galaxy Cup.
The Comets return to action Friday as they faceoff with the Rochester Americans on the road. Faceoff at Blue Cross Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.