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Utica Comets rally from deficit, fall in OT at Charlotte

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
email / twitter
Posted 11/25/22

The Utica Comets battled back Friday. The Charlotte Checkers put a damper on a full Comets’ rallying effort, though.

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Utica Comets rally from deficit, fall in OT at Charlotte


CHARLOTTE — The Utica Comets battled back Friday. 

The Charlotte Checkers put a damper on a full Comets’ rallying effort, though. 

Justin Sourdif’s wrist shot from the right circle 18 seconds into overtime helped the Checkers edge the Comets 3-2 on Friday afternoon in the first of two games between the Eastern Conference teams at Bojangles Coliseum.

Utica has a chance to avenge the setback when the teams play again at 6 p.m. Saturday. 

It was the fourth consecutive game to end with a 3-2 result for the Comets (5-6-2-1 overall, 13 points), who have yet to earn back-to-back wins this season. 

Out of 14 games this season, the Comets have played nine one-goal games. Utica is 4-3-2-1 in one-goal games.

It was the first time this season that the Comets have earned a point when trailing after two periods (0-5-1-0) this season. 

After falling behind 2-0 in the middle frame, Utica tied the game with a pair of goals from Andreas Johnsson and captain Ryan Schmelzer. 

Sourdif ended it quickly, putting the lone shot on goal of overtime on from the right circle over Nico Daws’ blocker to help Charlotte (11-5-1-1) earn its fifth win in the last six games. 

Daws, making his fourth consecutive start for the first time this season, totaled 22 saves. He has 2.46 goals-against average with a 3-4-1 record this season. 

Utica helped force overtime with goals less than three minutes apart in the third period. 

With the Comets on their first power play of the game, Alex Holtz got the puck in the left circle and spun before passing to Johnsson. As the veteran forward fell to one knee, his shot glanced off the post and past Alex Lyon with 14:25 remaining for his third goal of the season. 

Then a few minutes later, Schmelzer threw a puck on net and it evaded Lyon and bounced in as Holtz battled for position with Lucas Carlsson in front of the net. It was Schmelzer’s first goal of the season. 

Despite Utica having a 13-9 advantage on shots, Charlotte grabbed the lead in the second period with two goals less than six minutes apart due in part to miscues by Daws.

Shortly after Daws was called for delay of game, former Comets forward Zac Dalpe redirected in a shot by Michael Del Zotto from the left point through traffic with 13:29 remaining.

Charlotte extended the lead when veteran forward Riley Nash’s shot from the top of the left circle glanced off Daws’ glove and dribbled over the line with 7:42 to play. 

The teams played a scoreless opening period when the Comets had to kill a pair of penalties.

Utica had some its best chances late in the period, including back-to-back from linemates Tyce Thompson and a one-timer from Nolan Foote turned away by Lyon.

Daws made some timely saves throughout the opening period to keep it scoreless.


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