UTICA — Three straight goals by the Utica Comets in the second period helped the team break the AHL record for wins to start a season. The Comets beat the Charlotte Checkers 4-1 Friday at home, and have now won their first dozen games this season.
The game started off a bit bumpy, with the Checkers scoring right away. The Comets were facing the team that won the Calder Cup the last time it was handed out — in 2018-19 before COVID-19 prevented the league from having post-season play for two straight seasons.
Charlotte scored just over a minute into the game to silence the crowd. Max McCormick tipped a shot from the point past Comets’ goalie Nico Daws for his fifth goal of the season.
It took Utica just over 26 minutes of game time to get on the scoreboard, with Nolan Foote tying the score at 1-1 with 6:09 left in the second period. Foote’s second goal of the season came on a feed from captain Ryan Schmelzer. Robbie Russo also earned an assist.
With just under five minutes left in the second, the Comets grabbed their first lead of the game. Nate Schnarr scored his third goal of the season on assists from Frederik Gauthier and Graeme Clarke. Utica led 2-1.
Schnarr scored again with 1:41 left in the second period for his second of the game. Reilly Walsh fired a pass to Schnarr to set up the tally. He and Clarke earned assists.
Aarne Talvitie scored for Utica to seal the win, putting the Comets up 4-1 with an empty net goal with 2:22 left in the game. His fifth goal of the season was unassisted.
Daws made 23 saves to earn the win in net.
Joey Daccord had 20 saves in the loss.
The Comets will reload and go right back to work tonight at 7 as they host the Rochester Americans.