Toronto, ON — The Utica Comets split a two-game weekend series with the first place Toronto Marlies, first with a 4-3 win Saturday then in a 5-3 loss Sunday.
On Saturday, Reid Boucher scored his league-leading 15th goal of the year late in the third period and helped propel the Comets to the win.
After former Comet Tanner MacMaster opened the scoring for Toronto, Utica took advantage of a power play and Sven Baertschi scored on a feed from Kole Lind to get him behind the defense for a snap shot into the top corner of the net for his fourth of the year.
With under two minutes remaining in the period, the Marlies re-established their one-goal lead on a goal by Kenny Agostino.
Again on the power play marker, the Comets evened the game at the 9:49 mark of the second period. Baertschi steered a pass through the slot and to the back post for Justin Bailey, who re-directed the pass into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Early in the third, Carter Camper forced a steal and his centering feed hit Lind, whose one-timer was initially stopped, but the puck trickled through Joseph Woll and rolled over the goal line.
Again another former Comet scored. This time Darren Archibald tied the game for Toronto at the 8:47 mark.
Boucher got the eventual game winner on a wrist shot over the short-side shoulder of Woll.
On Sunday, a third period surge from the Marlies got them the win to split the series.
The Comets surrendered the opening goal of the game on a power play tally by Adam Brooks, who would score two more times for the hat trick.
The Comets got it tied up when Lukas Jasek found an open Bailey in front of the goal for a an odd-man attack from point-blank range. Bailey fed a pass along to Jonah Gadjovich, who snapped the puck off the inside of the post and in for his fourth of the year.
Later in the period while killing a penalty, the Comets got their first lead of the contest with their fourth shorthanded goal of the year. Brogan Rafferty sent a pass to Carter Bancks, who executed a spin-o-rama along the right side before steering a backhand pass to the front of the goal where Jasek cashed in for a goal.
The Comets padded their lead on a power play midway through the second. Rafferty slid a pass to Boucher, who fired a one-timer toward the goal. The shot deflected off Bailey in front of the net.
Toronto scored two goals over the span of 1:29 in the third period to tie the game at 3-3. Hudson Elynuik re-directed a shot for his first of the season at 9:19 and Brooks registered his second of the night soon after. Four minutes later, Jesper Lindgren’s shot was deflected in front of the goal and changed directions past goalie Michael DiPietro and in, opening up a 4-3 advantage for Toronto.
Brooks put Toronto ahead by a 5-3 margin and out of reach for the Comets.
The Comets return to the ice Friday night when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7 p.m.