Undermanned Comets fall in afternoon AHL tilt at Providence

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — The Utica Comets were without three top players for their American Hockey League afternoon tilt on the road against the Providence Bruins Friday. Though the Comets scored the first two goals of the game, they fell 6-2.

Leading goal scorer Jonah Gadjovich, alternate captain Sven Bärtschi and defensive prospect Jack Rathbone were all out of the lineup.

Rathbone has been called up to the Vancouver Canucks. The two forwards were getting a day off for rest.

A new face in the lineup was Ethan Keppen, who made his pro debut.

Even without the three, the Comets came out hot. They scored the first two goals of the game and led 2-1 after one period.

First it was a tic-tac-toe goal when Will Lockwood passed to John Stevens who fed his brother Nolan for a shot that hit the post and went in the goal. The goal came 6:43 into the game. It gave Nolan Stevens a four-game point streak.

With 4:50 left in the period, Curtis McKenzie pushed the lead to two goals when he buried a rebound from the right side of the goal. Lucas Jasek had one assist and Sam Anas improved his team lead in assists to 13 with the other helper.

Providence cut the lead to one with a late power play goal by Brady Lyle scored with 34 seconds left in the first.

The Bruins dominated the second period, scoring both goals of the middle frame, to take a 3-2 lead. Robert Lantosi scored both, first 2:25 into the period and again with 10:28 remaining.

The Bruins got three more in the third.

A quick strike 27 seconds into the period by Zach Senyschyn made it 4-2. They scored again with 9:22 left in regulation, this time by Paul Carey. They added another goal with 5:17 left in the game. Eduards Tralmaks’ goal made it 6-2.

Joel Hofer had 34 saves in goal for the Comets.

Kyle Keyser stopped 25 shots for the Bruins to get the win.

The Comets are now 8-5-1 on the season. They play next at 7 p.m. Monday on the road against the Syracuse Crunch.

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