SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Utica Comets scored two quick goals in the first 1:28 of the first period as they would take the 2-1 victory over the Thunderbirds last night at the MassMutual Center.
Brandon Gauce opened the scoring 1:20 into the game when he took a pass from Carter Bancks and buried a wrist shot to give the Comets a 1-0 lead.
Curtis Valk went in all alone eight seconds later and beat Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna with a backhand to go up 2-0.
The Thunderbirds took three shots on goal in the first period. Ian McCoshen scored a power-play goal when he beat Comets goaltender Richard Bachman fivehole to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was McCoshen’s first goal in almost three months.
The Thunderbirds would take control of the game and held Utica to only 14 shots between the second and third period. The Thunderbirds outshot the Comets 15-6 in the second period. The Thunderbirds had their scoring chances but just could not capitalize on them.
“They executed some plays early and down 2-0. We built our game and I liked our game all the way through. I just didn’t like obviously the start of the game,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear said.
The Thunderbirds will travel to Providence to take on the Bruins this afternoon at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Paul Thompson feels they will learn from last night and Friday night’s game after losing by a goal.
“We’ll try to focus on having a better start and I am sure we will be in for another tough test and sure it will be another close game. We’ll work hard and hopefully come out on top,” Thompson said.
The Thunderbirds and Comets will meet again on Friday night at the MassMutual Center when the puck drops at 7:05. The Thunderbirds have had their hands full with the Bruins this season.