ALBANY, N.Y. – A weary Utica Comets squad put in a valiant effort in their third game in as many nights, but came up just short in a 2-1 defeat to the Albany Devils. The Comets finished a four game road stand with six of a possible eight points and remain within six points of eighth place Milwaukee in the Western Conference standings.
Jeremy Welsh found the back of the net with Utica’s lone goal, as the Comets dropped to 22-24-3-4 for the campaign. Joe Cannata, who was vying for his fourth consecutive victory, made 26 saves on 28 shots but took the regulation loss despite several point blank stops.
Neither side was able to get on the board in the first period, with ten saves from Cannata stealing the show for the Comets. Cannata’s finest stop came with just 1:11 on the clock and Utica shorthanded, as he followed up a right pad stop with an authoritative glove save. Scott Wedgewood turned away four shots for the Devils.
Albany opened the game’s scoring 3:44 into the second period, as winger Mike Sislo redirected a Reece Scarlett shot from the point past Cannata. The goal, Sislo’s 17th of the season, also saw an assist from Rome, NY native Tim Sestito, his second point against the Comets in 2013-14.
The Devils doubled their advantage less than two minutes later, as Reid Boucher made the Comets pay for a throwing the stick penalty called on Cannata. Boucher’s goal was his 14th of the season, the third most on Albany’s roster. Forward Scott Timmons collected his 29th point with an assist on the play.
The Comets pulled one back with 5:03 remaining in the second period, as Welsh fired a wrist shot over Wedgewood’s shoulder for his second goal of the season. Winger Darren Archibald and defenseman Frank Corrado each recorded assists on the play, the third point of the season for Corrado in four games against the Devils.
The third period was commanded by the Devils, who outshot the Comets by a 9-3 margin. Utica’s best opportunities came in the final minute of play, with a 6-on-4 advantage, due to a Sestito minor. Nicklas Jensen redirected a Pascal Pelletier feed right on target from the slot, but Wedgewood made his finest save of the evening to secure the win for Albany.
Despite the loss, Cannata turned in a fine performance once again. Over his past four starts, the Wakefield, MA native has stopped 126 of the 132 he has faced, good for a .954 save percentage. With his goal, Welsh now has collected six points over his past nine games played.
The Comets make their way back to Utica for a Wednesday evening tilt with the San Antonio Rampage and a meeting on Friday with the Adirondack Phantoms. Both teams are coming to the Mohawk Valley for the first time and puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. in both contests.