NEWARK – The Binghamton Devils came back again to force overtime in an eventual 6-5 shootout loss to the visiting Utica Comets on Saturday night inside RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House.
Utica scored three goals in the first 20 minutes to take a two-goal lead into the intermission. Kole Lind got things started with his third of the year on a wrist shot that beat goaltender Aaron Dell just 4:59 into the game. Assists were credited to Sam Anas and Mitch Reinke.
Binghamton evened up the game at one on the power play 10:53 into the game. Fabian Zetterlund fired a pass that Ben Street deflected into the net for his first of the year. Zetterlund and Nolan Foote collected the assists on Street’s power-play goal.
Carson Focht put the Comets back in the lead with 5:42 left in the opening period. After a turnover by the Devils, Focht beat Dell to give the Comets a 2-1 lead with helpers going to Anas and Mitch Eliot.
Lind put in his second of the game on the power play to put the Comets up by two. From the left-wing circle, Lind ripped home a slap shot after a pass from Sven Baertschi with 4:35 left in the period. The goal was Lind’s second of the night and fourth of the year and Utica took a three-goal lead into the first intermission.
The comeback started in the second period for the Devils as Mikhail Maltsev scored at the 3:16 mark to get the Devils within one. Maltsev took a great pass from Marian Studenic and beat goaltender Jake Kielly for his first of the year. Studenic and Travis St. Denis were credited with the assists.
Michael Vukojevic scored his first pro goal to tie the game 5:33 into the second. Street dropped the puck back in the offensive zone to a trailing Vukojevic and he fired a wrist shot by Kielly to even the score at three with assists from Street and Brett Seney.
Utica jumped back out to the lead while on the penalty kill after a great save by Dell in net. Dakota Joshua fed John Stevens and he got his own rebound and scored his first at 9:07 of the middle period.
Binghamton once again came back to tie the game on an amazing effort by Nikita Okhotiuk. The defensemen held the puck in the zone and skated down the left side picking out the corner from the bottom of the left dot to tie the game at four. The lone assist on Okhotiuk’s first professional goal were given to Studenic. After 40 minutes, the game was tied 4-4 with the Comets holding a 22-21 shot advantage.
In the third period Nolan Stevens put the Comets back out front after a defensive zone turnover by the Devils. Stevens took the puck in the left-wing circle and fired a shot by Dell, unassisted, at 8:33 and the Comets led 5-4.
On the power play late in regulation, Street blasted in his second of the night to tie the game and force overtime. Reilly Walsh and Maltsev collected the assists on Street game-tying goal with 2:14 left in the third.
After no scoring in overtime, the Comets scored in the fourth round of the shootout and Kielly came up with a save for the 6-5 win.
The Devils return to the ice Wednesday, February 17 against the Hershey Bears at 7:00 p.m. at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House.
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